Last week, The Beatles’ Abbey Road returned to number one, almost 50 years after its original release.
Until recently, it was believed the band had entered the studio knowing they were making their final album – hoping to go out on a high after the fractious sessions for Let It Be.
But Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn recently uncovered a tape of the Fab Four discussing a follow-up in 1969.
Now Ringo Starr has confirmed the band wanted to keep recording into the ’70s.
“We did do Abbey Road and we was like, ‘Okay that’s pretty good,'” he told BBC 6 Music, “but none of us said, ‘OK, that’s the last time we’ll ever play together’. Nobody said that. I never felt that.
“We’d made this record, and then we would go off and do whatever we wanted to do. And then Paul would call us and say, ‘Hey, you want to go in the studio lads?’ and we’d do another one.
“So it was not the end – because in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. So I never felt it [the end of the band] was in stone.”
Starr also recalled the creation of the famous medley that made up Abbey Road’s finale.
“Everybody was writing at a great level because they always did – but on side two, everybody wasn’t finishing the songs. But that medley? It works so great.
“It’s like we could do no wrong: You don’t have to finish the song! Let’s just edit them together and it works like a mini play. I love that section. It was really fun.”
(Although Abbey Road was released before Let It Be, it was actually the final album the band worked on. The sessions for Let It Be took place earlier in 1969, with producer Phil Spector finishing off the record in early 1970, adding new mixes and overdubs.)
The star was speaking ahead of the release of his latest book, Another Day In The Life, which is the third in a series of collections of his own photographs – charting his life from childhood up to recent tours with his current group The All-Starr Band.
The band also play alongside Ringo on his new album, his twentieth, entitled What’s My Name?
It sees the drummer working with a huge cast of collaborators including The Eagles’ Joe Walsh, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ keyboardist Benmont Tench and, on the song Grow Old With Me, his former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney.
“It’s the best. I love playing with him,” Ringo says of teaming up with his old friend. “We played a lot together in ‘that band’ and he’s still in the most melodic player. He’s still incredible, for me, I feel the emotion when plays.”
Grow Old With Me was one of the last songs Lennon wrote, and featured on the famous Bermuda Tapes: A collection of demos the star recorded in 1980 with producer Jack Douglas.
Ringo was prompted to record his version after discovering John had given an unexpected introduction on the tape.
“I had no idea about this song,” Ringo says, “I bumped into Jack this year and he says, ‘Did you ever hear the cassette?’
“I said, ‘What cassette?’
“He said, ‘Of John doing the songs! Doing the demos in Bermuda!’
“I said, ‘No, never heard it,’ and so he says, ‘Well, I’ll get it for you’.
“So anyway, he had the cassettes and he downloaded it onto a CD for me. At the very beginning of this CD, John says, ‘Oh, that sounds like a good song for Richard Starkey. This would be great for you, Ringo’. I still well up thinking about.
“I love the song. It’s very romantic and so it’s probably, I’m guessing, written for John and Yoko. And so I put my piece on it and it’s to Barbara [Bach – his wife]
“I think every bride should make their nearly-husband sing it to her. I want it to become like the wedding song of the century!”