The album was recorded and released after Starr’s successful 1989-90 world tour with his All-Starr Band, and followed the release of his first official live album, Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band. The tour marked Starr’s musical renaissance following his sobriety from alcoholism.
In the studio
In February 1987 Starr began work on a new album with producer Chips Moman. Initial sessions took place at 3 Alarm Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, with more following in April there and at Sun Studios.
While touring in July 1989, Starr heard that Moman was intending to release the Memphis sessions as an album. Starr sued the producer to halt the release, and following an injunction issued in January 1990 was forced to pay compensation to Moman for the costs of the sessions.
Time Takes Time was recorded from March to September 1991, with final touches added in February 1992, including the song ‘Weight Of The World’.
Three songs were co-written by Starr and Johnny Warman: ‘Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go’ (with Gary Grainger), ‘After All These Years’, and ‘Runaways’. The remainder were by a range of writers, including Jellyfish’s Andy Sturmer and Roger Manning, who contributed and performed on ‘I Don’t Believe You’.
Starr worked with four producers: Don Was, Jeff Lynne, Peter Asher, and Phil Ramone. The album also saw the beginning of Starr’s long-running collaboration with Mark Hudson, who appeared on some of the Phil Ramone-produced tracks.
Don Was’s produced songs included ‘In A Heartbeat’, ‘What Goes Around’, and ‘Weight Of The World’. The latter two featured Brian Wilson and Jellyfish respectively.
ELO’s Jeff Lynne produced four songs between 20 and 31 May 1991: ‘Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go”, ‘After All These Years’, and the outtakes ‘Call Me’ and a cover of the Elvis Presley classic ‘Don’t Be Cruel’.
Peter Asher produced a number of songs including a cover version of The Posies’ ‘Golden Blunders’, plus two unreleased tracks: ‘Thank You For Being A Friend’ by Andrew Gold, and a McCartney-Starr song, ‘Angel In Disguise’.
It’s called ‘Angel In Disguise’ – which is Ringo. He was pleased.
Ringo wanted an extra verse, so I said, ‘Let’s write the extra verse together. Or you can just write it and we’ll have co-written the song.’ I understand he has written a third verse. If it’s another ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, great, if it isn’t, great!
Other unreleased outtakes included ‘Call Me’, produced by Jeff Lynne and featuring Tom Petty; and ‘Love Is Going To Get You’, produced by Phil Ramone.
Ringo Starr signed a record deal with Private Music in March 1991, at a time when most labels were uninterested in releasing his music.
Time Takes Time and the lead single, ‘Weight Of The World’, were announced on 28 February 1992, along with a new All-Starr Band tour.
Starr made a number of media appearances in April 1992 to promote the album and tour, and a video for ‘Weight Of The World’ was shot on 16 and 17 May, with CNN broadcasting a behind-the-scenes report on the following day.
Starr’s cover of ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ was a b-side of the single, and was included on the Japanese edition of the album.
Time Takes Time was well regarded by music critics, with Rolling Stone calling it “a charming, unpretentious pop album, doing what [Starr] did best as a Beatle”, and “the drummer’s most consistent, wide-awake album since Ringo, from 1973.”
I thought it was brilliant. But people didn’t seem to want to go for it.
Mojo, July 2001
Despite high hopes for Time Takes Time, it failed to chart in the US and UK. It was released only on vinyl in Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.
A second single, ‘Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go’, had been planned, but was only issued in Germany on 21 September, with ‘Don’t Know A Thing About Love’ and the album outtake ‘Everybody Wins’ as b-sides.