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"Act Naturally"

Categories: Beatles songs

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Like a certain other song on this side of Help!, "Act Naturally" has me totally torn in two: though on very different grounds.

OK, on the face of it, it's a steaming pile of countryfied crap which fully warrants inclusion on anyone's 'Worst of The Beatles' list. But wait: listen to it from another angle, and it just could be Ringo Starr's masterstroke...

His kind-of starring role in both films, despite his insistence that 'all he had to do was act naturally', made it a perfect choice for him, lyric-wise — he certainly had more right than Buck Owens and The Buckaroos to be singing lines like:

They're gonna put me in the movies,
They're gonna make a big star out of me!

And all credit to the man for resisting the obvious temptation to adopt a tenuous Tennessee twang for the delivery. Doing it in his habitual flat Scouse, the Big Starr couldn't possibly have made the thing any more his own. It also picks up perfectly on his projected (if not entirely accurate) "sad and lonely" persona. Drummers, after all, are usually the odd men out in a band.

When he informed the other three that he'd already chosen his tune for the album, they would've been entitled to've thought he was pulling their legs. On the contrary, they backed him up impeccably: twelve takes in the making, apparently — a far cry from "don't need no rehearsing".

Was Ringo just winding everyone up? "You can't never tell". He did, after all, get to perform it on Sullivan and at Shea; it was the B-side of Capitol's "Yesterday" single; and, years later, he got to duet it with Buck — narrowly missing out on a Grammy (if not "an Oscar").

The biggest fool that ever hit the big-time"

I think not!

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