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The only Beatles song to feature just Ringo Starr


Getting your own solo song became a right of passage for The Beatles. It started when Paul McCartney recorded ‘Yesterday’ on solo guitar in 1965, which George Martin subsequently beefed up with a string quartet arrangement. There was talk about making the song a potential solo single for McCartney, but manager Brian Epstein vetoed the idea, wishing to preserve group unity.

McCartney would be the only Beatle to appear solo on a song for a number of years, but when the band began recording The White Album, he notched a couple of additional solo tracks, including ‘Martha My Dear’, ‘Blackbird’, and ‘Mother Nature’s Son’. John Lennon got his own solo turn on ‘Julia’, but a few months earlier, Ringo Starr actually beat Lennon to the punch by being the only Beatle to appear on the album closer ‘Good Night’.

Lennon originally wrote the song as a lullaby for his son Julian. “‘Good Night’ was written for Julian the way ‘Beautiful Boy’ was written for Sean, but given to Ringo and possibly overlush,” Lennon told David Sheff in 1980. However, in the book The Beatles as Musicians, Lennon states to Martin that he wants the arrangement to be “corny”, like an old Hollywood score.

“I sang John’s song ‘Good Night’. I’ve just heard it for the first time in years and it’s not bad at all, although I think I sound very nervous,” Starr opinioned in the Anthology series. “It was something for me to do.” Starr also claimed that “Everybody thinks Paul wrote ‘Good Night’ for me to sing, but it was John who wrote it for me. He’s got a lot of soul, John has.”

Despite that soul, McCartney believed that Lennon was too self-conscious about his public persona to actually sing the song himself. “I think John felt it might not be good for his image for him to sing it but it was fabulous to hear him do it, he sang it great. We heard him sing it in order to teach it to Ringo and he sang it very tenderly,” McCartney told Barry Miles in the book Many Years From Now.

Adding: “John rarely showed his tender side, but my key memories of John are when he was tender, that’s what has remained with me; those moments where he showed himself to be a very generous, loving person. I always cite that song as an example of the John beneath the surface that we only saw occasionally… I don’t think John’s version was ever recorded.”

With ‘Good Night’, Starr became the third Beatle to record a solo song but the fourth one on an album since Lennon’s ‘Julia’ was recorded later but sequenced earlier in the album. George Harrison had managed to nab a solo Beatle recording on ‘Within You Without You’, making Starr the final Beatle to get a song featuring just him.