Forget taxes, death, disability. This is about people you danced to, and still can. They may be geriatric, but face it: you may be, too. As a healthcare professional trying to sell me something said: “Well, I do this for lots of geriatric people.”
Really, who isn’t? How about Sam-the-Sham? He’s in his 80s. I I couldn’t find what happened to his backup group, The Pharaohs. But they’re all presumably alive, probably touring venues in the Far West, singing Wooly Bully to anyone who will listen . . . or can listen.
Remember when electric guitars came along? Les Paul started fiddling with this 20-year-old vibrating sort-of-violin, and all of a sudden, this instrument came out of the string section, to be front-and-center. The electric guitar led; it didn’t just accompany.
Names like Fender Broadcaster came along – not the name of a musician for musicians, but for the instrument. Also “Gretsch” which sounded nasty until you learned what it was. A whole new genre of music was born. And now: old musicians are still playing it.
Like how about Duane Eddy. Age 81. You were probably in the 5th or 6th Grade when he recorded Rebel Rouser. (Want to feel really old? He has a Facebook page.) Other new sounds were out there: Because They’re Young. And we still have one Everly Brother: Don, who’s 82.
Can you imagine telling your grandchildren that when you were their age, you listened to musicians who are now in their 80s? Your heirs would think you were ancient.
Others still alive in their 80s include Freddy Cannon. He outlived Palisades Park, now just a memory, though the skyline of its roller-coasters probably resembles his last EKG. Plus Roberta Flack, and Johnny Mathis.
The leader of the pack and real star of Back to the Future is still with us: Jerry Lee Lewis. His first commercial recordings came out when Eisenhower was running for President. Alas, he set the bar for public relations disasters – he wasn’t even a president – when he married his 13-year-old cousin and third wife, Myra. It certainly took the heat off Elvis, who was then dating a 14-year-old.
(To be absolutely accurate, Myra was his third cousin, twice removed. And they stayed married until 1970. To date, Jerry Lee’s been married seven times . . . and you can safely assume that all his later wives were also younger than him).
Wonder about even older? Day O. Harry Belafonte is 92.
But let’s not linger on the old guys. He’s a list of singers you will surely remember, and their ages:
Bob Dylan is 78. Paul McCartney is 77. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are both 77. So is Carole King. And so is Brian Wilson, who is still touring.
How about Mick Jagger who is 76, and his younger playmate, Keith Richards, who is 75. So is Joni Mitchell and Jimmy Page. Roger Daltrey is also 75 but his bandmate, Pete Townshend is only 74. Also 74: Rod Steward, Eric Clapton, and Debbie Harry.
Getting too close to your age? How about Neil Young and Van Morrison who are both 73.
On the younger side, Elton John is 72, along with Don Henley. James Taylor is 71, Jackson Browne and Billy Joel are 70, and who’s the youngest? Bruce Springsteen who just turned 70 in September.
So count your lucky stars, as we head into 2020. And make sure your documents aren’t as old as those vinyl 45s and LPs you still own.