Wednesday, November 11, 2009

50 Is The New Awesome

Used to be, music was a young man's game. It was all about living hard and dying young and leaving nothing behind but a good lookin' corpse. These days, what with all our healthy habbits and Viagra and such, you can keep on keeping on, pretty much forever. Here are 10 musicians who have aged like a fine wine.

Emmylou Harris 62
That voice. Emmylou continues to break hearts young and old alike. She has maintained her old-school fanbase while expanding into a new audience, dueting with Bright Eye's, Connor Oberst, on his terrific indie-folk album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning.

Tom Waits 59
The man manages to stay relevant by re-inventing himself every time out. His older work inspires the rookies and his newer work pushes the envelope of sound and experimentation. Every year Waits puts out a record, it's bound to be the most interesting record that year.

Aretha Franklin 69
Simply by showing up beside Obama at the Inauguration, in that hat, earns her a spot on this list. A classic.

Bob Dylan 68
Dylan is finally the wisened old man he always wanted to sound like.

Morrissey 50
Mos refuses to go down quietly. He has gone from a meat-hating, asexual, Anglo-punk, to a debonaire, stylish Californian. Bet he still hates the queen though.

Pete Seeger 87
Seeger also made an appearance at the inaguaration this year. He belted out "This Land Is Your Land," from the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of a million people. This ancient Pinko-Commie dog is having his day.

Dave Byrne 57
Have you heard that song he did with the Dirty Projectors? This ex Talking Head is still as cool as ever.

Thurston Moore 51
How could you not put the guy who started Sonic Youth on this list? Moore is still fearless about making a holy racket and still inspires, according to my calculations, 57 new bands every day.

Brian Wilson 67
Without the Beach Boys it's hard to imagine about half of the bands that exist today - The Shins, Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, any band that writes about the ocean, ect. Today, Wilson continues to write compelling music that sounds even more fresh than it did 40 years ago.

Neil Young 63
For just a scary second there, Mr. Young was all about President Bush's, "your either with us or with the terrorist," agenda. Listen to his song, "Let's Roll," once and then burn it from your memory. But now, Young is back, using the force, and making epic musical endeavors about, like farmers and stuff. And farmers rock.
The 'Just Missed List'

Michael Stipe 49
R.E.M.'s last album was its best in recent memory. Keep your eye on Mr. Stipe.

Frank Black 44
Otherwise known as Black Francis, the Pixies lead singer is as popular as he's ever been in his life, finally getting the glory he deserved for launching bands like Nirvana, while writing wonderful little songs with his wife in his newest project, Grand Duchy.

Bono 49
Trust me, Bono isn't going anywhere. He'll be on this list as soon as he hits 50.

Michael Jackson 50
Another musician at the peak of his career and selling power! Disqualified for obvious reasons.


  1. The number of rockers I have seen in the past few years that still Rock and Roll is amazing. SAw Chubby checker still doing the twist 2 summers ago. The PLATTERS are still at it, as is WAR. Even Doly parton is nipped, tucked and still looking great at 70! Amazing!

  2. The Stones are left suspiciously off of this list...
    AAON: rebuttal??

  3. No doubt the Stones are still rocking, but I guess I was thinking in terms of relevance. I don't know that they've done anything groundbreaking in a while.

  4. Where the hell is David Bowie? That man looks younger now than he did as Ziggy Stardust. He should have been #1 on this list. IMO.

  5. Far be it for me to deny David Bowie's youthful looks. Perhaps I should have been more clear about the list - I based it off musicians over 50 who were still making waves artistically and influencing others. No doubt Bowie has been an enormous influence on music but I am not aware of any contribution in the last few years that has inspired or broken any ground. Correct me if I am wrong.