Peace, love and Ringo Starr: There's joy and wisdom in his new EP "Rewind Forward"

The former Beatle's latest All-Starr collaboration encourages communal values of understanding

By Kenneth Womack

Contributing Writer

Published October 13, 2023 10:31AM (EDT)

Ringo Starr (Photo by Scott Robert Ritchie)
Ringo Starr (Photo by Scott Robert Ritchie)

During the Beatles’ heyday, Ringo Starr was credited with numerous turns of phrase that have entered the cultural lexicon. Such Ringoisms include such unforgettable expressions as “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Like some kind of rock ‘n’ roll Yogi Berra — the Major League Baseball catcher whose folky wisdom included “It ain’t over till it’s over” — Starr should rightfully be toasted as popular music’s King Malaprop.

Starr’s latest EP, "Rewind Forward," finds the famed musician in fine linguistic form yet again. “‘Rewind Forward’ was something I said out of the blue — it’s just one of those lines like ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ It just came to me. But it doesn’t really make sense,” Starr remarked. “I was trying to explain it to myself, and the best I can tell you about what it means is: sometimes when you want to go forward, you have to go back first.” 

As with his baseball forebear, Starr's observation has a certain kind of insight. For the drummer, who recently completed an autumn tour with the All-Starr Band, the EP’s title track underscores the wisdom inherent in the notion of “Rewind Forward.” Indeed, it’s a sentiment not unlike his late Beatle bandmate George Harrison, who astutely observed that “if you don’t know where you’re going / Any road will take you there.” Co-authored by Starr and Bruce Sugar, “Rewind Forward” finds Ringo singing, “What’s your name? / Where are you going to?” as he encourages the listener to embrace the communal value of peace and understanding.

The EP kicks into gear with “Shadows on the Wall,” composed by Toto’s Steve Lukather and Joe Williams. As with “Feeling the Sunlight,” written by Paul McCartney, “Shadows on the Wall” challenges fans to think deeply about our corporeal world and our places, however small, within its larger fabric. The EP concludes in fine style with “Miss Jean,” authored by Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell. A standout rock ‘n’ roll track, the song features contributions from Ian Hunter, the Mott the Hoople frontman and former All Starr.

As with his previous EPs, Rewind Forward finds Starr reveling in the pure joy of music-making, working alongside such session regulars as Joe Walsh, Steve Dudas, Lance Morrison and Matt Bissonnette, among others. As always, the former Beatle elicits music fans to embrace the simple virtues of peace and love. Like his fallen Beatle comrade John Lennon, Starr recognizes that it’s a timeless message that never falls out of favor, yet always bears repeating.

By Kenneth Womack

Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin and the host of "Everything Fab Four," a podcast about the Beatles distributed by Salon. He is also the author of "Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles," published in 2019 in celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary, "John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life" and the authorized biography "Living the Beatles Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans" (November 2023).  Womack is Professor of English and Popular Music at Monmouth University.

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Music Review Rewind Forward Ringo Starr The Beatles