Unlike its predecessor, however, there were fewer disco and R&B influences on Bad Boy. It was mostly recorded in Canada and the Bahamas in November 1977, and released in spring the following year.
Two songs – ‘Who Needs A Heart’ and ‘Old Time Relovin” – were co-written by Starr and Poncia. A range of songs by other writers were included, including a version of The Supremes’ 1964 hit ‘Where Did Our Love Go’. ‘A Man Like Me’ was a version of the Scouse The Mouse song ‘A Mouse Like Me’ with amended lyrics.
To promote Bad Boy, Starr took part in a primetime US television special titled Ringo, filmed in Hollywood in February 1978. In the show, which was broadcast on 26 April, he performed ‘Heart On My Sleeve’, ‘Hard Times’, and ‘A Man Like Me’.
In the studio
The recording sessions for Bad Boy took place at Can-Base Studio in Vancouver, Canada, and Elite Recording Studio in the Bahamas.
The bulk of the recordings were complete within a ten-day period, but were followed by some late overdubs on 8 March 1978.
Starr also recorded two brief songs for use in Japanese television advertisements for Simple Life suits. The pieces were titled ‘Simple Life’ and ‘I Love My Suit’.
Appearing on the album were musicians including guitarists Lon Van Eaton and Jimmy Webb, and Dr John on keyboards. However, the sleeve notes credited only Starr and synth player Hamisch Bisonette. Lead and rhythm guitars were attributed to “Push-a-lone” and “Git-tar” respectively, while bass guitar was by “Diesel”, and keyboards were credited to “Morris Lane”. The album also featured “Vini Poncia’s Peaking Duck Orchestra and Chorus, with Horns arranged by Tom of the North”.
The sleeve design for Bad Boy was by John Kosh, Starr’s long-running collaborator who had also worked on releases by The Beatles and John Lennon.
The front cover and inner sleeve photography was by Starr’s then-fiancée Nancy Lee Andrews, and Starr took the rear cover image.
Bad Boy was released on 21 April 1978 in the UK, but did not chart. Its commercial failure led to Starr being dropped by Polydor.
In the US a lead single, ‘Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)’ was released by the Portrait label on 18 April 1978, with ‘Old Time Relovin” on the b-side.
The album followed on 16 June, but peaked at 129 on the US Billboard 200.
A second US single, ‘Heart On My Sleeve’, followed on 6 July, backed with ‘Who Needs A Heart’. As with its predecessor, it did not chart.
The only UK single was ‘Tonight’, with ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ on the b-side. It was issued on 21 July 1978 but failed to reach the singles chart.
Bad Boy was released on compact disc in the US by Epic on 26 March 1991.