Act Naturally

Album: The Best of Buck Owens (1963)
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was the first #1 Country hit for Buck Owens, and it remains one of his most popular songs. It's an upbeat song with a honky-tonk vibe, but the lyric is self-effacing and despondent, as Owens sings about how if they made a movie about a man who is sad and lonely, he's be perfect for the part, since he could just act naturally. The uptempo rhythm and buoyant delivery find him acting in a way, as he is clearly masking his pain.
  • This song was written by Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison. Russell was a prolific country music songwriter, and Morrison was a member of Owens' backup band. Russell's lyrics were inspired by what he told his girlfriend when she asked why he went to Los Angeles: "They're gonna put me in the movies, they're gonna make a big star out of me." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Owens recorded this with his band The Buckaroos, which included Don Rich on guitar, Doyle Holly on bass, Tom Brumley on pedal steel guitar, and Willie Cantu on drums.
  • The Beatles released a popular version of this song in 1965 that reached #47 on the US Hot 100. It was one of their few songs where drummer Ringo Starr - a fan of country music - sang lead, and it became his showcase song. They played it on their third live Ed Sullivan Show appearance to give Ringo a chance to sing on the show. Their rendition was included on their album Help! and also used as the B-side to their hit This was used as the B-side of "Yesterday."
  • The version by The Beatles was recorded shortly after they filmed their movie Help!, which jibes with the lyrics about appearing in movies. Ringo Starr went on to act in many films, fulfilling what he sang about on the track.
  • In 1989, Owens released an album called Act Naturally that includes a re-recorded version of this song in a duet with Ringo Starr.
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Comments: 45

