Today Ringo started sessions for his first solo album, Sentimental Journey, working in familiar surroundings — at EMI Studios on Abbey Road with George Martin producing. Quoth Ringo.

I wondered, what shall I do with my life now that [The Beatles are] over? I was brought up with all those songs, you know, my family used to sing those songs, my mother and my dad, my aunties and uncles. They were my first musical influences on me. So I went to see George Martin and said: ‘Let’s do an album of standards.”

The first song to be tackled was Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” and with no Paul, John, or George around to gum up the works, things proceeded smoothly. The track was completed in two sessions totaling five hours with a dinner break in between, and mixed that same day.

“Night and Day” had been recorded several times by Frank Sinatra, and it took some chutzpah for Ringo to invite comparisons with Ol’ Blue Eyes. In fact the critical reaction to Sentimental Journey was hostile bordering on hateful. Greil Marcus called it “horrendous but classy,” Robert Christgau said it was “for over-fifties and Ringomaniacs,” and authors Roy Carr and Tony Tyler sniffed: “A gawky, badly sung, overly sentimental selection of moribund mambos.” [Ed. Note: band name?]

I tend to concur with Richie Unterberger’s All-Music Guide review, which says “It’s really not all that bad.” But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, and the power is due to go out any second now; so let’s beam this thing out into the aether while there’s still time.

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