"Hope I die before I get old,” sang the The Who in 1965. Now, band members Pete Townshend (69) and Roger Daltrey (70) are celebrating 50 years in the business by going on a final tour.
Whether they are headlining Glastonbury (Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Shirley Bassey) or at your local town hall (Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, The Swinging Blue Jeans), pensioner pop stars are everywhere, getting full houses and rapturous receptions.
This summer’s hottest gig was Kate Bush (56), returning to the stage after 35 years away. While a few people commented on her fuller shape, her performance got full marks and no fewer than eight of her albums are in the UK charts again.
Once more, it’s the baby boomers who have fuelled this change – we still want to prove we can party like it’s 1969. And that’s why you’ll find every popstar band you can remember from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties charts has a website advertising tour dates.
But can all older rockers still rock? It was supposed to be the climax to an amazing evening, but many people winced at Paul McCartney’s creaky, wavering voice at the end of the Olympic opening ceremony in 2012 and suggested it was time he Let It Be.
In 2011, Phil Collins announced his retirement. This was partly due to health reasons, but he also said, “I look at the MTV Music Awards and think, I don’t really belong to that world.”
So does there come a time when strutting your stuff and trying to hit the high notes becomes embarrassing – or should we just enjoy it while we can?
- Doing what you love keeps you young – nobody has the moves like Mick Jagger – and it gets us up and dancing in the aisles. Who cares if backstage they are drinking tea and practising yoga.
- It brings generations together – all ages now go to Glastonbury and listen to each other’s sounds. Students enjoy Dolly Parton while we discover the joys of Ed Sheeran.
- It helps keep theatres and small venues stay open – not just the many groups, but long-running shows such as Mamma Mia, The Jersey Boys and Buddy, too.
Time to quit
- Many groups use the name but little else – for example, Herman’s Hermits only have one original band member and there are two versions of The Searchers on tour with different band members in each.
- Mick Jagger (71), is a great-grandfather; should he still be singing Let’s Spend The Night Together?
- In today’s world, groups make their money from ticket sales and merchandising rather than music sales. For some, it’s mainly about the money.
We feature the latest Talking Points in Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday
Pic © Mary A Lupo, shutterstock.com