Ringo is the third studio album by Ringo Starr, released in 1973 on Apple Records. It peaked at No. 7 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified platinum by the RIAA. In Canada, it reached No. 1 on the RPM national albums chart. The album is noted for being the only project on which all four Beatles collaborated between the band's breakup in 1970 and the murder of John Lennon in 1980 (though they didn't all work on the project simultaneously at any point), and for its numerous guest stars, something which would become a signature for Starr on many of his subsequent albums and tours.
Recording started on 5 March 1973 upon Starr's arrival in Los Angeles at Sunset Sound Recorders. Sessions were produced by Richard Perry. Starr sent word to his musician friends to help him in his new venture and they all responded positively. Taking part in the sessions were Marc Bolan, four members of The Band (except Richard Manuel), Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Nicky Hopkins, Harry Nilsson, Jim Keltner, and James Booker. Additionally, all three of his former bandmates appeared on and composed material for Ringo.
"Photograph" had been written on 15 May 1971 while on a sailing holiday with his wife Maureen, Harrison and Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd, and Cilla Black. Starr and Harrison wrote the song with input from the others. The song was first recorded in late 1972 with Harrison as producer, during the sessions for Harrison's Living in the Material World album. The song was remade five months later, produced by Perry for its appearance on Ringo. Harrison and Mal Evans were sharing a living space in Los Angeles when they wrote "You and Me (Babe)" after Evans asked Harrison to add music to a song which he was working on.
Harrison dropped by on the sessions on 10 March to see what kind of material Starr had recorded up to that point, saying that he was "knocked out by what you've done". He returned on 12 March and laid down backing vocals. Starr, John Lennon, and Harrison appear together on Lennon's "I'm the Greatest", which was also recorded on 12 March.[nb 1] Ten takes of the song were recorded in a session lasting approximately 18 minutes. Both Lennon and Harrison were in Los Angeles for business matters with Capitol Records. Lennon returned to New York on 14 March.
British music magazine Melody Maker reported on 17 March that the session was a Beatles reunion. "Rumours flashed through Los Angeles this week that three of the Beatles have teamed up for recording purposes. John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are all in Los Angeles with Klaus Voormann, the bassist rumoured to replace Paul McCartney after his departure from the group." Also recorded during this month was Randy Newman's "Have You Seen My Baby?";[nb 2] it features overdubbed guitar by Bolan which was added at A&M Studios. This group of sessions lasted until 27 March. The next day, Starr and Perry flew to England. More work on the tracks was done at Burbank Studios, The Sound Lab, and Producers' Workshop. On 16 April, Starr went to Apple Studio in London to record "Six O'Clock" with Paul McCartney, and his wife Linda, as McCartney could not enter the US due to drug arrests. McCartney played synthesizer and piano and sang backing vocals on the track.
After finishing "Six O'Clock", Starr asked his chauffeur to buy some tap dancing shoes which Starr would use on "Step Lightly". He then recorded "You're Sixteen" and "Step Lightly" with Nilsson; McCartney also appears on kazoo on "You're Sixteen". This second block of recording sessions lasted until 30 April, and overdubs were added at Sunset Sound Recorders throughout July. The album was mixed at Sunset Sound on 24 July.