Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Plattery.
“Everything was sweeter with Harry.” – Van Dyke Parks, as quoted in a 2013 article in The Telegraph.
John Lennon basically handed this hit to Ringo on a silver Platters. John recorded a stylized version that sounded a lot like his Rock And Roll recordings at the time and gave it to Ringo to re-record. Ringo apparently liked the version so much that he kept John’s guide vocals and guitar and simply re-recorded his own version on top of it. If you’ve heard John’s version, you’ll hear that that the two are almost identical; Harry Nilsson’s backing vocals are really the only difference, but what a difference they make! (It’s a wonder Ringo wasn’t shadowed by a small army of backing vocalists all the time: shopping, in the shower, on the phone.) Ringo and Harry also made a music video for this song featuring Ringo in his spaceman costume and Harry Nilsson in a bathrobe. The B side is the elpee track, “Call Me,” a likeable pop song in the mold of “Don’t Pass Me By.” The piano is provided by a young David Foster, who would go on to take over the L.A. music scene in later years.
Original 7-inch single
A1. Only You (Buck Ram/Ande Rand) (3:16)
B1. Call Me (Richard Starkey) (4:05)
Released on 7-inch single on November 11, 1974 in the US and Canada (Apple, 1876), on November 15, 1974 in the UK (Apple, R6000) and in 1974 in Germany (Apple, 1C 006 05764), Japan (Apple, EAR 10670) and Yugoslavia (Jugoton, SAP 88804); reached #6 on the US charts (charted on November 16, 1974 for 13 weeks) and #28 on the UK charts. Also released as promotional 7-inch single in the US (Apple, 1874) feat. A stereo and mono versions.