Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Ringo Starr would be the first person to admit that even though he has helped compose some outstanding songs, he is the least prolific songwriter of the Beatles. Although he was given a partial writing credit on the song "What Goes On" (depending on which version of the album you possess) his first full composition credit was for the song, "Don't Pass Me By." Although he had most of the song written in 1964, it did not appear on record until the Beatles self-titled album of 1968. Interestingly, his song contains one of the most difficult to dismiss clues in the annals of Paul Is Dead mythology.
You have to pull the line out of context in order to get the full impact, but it is difficult to not cringe when you hear:
Sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair
You were in a car crash and you lost your hair
Although the line does arguably fit into the storyline of the song, that doesn't make it any less bizarre. It makes more sense as an "over the top" obvious PID clue.
Ringo never got that obvious again, or did he?
In 1976 Ringo wrote a song for an album called "Lies and Alibis" (How ironic!) by country rocker Guthrie Thomas.
The album credits reveal that Thomas had a lot of friends in the music business. It was a real rarity to have a song penned for you by Ringo Starr. The composer credit for the song "Band of Steel" surprisingly was "Ringo Starr" instead of the usual "Richard Starkey."
But it is the lyrics of the chorus that provide the bigger surprise. Like "Don't Pass Me By" the chilling lines make some sense in the context of the stream of consciousness song, but they make more sense when interpreted as a PID clue.
The lyrics, which are printed in the inner sleeve of the record are:
But they sang out their songs for all you people
Gave you everything they ever had
But nobody cares about a dead man
And sendin' wreaths is somethin' they don't understand
"Band of Steel" starts and finishes as a love song. In between, it pays homage to the late Jimmy Rogers and Hank Williams, but that chorus still wreaks of Paul Is Dead to me.
You can find the full set of lyrics to Band of Steel here. Perhaps the lyrics were improvised, which would explain how strange they are, but you need to remember that this song was written and released the same year as Ringo's Rotogravure, which encouraged fans to use a magnifying glass on its back cover.
Be careful when exploring the clues of Ringo Starr that you don't overlook the obvious.
Update: Click the picture for larger version. The scan was borrowed from JoJo of Nothing Is Real, but I have the album and can scan a particular area if anyone thinks something significant is hidden there.