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Ringo's Rotogravure is the fifth studio album by Ringo Starr, released in 1976. It was Starr's last album to feature active involvement from all four former Beatles before John Lennon's death in 1980. Following the end of his contract with EMI, Starr signed on with Polydor Records worldwide (Atlantic Records handling US distribution).
It was reported in December 1975 that ABC Records in the US was to sign former Beatle Ringo Starr for a 5-year recording contract, worth $5 million. However, on 26 January 1976, when Starr's recording contract with EMI ended, he signed with Atlantic for the US and Polydor for the UK, on 10 March. As stated in the deal, Starr was expected to release 7 albums within 5 years, with the first album planned for release in June. Starr's original intention was to get Richard Perry to produce the album, before he had switched labels. Starr thought "since we were trying another label, we'd try another producer." It had been suggested by Atlantic to Starr that he work with Arif Mardin, who was the in-house producer for the label at the time. Mardin met up with Starr in London to see what they were like together and, pleased with the encounter, Mardin told Starr he would be happy to work with him. Starr's intention was to work in Los Angeles as his friends were there. Starr again stuck to his proven formula of having friends write songs and perform on the recordings. This time, Eric Clapton took part, in addition to his old friend Harry Nilsson, and Peter Frampton, Melissa Manchester, Dr. John, and former Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Sessions began in April at Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, and eventually moved on 12 June to Cherokee Recording Studios. Starr was joined at this session by Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, recording the Lennon-penned "Cookin' (In the Kitchen of Love)".[nb 1] Lennon played the piano lines that are heard at the beginning of the song, in what was his only known studio recording during his five years of musical retreat that he kept until 1980.
McCartney, while on break from his Wings Over America tour with Wings, made the backing track to "Pure Gold" along with his wife Linda McCartney, which McCartney got Starr to sing over, on 19 June. Harrison donated a song too, but because of his commitments to get his album Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) done on schedule, he was unable to partake in any recording for Ringo's Rotogravure. Harrison's contribution was a song previously known as "When Every Song Is Sung", which he had attempted to record first with Ronnie Spector in 1971, then with Cilla Black (on which Starr also played), and later still with Leon Russell's wife Mary. Eric Clapton played guitar on the track "This Be Called a Song". Several unreleased tracks were recorded during the sessions: "Where Are You Going",[nb 2] "All Right", "It's Hard to Be Lovers" and a track Starr co-wrote with Nilsson, "Party".