Hope I die before I get old(er)

24 Oct

Tom Petty turned 60 on October 20.  If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to face Malibu and raise a glass in his honor.

Tom’s a young ‘un compared to other classic purveyors of rock, rhythm and blues. As of this writing, Bruce Springsteen is 61. Paul McCartney is 68. Bob Dylan is 69. Ringo Starr is 70. Chuck Berry is still doing gigs at the age of 84, 55 years after “Maybellene” came out.

Then there’s Keith Richards:

Cheap shot, I know …

Age is certainly a state of mind, especially in rock and roll. Steve Tyler said on his birthday 12 years ago, “I’m not 50. I’m 18 with 32 years of experience.” What I find fascinating is that a musical genre representing all that is youth – rebellion, anger, sex and recklessness – now boasts dozens of stars who’ve put in enough time to have earned a gold watch and a handshake. We devotees are making sure they don’t have to rely on Social Security to make ends meet. Forbes began its review of the top 10 moneymaking musicians by saying, “What does it take to become one of the highest-paid musicians of the 2010s? A career that peaked in the 1980s.”  The article goes on to say that may be true because their aging fans are so unhip they still purchase music rather than get it for free. (You can check out the full Forbes article here.)

So if these guys keep putting on a good show and giving the fans their all, is there really a problem with them being older and craggier than in their heydey? We’ll keep coming back  because we – like Steve Tyler – don’t feel any older than 18 on the inside anyway, and music is partially the reason. As we crave new voices and fresh sounds, we will forever stay connected to the musicians we first fell in love with – even if, ironically, they are now as much the classical standard-bearers as those they rose up to depose:

See you on the flip side …

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One Response to “Hope I die before I get old(er)”

  1. Philip October 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Nice entry. Let’s not forget that Pete Townshend is 64 and Roger Daltry is 65 and they’re still playing dates in small venues in London.

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