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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Goodnight Vienna” (early rough mix)

Posted by on December 30, 2013 at 5:00 am.

Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week and since this will not only be the last BROW of 2013, but the last entry on the site – period – for this year, I want to make it something festive! In August of 1974, Ringo Starr rounded up the assistance of a few friends to help out with Goodnight Vienna – which you might as well say is his fourth album since the breakup of The Beatles. Along with John Lennon, a few other big names lent a hand to include Elton John, Robbie Robertson (of The Band), Dr. John, Billy Preston, Harry Nilsson, Nicky Hopkins, Steve Cropper, Klaus Voormann and Jim Keltner.

Single cover art for U.S. Apple copies of Goodnight Vienna, 1975

Single cover art for U.S. Apple copies of Goodnight Vienna, 1975


John Lennon composed the album’s title track for Ringo which appears not only as the album’s opener but also in the form of a short reprise at the end. Not only is this track an appropriate selection because it’s “festive” but also because the term “Goodnight Vienna” is an English slang meaning “it’s all over now” which applies perfectly to 2013. The album was released on November 18th, 1974 in the U.S. and three days earlier in the U.K. with the first single release being Ringo’s remake of the Platters hit “Only You (And You Alone),” which John Lennon had recommended as a good one for Ringo to do. The follow up single in America was the comical Hoyt Axton composition, “No No Song,” which made it all the way to number 3 on the Billboard singles chart.

On June 2nd, 1975 a third single was released from the album that combined the title track, “Goodnight Vienna” into a medley with the reprise. The recording features John Lennon playing the piano. Billy Preston plays a clavinet and Jim Keltner joins Ringo on the drums. John Lennon counts the track in and on the reprise can be heard at the intro shouting “Okay, with gusto boys, with gusto!” (John’s “gusto” comment is not included on the single edit). This week’s BROW is a rough mix of the song that reveals that John’s gusto” comment was actually made just before the same count in that opens the title track. It was apparently edited out and tagged on to the beginning of the reprise in post production. This mix is a much rawer account of the song prior to many of the brass and other overdubs that would be added to create the finalized mix. Just the kind of thing to hear on The Beatles Rarity.


Ringo Starr - Goodnight Vienna


The cover art for the Goodnight Vienna LP was based on a still from the sci-fi film The Day The Earth Stood Still with Ringo Starr's head replacing that of Klaatu.

The cover art for the Goodnight Vienna LP was based on a still from the sci-fi film The Day The Earth Stood Still with Ringo Starr’s head replacing that of Klaatu.


Extra info:
“Goodnight Vienna” was one of five songs John Lennon wrote for Ringo during his solo career. Another was “I’m The Greatest” which appeared on his Ringo album and “Cookin’ (In The Kitchen Of Love)” which appeared on his Ringo’s Rotogravure album. The other two were intended for Ringo’s 1981 album Stop And Smell The Roses which, after John’s death, Ringo chose not to release.

In closing, I’m hoping everyone reading has had a great holiday season and I thank you for following The Beatles Rarity this past year. I want to especially thank those who have supported my efforts with suggestions for future BROWs, #askNats, and for commenting on the posts with your input. The more people that are interacting on the site, the more interesting everything is and the more I hear from you with suggestions – the more I know how to stay in tune with what you like to see, hear and read about on the site. I also want to thank those few that have contributed monetary donations to help with site costs, reference materials and all the work that goes into the output level I try to maintain on the site. I’m only a one-man show here but over the years it has been a blast and I’m so thankful to have met so many Beatles fans online, at Beatles-fests, or wherever (someone a few months back even recognized me in a grocery store!). Also thanks go out to those of you who participated in the Holiday Contest this year and if you were lucky enough to be one of the prize winners, then congratulations! If you weren’t, then stick around and we’ll do another one – and all the other fun stuff – again next year. So for now – Goodnight Vienna! Happy New Year! I’ll see you next year!


Beatles music/literature makes great gifts for the holiday season. Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) Goodnight Vienna – 1993 CD remaster of original 1974 Apple LP featuring finalized versions of “Only You,” “No No Song” and “Goodnight Vienna” (all with contributions from John Lennon).

2) Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo – 2007 20-track CD hits compilation by Ringo Starr featuring single edit of “Goodnight Vienna”/”Goodnight Vienna” (reprise) medley, along with “Only You” and the “No No Song.”

3) Any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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