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Too old to rock?

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by PosterChild, May 11, 2009.

  1. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Let's first acknowledge that we've moved well beyond the irony of "I hope I die before I get old" and the fact that the Who's Pete Townshend, who wrote the lyric, did get old, though his band's drummer didn't.

    Let's also let Mick Jagger off the hook for famously declaring, "I'd rather be dead than singing 'Satisfaction' when I'm 45." With the Rolling Stones singer turning 66 in July, he has had more than 20 years and several world tours to eat those words.

    We will, however, give consideration to Robert Plant's explanation earlier this year that he shot down a Led Zeppelin reunion in part for fear of fans' "disappointment" and "the comparisons to something that was basically fired by youth and a different kind of exuberance. ... It's very hard to go back and meet that head on and do it justice."

    Or as he told a reporter backstage at the Grammys: "You try to do 'Communication Breakdown' in these pants."

    So the 60-year-old Plant won't be screeching "Heeeey, girl!" onstage any time soon. But 68-year-old Mike Love probably will be singing "Be True to Your School" when the Beach Boys hit Ravinia this summer. Plant is the exception, not the rule in a concert season testing the age limits of rock.

    Chicago's most-hyped summer concert is the pairing of Elton John, 62, and Billy Joel, 60, at Wrigley Field. Also hitting town will be Crosby, 67, Stills, 64, and Nash, 67. As for Young (that is, Neil), he's 63 and just released a jagged rock album.

    Almost-68-year-old Bob Dylan has last week's No. 1 album, "Together Through Life," and will soon tour minor-league baseball stadiums with Willie Nelson, 76, and John Mellencamp, 57. Paul McCartney, who turns 67 in June, recently performed a 2 ½-hour set at the Coachella festival after releasing the trippy, hard-rocking "Electric Arguments" CD as the Fireman. McCartney now is about 15 years older than the man who played his grandfather in "A Hard Day's Night."

    Last week's biggest local shows were the Dead (Bob Weir is 62) and Leonard Cohen (74). Bruce Springsteen, who turns 60 in September, plays a sold-out United Center on Tuesday.

    Ravinia's summer calendar is dominated by 60-something rockers: Joe Cocker (64), Tom Jones (68), Steve Miller (65), Jackson Browne (60), Bonnie Raitt (59), Taj Mahal (67 next Sunday), Blondie (Debbie Harry turns 64 in July), the Doobie Brothers (co-founder Patrick Simmons is 60) and Loggins & Messina (both 61). Who knew Pat Benatar (56) and Elvis Costello (54) would represent Ravinia's youth movement?

    This cataloging of rock's geriatric movement is meant simply to point out what's both obvious and startling: Rock's biggest names have gotten old.

    "I think all of us are pretty amazed at the lengths of the careers of the acts that pretty much defined rock 'n' roll," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of the concert-industry trade publication Pollstar. "If you look at the ones that demand the highest prices, it's all acts that date back to the '60s and '70s."

    He added: "You could've had the same conversation five years ago."

    Yes, but could you have the same conversation in another five years? Bluesmen such as B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters are typically considered the exemplars of performing into one's golden years, but for rock music this is uncharted territory.

    How long can McCartney maintain that clear tenor? How long can 69-year-old Tina Turner keep her voice and legs in shape? Will a near-70 Jagger shake his skinny tush over another Stones tour as cancer survivor Charlie Watts, who turns 68 next month, keeps time?

    "I don't think Mick Jagger's quitting until the last nickel is out of the hand of the last sucker," laughed rock critic/author Dave Marsh, who hosts the Sirius/XM show "Kick Out the Jams."

    While country music has developed a new generation of arena headliners -- Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Toby Keith -- rock has stayed with the tried and true, only occasionally spitting out a U2, Radiohead or Coldplay. Six of the last year's top-10 grossing tours were headlined by 50-and-older acts: Madonna, the Eagles, Springsteen and the E Street Band, Neil Diamond, the Police and Turner.

    The only other rock act in the top 10 was Bon Jovi, whose frontman is 47. Pollstar's top 10 this year includes John/Joel, the Eagles ( Don Henley and Glenn Frey are 61 and 60, respectively) and Fleetwood Mac (only Lindsay Buckingham, 59, is under 60).

    How sustainable can this business be when so many key players could be cashing retirement checks?

    Celia Berdes, a sociologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society, thinks rockers who maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet can keep going for a while.

    "In gerontology, we think that people can continue their level of activity and productivity well into their 70s," she said, noting that guitarists probably maintain excellent dexterity thanks to the continual finger exercise. "The worry I would have for the rock musicians is they've burnt the candle. It's possible they may be aging at a faster rate, particularly with regard to hearing."

    Singers go through other types of changes as well. Elton John's voice is much deeper than it was in his '70s heyday, and many older singers typically key down their songs to compensate for their range loss on the high end.

