Ringo Starr's upcoming album will feature him and Paul McCartney teaming up on one of John Lennon's final songs, “Grow Old With Me.” The news was broken by Beatlefan magazine, which revealed that the 1980 tune will serve as the lead single to Ringo's 20th solo studio set, titled What's My Name — a tip of the hat to the Beatles drummer's signature in-concert shout-out to the audience.
“Grow Old With Me,” which was produced by Ringo, features McCartney on bass and backing vocals, with Lennon's Double Fantasy producer, the legendary Jack Douglas, having supplied the orchestration for the track. Back in 1994, Yoko Ono gave the surviving Beatles one of Lennon's demos of the song as a possible choice for their Anthology reunion tracks, but the group passed on it at the time.
Four years later, the late-George Martin provided a new string section over Lennon's original demo, which was originally released on 1984's posthumous Milk And Honey album. Martin's orchestrated version went on to close 1998's John Lennon Anthology box set.
Among the other high-profile musicians on What's My Name are such friends and/or All Starr Band alumnus as Ringo's brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Toto's Steve Lukather, Men At Work's Colin Hay — who wrote the album's title track, the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, Edgar Winter, Mr. Mister's Richard Page, Nathan East, and the Heartbreakers' Benmont Tench, among others. The album also features a cover of Barrett Strong's early-Motown classic “Money (That's What I Want),” which the Beatles recorded back in 1963.
Ringo Starr was asked about what made John Lennon so unique: “He would jump in, and he'd be out gettin' dry by the time I got my toes in there (laughs). So, he influenced me that way — take a chance. He had the biggest heart of any man I've met to this day. He was a giving, loving, caring, human being. He was crazy as well some days, but the guy would give you his heart, y'know? That was beautiful.”
Upon the release of John Lennon's 1980 Double Fantasy album, he was excited to spread his positive message to the baby boomer generation: “When I was singing and writing this and workin' with her, I was visualizing all the people of my age group; I'm singing to them. I'm saying, 'Here I am now, how are you? How's your relationship going — did you get through it all? Wasn't the '70s a drag (laughter)? Here we are, let's try to make the '80s good, y'know?' It's not out of our control. I still believe in love, I still believe in peace, I still believe in positive thinking. Where there's life, there's hope. Because I always consider my work one piece and I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried and hope that's a long, long time.”