Quincy Jones Felt Ringo Starr’s Work on This Song Was Awful

Quincy Jones discussed working with The Beatles’ Ringo Starr on a cover of a famous song. Jones said Ringo had a very difficult time finishing the song, so Jones had to call in another famous musician to play on it. Subsequently, Jones revealed what he thought of Ringo as a person. Ringo’s cover appeared on an album that made a significant impact on the charts.

The Beatles' Ringo Starr with a tambourine
The Beatles’ Ringo Starr | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Ringo Starr performed a cover of this hit song on his debut album

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison each released original songs on their debut albums. Ringo went in the opposite direction. His debut album, Sentimental Journey, is composed of cover songs.

Sentimental Journey includes renditions of traditional pop and jazz songs that represent popular music before rock ‘n’ roll took the world by storm. It’s a lot closer to a Frank Sinatra album or a Dean Martin album than a Beatles album. It never became as famous as other albums by former Beatles like All Things Must Pass or Imagine.

One of the songs on the album is Ringo’s cover of “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.” There are many covers of the song. The most famous version is by The Four Aces. The Official Charts Company reports their rendition reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. According to Vulture, a famous musician worked on Ringo’s cover of “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.”

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Quincy Jones had to bring in another musician to fix the song

“I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song,” Jones said, discussing Ringo’s cover of “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.” “He couldn’t get it. We said, ‘Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.'” 

A jazz drummer fixed the problem for Ringo. “So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer,” Jones recalled. “Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, ‘George, can you play it back for me one more time?’ 

“So George did, and Ringo says, ‘That didn’t sound so bad,'” Jones said. “And I said, ‘Yeah, motherf***** because it ain’t you.’ Great guy, though.”

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How the world reacted to Ringo Starr’s ‘Sentimental Journey’

Although Jones wasn’t a huge fan of Ringo’s musicianship, Sentimental Journey still became a success. The album peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 14 weeks. The album was even more popular in the U.K. The Official Charts Company reports Sentimental Journey reached No. 7 in the U.K., staying on the chart for six weeks. People bought the album even though it contained no singles. Ringo wasn’t responsible for all the instrumentation on Sentimental Journey, but fans didn’t seem to mind.