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Ringo Starr to celebrate 70th birthday, isn't moved by Vatican praise

07/06/2010 by Corinne Heller

Ringo Starr to celebrate 70th birthday, isn't moved by Vatican praise Ringo Starr turns 70 on Wednesday but says that he feels like a 24-year-old and that he doesn't care about the Catholic Church's praise of the Beatles' music, an apparent "peace offering" following John Lennon's controversial 1966 remark, in which he said the group was more popular than Jesus.

"It didnt affect me in any way, but I do believe that the Vatican have better things to deal with than forgiving the Beatles," Starr told The New York Times. "I dont remember what it actually said  it had some weird piece in it, too," he said. "That theyve forgiven us for being, what, satanic? Whoever wrote it was thinking about the Stones."

Speaking of the Beatles, the Vatican newspaper LOsservatore Romano said earlier this year. "Its true, they took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives. Listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless. Their beautiful melodies, which changed forever pop music and still give us emotions, live on like precious jewels."

The newspaper had praised the British rock group in 2008 as well and had said then that Lennon had been showing off by making his remarks.

Starr, who is on his 11th All Starr Band tour of the United States, echoed a previous request for fans to put their fingers up and say "peace and love" on his birthday.

If you're on a bus, if you're on a boat, at noon, where ever you are, just go, 'Peace and love, peace and love.' That's your birthday gift to me. How great is that?" Starr said in a video message on his website.

He told The New York Times that "as far as Im concerned, in my head, Im 24. Thats just how it is. The number, yeah, its high. But I just felt Ive got to celebrate it. Im on my feet and Im doing what I love to do, and Im in a profession, as a musician, where we can go on for as long as we can go on."

Starr received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in February. He was also recently honored by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is displaying his gold-plated snare drum that he used while still performing with the Beatles until the end of 2010.

After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Starr launched several music and television projects of his own, as did his former band-mates. In the 1980s, Starr voiced the role of beloved British children's television character "Thomas the Tank Engine". He released his 16th solo album, Y NOT, which features guest vocals from McCartney, 68, and other famous musicians earlier this year.

Former Beatle George Harrison died from cancer at age 58 in 2001. Lennon was shot dead outside his New York home in 1980.

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