How Ringo Starr Followed Up His Biggest Solo Album
As with its platinum-selling predecessor, Ringo's fourth album was a star-studded affair, with many of his famous friends contributing to the sessions, including Robbie Robertson, Nicky Hopkins, Harry Nilsson, Billy Preston, Elton John, Dr. John and Steve Cropper. The only major difference, personnel-wise, was that while Ringo featured songs and performances from the other three ex-Beatles, only John Lennon was present on Goodnight Vienna.
Lennon composed the title track, and played guitar on "All by Myself" and "Only You (And You Alone)," a cover of the Platters' 1955 classic which he suggested Starr record. After writing or co-writing four of 10 songs on Ringo, Starr contributed three to Goodnight Vienna: "Call Me," "Oo-Wee" and "All by Myself," the last two of which were collaborations with Vini Poncia.
The other songs came from some heavy hitters. Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote "Snookeroo" with Ringo in mind, and Nilsson came up with "Easy for Me," which Nilsson would release a year later on his Duit on Mon Dei LP. Hoyt Axton, composer of Three Dog Night's "Never Been to Spain" and "Joy to the World," gave Ringo "No-No Song," a lighthearted look at a former drug user refusing pot, cocaine and alcohol. In addition to "Only You," the other covers were Lee Dorsey's Allen Toussaint-penned "Occapella" and Roger Miller's "Husbands and Wives."
Goodnight Vienna didn't replicate its predecessor's chart success, but it came very close. It reached No. 8 and was certified gold. It's first three singles – "Only You (And You Alone)," "Snookeroo" and "No-No Song" – all reached the Top 10, while the title track just missing the Top 30.