Ringo Starr rarely hesitates to call it like he sees it, even if he’s the target. Yusuf / Cat Stevens cut his drumming from an album, and his reaction to the slight was pure class. So when Ringo complimented Brian Wilson’s work ethic, it was massive praise from The Beatles drummer to the Beach Boys frontman.
Ringo Starr said watching Brian Wilson work ‘was incredible’
Ringo’s excessive drinking was such a problem in the mid-1980s that he played a concert with the Beach Boys and has no memory of it. Thankfully for him and music fans, he committed to a healthier lifestyle and continued making music. The drummer also inspired another legendary musician to get sober.
He was in a much better place in the early 1990s. In 1992, Ringo released his first solo album since 1981, Time Takes Time, with the help of several collaborators. Brian Wilson was one of them.
The Beach Boys’ star played on the song “Weight of the World” from that album, and he teamed up with Ringo again in 1998 on the Vertical Man album. In his book Postcards From the Boys, the drummer said watching Wilson work was an incredible experience:
“Brian was great. He was on my album ‘Vertical Man,’ and he’d come in and he’d sing a part, and say, ‘Okay, give me another track,’ and he’d sing another part. ‘Okay, give me another track.’ He was the only one who had the completed piece in his head, and he’d say, ‘Okay, let’s go – put it all on,’ and it was incredible.”
Whether he meant to or not, Ringo gave Wilson the ultimate compliment by praising his work ethic.
Ringo complimented Wilson by praising his work ethic, which compared to The Beatles
Ringo said Wilson came to the Vertical Man sessions ready to work. When the tapes rolled to record the music, he rolled just as quickly, going from one song to the next and supplying multiple takes.
Does that sound familiar? He didn’t mention his former bandmates, but John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison joined Ringo in working rapidly during their heyday.
The Beatles cut their debut album, Please Please Me, in a day. The record produced a Billboard No. 1 hit — “Love Me Do” — plus three other top-3 tunes: “Twist and Shout” (No. 2), “Please Please Me” (No. 2), and “Do You Want to Know a Secret” (No. 3). In October 1964, the Fab Four recorded eight songs in one nine-hour session (per Far Out).
The Fab Four released three albums within a year twice. With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, and Beatles for Sale hit shelves in England between late November 1963 and early December 1964. Help!, Rubber Soul, and Revolver came out in England between August 1965 and August 1966. That kind of release schedule doesn’t happen without some rapid recording. And remember, The Beatles were still touring at the time.
Paul once said writing with John was very easy. They had a back-and-forth that helped them pen hit song after hit song with relative ease. Heck, Paul once wrote a song on the spot for Dustin Hoffman and put it on a Wings album.
Ringo stood in the thick of it as The Beatles raced through recording sessions in the 1960s. Brian Wilson did the same thing in the 1990s on the drummer’s Vertical Man album. He didn’t mention The Beatles by name, but he saw the best work quickly, so Ringo complimenting Wilson’s work ethic was lofty praise for the Beach Boys star.
The Beatles drummer spotlighted the Beach Boys star on ‘Vertical Man’
Ringo called on Wilson to provide backing vocals on the Vertical Man track “Without Understanding.” The “Ooh-ooh-oohs” in the bridge recall the Beach Boys’ saccharine harmonies of the 1960s; the “Without understanding / no good vibrations” lines near the end are a clear nod.
The album included stars such as George, Paul, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Alanis Morrisette, Scott Weiland, Tom Petty, and Ozzy Osbourne. Still, Wilson’s vocals and the lyrical nod to the Beach Boys’ classic “Good Vibrations” helped make him one of the star collaborators on the album.
The pair reunited again when Ringo invited Wilson onto the stage during a 2007 tour stop.
Ringo Starr gave Brian Wilson a massive compliment by saying his work ethic was incredible. Seeing how he was in the thick of it when The Beatles recorded rapidly in their 1960s heyday, the drummer gave the Beach Boys star a more massive compliment than he could have imagined.
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