Ringo Starr has a penchant for bringing together talented people. His renowned All Star Band has utilized the talents of every type of musician from Bruce Springsteen to Sheila E. It should come as no surprise then that his 2010 live collaboration with the sun drenched Ben Harper and singer-songwriter OG Joan Osborne would be nothing short of a hit. The trio, backed here by Harper’s incomparable live band the Relentless 7, came together to perform Starr’s song “Photograph”, off his 1973 album Ringo. The night was broadcast live on television and featured the mini supergroup playing a handful of Beatles classics as well as some of Starr’s most important work as a songwriter. Arguably one of the best songs written by any member of The Beatles ever, post their break up “Photograph” remains one of the handful of memorable hits any of them has released as a solo artist.
This particular performance -shot on-site inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Egyptian Wing- took place the same year that Starr loaned the museum the gold plated snare gifted to him by the Ludwig Drum Company in honor of The Beatles first American tour in September 1964. This extremely unique piece of Beatles swag made its home on the second-floor of The Met’s Musical Instruments Gallery until December of that year. If you’re wondering why, in 1964, any company would shell out the funds to craft something like a single gold plated snare drum, you should know that the impetus for the gift was one of the most important televised events in the history of modern music. While performing on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, the Ludwig logo on Starr’s drum kit facilitated an abnormal boost in sales.
As if simply having one of the most famous musicians of all time playing in your space wasn’t enough, the show took place on and in honor of Starr’s 70th birthday (he seriously does not look even close to that age) and masterfully captures the essence of the song without the massive instrumental buffer present on the recorded version. A gleefully swung violin solo sings the songs melody over the small ensemble of musicians while Starr, sporting his signature translucent shades, does his classic “cool guy sways left to right”. Outside the stadiums he’s used to, even to comparatively small room of people, Starr attacks the song with the all the enthusiasm and effortlessness you’ve come to expect from him.