Ringo Starr and Chips Moman talk Pete Drake + Memphis Commercial Appeal Protest Over Ringo Defamation [1987]

  • 15 years ago

this little gem was found unmarked by a wonderful Memphis videographer, and lo and behold, through persistent viewing through reams of b-roll, i discovered this never-before-seen personal video message from Ringo Starr and Chips Moman to Pete Drake, wishing him the best for an unnamed award circa 1987. [Ringo and Chips were in Memphis preparing to record Ringo's Memphis album, which would soon be aborted and end in legal problems.]

the 'Pete' Ringo refers to, regarding finding country tapes in his car, is indeed, Pete Drake, who was the Nashville record producer responsible for convincing Ringo to cut a country record in Nashville with Nashville players, all on the basis of his coincidental discovery of Ringo's country music collection discovered while picking him up at the airport. [their record became Beaucoup of Blues, winning more than a few top 10s, as well as critical accolades.]

You may also recall from a few previous posts, Pete Drake's own otherworldly contributions as top session man and inventor of the talking steel guitar [e.g. Forever, etc.], played with his talkbox, rubber hose, connected to his pedal steel guitar.

In 1987, after the The Commercial Appeal ran a column about Ringo Starr, whose album Moman was producing, Moman fought back.

The Commercial Appeal column disparaged Starr (saying "the aging Beatle was yesterday's news...least talented of all the Beatles").

Moman retaliated by staging a protest in front of the newspaper's offices.

Despite recording, Starr eventually abandoned the project and sued Moman to stop the album's release.

One place he doesn't visit is Memphis. "I've stayed away," says Moman, in an easy drawl.


Moman and Jim Stewart hit it off, and decided to join forces to start what would become Satellite, and eventually, Stax Records. Moman played a pivotal role in Stax's development. He recorded the label's initial hits, and turned Stax from a white country music company into a Soul label.
Stewart and Estelle Axton brought that to an end in 1962. Axton and Stewart suggested Moman was seeking credits and money he didn't deserve.


A few thousand dollars was enough to start at 827 Thomas--American Sound Studios.
Moman struggled producing & playing guitar @ Muscle Shoals, writing songs with Dan Penn [Dark End of the Street]...

The studio hit its stride when Moman wooed members of Hi Records and Phillips to form American Studios group: Reggie Young, Gene Chrisman, Bobby Wood, Bobby Emmons, Mike Leech and Tommy Cogbill. A succession of hits like the Box Tops' ("The Letter"), and, most famously, Elvis Presley's ("Suspicious Minds") brought fame.

Between 1967 and 1972, American cut 122 chart records.

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