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaKind of my theme song sometimes, about acting silly or lonely cause that is how I feel naturally.
  • Marty from Cleveland, OhI always liked Paul's background harmony on the chorus and the last verse.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 29th 1970, Buck Owens and his Buckaroos performed "Act Naturally" and "Tall Dark Stranger" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Both songs had reached #1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; "Act Naturally" peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on June 9th, 1963 and "Tall Dark Stranger" reached #1 {for 1 week} on September 21st, 1969...
    "Tall Dark Stranger" also reached #1 on Cashbox's Country chart and the Canadian RPM Country chart while "Act Naturally" started a string of fourteen straight #1 records by Buck & the Boys on the Hot Country Singles chart...
    Alvis 'Buck' Owens passed away on March 25th, 2006 at the age of 76...
    May he and John & George R.I.P.
  • Billy Shears from Melbourne, AustraliaQUOTE = "It was actually George and Ringo who sang on the demo that originally got the Beatles their first record deal! Check Anthology I." - Linc, Beaumont, TX
    Wrong = I'm not sure which song you are specificially talking about, but you arewrong. Ringo wasn't in the band when they got their first record deal. They demoed and then were signed with Pete Best in the band. Pete Best was then sacked. Ringo then came along to their first recording session.
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjSo...this was the first song to use Drop-D tuning?
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlThis was Ringo's showcase song for the Shea concert.
  • Carl from Apg, MdReplying to Fred of Laurel, MD:
    "Yesterday" and "Act Naturally" (despite the latter's reference to appearing in movies) are NOT in the Help! movie. They are on the British "Help!" album as 2 of the 7 non-soundtrack songs; that album also has the 7 Beatles' songs which WERE in the movie. Do I make myself clear.
  • Carl from Apg, Md"Help!" album: in US it has 7 Beatles songs from the movie and some instrumental music from there as well. Instead of that instrumental music, the British "Help!" LP has 7 Beatles songs NOT from the movie, and they include "Yesterday" and "Act Naturally". Those 7 non-movie songs get split up among 3 U.S. Beatles albums on the Capitol label.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlI love Ringo! lol He sings so well:)
  • Lily from Buffalo, NyThis song is cool, but I think it's hilarious that some of their songs on Help! were a little bit country....didn't seem quite right. This song does REALLY compliments Ringo's voice, and he sings it well, so it's one of my favorites!
  • Reese from Carroll, Benini love how Ringo says his name itss hilarious!
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvI love this song. Ringo's vocals were great in this song.
  • Freddy from Miami, FlRingo's vocals are awesome.. wish he had 3x more songs!
  • Amanda from Gretna, Vtthis song just makes me so happy when i feel s--tty and such. Ringo, you just make me feel so great!
  • Amanda from Gretna, Vtoh god i love ringo! he sounded fantastic on this! go ringo!
  • Fred from Laurel, MdRicardo (Mexico, D.F.), Bertrand (Paris), Martijn (Nederland):
    "Yesterday is not a Beatles album" - well, true, but here in the U.S., there was an album, "Yesterday and Today," on which "Yesterday" and "Act Naturally" are the last two tracks on Side 1. This album hit the (American) streets in late June 1966; our "Help!" album came out in mid-Aug 1965, with "Rubber Soul" landing in between, in early Dec. 1965. *** Also, to clarify for any who might not know the lingo, when someone says that this song was the B-side of "Yesterday," they're referring to a single (45 rpm), not an album (33 rpm). *** Also, neither of these 2 songs appeared on the U.S. edition of the "Help!" album. The U.S. and U.K. albums from the '64 - '66 era or so were partly overlapping in terms of song lists. The singles were different, too. I don't know whether there were yet other combinations in albums & singles released in Canada or Europe ("on the Continent"), or Australia, for that matter, or whether these regions simply got the British releases. *** Finally, a question - "Help!," being a movie album, did these two songs ("Yesterday" and "Act Naturally") actually appear in the movie? If they didn't, why would they be included on the movie album in either market (U.S. and U.K.)? But if they did, why weren't they on both albums?
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxRingo didn't get a lot of credit because he wasn't a fan of doing solos. He was also known as the "shy" Beatle. This doesn't mean he didn't have talent folks. It was actually George and Ringo who sang on the demo that originally got the Beatles their first record deal! Check Anthology I.
  • Rosario from Naples, FlHelp! is a great album and this is a fun song. I love songs when Ringo sings lead.
  • Krissy from Boston, MaI love it. It is the perfect song for him. Ringo did so well.
  • Tiffany from San Diego, CaThe thing that really bothers me about people that bring down Ringo's ability. In Anthology Paul says: "But when we first got Ringo into the band it really gelled. We played GOOD."
    This means something, guys.

