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Stop the presses: Ringo Starr makes comment on mystery 'Train Music' track

The cover of the U.S. "A Hard Day's Night" album.
The cover of the U.S. "A Hard Day's Night" album.
Apple Corps Ltd.

A 30-second song that has been a hot topic for a couple of weeks because of speculation that it might be the Beatles finally has a comment on it, sort of, from a Beatle. Ringo Starr was questioned about it Monday by Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times.

“I hope you don't mind a crazy 'Hard Day's Night' question,” Lewis asked him shortly before a public celebration of his birthday at the Capitol Records Tower. He then asked him if he knew about “Train Music,” as it's called, and who recorded it.

“I'm afraid I have to help keep it a mystery,” he told Lewis with a smile. “I don't remember.”

Starr's comments, the first from someone who might really know about the track, just added to the cloud surrounding it. Chris Carter of KLOS-FM's “Breakfast With the Beatles,” which first broadcast the unedited track, said he thought it was them when it first surfaced. “I think it's 'them' for the following reasons: It sounds like them. The tape box said 'The Beatles.' If it was another group, that other group would have claimed it was them sometime in the last 50 years! It was found along with other music not used in the film by George Martin.”

Carter also discussed the track on our “Things We Said Today” radio show with Ken Michaels and yours truly. Carter said Giles Martin, Sir George Martin's son, told him he wasn't sure about it and said he would ask his father, though there's been no further word that he has.

But Rock 'n' Roll Detective Jim Berkenstadt told Beatles Examiner this week he didn't think it was them. “I believe this track was not recorded or composed by The Beatles, but was done by the musicians who recorded the 'This Boy' instrumental.” That song appeared on the U.S. version of the soundtrack for “A Hard Day's Night.” The album was recently released on CD.

That just added to the lengthening list of those who shed doubt that the Beatles might be on the song. Rock author Richie Unterberger also told Beatles Examiner he had his doubts. “I think it's more likely than not the Beatles, as it sounds a little like the instrumental break in 'I Saw Her Standing There,' especially in the lead guitar and bass. I'd like some more definite evidence before concluding it's definitely them, however.”

And author John C. Winn also had doubts. “Walter Shenson claimed it was them, but it doesn't sound 100% Beatley to me, more like someone trying to imitate them.” Beatles expert Allan Kozinn told Beatlefan's Bill King his gut feeling it wasn't them. And author Richard Buskin told King it doesn't sound like them whatsoever.

So is this question answered? Maybe, maybe not. But another nagging question was. After his splendid work with Ben Harper to promote his “Y Not” album, many wondered would Ringo work with Ben Harper again? “I’d never have a problem with having Ben in my band if he’s free!,” he told Brian Ives of Radio.com.