Feb. 19, 2010— -- Former Beatle Ringo Starr recently sat down with "Nightline" at the Village recording studio in Los Angeles to talk about his new album, "Y Not," and some of the music that has influenced him in the course of his long career.
Starr, who'll be 70 in July, was resistant to the idea of reducing his favorite sounds to a short list."I love music," Starr said. "You know, people say, 'Your top 10.' I don't have a top 10, I have a top thousand or 2,000. Music has meant a lot, you know."
Born Richard Starkey Jr., in Liverpool, England, in 1940, Starr joined his first band at 17. He officially became one of the Beatles in August 1962 and superstardom soon followed. After Starr's solo career took off in 1970, he began to act on the side, in offbeat roles such as Mr. Conductor on the 1989 PBS show "Shining Time Station."
For "Y Not," Starr collaborated with former Beatle and old friend Paul McCartney.
Starr talked about some of the tracks that sound best to him these days:
Elvis Presley, "Don't Be Cruel"
"I was working in this factory and I took this girl to the movies because I had no money," he said. "The only seats left were two in the front, and we're in the front row and, haha, [I was] trying to impress her in the front row. She worked in the office of the factory I worked in, and, anyway, the date didn't go well. And I snuck up into her office, and on the dictaphone I recorded 'Don't Be Cruel.' So that's an important song. And Elvis was the best, Elvis the King."
Little Richard, "Good Golly Miss Molly"
"Little Richard and his band was so great," Starr said." Little Richard ... was sensational. And the power of it, when you're a kid in Liverpool, of this guy in a band, and he was so just like, 'Whooo,' so strong. And it was great. The whole thing about Little Richard was great. And rock 'n' roll is so important to me, and he is certainly an icon of rock 'n' roll. He'd probably say, 'the icon.'"