The geezers of rock and roll
Law enforcement officials gather outside the Century 16 Theatre where a masked gunman killed 14 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado July 20, 2012. A masked gunman killed 12 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in a suburb of Denver early on Friday, sparking pandemonium when he hurled a teargas canister into the auditorium and opened fire on moviegoers. REUTERS/Evan Semon
The old man, as John Fogerty so succinctly put it, is down the road.
He was referring to death, of course. But the CCR swamp-rocker could easily have been looking at the upcoming concert listings.
The Beach Boys are back on the road. The Rolling Stones and The Who will join them soon. Fleetwood Mac and Eagles are making noises about 2013. Forget about out with the old and in with the new; these days, it's out with the old and in with the older.
Of course, age is relative. If you think Mick and Keef and Roger and Pete are the oldest fogeys on the circuit, think again. There are bands out there that make them look like young pups. Here's a roundup of the real rock of aged, working backward from The Who, Stones and Beach Boys. (Note: I only chose acts that have been more or less continuously active and still have at least a couple of key members.)
Who's Left: Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist-songwriter Pete Townshend.
Average Age: 67.5.
RIP: Drugs killed self-destructive drummer Keith Moon (1978) and bassist John Entwistle (2002).
High Point: Tommy (1969) introduced the rock opera to the world.
Low Point: 11 fans died trying to get into a 1979 Cincinnati show.
Last Hurrah: The most recent album Endless Wire (2006).
Current Whereabouts: Gearing up for their just-announced Quadrophenia & More Tour.
Legacy: Trashing their gear; trying to live down that whole "hope I die before they get old" thing.
The Rolling Stones
Who's Left: Singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards and drummer Charlie Watts, plus new kid Ron Wood (joined in 1975).
Average Age: 68.
RIP: Guitarist Brian Jones drowned in 1969; longtime pianist Ian Stewart died in 1985.
High Point: Satisfaction (1965) may be the greatest rock anthem of all time.
Low Point: The fatal Altamont Free Concert (1969), though Jones' death and Richards' 1977 heroin bust in Toronto are close seconds.
Last Hurrah: Some Girls (1978) was their last essential album.
Current Whereabouts: Plotting a 50th anniversary tour -- assuming Mick has forgiven Keith for that "tiny todger" remark.
Legacy: Drafting the template for contemporary rock -- and drug-addled rock stars.
The Beach Boys
Who's Left: Returning leader Brian Wilson, cousin Mike Love, pal Al Jardine, ex-guitarist David Marks (first joined in 1962) and longtimer Bruce Johnston (1965).
Average Age: 68.6.
RIP: Middle bro Dennis drowned in 1983; youngest sib Carl died of cancer in 1998.
High Point: Pet Sounds and Good Vibrations (both 1966) justify Wilson's rep as a musical genius.
Low Point: Wilson lost years to mental instability, addictions and a controlling therapist.
Last Hurrah: Just released their comeback album, That's Why God Made the Radio.
Current Whereabouts: Doin' it again on their 50th anniversary reunion tour.
Legacy: The founding fathers of surf-pop, orch-rock and wearing Hawaiian shirts onstage.
Who's Left: Founders George Kooymans and Rinus Gerritsen, plus Barry Hay (joined in 1967) and Cesar Zuiderwijk (1970).
Average Age: 64.
RIP: Nobody vital.
High Point: Radar Love (1973), rock's ultimate driving song.
Low Point: Eight people died in a fire at a U.S. theme park gig in 1984.
Last Hurrah: Twilight Zone (1983) topped Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart.
Current Whereabouts: Touring Europe. The Dutchmen haven't played North America since 1984.
Legacy: On the soundtrack to countless racing movies, car commercials and road trips.
Who's Left: Original vocalists Eddie LeVert and Walter Williams.
Average Age: 69.
RIP: Co-founder William Powell died in 1977.
High Point: Seven top 20 singles, including Back Stabbers (1972), Love Train (1973) and Use ta Be My Girl (1978).
