Released: 2 November 1998
John Lennon suggested that Ringo Starr record a cover version of The Platters’ song Only You (And You Alone) for the Goodnight Vienna album. Lennon’s version was included on the 1998 box set John Lennon Anthology, and on the highlights collection Wonsaponatime.
Lennon had written the title track for Goodnight Vienna in early 1974, and had contributed a piano part for Starr’s studio recording on 6 August. After the song was completed he played acoustic guitar and sang a guide vocal over the backing track of Only You, onto which Starr later overdubbed his own lead vocals.
The song had originally been released by The Platters in the US in 1954, but wasn’t a success until it was re-recorded and reissued the following year. It became a major hit, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the R&B charts for seven weeks.
In the United Kingdom it was the b-side of The Platters’ single The Great Pretender, and both songs featured in the 1956 film Rock Around The Clock.
Starr’s recording was issued as a single in 1974. Early in the following year became a number one hit on the US Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and reached number six on the Hot 100. It was less successful in the UK, peaking at number 28.
The tape containing Lennon’s guide vocals were nearly lost, however. The multi-track tapes were discovered by producer Richard Perry just two days before John Lennon Anthology was due to have been mastered, and Yoko Ono oversaw the creation of a new mix just hours before the deadline.