Richard Furnstein: Whoa, back up the truck. I mean, hit the stop brakes, feel the dust kick up around you, take a look in the rearview for safety, quickly reverse down the middle of Areyoushittingme Street. Better yet, look at yourself in the mirror. Is there a gaping, festering hole where a normal human sized brain would be? Because I'm putting this top tier of the 30 song marathon (jog don't run) of The Beatles. It's not just a pity tug, I genuinely believe in the power of this one.
Robert Bunter: Listen, I don't say things like all that stuff I just said lightly. I gave it quite a bit of thought. I suppose your going to make one of your typical arguments by going on about how much you love the vintage analog compression on the crash cymbal. I'm just going to go ahead and list the things this song lacks: charm, wit, musical interest, social commentary and a justification for placement alongside such masterpieces as "Sexy Sadie" and "Mother Nature's Son." C'mon, you're not going to lie and tell me you enjoy listening to this trash. It's me, Richard. C'mon.
Richard Furnstein: I do genuinely enjoy it, and here's why: it's Ringo's coming out party. He was kicking around the basic idea for "Don't Pass Me By" since the days of finely pressed suits. Then it may have found its roots in Ringo's early role as the new boy, the drummer that could be replaced easily. Years of personality (and impressive drumming) seemingly placed him as an equal in the Beatles, but the making of the White Album seemed to disrupt the "all for one" vibe of albums like Revolver and Rubber Soul. Let's be frank: Paul was a better drummer (drool over the perfect drumming on "Dear Prudence"), George was only beginning to address his emotional scarring from years of playing the undercard, and John was increasingly detached from his oldest chums. "Don't Pass Me By" is Ringo clanging his salad fork against the fine china, while telling the table how it will be. We're moving forward together, fellas. This isn't up for discussion. Oh, and I wrote a song. It's making the double album, it would make the single album, and because it's a Starkey Songs original, it'll carry more historical significance than a basketful of "Julias," "Honey Pies," and "Glass Onions." Deal with it.
Ringo's coming out party stinks.
Robert Bunter: Ringo's coming out party stinks. He came out, then he wrote "Octopus' Garden," then the party was over. Now it's time for a bunch of lousy Richard Perry productions, tours with Peter Frampton and poor fashion choices in the Anthology videos. Listen, I love Ringo. He's the greatest, and I'm glad he got a song on the album. The publishing royalties were probably very helpful when he needed to purchase cocaine and brandy in the 1970s. Let me reiterate: I love all the Beatles, especially Ringo Starr. Most of all.
Richard Furnstein: Cool, well, I'm glad we agree on our love of Ringo Starr. The Luckiest Beatle manages some fun little moments on this recording. Yes, the drum sound is enough to carry the flimsiest of songs (and the tune does indeed test the limits), Ringo howls with an appropriate level of anguish in his voice, and the manic fiddle (the mono mix is again essential) is aiming for country but winds up as an unusual C&W, raga, drugged out English genius amalgam). Great fun, and let's give Ringo a hand for the "You were in a car crash/And you lost your hair" line. Have fun with it, Ringo. Everyone is staring at you now, dazzle 'em!