    Dr. H. Steven Sims, director of the Chicago Institute for Voice Care, said voices naturally "settle" over time and vocal cords weaken, but that doesn't mean McCartney is about to sound like George Burns. "I've certainly seen 80-year-olds who have very strong voices," he said, "but 70s into the 80s is when you see atrophy or shriveling of the vocal cords." ( Tony Bennett will be 83 when he performs at Ravinia in August.)

    Some voices also grow thinner and raspier, such as Aretha Franklin's, though "that's not just the aging process, because Nancy Wilson now sounds very close to the Nancy Wilson of the '60s," Sims said. "In Aretha Franklin's case, there's smoking and weight gain and other factors involved."

    Sims said opera singers may continue singing into their 70s, though more likely performing recitals than heavy-duty operas. Rock singers, meanwhile, are judged on their own scale -- no one expects Jagger and Dylan to be crooning expertly -- and what singers lose in range, they may gain in other areas.

    Marsh said he has seen Springsteen several times on the current tour and appreciates the singer's increased expressiveness. "He uses the voice so much differently than he used to," said Marsh, who wrote "Born to Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story." "It's like I said to Van Morrison lately: 'I think you're a better singer now than when you made "Astral Weeks" [in 1967],' and he said, 'I know I'm a better singer.' "

    Glenn Mercer, 54-year-old singer/guitarist for the newly reunited Feelies, said he thinks he sings better now as well. "My voice has gotten a certain quality that it didn't have early on," said Mercer, whose band will play a free Millennium Park show on June 29. "Maybe a little richer, deeper."

    Mercer also said his and the band's energy level remains undiminished since they last played together in the early '90s, though "when we've done two nights in a row, it's been a little difficult because I haven't been able to sleep after the show."

    But even as we continue to embrace our aging icons, we also convince ourselves that we're seeing them in a diminished state. "Music tends to be an art of prodigies, and most musicians have done their great work by the time they're 30 or 35," Marsh said, though he added that younger doesn't always mean better. "You just have to get rid of those illusions, that old is bad and different is bad."

    Dion DiMucci certainly enjoyed his string of late '50s/early '60s hits such as "A Teenager in Love" (as Dion and the Belmonts), "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer," but he's still recording and playing about 30 shows a year, and he says he's happier than ever.

    "What, are you kidding?" said DiMucci, who turns 70 in July. "You have more experience. My voice is much better. I play better. You enjoy it more. You're more in the moment. Free abandon in the moment, that's what it's all about. That's rock 'n' roll."


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/chi-0510-old-rockersmay10,0,1746745.story?page=2
  2. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Shirley Jones, who was so wholesome on "The Partridge Family," might pose nude for Playboy at the age of 75, if her husband/manager Marty Ingels has his way.

    "She's still drop-dead gorgeous, and at the age of 75, a natural beauty," Ingels told Page Six.

    "I'm her husband, and I think it would be sensational. Mature women are relevant."

    Nancy Sinatra was 54 when she posed in 1995, eclipsing Vikki LaMotta, who was 51, and Joan Collins and Farrah Fawcett, who were both 50.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519784,00.html
  3. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    GGW Ver 3.0: Geriatrics Gone Wild

    :eekmouse:
  4. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    In the day's of airbrush, photo retouchers were doing amazing things; with the business as it is today, forget about it. I've been photo retouching for almost 10 years, I know exactly what is masked on the young and the beautiful, let alone the old and wrinkled.

    I might be out of the loop, but would anyone buy this??
  5. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    Tina Turner needs to quit w/ the mini-skirts

    it's brutal
  6. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Yeager
  7. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    nope, bbgun

    and Shirley Jones has never been amazing looking, don't know what the **** her husband is talking about
  8. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    :lmao:

    I guess there's something for every body...
  9. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    With the Eagles being the exception, I think they're hilarious.
    The Eagles just look like a bunch of old guys playing their music, without the antics. I can't imagine Dylan being anything but sedate, but Mick Jagger doing his chicken walk on stage is a great laugh and thankfully I haven't seen Tina Turner in years, so I can't comment on her skirts.

    Not mentioned is awful Steven Tyler. Man, looks like the living dead.
  10. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    It's a little absurd to be sure but also troubling that that music is also going, going,...hard to belive Blondie is, what, 64? Dang, she should never get old. It's a crime.
  11. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    I didn't read it, but lets just say Logans Run for all musicians. Hell, Logans Run for all of you. :D
  12. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    Coke, heroin, speed, meth, and chain-smoking are very slimming.
  13. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    NEVER!!!
  14. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    :lmao:
  15. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    I can Logan's Run from this board ;)
  16. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Pick up Bob Seger's last album, "Face The Promise", and you'll never wonder if old guys can still rock again...it was put out in 2006... pay particular attention to his duet with Kid Rock on Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle"; if you don't wanna party when you hear that, you're clinically dead...
  17. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    The sound quality of the video footage version was pretty terrible... I'd rather look at the album cover for three minutes and hear the cleaner recording... autism?

    [youtube]SQwjZvrPi-k[/youtube]

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