How old is too old? Here’s to aging rockers

brianmayThere are plenty of new rock bands full of young, new rockers. But the classics, the diehards, the defining members of the age of rock, they’re still around. U2, Def Leppard, Queen — their founding members have been rocking since the 70s, and show no signs of stopping.

But when is it too much? When is it time to call it quits? Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot is 54, U2’s Bono is 55, and Queen’s Brian May is almost 70, but these frontmen are still composing music (with the exception of Queen) and touring the world to flaunt spectacular shows and undisputed talent, trailed by dedicated fans who are almost as old as they are, with younger generations jumping on the “classic rock” bandwagon every year.

If you can still write the music, still perform the shows, and still sing the old hits, then why shouldn’t you stick with the band and rock through the ages? By this point in time, being a part of Def Leppard or U2 is akin to a career and being part of a family.

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Critics may consider rock bands to be juvenile stints, mere side projects on the way to a “real” career. But our culture always needs artists, so why would we tell them to quit when we think it’s time for them to “grow up”? Since when did we stop needing or “grow out of” art? Sure, playing in a band often doesn’t pay much, but if it’s your chosen path, then who’s to stop you?

Such criticism clearly doesn’t faze the likes of Elliot and Bono and May: they’re still going strong and love what they do. They continue to provide invaluable contributions to rock ‘n’ roll with every concert they headline and every new song they write.

What if U2 had quit in 2006 or 2007, when the band members were approaching age 50, before they released their 12th album “No Line on the Horizon”? Rock aficionados everywhere would have missed out on the U2 360 Tour, which is the highest-grossing concert tour in world history to date, creaming runner-up The Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang Tour by almost 3 million attendees and $200 million in sales.

It’s safe to say fans of rock are thankful U2 and Def Leppard and other staple bands of the rock industry continue to perform. As these aging rockers sustain quality rock ‘n’ roll, good music will prevail. Do we care they might be shredding until they’re 80? Nope. We know their talent and expertise is too good for that. They will rock us to the grave.

So rock on, thou seasoned rockers, rock on.

Photo credit: “Brian May” by Compadre Edua’h – Brian May en Chile (Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –

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4 comments to “How old is too old? Here’s to aging rockers”
  1. Your article raises some interesting points. Do artists deliver a better show once they become veterans of the scene and get used to it? Does a better or higher-grossing live act equal vitality and lack of stagnation in an artist’s creative process?

    Furthermore, does an artist need to innovate in the studio in order to remain a relevant act?

    Or is a dynamite live act enough?

    Interesting stuff…

  2. If rock and roll is your career you stop when you feel like it! Sometimes rockers take another role in the business but I believe as long as a person provides a beautiful sound keep on keep in’ on Couple examples-Aretha, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, The Stones Bob Dylan, Mark Knophler , Clapton …and MANY others! Don’t let ANYBODY tell you to stop! You’ll know

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