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Sentimental Journey is the debut album by English rock musician and former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, released in 1970 as the band was breaking up. Starr was the third member of the group to issue a solo recording (after George Harrison and John Lennon), and Sentimental Journey is notable for being the first non-avant-garde studio album by a member of the band, compared to the experimental, soundtrack or live releases of his two bandmates. Paul McCartney's debut, McCartney, would follow three weeks after Sentimental Journey's release. Recording of the album was completed in early March 1970, with Sentimental Journey being rushed out a few weeks later to avoid clashing in the shops with the Beatles' impending final album Let It Be in May.
Starr had one song each arranged by different musicians, ranging from fellow-Beatle Paul McCartney, and Martin himself to Richard Perry,[nb 1] Quincy Jones, The Bee Gees' Maurice Gibb, Klaus Voormann, and Elmer Bernstein among others, as Starr thought the album would have a flavour to it. Author Bill Harry states that on 1 October 1969, Starr asked Count Basie to write an arrangement score for "Night and Day"; the finished score arrived to Starr on 6 October. However, Chico O'Farrill received credit for the arrangement.
Sessions for the album began on 27 October, on which Starr, backed by an orchestra, recorded the track "Night and Day" at Abbey Road Studios. The track was also mixed the same day. The next session didn't take place until over a week later, on 6 November at Wessex Sound Studios, recording a track that currently remains unreleased, "Stormy Weather". The following day, the backing track for the McCartney-arranged "Stardust" was recorded, which nearly earned the album the title of Ringo Stardust. On 14 November, Starr added his vocal to that track, and started developing the track "Dream"; arranged by Martin, the song was finished on 18 November at Trident Studios. The backing track for "Blue, Turning Grey Over You" was recorded 10 days later on 28 November, and then completed on 4 December, the vocals for the track weren't recorded until later in the new year.
Shortly after recording "Blue, Turning Grey Over You" Starr went on a trip to the US, and went on to record lead for the Jones-arranged "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" on 26 December, at A&M Studios. The first session in the new year, 1970, for the album was held on 14 January, at Olympic Sound Studios. There, vocals for "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" and "Sentimental Journey" were laid down, the latter was arranged by Perry. The next session took place nearly a month later on 3 February 1970, at Abbey Road Studios, where the backing track for "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" was remade, featuring an orchestra, and Starr laying down a new vocal track for the song. Starr re-recorded his vocals for the song on the 5th. Starr recorded vocal overdubs on "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" on both 9 and 18 February 1970, the track was arranged by Elmer Bernstein. On 11 February, the orchestra for "I'm a Fool to Care" was conducted by Voorman, who also arranged his version of the song at Starr's request. On the same day, Starr added his vocal track to the song. A day later, the backing track, and Starr's vocal, for "Let the Rest of the World Go By" were recorded; the track was arranged by Les Reed. Nearly a week later, on 18 February, overdubs were added to the song.
That same day, the vocals for both "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" and "Let the Rest of the World Go By" were re-recorded. Following this, "It Don't Come Easy" was recorded during a late-night part of the session, under the title "Gotta Pay Your Dues".[nb 2] Two days later, "I'm a Fool to Care", "Let the Rest of the World Go By" and "Sentimental Journey" were mixed. On 24 February, over a week later, Starr's vocal was recorded for "Blue, Turning Grey Over You". Now moving to De Lane Lea Studios a day later, the Johnny Dankworth-conducted orchestra had made the backing track for "You Always Hurt the One You Love", on to which, Starr added his vocal track the same day. Some time in February, the unreleased tracks "Autumn Leaves" and "I'll Be Looking at the Moon" were recorded; eventually finding their way onto bootleg albums. Moving again, this time to Morgan Sound Studios on 5 March, at McCartney's suggestion, the orchestra-laden "Whispering Grass (Don't Tell the Trees)" and "Bye Bye Blackbird" (the latter arranged by Maurice Gibb) were taped. On 6 March, work was done on "You Always Hurt the One You Love" by Dankworth adding drums, piano and saxophone; this and four other tracks were mixed on the day. The following day, further overdubs were added to "I'm a Fool to Care".