The ‘All-Time Great’ Ringo Starr and John Lennon Jam Yoko Ono Broke Up

Ringo Starr had a solid relationship with all of his Beatles bandmates, but he was incredibly close to John Lennon. Even after Lennon’s murder, the drummer showed respect by refusing to record a song of his that became a hit. The song we really want to hear, though, is the extended jam Ringo and John played on that Yoko Ono interrupted.

An impatient Yoko Ono broke up a lively jam with Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and Eric Clapton
Members of the Fab Four didn’t stop working together even though the band broke up. Ringo drummed on albums by each of his former bandmates. That included the simultaneous John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band projects in 1970.

The drummer was an early member of the rotating supergroup that orbited around John and Yoko.

Ringo, Eric Clapton, and longtime Beatles friend Klaus Voormann joined Lennon and Ono to record the single “Cold Turkey” in late 1969. According to Starr, he, John, Voorman, and Clapton launched into an epic jam session. It was a groove unlike any other, and Ono broke it up because she got bored waiting to record her part (via Starr’s book Postcards From the Boys): “I remember Eric, Klaus, John, and me were jamming at one point, and we’re playing for 20 minutes waiting for Yoko, who was in the sound-proof booth with the cans and the mic, to join in. There was a lot of free expression [in the] music and it was one of those all-time great jams, and then 20 minutes in, she opens the door and says, ‘Are you ready yet?’ We stopped, and we never got up to that groove again!”

Ringo played with The Beatles for nearly a decade and worked with other fantastic musicians after the band broke up. We’re guessing he’s been part of plenty of memorable jam sessions. For him to call the groove he, Clapton, Lennon, and Voormann found an all-time great jam must have made it memorable. We can guess how good that jam was.

Clapton and Starr were two of the best ever to do it on their respective instruments. That’s lead guitar and drums locked down. We know John and Slowhand had a good rapport after playing together as The Dirty Mac during The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (view it on YouTube). Voormann was good enough as a bassist to play with B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Harry Nilsson, Peter Frampton, and Carly Simon. We can imagine what it was like having all four musicians locked in for a jam that Yoko Ono cut interrupted.

Ringo once said he had a psychic connection with John and they collaborated several times in the post-Beatles years. He drummed on many Lennon songs, and the guitarist and songwriter gifted several tunes (as well as his talents) on Ringo’s solo albums. Starr also got Clapton to play on some of his solo records in the 1970s, 1980s, and 2000s.

Still, the Ringo, John, Clapton, and Voormann quartet never recaptured the magic of that all-time great jam Yoko Ono inadvertently broke up.

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