Ringo Starr: “Wrack My Brain” (1981)

Basically a clone of George Harrison’s “Blood from a Clone,” but Ringo has more fun with it.

Kronomyth 9.1: The man with two brains.

I’ve gotten to a point on Progrography where the things I accidentally type are more interesting than the things I intend to. For example, in pointing out (in the first iteration of this review) that George Harrison addressed the same commercial block on another song, I typed in the words “Bloof from a Clone.” The concept of bloof—what is it?, what does it look like?, is it something produced in the cloning process or something the clone produces?—was far more intriguing than whatever pedantic thing I was going to tell you about Ringo Starr‘s latest single. (It sounds like an outtake from Somewhere In England.)

Was a time when I envisioned writing “new” criticism that matched art with art, or at least thought of building a mythological framework from which the legends (Goodnight Vienna, Ringo) might leap from the page. But lately I’ve taken to carrying the cross of objective criticism, of telling you what an album actually is (and not what it was or wasn’t) in palatable palabras pruned carefully for weeds like “quite” and “hardcore fans.” Yet, If and But and laziness alike have found that garden too commodious. (I think therefore iambic pentameter.) So I’ll resolve to wrack my brain a little harder and write better. To those of you who came here hoping to see something of the single, you did. Fourth sentence. Hope you liked it.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Wrack My Brain (George Harrison) (2:20)
B1. Drumming Is My Madness (Harry Nilsson) (3:30)

The Players

Ringo Starr (lead vocal, drums), Dennis Belfield (bass on track 2), Dennis Budimir (guitar on track 2), Ray Cooper (piano, synthesizer and lead guitar on track 1), Herbie Flowers (bass and tuba on track 1), Jane Getz (piano on track 2), Jim Gordon (baritone saxophone on track 2), George Harrison (guitars and backing vocals on track 1), Jerry Jumonville (tenor saxophone on track 2), Jim Keltner (drums on track 2), Al Kooper (piano and electric guitar on track 1), Bruce Paulson (trombone on track 2), Rick Riccio (flute on track 2), Fred Tackett (guitar on track 2), Lee Thornburg (trumpet on track 2), Ritchie Zito (guitar on track 2). Track 1 produced by George Harrison, track 2 produced by Harry Nilsson.

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch on October 27, 1981 in the US (Boardwalk, NB7-11-130), on November 13, 1981 in the UK (RCA, RCA-166) and in 1981 in Australia (RCA Victor, 103902), France (Boardwalk, 101575) and Germany and Italy (Bellaphon/Boardwalk, 100-07-175); reached #38 on the US charts (charted on November 7, 1981 for 11 weeks). Regional versions feature different picture sleeves. Also released as a promotional 7-inch in 1981 in the US (Boardwalk, NB7-11-130) with mono version of “Wrack My Brain” on B side. Also released as 7-inch jukebox single on red vinyl in the US (CEMA Special Markets/The Right Stuff, S7-18179) with “Private Property” on the B side. Also released as a 7-inch jukebox single in Italy (Durium, Ld A 8128) with Adriana Russo’s “Capriccio” on the flip side.

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