A jewel that could have come off of Help! or Rubber Soul, “I Don’t Believe You” was a track on one of Ringo’s best albums, Time Takes Time (1992). It was written by two members of the San Francisco power pop band Jellyfish, Andy Sturmer and Roger Manning, who also added backing vocals and acoustic guitars.
Another guy in Jellyfish, Jason Faulkner, had been in The Three O’clock, which was part of a short-lived Los Angeles movement called The Paisley Underground. That scene was comprised of groups in the ‘80s who were trying to sound like the ’60s in opposition to the synthesizers and drum machines that were then dominating the pop charts. The Bangles were the biggest Paisley Underground group to make it, epitomizing the genre with their 1985 single “Going Down to Liverpool.”
When the Ringed One speak-sings his lines as the backing singers answer him in harmony, the song is a perfect homage to the Beatles circa “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” or “Run For Your Life” … not to mention Beatle-imitators like the Monkees or Knickerbockers.
Many mid-‘60s garage nuggets (such as Syndicate of Sound’s “Little Girl”) feature an agitated singer warning his woman that he knows she’s done him wrong and he’s at the end of his rope. Starr’s girlfriend has lied to him and maxed out his credit cards to buy fancy clothes and “powder for her nose.” So he’s kissing her goodbye for good, just in time for the rollicking instrumental with cries of “Ole! Ole!”
In the early ‘60s, McCartney wrote a number of these “disillusioned-with-my-woman” tunes, too, including one for Starr called “If You’ve Got Troubles” that went unreleased until being included on volume one of the Beatles Anthology. Oasis must’ve heard it earlier on a bootleg because they pilfered the riff for 1994’s “Up in the Sky.”
Credit for the album’s sound also goes to producer Don Was. Born Don Fagenson in Detroit in 1952, he was one of the founding members of Was (Not Was). The band had hits in the ‘80s, then Was racked up a stunning producer’s resume, doing albums or songs for Bob Dylan, Al Green, Garth Brooks, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, Paul Westerberg, and helping Bonnie Raitt win the 1990 Grammy Album of the Year for Nick of Time. He was also the producer the Stones picked to help them remaster Exile on Main Street in 2010 and find overlooked gems that could be refurbished for the Exile bonus album.
It’s a pity Time Takes Time is the only album Starr did with Was, but Starr continued to mine the ‘60s folk rock sound on his subsequent albums with producer Mark Hudson.