Ringo Starr’s sixth solo album, Ringo The 4th, was recorded and released in 1977.
The title may have referred to Starr’s role in the Beatles, and the fact that it was his fourth mainstream album release. His first two, Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups Of Blues, had contained pre-war and country songs respectively.
Starr once again teamed up with producer Arif Mardin, with whom he had worked on the album’s predecessor, Ringo’s Rotogravure.
Unlike his earlier albums, Starr opted not to enlist an array of famous musician friends to guest on Ringo The 4th. Instead his collaborators included Vini Poncia, with whom Starr wrote the majority of the album’s songs.
Ringo The 4th saw Starr adopting R&B and disco styles, although his attempts to move with the times did not translate into record sales.
The recording sessions began on 5 February 1977 at Los Angeles’ Cherokee Studios, where parts of Ringo’s Rotogravure had been recorded. They later moved to Atlantic Studios in New York, where the bulk of the album was completed.
Unreleased songs from the sessions included ‘Love Please’, ‘Wild Shining Stars’, ‘By Your Side’, ‘Birmingham’, and ‘This Party’, as well as private recordings with the working titles ‘Nancy, Ringo, Vini and Friends’ and ‘Duet – Nancy and Ringo’.
The Ringo The 4th album cover was designed by John Kosh, with cover photography by Starr’s then-girlfriend Nancy Lee Andrews and Lew Hahn.
The front and back covers were taken by Andrews, and featured model Rita Wolf sitting on Starr’s shoulders.
The lead single from Ringo The 4th in the USA was ‘Wings’, with the non-album track ‘Just A Dream’ on the b-side. It was released on 25 August 1977 and failed to chart.
In the UK the initial single was ‘Drowning In The Sea Of Love’, again coupled with ‘Just A Dream’. The single was released on 16 September but again did not chart.
The album was a critical and commercial failure. It did not chart in the UK, and peaked at number 162 in the US. Its lack of success led to Starr being dropped by Atlantic.
Ringo The 4th and Ringo’s Rotogravure were first released on compact disc in the US on 16 August 1992.
On 14 February 2020 the album was reissued on gold and red vinyl by Friday Music.