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God is in my life, says former Beatle Ringo Starr

John Lennon dismissively sang "God is a concept by which we can measure our pain" - but now his former Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr has revealed after decades of searching, he has become a believer.

Starr told how he had been looking for enlightenment since he was riding high in the charts more than 40 years ago.

And in an interview with the Los Angeles Times he said his spiritual side was "more prominent" on his new album Y Not.

Starr and the rest of The Beatles famously dabbled with eastern faiths in the late 1960s. The band met and studied with spiritual guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, north Wales, in 1967 and then went to stay at his retreat in Rishikesh, northern India, the following year.

However Starr managed only a ten-day stay, leaving because he found the food "too spicy".

In the new interview, Starr said: "Being on this quest for a long time, it's all about finding yourself. For me, God is in my life.

"I don't hide from that. I think the search has been on since the '60s. I stepped off the path there for many years and found my way (back) onto it, thank God," he added, in reference to his heavy drinking in the 1970s.

Late bandmate Lennon often tackled the subject of religion in both his songs and in interviews. He notoriously upset Christians in 1966 when he said: "We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity."

And during his solo track God, he sings of disillusionment with worshipping idols, including the line "I don't believe in Jesus."

Starr appeared in a documentary about the world's religions last year called Oh My God, in which he declares: "God is love."

In the LA Times interview, Starr also talked about reaching his milestone 70th birthday this year, but said it was less daunting than leaving his 30s.

"Forty was 'oh God, 40'. There's that damn song, Life Begins At 40. No, it's not so big anymore. I am nearly 70, and I'd love to be nearly 40, but that's never going to happen.

He added: "I feel the older I get, the more I'm learning to handle life."