Low Point: Nearly disbanded in the late '60s.
Last Hurrah: Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
Current Whereabouts: Still riding the Love Train.
Legacy: Filling the dance floor at every wedding reception in the world.
Who's Left: Drummer Dave Munden and guitarist Rick West.
Average Age: 68.5.
RIP: Keyboard player Alan Blakley died in 1996.
High Point: Being famously chosen over The Beatles by Decca Records in 1962.
Low Point: It's been more or less downhill from there.
Last Hurrah: Silence is Golden and Here Comes my Baby (both 1967) brushed the Top 10.
Current Whereabouts: Still playing the oldies circuit in Europe.
Legacy: The answer to a Rock 'n' Roll Jeopardy! question.
Who's Left: Founder Don Wilson, longtime guitarists Nokie Edwards (joined in 1960), Gerry McGee (1968) and Bob Spalding (1981).
Average Age: 75.75.
RIP: Co-founder Bob Bogle died in 2009; drummer Mel Taylor in 1996.
High Point: Walk Don't Run hit No. 2, but 1969's Hawaii Five-O theme is iconic.
Low Point: The Ventures Play The Carpenters (1974).
Last Hurrah: Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Current Whereabouts: A casino showroom near you.
Legacy: Inspiring generations of guitar heroes to upstage singers.
Who's Left: Founders Marvin Junior, Mickey McGill, Verne Allison & Chuck Barksdale -- four of six original members.
Average Age: 76.
RIP: Original member Johnny Funches died in 1998; longtimer Johnny Carter in 2009.
High Point: Stay in My Corner (1968) and Oh, What a Nite (1969) topped R&B charts.
Low Point: McGill nearly lost his leg in a 1958 car crash.
Last Hurrah: Inducted to the Vocal Group and Rock and Roll halls of fame in 2004.
Current Whereabouts: They've been quiet since Carter's death, but haven't publicly called it quits.
Legacy: Included on every old-school doo-wop, soul and R&B compilation ever made.
Oak Ridge Boys
Who's Left: No originals, but current members William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and Joe Bonsall all joined between 1965 and '73.
Average Age: 68.75.
RIP: Founder Wally Fowler passed in 1994; ex-member Steve Sanders in 1998.
High Point: Their single Elvira (1981) was certified platinum.
Low Point: Financial problems nearly caused them to disband in the mid-'70s.
Last Hurrah: Joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2011.
Current Whereabouts: Still walking the fine line between country and gospel.
Legacy: "Giddy up, oom papa oom papa mow mow."
Blind Boys of Alabama
Who's Left: Founding members Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter.
Average Age: 81.
RIP: Co-founders George Scott and Johnny Fields died in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
High Point: Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Low Point: The group split for a few years in the '70s.
Last Hurrah: Still to come, apparently.
Current Whereabouts: Fountain only tours sporadically, but Carter and the current crew are still on the road.
Legacy: Background music to Sunday gospel brunches everywhere.
20 of the oldes living musicians:
Here are 20 of the oldest living musicians. Some are retired; others are still making music.
Elliott Carter, 103, Composer
Vera Lynn, 95, Singer
Patty Andrews, 94, Big Band Singer
Marian McPartland, 94, Jazz Pianist
Pete Seeger, 93, Folk Icon
Ravi Shankar, 92, Sitar Master
Dave Bartholomew, 91, Singer-Songwriter
Dave Brubeck, 91, Jazz Pianist
Hal David, 91, Pop Lyricist
Clark Terry, 91, Jazz Trumpeter
Little Jimmy Dickens, 91, Country Singer
Yusef Lateef, 91, Jazz Saxophonist
Chico Hamilton, 90, Jazz Drummer
Franny Beecher, 90, Bill Haley Guitarist
Ed Cassidy, 89, Spirit Drummer
Doris Day, 88, Singer/ Actress
Slim Whitman, 88, Country Singer
Charles Aznavour, 88, Singer
B.B. King, 86, Blues Guitarist
Tony Bennett, 85, Jazz Singer