Wednesday, February 20, 2013
"Back Off Boogaloo"
Circling back to the topic of Ringo and Marc Bolan's collaborative partnership, below is "Back Off Boogaloo," a 1972 single from Ringo that was apparently sparked into existence by Bolan. Via Wikipedia: In a 1977 interview, Starr explained that the phrase "Back Off Boogaloo" was inspired when he and fellow musician (and close friend) Marc Bolan had dinner one night, and Bolan used the word "boogaloo" multiple times in his sentences. Starr said that after dinner, when he had been half awake and half asleep, the beat and tune for the song had become stuck in his head. He went to find a tape recorder to record the song but had trouble when all his tape recorders either were broken or had no batteries, adding, "So, I stole batteries from the kids toys and I got the song down." Ringo also reiterated this story in 1998 on VH1 Storytellers. This would contradict a popular legend that 'Boogaloo' was a nickname for Paul McCartney and that the song was Starr's message to McCartney to "back off" the lawsuits and return to making good music (as the lyric says, "give me something tasty"); and not to "pretend that you're dead" as the "Paul is dead" rumor had perpetuated. Produced by George, "Back Off Boogaloo" was a hit for Ringo, reaching #9 on the U.S. charts and #2 in the U.K. I can understand why. It's a chugging, chorus-happy earworm that, when paired with its whimsical odd-couple video, has the feel of inspired nonsense.