    Also Ringo once said about his drumming, which I think is appropriate: "The work is the joy. The results are just something you have to deal with. You resent the catcalls and don't trust the ones who overpraise."
  • Steven from West Carrollton, OhThis is my fourth favorite Ringo tune. Not many people realize it, but Ringo's vocals are pretty darn good.
  • Brian from Sydney, CanadaErnie!! You are totally ripping off McCartney point of views and Ringo's own interpretation of his drumming! If anybody reads McCartney's memoir 'Many Years From Now', they will see that Ringo mentions that his drumming on 'Rain' was indeed in peak form there.
  • Ross from St. Leo, MnRest In Peace, Buck Owens....
  • Ricardo from Mexico, MexicoYesterday is not an Beatles album, both of them (Yesterday and Act Naturally) are on HELP! Album
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaLuna, don't go overboard! Ringo was not as good as Mitch and Keith, but he is still very good adn deserves more credit then he gets.
  • Robb from Hamburg, NyThere isn't infinite room for every instrument on a particular song. With all the instrumentation of McCartney, Lennon and Harrison (Not to mention all the harmonies), it doesn't leave alot of room for Ringo to bang on the drums like Mitchel or Moon. When he has too, he can and will very well, but he never felt the need to stand out. Might I add he is a much better singer than both of those other drummers.
  • Keith from Warren, MiIt doesn't cut off, at "act naturally" at 2:20 or whatever, his vocals just fade, they're more distant. He doesn't almost miss the chord either, he strummed it with the same timing as the solo.
  • Sylvia from London, EnglandOn one of their live performances, Ringo did this and I was amazed at how perfectly he sang it compared to the album version! Go Ringo!
  • Mauricio from Hanford, CaIn some cases, Ringo should stick to drumming, but in other cases, like when he sings "Good Night", "Octopus's Garden", and "Don't pass me by", he's really good.
  • Luna from London, EnglandMartin- Imagine the Beatles without Ringo's drumming! They'd be terrible! If they had kept Pete Best they never would have gone anywhere! They'd have stayed in Liverpool and then had to work as laborers in the docks and the Beatles would have never happened! Ringo makes the Beatles what they are!
  • Ernie from KranjOnce and for all, Ringo was a great drummer! His timing was amazing. He had a knack for knowing when to nudge a song forward going into a chorus to give it a bit more energy. He could also lay down a groove like a metronome. And his parts were truly inspired. Check out 'Rain' for more proof.
  • Kalissa from New York City, NyI have to admit I didn't LOVE this song like I do most Beatles songs but after a while it really grows on you! Now it is among my favorites!
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Scgreat song. I haven't heard the original yet.
  • Ben from Cheverly, MdPaul's backing needs to go.
  • Ross from St. Leo, MnI am a Buck Owens fan and I don't think the singer thinks he is going to be famous and that when he is his girl will come back to him but rather its about a guy who gets his heart broke and sees all these movie stars getting paid big money to portray a characterwho feels exactly how he feels at the moment and that he should be in Hollywood getting paid too because he "won't need rehearsing" and all he's "gotta do is Act Naturally."
  • Roman from Vilnius, Otheron 2:18 of this song Right hand harmony sings "All I gotta do is, act natch" and is then cut off by the guitar!

    and 2:25-2:26 Numerous rattles and hisses in outro, left and right.

    and John almost misses entirely the last strummed acoustic chord!
  • Kevin from Canada, CanadaI perform this song. Its a great Buck Owens number. That laments on how when he will be famous he wont have to act to appear broken hearted. And his girl will want him when he becomes famous. He wishes that she will come and se ehis performance. Ringo does a good version> Of course Buck Owens does it best because of his voice.
  • Richard from Louisville, KyGeorge's guitar work on this song is great ... and it's right out of the Carl Perkins'style of playing which George loved.
  • Martijn from Helmond, NetherlandsOver here the B-side of 'Yesterday' was 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy'. Mitch Mitchell was a great drummer for Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon was great for the Who, but they needed the bass of John Entwhistle to keep Moonie in check. He tended to get a bit overboard. Ringo was the perfect drummer for the Beatles. My namesake from Guildford is so very wrong when he calls him useless. If Mitchell or Moon had played in the Beatles they would have had to play very much like Ringo.
  • Drew from Cincinnati, OhIf you don't think Ringo was a good drummer see what others think: Max Weinberg -- "D. J. Fontana had introduced me to the power of the big beat. Ringo convinced me just how powerful that rhythm could be. Ringo's beat was heard around the world and he drew the spotlight toward rock and roll drummer. From his matched grip style to his pioneering use of staggered tom tom fills, his influence in rock drumming was as important and wide spread as Gene Krupa's had been in jazz." (The Big Beat, 1984)
  • Martin from Guildford, EnglandI hate to say it,although i love the Beatles, but Ringo was a useless drummer especially when compared to Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon all of whom were in the same era.
  • Roberto from Punte Negra, PeruI like Ringo's Songs. This is my favourite
  • David from Waco, TxGeorge was a fine guitar player. He created a sound of his own. Ringo was great on this song; he was great on pretty much everything.
  • Tavers from Mesa, AzGeorges guitar work in this song is perfect. Starkeys singing ain't that bad either.
  • Steve from San Jose, CaGeorge had to de-tune his guitar in order to hit the low 'D' note in the opening guitar solo.
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