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Interview With Ringo Starr

Aired April 12, 2010 - 00:00:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If John was the heartthrob, Paul the genius and George the quiet one, well, what was Ringo?

RINGO STARR, MUSICIAN: Oh, I know I'm loved. You know, I'm the lovable one.


ANDERSON: As the drummer of what was, arguably, the most famous band of all time, Ringo Starr richly secured his place in music history. He also contributed vocals on some of The Beatles' most famous hits, singing the lead in songs such as "Yellow Submarine" and "With A Little Help from My Friends."


ANDERSON: And his public profile changed the role of percussion in rock forever. After the breakup of the band in 1970, he continued to release solo albums and started his own record label.

Ringo Starr and his All Star Band currently tour around the world. And this January, Starr released his 15th studio album, entitled, "Why Not?"


ANDERSON: A living legend who spans generations, Ringo Starr is your Connector of the Day.



ANDERSON: I sat down with him earlier in London today and I started by asking what makes this latest album different, well, from the rest?

This is what he said.


STARR: Well, I produced it.


STARR: Usually I have, you know, a co-producer and we pull it together between us. But this one I just -- I mean I started making it, a lot of friends playing on it and I actually brought in a producer to talk to as the bass player. So he -- Mike Bradford is playing on the record. And I said maybe I'll need you to come in and help me out. And then I had to call him back and I said, I'm having so much fun, I'm going to do this one myself. And that's how it happened.

ANDERSON: Any thoughts on touring at this stage?

STARR: I'm touring in June, July and August in America.

ANDERSON: Some viewers questions to you.

Adam: "Where did you get the material for "Why Not?" and what inspired it mainly?," he says.

STARR: Something to do. I was sitting around in L.A. and I went on the synth and just got rhythm patterns with some cords that I enjoyed. And then I drummed to that. And then, you know, the likes of Dave Stewart lives in LA. He came over. I got him to play. Joe Walsh. I just got them to play. We had no song, I just had the track, just play something. Keep it moving.

And that's how it all happened. You know, it just -- I would call friends, come on over. And they played.

ANDERSON: It sounds a lot of fun.

Susan is asking: "What is your most satisfying recording experience and as a Beatle or as a solo artist?"

STARR: That's hard to say. I mean -- I mean if you listen to The Beatles' music, some of the tracks are just incredible. And the players are incredible. So, you know, that was that. And when you do it like this one, because I did it myself for the first time, you know, I'm -- I'm still like, wow, I wrote this song and look at it now, you know.

ANDERSON: "What do you," Keira says, "attribute your longevity to? Your music is so multi-generational. What's that all about?"

STARR: It's about the music. I mean if, you know, we leave nothing, we leave the music. It's nothing to do with the mop tops or the suits or The Beatle boots. In the end, it's the music. And it's still viable today. I mean it still holds up today. And I talk to bands who are out there today and they're all oh, God, you know. I was so into this guitarist yesterday. And, you know, the scope of the tracks, you know, from, let's say, "Michelle" to "Day in the Life," you know, it was like we weren't just doing that track stuff, you know?

It was like all over. And so music was important. And we had many styles.

ANDERSON: Lucy asks: "What are your fondest memories of those days?"

STARR: Of those days?

Having three brothers. Hanging out with three brothers was my fondest. And making great music.

ANDERSON: Greg James: "Do you see yourself as Ringo or," he says, "or perhaps how do you maintain an individual face outside of that?"

STARR: It's -- it's absolutely -- it's the -- Ringo is there and my real name, Richard, is here -- or dad or darling. So it -- it's easy being I've done it long enough.

ANDERSON: Thor asks: "In what way did the other Beatles influence your own work later in life?"

We're obviously talking about what you're doing now.

STARR: Well, you know, if you look at my records from the "Ringo" album, the other three are on it. They'd written songs for several of the other albums. They played on my albums. It's -- it's just great to play with really cool players. And it -- you know, as a musician, it's -- it's always better to play with people you know, because we know where we're going. And that's part of, I feel, being a musician, is that, you know, you understand each other.

ANDERSON: Are you looking forward to getting back on the road again?

STARR: Well, I go every two years.


STARR: You know, I'm doing 31 gigs. I mean I -- I'm like the gentleman musician now. I set up 30 odd gigs and then -- then it's over, then I'm on holiday. Then I'll say, oh, maybe I'll make a record. And then I start that. You know, so there's no real pressure anymore. I just do it when I'm happy to do it.

ANDERSON: Steve Turner has written in. He says: "Recently, you were quoted that God is now in your life. Now, 40 years after The Beatles breakup, the Vatican has officially forgiven John's "we're bigger than Jesus" remarks."

How does that make you feel?

STARR: Didn't they say -- the Vatican say we were satanic, possibly satanic?

And they still forgive us. I think the Vatican should -- I think they've got more to talk about than The Beatles.

ANDERSON: Jay Essen (ph): "What's your favorite song now? What was your favorite Beatles song? And if you have one song you wanted to perform and play, what would it be?"

STARR: You know, musically, I love music and is it Ray Charles, is it James Brown, is it Aretha, is it Lonnie Donegan?

You know, you can't pick your favorite song. I just did a thing in America. And -- and you -- I can only pick the songs I'm really into today. Or you want to know about the song I bought -- the first records I bought, which was The Four Aces.

You know, the -- the question is too far out.

ANDERSON: Here's a good question for you: "What is on your iPod then?"

STARR: I think it's 5,000 tracks. And of everything, you know, from the blues, country music, what's happening now. I like to buy on iTunes because that way I get to hear what's out there now. And when I get bored with that, I always press blues. And then I'll buy more blues.


ANDERSON: An absolute joy and a delight. Ringo Starr for you.

And tomorrow, our Connector of the Day, it's actually two people -- a powerhouse acting and directing duo. Now, forgive me if I don't get the names right, but I'm going to have a go. Sendhil Ramamurthy is best known for his acting in the U.S. drama "Heroes" and director Gurinda Chadha is the woman behind the smash hit film, "Bend It Like Beckham." They are teaming up for a new film and they are teaming up to answer your questions.

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