George Harrison and Ringo Starr Wrote ‘Photograph’ at a Special Festival

Ringo Starr discussed his memories of writing “Photograph” with George Harrison. One musician put 16 tracks together by himself to finish the tune.

Ringo Starr‘s “Photograph” proved that Ringo and George Harrison could be just as potent a duo as Lennon-McCartney. Ringo revealed he and George wrote “Photograph” at a famous film festival. It took a combination of 16 tracks to get the song just right.

George Harrison and Ringo Starr wrote ‘Photograph’ on a yacht

George and Ringo co-wrote “Photograph,” making it possibly the most famous song with a writing credit from Ringo. During a 2023 interview with Billboard, Ringo discussed his memories of writing the tune with the “My Sweet Lord” singer. “We were on a yacht,” he recalled.

“We were at the Cannes Film Festival,” he added. “I’ve very little memory of whatever went on on that holiday.” The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most famous film festivals in the world, with movies from across the globe competing for an award called the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm). The festival has helped launch the careers of cinematic geniuses like Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, and Jane Campion.

The former Beatles basically became singer and producer

Ringo revealed his memories of George as a collaborator. “George was like my producer for a while,” he remembered. “He took care of me. He put the right chords in because I could only play three.

“There’s a great piece of footage where I’m playing ‘Octopus’s Garden’ and he’s going [shouts] ‘F!’” Ringo added. “I don’t know where F is. ‘G flat!’ He’s just shouting out these chords, laying on the settee. Look, I can play any song in the world as long as it’s in C,” Starr says, laughing loudly at himself.

1 musician put 16 tracks together by himself to finish Ringo Starr’s ‘Photograph’

George and Ringo weren’t the only legendary musicians to work on “Photograph.” Producer Richard Perry of “You’re So Vain” fame and Barbra Streisand collaborator Bill Schnee helped put “Photograph” together in the studio. In an interview with The Last Miles, Schnee said Perry was demanding. “Richard would often re-listen to a mix later and want to remix it, especially if it was to be a single,” he said. “The best one being ‘Photograph’ on Ringo’s album [Ringo].

“He had gotten the idea of doing the Wall of Sound and we certainly went for that,” Schnee added. The Wall of Sound is a recording technique pioneered by Phil Spector where instruments are layered on top of each other in the mixing process in such a way that none of the individual instruments are distinguishable from each other.

In Schnee’s recollection, he and Perry were going to combine 16 tracks to create “Photograph.” However, Schnee felt it would be taxing to deal with Perry’s constant demands. He told Perry he’d rather do all the work by himself and Perry approved of the idea. Schnee actually had fun working on the project alone. Next time we all hear “Photograph,” maybe we should appreciate how much work went into crafting the single’s smooth, full sound.

“Photograph” was an incredible group effort and it’s another reason why the Cannes Film Festival is so legendary.

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