Just as MTV's Unplugged series started out as a great idea – get musicians to reimagine their material in stripped-down arrangements – then was reduced by the record business to a gimmick for a new kind of live album, which is to say, yet another way to re-sell the same material, VH1's Storytellers series has quickly traced the same decline…
Cut as the Beatles were disintegrating and released shortly before the group's final album, Let It Be, Ringo Starr's debut solo album was a collection of pre-rock standards dating from the 1920s to the '50s, sung over orchestral tracks arranged by everyone from fellow Beatle Paul McCartney and Bee Gee Maurice Gibb to jazz veterans Quincy Jones and Oliver Nelson. Starr brought a good-natured, nearly humorous tone to his vocals, perhaps because he wasn't trying to compete with the classic pop stylists most identified with these songs, but only to express his nostalgic affection for the material. Coming more than a decade before the fad for standards albums by rock-era pop stars like Linda Ronstadt…
The Beatles never quite made a commercially released Christmas album, though they put together special singles for their fan club every year from 1963 to 1969, then compiled them as The Beatles Christmas Album, also just for the fan club, in 1970. These recordings were more spoken-word than musical, though there was a song, "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)," heard in excerpts on the 1967 record. It has been left to Ringo Starr to release the first full-length Christmas album from a Beatle, and I Wanna Be a Santa Claus is very much in the group's spirit. Since he returned to recording in 1992, Starr has made a point of making music reminiscent of the Beatles, hooking up in 1998 with a group led by Mark Hudson dubbed the Roundheads. Hudson is everywhere on I Wanna Be a Santa Claus, co-writing the half-dozen originals with Starr and others, co-producing with Starr, and handling a variety of instruments. He and keyboard player/arranger Jim Cox clearly are steeped in the Beatles, and they have effectively recreated a Beatles sound on the record, in some cases aping specific songs.
Atlantic Starr hit its commercial peak in the late '80s, when the bland, insipid adult contemporary ballad "Always" soared to number one on both the pop and R&B charts. That song put Atlantic Starr in the Whitney Houston/Lionel Richie realm – in other words, people who associate Atlantic Starr with "Always" think of them as a crossover act. But from an R&B standpoint (as opposed to a pop/adult contemporary standpoint), Atlantic Starr provided their best work in the early '80s, when Sharon Bryant was still on board and the East Coast residents were being produced by James Carmichael. Released in 1982, Brilliance was the second of three albums that Carmichael produced for Atlantic Starr – and it is also one of the band's finest and most essential releases.
From early hits such as 'Agent 00 Soul' and 'S.O.S. (Stop Her On Sight'', through to the worldwide smash 'WAR' and other Motown classics including '25 Miles', Edwin Starr has long held a rightful place among the most popular and celebrated soul artists of his time.
Two Classic Edwin Starr Albums, from 1968 and 1969, Released on One CD. All Tracks have Been Remastered and Packaging Includes a Full Color Slipcase, Rare Photos, Track Annotations, Release Info and Original LP Artwork.
Ringo Starr’s 18th studio release, Postcards From Paradise. The solo album, with 11 original tracks, is the first to include a song written and recorded by Ringo Starr and his current All Starr Band – Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette. Postcards From Paradise was produced by Ringo and recorded at his home studio in Los Angeles and, as always, features friends and family. As Ringo often says, “If I am recording and you’re in town and drop by, you’re going to be on the record!” The album’s guest artists include: Joe Walsh, Benmont Tench, Dave Stewart, Ann Marie Simpson, Richard Marx, Amy Keys, Peter Frampton, Nathan East, and Glen Ballard.