They’re survivors. They didn’t (fatally) overdose in their 20s, they re-built fortunes after having been robbed by their record companies, managers and first spouses in their 30s, didn’t pass away on a commode in their 40s, nor did they accidentally overdose from a fatal injection (allegedly) administered by a private physician in their 50s (no disrespect). These senior citizens of rock music made it to 62 years and beyond and are still relevant, recording and performing despite emerging from the very generation that hoped it died before it got old.
Still on the Rock & Roll Highway
Classic rock stars, or ‘old hippie rockers,’ as I affectionately call them, are musical masters of their skills still exuding influence and sex appeal at an age when many folks their age are golfing, watching Matlock re-runs and wondering where their pensions went. Some rockers endlessly tour small to mid-sized venues, while a handful can still reap multiple millions of bucks traipsing around the world on “final” tours. While the original bands may not still be intact, the hard rock and love songs they made famous remain on the lips of baby boomers still willing to shell out bread for a good show (although now primarily under the influence of Chardonnay, anti-depressants and passing joints only to those holding a valid prescription).
Maybe You’re Not So Vain
Is it vanity that prevents them from hopping on the rock and roll compost pile or the realization that the trap they set for themselves back in the day (trust no one over 30, what a drag it is getting old, etc.) was far too premature? I like to think these first generation rock stars still have plenty of money and self esteem and that they rock on because they love rock & roll, and because they can. The best of them continue to evolve musically or shine a light on pet causes or fellow musicians they admire.
Rock Stars Find New Life Online
Maintaining and growing fans through websites and social networking on the likes of Facebook and Twitter was non-existent when these original rock stars emerged. They earned success the hard way and now they’ve found out what their predecessors, the kings of the blues, already knew – a great musical performer can stretch a career until they pry the microphone, guitar, drumstick out of their cold, dead hands.
Top 20 Classic Rock Stars 62 and Older
And now, a standing ovation with my Bic lighter lit (or iPhone, or whatever the young people are using nowadays) to the top twenty rockers in the free world (in order of birth):
1. Chuck Berry – Born 10/18/1926 Known as the Father of Rock – means he can ask everyone below, “Who’s your daddy?” At 82, he plays sold out shows in St. Louis twice a month.
2. Jerry Lee Lewis – Born 09/29/1935 Released CD of duets ‘The Last Man Standing’ in 2006 and currently on tour in Europe at 75. Great Balls of Fire!
3. Bob Dylan – Born 05/24/1941 Currently on tour in the U.S. Just released ‘The Whitmark Demos’ and ‘The Original Mono Recordings.’ Whatever he’s saying must be good.
4. Sir Paul McCartney – Born 06/18/1942 Currently on worldwide ‘Up and Coming Tour.’ Extra credit for surviving second marriage.
5. Brian Wilson – Born 06/20/1942 Creator of otherworldly harmonies. New album ‘Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin’ went #1 on amazon.com and was #1 Billboard jazz album.
6. Roger Waters – Born 09/06/1943 On ‘The Wall Live’ world tour and seeks to ‘illuminate our condition, and find new ways to encourage peace and understanding, particularly in the Middle East,’ as posted on his website.
7. Keith Richards/Mick Jagger – Born 12/18/1943; 07/26/1943, respectively. New book ‘Life’ by Keith probably means forthcoming book by Mick and a final world tour just to prove once more they’re the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band. Must not be sold separately.
8. Pete Townsend/Roger Daltry – Born 05/19/1945; 03/01/1944 The last Whos in Whoville. Again, count as one unit. Planning tour for 2011.
9. Rod Stewart – Born 01/10/1945 Just released ‘Fly Me to the Moon…The Great American Song Book Volumn V’ and playing Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Crooning all the way to the bank.
10. Deborah Harry – Born 07/01/1945 Currently on tour with Blondie whose song ‘Rapture’ was the first rap tune I’d ever heard.
11. Neil Young – Born 11/12/1945 Recently toured Gulf Coast states to benefit BP oil disaster victims with new solo effort, ‘Le Noise.’
12. Dave Mason – Born 05/10/1946 Still touring, sounding great, ‘Feelin’ Alright,’ and supporting Vets causes.
13. Patti Smith – Born12/30/1946 Recent book ‘Just Kids’ nominated for National Book Award.
14. Sir Elton John – Born 03/25/1947 New collaboration with Leon Russell earned 5 star review in Rolling Stone Magazine. His charities raised $250 million to date for HIV/AIDS. Our modern day Mozart.
15. Carlos Santana – Born 07/20/1947 New album of covers ‘Guitar Heaven,’ engaged to hot drummer Cindy Blackman, scheduled a to play the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas through May, 2011.
16. Greg Allman – Born12/08/1947 On tour with The Allman Brothers Band then onto solo tour. New album ‘Low Country Blues’ to be released January 18th. New liver, new life.
17. Alice Cooper – Born 02/04/1948 Nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2011. On tail end of ‘Theatre of Death’ tour in Europe.
18. Steven Tyler – Born 03/26/1948 New American Idol judge. This I gotta see.
19. Steve Winwood – Born 05/12/1948 Rolling with it, baby. Just wrapped tour including dates with Santana and Eric Clapton.
20. Robert Plant – Born 08/20/1948 New Band of Joy album and previous collaboration with Alison Krauss keeps this lion in winter toasty.