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Stop and Smell the Roses *** 1981

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01. 00:00 "Private Property"
02. 02:43 "Wrack My Brain"
03. 05:04 "Drumming Is My Madness"
04. 08:34 "Attention"
05. 11:55 "Stop and Take the Time to Smell the Roses"
06. 15:06 "Dead Giveaway"
07. 19:38 "You Belong to Me"
08. 21:49 "Sure to Fall"
09. 25:32 "You've Got a Nice Way"
10. 29:06 "Back Off Boogaloo"
11. 32:24 "Wake Up" (Bonus Track)
12. 36:09 "Red and Black Blues" (Bonus Track)
13. 39:30 "Brandy" (Bonus Track)
14. 43:39 "Stop and Take the Time to Smell the Roses" (Original Vocal Version) (Bonus Track)
15. 46:49 "You Can't Fight Lightning" (Bonus Track)
16. 52:31 "Hand Gun Promos" (Bonus Track)

Stop and Smell the Roses is the eighth studio album by Ringo Starr, released in 1981 following the twin commercial disasters of Ringo the 4th (1977) and Bad Boy (1978).

After meeting soon-to-be second wife Barbara Bach on the film set of Caveman in early 1980, Starr contacted Paul McCartney to initiate some sessions. With Wings then in limbo and McCartney II just released, McCartney booked time with Starr from 11--21 July in France to record three songs: "Private Property" and "Attention" (both McCartney originals) plus a cover of "Sure To Fall".

Next, Stephen Stills got involved, writing "You've Got a Nice Way" for Starr and producing its recording that August. Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones was keen to help out and brought along "Dead Giveaway" that September, which they both co-produced. Long-time friend Harry Nilsson was next on Starr's checklist, presenting him with "Drumming Is My Madness" and the album's title track, both of which were recorded in early November, with early December sessions completing the work of the cork.

After working with McCartney, it was only natural that Starr would extend the invitation to his two other band mates in The Beatles. When Starr arrived at George Harrison's Friar Park estate on 19 November (where he was currently re-recording parts of Somewhere in England after some of its songs had been rejected), Harrison presented him with "Wrack My Brain" -- specially composed for Starr. "You Belong To Me", another cover from the past, was also recorded, with Harrison producing. Starr also recorded a version of "All Those Years Ago", but Ringo told Harrison the vocal was too high for his range and he didn't like the words. (Harrison took the track back, changed some of the lyrics and later, with overdubs by Paul and Linda McCartney, it came out as a tribute to John Lennon and was the lead hit single of Harrison's Somewhere in England album.) Lennon was the last of The Beatles that Starr had yet to visit and -- fresh from his musical re-awakening, having just released Double Fantasy -- Lennon was eager to meet with Starr. On 26 November, in New York City, Lennon handed Starr the demos for "Nobody Told Me" and "Life Begins at 40", which Starr was keen to record. With Lennon producing, they set a date of 14 January 1981 to record the songs. On 8 December however, everything changed, when Lennon was gunned down outside The Dakota by Mark David Chapman.

Devastated by Lennon's murder, Starr did not have the heart to record Lennon's songs (which would later be released on posthumous Lennon albums). After a period of mourning, Starr returned to the studio for the required overdubs and completed the album in February 1981. Initially titled You Can't Fight Lightning and with an alternative cover shot, Portrait Records in the US rejected the album, leaving Starr to find a new label. Fortunately, RCA Records (and a subsidiary called Boardwalk Records in the US) was interested. With a re-sequenced running order and design change, the album was rechristened Stop and Smell the Roses after Nilsson's donated song.

Harrison's "Wrack My Brain" was the first single that November. While it missed the UK charts, it managed to give Starr his final US Top 40 hit, reaching #38. Stop and Smell the Roses was considered to be Starr's best album since 1974's Goodnight Vienna, but it was not enough to make it a hit, reaching no further than #98 in the US, even though it was his biggest-selling album in years. In early 1982, McCartney's "Private Property" was released as the second single but failed to chart anywhere. Nonplussed, RCA dropped Starr in 1982. For the first time in his career, Starr was out of a recording contract -- and this time, no major UK or US company would be willing to sign him.

Stop and Smell the Roses was reissued on CD in the US by Capitol Records in 1994 with several bonus tracks from the sessions, but deleted some years later.

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