Don’t Pass Me By - The Beatles

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"Don’t Pass Me By" - The Beatles (1968)

Ringo actually wrote "Don’t Pass Me By" in 1963. During an interview for a New Zealand radio station during their 1964 tour of Australia, he is heard in the background saying “sing the song I’ve written, just for a plug.” Then, Paul says “Ringo has written a song called ‘Don’t Pass Me By.’ A beautiful melody. This is Ringo’s first attempt at songwriting.”

At this point, Paul and John actually sing a verse of it and Ringo says:

“It was written as a country western, but Paul and John singing it with that blues feeling has knocked me out. Are the Beatles going to record it? I don’t know. I don’t think so, actually. I keep trying to push it on them every time we make an album.”

Paul then states:

Unfortunately, there’s never enough time to fit Ringo’s song on an album. He never finished it.”

Ringo put the finishing touches on it while in India four years later.

"Don’t Pass Me By" is an attractive and cheerful rockabilly song complete with bluegrass-style fiddle and organ accompaniment. Like many songs on The White Album, it is perfectly idiomatic and representative of its style, yet distinguishable as a Beatles composition by its sensitivity to detail and its subtle deviations from the listener’s expectations.

The track provides an object lesson on how an almost painfully simplistic ditty can still be redeemed by virtue of an imaginative arrangement and delivery.

David Quantick, who wrote on only book on the music of The White Album, states:

“It’s a slightly clumsy, basic song, with a lolloping rhythm that comes from its composer’s distinctly drummer-like piano playing. It has a daft and charming lyric, and it achieves, as all Ringo’s songs do, an effect of complete sincerity. While the actual lyric is simplistic (and slightly lurid) plea for romantic acceptance, its intent has been seen by some commentators as a request to not be ignored in the Beatles. Starr was a traditionalist who was unafraid to follow his own path.”

It’s been suggested that the song is about a stalker- either that or obsessive boyfriend to the extreme. “I listen for your footsteps coming up the drive.”

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