Act Naturally

Shea Stadium, New York City: 15 August 1965

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson

Writer: Johnny Russell

  • Ringo Starr — lead vocals
  • Paul McCartney
  • John Lennon
  • George Harrison

The Beatles, 1965

3 minutes January 2010

Music, wit, musical-comedy

"Act Naturally" is a witty song written by Johnny Russell, and fun in several formats, as we shall see. The song has an interesting history. It was recorded by Buck Owens and his Buckaroos in 1963 for a big country-music hit; and later by Ringo Starr with the Beatles in 1965. Over thirty million copies have been sold of the various recordings.

For quality audio, you probably should choose one of the Beatles' CD releases of the song.

There are a number of filmed performances of "Act Naturally" on DVD and/or available as music videos via YouTube.

"Act naturally" — a maxim of political philosophy

At Shea Stadium, after rambling a bit, Paul McCartney introduces the song with a resounding "Act Naturally — Ringo!" We may fancy, if we like, that there is more political philosophy in this song than the Beatles realized so early as this second American tour; and thus we may have a little fun with riffs on the song's title:

  • being natural — plain folks
  • acting natural — the better actors
  • acting, naturally — all too many politicians

And there's the thought I'd like to leave with you, as an extra layer atop the natural fun of the song. Aren't the "Act Naturally" lyrics a wonderfully poignant description of the modern false politician as model media star? On the compellingly bright and colorful screen, we must listen with care to discern who is hollow, and who is real.


© 2010 Robert Wilfred Franson

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