Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr Once Collaborated – But The Results Were “Lost”

The 1987 sessions may never be released...

Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr once worked in the studio together – but the results were lost.

The genial drummer is a much-loved figure, and he toasts his birthday today – July 7th – as a matter of fact.

Entering into the CLASH time machine, we’re focussing on Ringo’s solo sessions during 1987, a fateful star-studded venture that sadly remains on the cutting room floor.

The proposed album would have been Ringo’s first solo album in four years, and resulted from a meeting with producer Chips Moman in the Bahamas. The two then decamped to Memphis, Tennessee, recruiting some all-star friends in the process.

Sessions included Eric Clapton, Dave Edmunds, and rockabilly icon Carl Perkins, who all ventured to Three Alarm Studios. Reportedly, Bob Dylan also took part – on a version of his own ‘Wish I Knew Now What I Knew Then’.

Sadly, Ringo wasn’t in a good way during these sessions, with his drinking spiralling out of control. Going sober, he decided not to release the record, due to its links to darker times in his life. A court case followed, with the drummer ordered to pay $74,354 to regain control of his masters from Moman – and it’s never been officially released.

Chatting to the Celebrity Playlist podcast back in 2010, Ringo recalled that fateful session. “We could do this for the rest of the week just on Bob Dylan. This song (‘When The Deal Goes Down’) is really emotional, ‘Maggie’s Farm’ is another one of my faves too,” Starr said. “Because it’s emotional, deep down I’m an emotional person really, and what it says, ‘I’ll be with you when the deal goes down’, is beautiful, and only Bob would say it that way.”

He continued: “I did a track in Memphis with Bob. I was doing an album there, and he came up to sing on it, but the album fell apart, and so did we. One thing was the person who was looking out for Bob at that time said, ‘Bob’s gone’, so I said, ‘Where’s he gone?’, ‘Graceland’. I said, ‘That’s good’, he said, ‘That’s bad’. It depends on which way you look at it.”

Bob Dylan remains fond of Ringo, however. During an epic 2022 interview he was quizzed on the drummer’s belief that “being a good musician – and songwriter – makes you good at other things – in his case cooking – because you’re in tune with your senses.”

Bob Dylan responded: “I love Ringo. He’s not a bad singer, and he’s a great musician. If I’d had him as a drummer, I would’ve been the Beatles, too. Maybe. Didn’t know he was a cook, though. That’s encouraging.”

Related: Lessons We’ve Learned: Ringo Starr On Peace, Love And Life

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