In the early Sixties, the Beatles were unquestionably the biggest band – and cultural phenomenon – in the world. But aside from crafting their own brand of spectacularly catchy pop tunes, the Fab Four were influenced by other musical genres, and that certainly included country music. Their hometown of
Throughout their recording history, Ringo Starr created or contributed to only a handful of original songs in the Beatles’ catalog, but all of them had a distinct country flavor, from 1965’s “What Goes On,” to which he added a handful of lyrics, to his first solo composition for the group, “Don’t Pass Me By,” in 1968. He also sang lead on the band’s version of “Matchbox” by Carl Perkins. But it was Starr’s vibrant take on a Number One country song by Buck Owens that would become one of the Beatles’ drummer’s most enduring tunes in live performance.
“Act Naturally,” written by Johnny Russell, was a tune the songwriter couldn’t get anyone interested in recording, until a writer friend of his named Voni Morrison pitched it to rising country superstar Buck Owens, who recorded it at Hollywood’s Capitol Studios in February 1963, the same month the Beatles recorded the bulk of their debut LP, Please Please Me. The song would top the country chart for Owens in June of that year, becoming the Bakersfield-based musician’s first Number One. In 1965, when the Beatles released their second film, Help!, the song, led by Starr’s twangy vocal, was included on the soundtrack LP’s non-film-related B-side. The song was something of an in-joke about Starr’s then-budding acting career, but it would also achieve legendary status as the flipside of the McCartney-dominated single, “Yesterday.”
Just two months after recording the song together, Starr would perform with his All Starr Band, the supergroup that would, in its first incarnation, include among its ranks Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Dr. John, Billy Preston, Clarence Clemons and The Band members Rick Danko and Levon Helm. Still going strong, on October 13th the All Starr Band will kick off its latest tour this fall with eight shows at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in