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26 September 2023
12.14pm
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Joe
Pepperland
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Ringo Starr – You

Written by: Robert B Sherman, Richard M Sherman
Recorded: 1972; March-July 1973
Producer: Richard Perry

Released: 2 November 1973 (US), 23 November 1973 (UK)

Available on:
Ringo

Personnel

Ringo Starr: vocals, drums
Vini Poncia. Jimmy Calvert: electric guitar
Klaus Voormann: bass guitar
Nicky Hopkins: piano
Jim Keltner: drums
Paul McCartney, Harry Nilsson: vocals

‘You’re Sixteen’ was the second single released from Ringo Starr’s 1973 album Ringo.

It was first recorded by American singer Johny Burnette, whose version reached number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in December 1960, and number 3 on the UK singles chart in 1961.

Starr’s recording featured Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney on backing vocals, the latter imitating a kazoo. The 1978 video features Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher. See more…

Paul was good enough to write a song for Ringo, and we had two or three nights of wonderful recording when he and Linda came down.

In fact, the solo on ‘You’re Sixteen’, which sounds like a kazoo or something, was Paul singing very spontaneously as we played that track back, so he’s singing the solo on that.

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28 March 2023
3.27am
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Neely
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Well, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole that I like to call “Ringo Starr solo music” and this song is why. I know it’s a cover but oh man Ringo.. this didn’t age well. It’s okay though cause it’s a lovely song. heart Peace and Love.

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26 September 2023
12.56pm
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Joe
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It’s definitely not aged well, and would never fly in this century, but I guess nobody took the lyrics too seriously back then (or should now). Carrie Fisher looks stunning in the 1978 Ringo sequence too.

Ringo should release an updated version, ‘You’re Sixty’.

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16 October 2023
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meanmistermustard
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There are a number of songs from similar times that haven’t aged well. Personally, I always found the song to be unpleasant ultra-sweet candyfloss, be it Ringo’s cover or Burnette’s original.  

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Von Bontee

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)

25 December 2023
1.47am
forn
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I get a little irritated by people who are offended by Ringo singing this song.  Yeah, people today would complain, what don’t they complain about?  I’m sure in Ringo’s mind, he just liked the song, so he sang it.  Just like he sang The Shirelles song Boys , and people didn’t think he was homosexual.  Was Ringo singing You’re Sixteen really much worse than Johnny Burnette singing it when he was 26?  I imagine in Ringo’s mind, if he even thought about it that much, he was singing the song because he imagined some of his younger fans might relate to it. 

In 1960, when the song originally came out, it wasn’t that uncommon a thing for a sixteen year old girl to get married.  At that time, women weren’t seeking careers so much like they are today, but rather a husband to support them.  Things were starting to change, but they hadn’t yet, not fully.  On the Dick Van Dyke Show, it was revealed Robert Petrie married Laura when she was 17 (although she lied about her age).  It was a different world back then.   

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20 February 2024
10.58am
Old Soak
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At the end of the day is it really any different to “Well she was just seventeen / You know what I mean” in intent? Different times, different moral standards. That could also be argued not to have aged well from some quarters.

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forn
21 February 2024
3.42am
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Sea Belt
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Two things in this regard save that Beatles song:  “seventeen” is the only teen age with 3 syllables, which fits the song better than two syllables (e.g. “eighteen” or “nineteen”); and secondly, I’d say it was implicitly understood the “I” of the song’s story is a boy of comparable age.

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27 March 2024
11.23am
forn
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Sea Belt said
Two things in this regard save that Beatles song:  “seventeen” is the only teen age with 3 syllables, which fits the song better than two syllables (e.g. “eighteen” or “nineteen”); and secondly, I’d say it was implicitly understood the “I” of the song’s story is a boy of comparable age.

How about this:

“Well, she was just 23, and you know what I mean…”?

Of course, Paul wasn’t even 23 when he wrote it.

27 March 2024
11.57pm
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Sea Belt
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23 works syllable-wise, though I was reminded that the line “and you know what I mean” seems to be an obvious wink at the young age of 17, so it might be puzzling to hear 23 in that context

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

29 March 2024
7.21pm
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Oakwood
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Some one told me that Seventeen is nearly an adult (Legally) plus I think Paul was in his early twenties when he wrote that song.

But back to You’re sixteen, I think it would be hard to justify signing it nowdays. I think everyone’s kind of right about the song not aging well.

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3 April 2024
7.24pm
forn
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Oakwood said
Some one told me that Seventeen is nearly an adult (Legally) plus I think Paul was in his early twenties when he wrote that song.

But back to You’re sixteen, I think it would be hard to justify signing it nowdays. I think everyone’s kind of right about the song not aging well.

  

I’m sure 17 was likely within the age of consent in Paul’s day, although I’m just guessing.  Generally speaking, ages of consent are higher today than they were in the ’60.  And for a 20 year old like Paul at the time, I doubt too many eyebrows would be raised at that particular matchup.

As for You’re Sixteen, I just don’t care, it’s just a song for teenagers.  It’s not like Ringo wrote it as a 70 year old married man, it’s just an old song he’s singing, partly for nostalgia.  The Beach Boys also sang music for teenagers when they were adults, although not without some criticism.

Didn’t Elvis and Priscilla meet when she was 14?  Maybe he should have sung it but renamed it “You’re Fourteen”.  And we won’t even get into Jerry Lee Lewis… 

9 April 2024
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Von Bontee
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At the end of the day is it really any different to “Well she was just seventeen / You know what I mean” in intent?

Old Soak said

I guess in either song you could make the argument that Ringo/Paul/Johnny Burnette are hypothetically singing “in character” as 17-year old teenagers themselves. 

Paul: Yeah well… first of all, we’re bringing out a ‘Stamp Out Detroit’ campaign.

         

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