It was 48 years ago today (March 29th, 1967) that the Beatlesrecorded “With A Little Help From My Friends.” The song, written byJohn Lennon and Paul McCartneyspecifically for Ringo Starr to sing, was originally called “Bad Finger Boogie” and was one of the standout tracks on their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
In author Hunter Davies’ 1968 The Beatles’ Authorized Biography, readers were allowed a sneak peak into how Lennon and McCartney worked, as he chronicled them coming up with lyrics for the song’s verses and taking suggestions from anyone who happened to be around — even rejecting an idea from Lennon’s first wife Cynthia.
The song’s basic track included McCartney on piano, Lennon on cowbell, George Harrison on lead guitar, and producer George Martin on Hammond organ. It took ten takes for the song to be completed, after which Starr recorded his lead vocal. “With A Little Help From My Friends” has gone on to become one of Starr’s signature tunes.
Ringo has always been grateful to Lennon & McCartney for taking time out to compose appropriate material for him to sing for the Beatles: “They were all written for me. The earlier records — I picked ‘Act Naturally’ and the Carl Perkins songs like ‘Matchbox’ — I picked those and said, ‘I wanna do this,’ and then they started writing for me specially.”
“With A Little Help From My Friends” has closed every concert since Ringo returned to the road in 1989 with hisAll Starr Band.