Ringo Starr – The No No Song

This week I’ll be posting two posts every day…the second one will be a Thanksgiving post. Some of them will be reruns with added info.

This was a fun novelty song that fit Ringo’s voice and personality. At the time Ringo was living the jet-set life and did his share of drinks and chemicals mentioned in the song.  The No No Song was written by country music singer Hoyt Axton and bass player David Jackson. Hoyt Axton struggled with drug abuse early in his career and was poking fun at himself in the song.

Asked about his most memorable guests in the studio…Ringo: “Hoyt Axton was one of them on the Ringo album. We were doing ‘No No Song’ with the biggest spliff and a large bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

In 1988 Ringo entered rehab with his wife, Barbara, and got clean. Soon after he would start his Ringo and his All-Star tours that he still does to this day.

This was first released in America as a double A-sided single with “Snookeroo.” Ringo and his record company didn’t think radio stations would play “No No Song” because of the drug references, but they did, pushing the song to #3 and giving Ringo his seventh Top 10 hit Stateside. Unsurprisingly, the flip side, a song celebrating snooker, was largely ignored.

In the UK, “No No Song” wasn’t released as a single for fear that it would get banned. In 1976, it was used as the B-side of “Oh My My.”

The song peaked at #1 in Canada and #3 on the Billboard 100 in 1974. This would be Ringo’s last top 10 song in the Billboard 100.

The song was on his album Goodnight Vienna which was released in 1974. His hits started to dry up after this album. Ringo had a lot of friends helping him on this album including  Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Robbie Robertson, Harry Nilsson, and John Lennon who wrote the title track.

The No No Song

A lady that I know just came from Columbia
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out some marijuana, ha ha
She said it was the best in all the land

And I said
No, no, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
Then it makes it hard to find the door

A woman that I know just came from Majorca, Spain
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out a ten pound bag of cocaine
She said it was the finest in all the land

And I said
“No, no, no, no, I don’t (sniff) it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
And then it makes it hard to find the door”

A man I know just came from Nashville, Tennessee
He smiled because I did not understand
Then he held out some moonshine whiskey, oh ho
He said it was the best in all the land

And I said
No, no, no, no, I don’t drink it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
And then it makes it hard to find the door

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

21 thoughts on “Ringo Starr – The No No Song”

  1. Obbverse said it, kind of a fun little tune that’s close to a mere novelty song but actually is re-listenable. I remember it being big in Canada; I was confused when I came here and they would play ‘Snickerdoo’ in its place on the oldies shows and Casey Kasems.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I used to love the title track ‘Goodnight Vienna’ too but must admit, played it not too long ago and thought ‘meh…not as compelling as I used to think.’

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You know one song that Ringo should have done? “I Can Help” by Billy Swan I believe. I think he may have a bootleg somewhere of him doing it.

      Like

      1. Thanks John…I thought he covered it.

        Oh I love the original…it’s one of the first pop songs I remember

        Like

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