On October 18th this year, Chuck Berry turned 84 years old. On December 5th, Little Richard will be 78 years old. Jerry Lee Lewis, “The Killer”, is 75.
Is that going back too far? Then let’s take a look at 60’s icons who have made it into the 2010s…Paul McCartney is 68, Ringo is 70. Two of the Beatles are already gone. How about the Stones? Mick Jagger is 67. And though Keith Richards is “mostly dead” (to quote Billy Crystal in “The Princess Bride”), he will technically turn 67 next month.
I wrote last week about The Beatles causing a worldwide sensation by finally putting their music onto ITunes. Ever since that announcement, I’ve been contemplating the state of current music. One of the things that amazed me about last week’s announcement is how many kids are into The Beatles. Would Apple have made such a big deal out of it if ITunes appealed mainly to those over 50 who were kids when The Beatles were happening? Although I cannot find statistics to support it, I would venture to guess that the average ITunes user was not alive when The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
Yes, these are the people that we, in my generation, regard as “music icons”. These are people who, for some reason or another, are considered either ground-breaking artists or just interesting enough to remember for years. Here is a list of who I consider music icons, and their respective ages:
Brian Wilson – 68
Brian May – 63
David Bowie – 63
Pete Townshend – 65
Smokey Robinson – 70
Eric Clapton – 65
Carlos Santana – 63
Paul Simon – 69
Elton John – 63
Bruce Springsteen – 61
Billy Joel – 61
Taking into account the kind of lifestyle these people have lived, I think it’s safe to say that most of these icons will be gone in the next 25 years. So now comes the big question: who’s going to step up to the plate? Let’s take a look at what’s happened in popular music in the PAST 25 years. For those without a calculator, that takes us back to 1985. Has anyone stepped forward since then to take the reigns? Huey Lewis? Jon Bon Jovi? Kelly Clarkson?
You can mention people like Prince and Madonna, but how active are they these days, and will their music be remembered for years to come? Is it me, or does their most productive period (the 80’s) sound really dated? The music industry needs to stop looking for a quick buck and start looking for someone who will open some doors…someone we will remember 25 years from now.
I’m through ranting now. Besides, “Going Mobile” off of “Who’s Next” just came on my IPod. Great tune.