The now-iconic drummer, Ringo Starr, has recently revealed that The Beatles came close to reuniting in 1973.
The revelation comes from a new Paul McCartney profile in The New Yorker. Starr was interviewed to give his two cents on the continued interest that followed The Beatles after their break up and the constant queries about reforming. According to him, during a time where each of the four members were not hanging out quite so tightly to a forever split, a reunion idea was tossed their way.
Even better than the Fab Four reunion would have been the alleged opening act: a man wrestling a shark. The inclusion of that detail makes it sound like Starr is just taking the piss, but apparently, the idea was taken seriously enough to instigate the most diplomatic of all meetings – a conference call.
“We called each other and said no,” Starr said. “We were taking our own roads now.”
Instead, the band turned down what Starr describes as “a fortune” and kept going on their own paths. Whoever the shark-focused promotor was, little did they know that they had probably come closest to actually getting the four Beatles back together.
1973 was an interesting time for all four musicians. McCartney had put out four solo albums in his time since the band’s breakup – one completely on his own, one with Linda, and two with Wings – all of which were critically lambasted. He had yet to begin his reversal of fortune with Band on the Run and was likely in a fragile and nostalgic state of mind, considering that he visited John Lennon in Los Angeles to record a cocaine-fueled jam session.
For his part, Lennon was in the first stage of his ‘Lost Weekend’. Separated from Yoko Ono, uncertain of his own solo career, and liberally indulging in drugs and alcohol, Lennon was lost. His Mind Games album received mixed reviews, and when added to the failure of his previous album Some Time in New York, Lennon began to doubt his own validity as an artist.
It was actually Starr and Harrison who were leading their peers in 1973. Harrison had a number one album with Living in the Material World and a couple of hits, riding a wave of momentum that began with All Things Must Pass. Harrison was achieving the kind of success and acclaim that was reserved for Lennon and McCartney during The Beatles heyday, acclaim that was eluding them at the time. Starr also had a top selling album, Ringo, complete with two American number one singles, ‘Photograph’, and ‘You’re Sixteen’.
Turning down the offer is probably for the best, but we can all delight in a brief flash of The Beatles playing ‘Let It Be’ while some dude flops around with a shark in the foreground.