The bitter song George Harrison wrote for Ringo Starr

George Harrison and Ringo Starr

The Fab Four transformed from mop-top kids singing romantic songs and rhythm and blues covers to artistic visionaries during the Beatles’ rise to international fame in the 1960s. Through constant experimentation and creative songwriting, albums like Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road revolutionised popular music.

Even though they were a quartet, Paul McCartney and John Lennon took the lead, writing most of the songs with little help from George Harrison or Ringo Starr. Harrison became irritated with Lennon and McCartney’s dominance during writing sessions, although Starr didn’t mind letting others take charge. This led to Harrison’s brief departure from the band in 1969, just before their final, permanent breakup.

Following The Beatles, each member pursued solo attempts. Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass won praise from both critics and fans. Even before Starr began working on his eighth solo project, Stop and Smell the Roses, he had already planned a number of contributions. On the album, McCartney, Harry Nilsson, Ronnie Wood, and Stephen Stills would all work together. Starr was originally excited about Lennon’s participation as well.

Naturally, Lennon’s 1980 passing devastated Starr. Especially since the recording sessions for the album were set to start in just one month. Still, the album became available with the Harrison-penned “Wrack My Brain” emerging as its biggest hit. George Harrison wrote the song especially for Starr. It was a bright and catchy song that highlighted Starr’s distinctive vocal style.

The song’s bitter lyrics, which include lines like “All the same / I play the game. Up and down old memory lane / Wrack my brain / ’til my head is filled with pain. Wrack my brain / While I slowly go insane”. This reflects Harrison’s personal feelings towards the media industry as a whole.

In addition to being a hit song, the song marked a pivotal point in Starr’s solo career. It demonstrated the ongoing friendship and artistic cooperation amongst The Beatles’ former members. Harrison’s songwriting prowess persisted, adding to the song’s enduring appeal. It contributed to its status as a remarkable track on his former bandmate’s discography.

In spite of its dull reception, Starr’s album is an important part of his discography since it captures his soundscape after the Beatles. The album’s breakthrough single, Wrack My Brain,” demonstrated the enduring power that results from The Beatles’ members combining their musical abilities.

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