Old Wave is the ninth solo studio album by Ringo Starr. It was the first Starr album not to be released in the USA or UK.
The album was mostly recorded between February and July 1982 at Startling Studios, Starr’s studio at his Tittenhurst Park home in England.
In the studio
In contrast to his previous album, Stop And Smell The Roses, Starr decided to work with just one producer. He selected The Eagles’ Joe Walsh, who produced the bulk of the album and co-wrote several of the songs.
Recording began at Tittenhurst Park in February 1982, with a core line-up of Starr on drums, Walsh on guitar, Mo Foster on bass guitar, and Gary Brooker and Chris Stainton on keyboards.
In March the sessions relocated to Walsh’s studio in Santa Barbara, California, before resuming at Asccot from 6-16 April. Several of Starr’s lead vocals were recorded there between 19 and 23 April.
More recording took place from 31 May to 10 June, after which Starr took the masters to Los Angeles. A final set of sessions ran from 24 June until early July.
‘As Far As We Can Go’ originated from a recording made on 23 July 1978 at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. Walsh chose to re-record the backing from scratch, retaining just Starr’s vocals.
Another song, ‘Everybody’s In A Hurry But Me’, emerged from a jam session between Starr, Eric Clapton, John Entwistle, and Ray Cooper.
Old Wave saw Starr break with designer John Kosh. Instead the cover artwork was directed by Jeff Lancaster.
The front cover featured a photograph of Starr taken, according to the sleeve notes, “in a photo booth somewhere in Northern England”. It dated from Starr’s pre-Beatles days with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. The rear cover photograph was by Ron Slenzak.
Starr had been dropped by RCA after the commercial failure of Stop And Smell The Roses, leaving him without a record deal for the first time.
Although he negotiated a deal with the Boardwalk label, the death of company boss Neil Bogart left Starr once again in limbo.
Old Wave was first released on 16 June 1983 in Germany by the Bellaphon label. A single, ‘In My Car’, was also released on the same day, with ‘As Far As We Can Go’ on the b-side.
RCA Canada issued Old Wave on 24 June in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, and Mexico.
A second single, ‘I Keep Forgettin”, coupled with ‘She’s About A Mover’, was released in Mexico, but again failed to achieve chart success. Starr’s lack of commercial success in any country led to Old Wave becoming his last studio album until 1992’s Time Takes Time.
Old Wave and Stop And Smell The Roses were released on compact disc in the US on 22 August 1994, with the 1978 version of ‘As Far As We Can Go’ a bonus track on the former.