Info about all Beatles' songs and albums

“Don’t Pass Me By”

Listen to “Don’t Pass Me By”

JOHN 1968: “We’ve just done two tracks, both unfinished. The second one is Ringo’s first song that we’re working on this very moment. He composed it himself in a fit of lithargy.”

About “Don’t Pass Me By”

“Don’t Pass Me By” is featured on The Beatles’ 1968 double album, commonly referred to as the “White Album“. It holds significance as the first solo composition by drummer Ringo Starr. Interestingly, it was also released as a single in Scandinavia, albeit mistakenly attributed to Lennon-McCartney, and managed to secure the number one spot in Denmark in April 1969.

Ringo initially introduced the song to his fellow Beatles shortly after joining the band in August 1962. Reflecting on the songwriting process, Ringo remarked that he crafted “Don’t Pass Me By” while tinkering around on the piano at home. He explained that once a melody and lyrics came to him, he couldn’t help but keep going. Recording the song marked a thrilling milestone for him, and he vividly recalls the excitement of working with a particularly eccentric violinist.

While the song’s existence was publicly acknowledged in a BBC broadcast in 1964, where Ringo mentioned it during an introduction, it wasn’t without some friendly ribbing from Paul McCartney, who playfully sang a snippet of the refrain.

The recording process spanned four separate sessions in 1968. Initially referenced as “Ringo’s Tune (Untitled)” and later “This Is Some Friendly”, it was eventually solidified as “Don’t Pass Me By”. Notably, Ringo’s audible counting of eight beats during a lead vocal track is discernible in the released version.

George Martin proposed an orchestral introduction, which was ultimately rejected but later repurposed for the Beatles’ animated film, “Yellow Submarine”. This introduction was later released as the track “A Beginning” on Anthology 3 in 1996.

In terms of reception, contemporary reviews generally praised the track’s lively, carnival-like atmosphere and Ringo’s engaging vocal performance. However, opinions varied, with some critics finding the arrangement less enduring. In retrospect, “Don’t Pass Me By” has been regarded as a cornerstone of the White Album, embodying various elements key to rock music.

Looking back on its 50th anniversary, “Don’t Pass Me By” was ranked 26th in The Independent’s assessment of the White Album’s 30 tracks. It was described as a charming country composition by Ringo, penned years prior, which, while entertaining, perhaps didn’t stand out as prominently as other songs on the album.

Meaning of “Don’t Pass Me By”

Lyrically, “Don’t Pass Me By” recounts the tale of a man anxiously awaiting his beloved’s arrival, plagued by the fear of being stood up. A curious line that stands out is “You were in a car crash and you lost your hair.”

Some have speculated a connection to Paul’s “When I’m Sixty-Four,” where he envisions aging and mentions ‘losing my hair.’ This led to theories in the ‘Paul Is Dead’ hoax, linking Ringo’s lyric to John’s “He blew his mind out in a car” from “A Day In The Life,” both lines thought to allude to Paul’s supposed demise in 1966. However, fans of McCartney can take comfort in knowing that ‘to lose one’s hair’ is a common English expression, signifying distress or anxiety.

In reality, the woman who was running late to Ringo’s house was simply shaken up by an automobile accident and promptly notified him of the delay. Ringo, understanding the situation, reassured her with a casual, “That’s alright,” and patiently awaited her arrival. No conspiracies at play here!


  • Ringo Starr – double-tracked vocals, tack piano, sleigh bells, cowbell, maracas, congas
  • Paul McCartney – grand piano, bass guitar, drums.
  • Jack Fallon – violin

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *