Ringo Starr, ‘Wings’ – Song Review
‘Wings’ is a less passionate, border-line lifeless vocal performance of a previously released song from the 1977 ‘Ringo the 4th’ album.
Listen to the remake below and then find the original on YouTube. No one will claim the Beatle was ever the most talented singer in the world, but in the past he’s been able to overcome his shortcomings with yearning performances and urgent lyrics.
“Don’t you know I love you / Don’t you know I need you so,” he sings on both songs, but on this remake he might be crying out to a easy-bake pizza or the remote control to his television. This ‘Wings’ lacks conviction.
“If I had the strength of a lion / There’d be no one to keep us apart / If I was crack just like thunder / I would shout what I feel in my heart.” Guitarist Joe Walsh and Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Tench don’t follow Starr’s lead. The two jam with conviction and power. During the solo it’s a joy to hear these guest artists bounce riffs back and forth. Both add layer upon layer of creativity to the song, at times overshadowing Starr’s vocals.
The singer is drowned out for much of the three-and-a-half minute track in fact, and it’s doubtful we’ll ever know producer Bruce Sugar’s motivation for mixing the song in this manner.
“Need you so much / The melody is coming in clear / And with your touch / The music is going around and around in my ear,” Starr sings near the end of this funky, reggae-inspired remake. While the production and instrumentation are spot-on, it’s clear the singer has forgotten whatever or whoever inspired this song 35 years ago.