Ringo Starr: “Back Off Boogaloo” (1972)

[Kronomyth 2.7]
Candy Glam for Ringo.

“I sat down with Marc Bolan one night and he’s using this ‘Back off, boogaloo’ kind of language. I went to bed and I woke up with this song in my head, ‘Back off boogaloo, what d’ya think you’re gonna do.’” – Ringo Starr as quoted in Keith Badman’s The Beatles: The Dream Is Over – Off The Record 2.

Ringo took a greater interest in film after The Beatles, appearing both in front of and behind the camera as an actor (“200 Motels,” “Blindman”) and director (the T. Rex concert film, “Born To Boogie”). This single is sort of the musical soundtrack to that moment, featuring the Bolan-inspired “Back Off Boogaloo” on the A side and, fittingly, his song from the B movie “Blindman” on the flip side. The enthusiasm for “Back Off Boogaloo” owes much to Beatlemania; outside of Ringo’s stellar drumming (the song’s best feature), it’s pretty forgettable. (A film short was made to accompany it, featuring Ringo and a man dressed as Frankenstein’s monster. If Ringo has any acting ability, he hides it well for three minutes.) “Blindman” is interesting as Ringo’s interpretation of the spaghetti western scores popularized by Ennio Morricone, fused with a country song. While it’s tempting to re-appraise Ringo’s work as better than it really was, I don’t believe he released a decent record until Ringo and have yet to see a film where I would refer to Ringo as an “actor” without wincing a bit.

Original 7-inch single version
A1. Back Off Boogaloo (Richard Starkey) (3:21)
B1. Blindman (Richard Starkey) (2:41)

7-inch single reissue (EMI Golden 45s)
A1. It Don’t Come Easy
B1. Back Off Boogaloo

The Players
Ringo Starr (vocals, drums, percussion, backing vocals), Madeline Bell (backing vocals), Lesley Duncan (backing vocals), Jean Gilbert (backing vocals), George Harrison (slide guitars, acoustic guitar), Klaus Voormann (bass, saxophone), Gary Wright (piano). Produced by George Harrison (A1), Ringo & Klaus (B1).

The Plastic
Released on 7-inch single on March 17, 1972 in the UK, Denmark and India (Apple, R 5944), the US (Apple, 1849), France (Apple, 2C 006 05 028), Germany (Apple, 1C 006 05 028), Japan (Apple, EAR-10045), Portugal (Parlophone, 8E 006 05 028), Spain (EMI Odeon, J 006-05.028) and Yugoslavia (Apple/Jugoton, SAP-88554) with picture sleeve; reached #2 on the UK charts and #9 on the US charts (charted on April 1, 1972 for 10 weeks).

  1. Re-issued on 7-inch single in the US (Capitol, 1849).
  2. Re-packaged with “Back Off Boogaloo” on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in May 1984 in the UK (EMI Golden 45s, G4513) with picture sleeve.

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