For Beatles fans, 2012 promises to be a busy year. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will release new albums; Beatles books and films will continue to appear; and conventions and other events will salute the Fab Four's lasting influence on music and culture.
Starr's last album, Y Not, found the drummer taking the production reins for the first time. He returns to the producer's chair for Ringo 2012, a collection of songs written and performed with frequent collaborators Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart, Don Was, and Edgar Winter. Rumored to be a virtual sequel to 2008's Liverpool 8, Ringo 2012 has Starr reflecting on his past as well as his present. The released track list includes a cover of Buddy Holly's "Think It Over" and the skiffle classic "Rock Island Line," artists and songs which proved hugely influential on The Beatles. Song titles such as "In Liverpool" suggest further meditations on his birthplace—listeners will learn that and more on January 31, 2012. A rumored summer tour with his All Starr Band may follow.
After spending much of last year touring Europe and America, McCartney will release his first studio album in about five years (not counting 2008's Electric Arguments, recorded under the pseudonym The Fireman), Kisses on the Bottom. The curiously titled disc features McCartney's interpretations of standards such as "Bye Bye Blackbird," "It's Only a Paper Moon," and "The Glory of Love." With the help of jazz vocalist/pianist Diana Krall and her band, he fully indulges in his obvious love of traditional tunes. His previous solo work as well as his Beatles material have long hinted at this interest—see "Martha My Dear," "Your Mother Should Know," "Honey Pie," "You Gave Me the Answer," "A Room with a View," and "Baby's Request" for examples. Also featuring guests Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton, the album will drop, appropriately enough, on February 14, 2012 and will contain two original songs. What's the story with the album title? It references a lyric from another album track, Fats Waller's "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter." While he may not tour again this year, fans can see him perform at the London Summer Olympics opening ceremonies. Visit McCartney's official website for details.