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HEALTH The Coming Death of Just About Every Rock Legend
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  1. #1
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    9 The Coming Death of Just About Every Rock Legend

    I saw this 2 weeks ago and forgot to post it. After Eddie Money (Friday) and Ric Ocasek (today) ....




    Damon Linker
    August 31, 2019
    https://theweek.com/articles/861750/...ry-rock-legend


    Rock music isn't dead, but it's barely hanging on.

    This is true in at least two senses.

    Though popular music sales in general have plummeted since their peak around the turn of the millennium, certain genres continue to generate commercial excitement: pop, rap, hip-hop, country. But rock — amplified and often distorted electric guitars, bass, drums, melodic if frequently abrasive lead vocals, with songs usually penned exclusively by the members of the band — barely registers on the charts. There are still important rock musicians making music in a range of styles — Canada's Big Wreck excels at sophisticated progressive hard rock, for example, while the more subdued American band Dawes artfully expands on the soulful songwriting that thrived in California during the 1970s. But these groups often toil in relative obscurity, selling a few thousand records at a time, performing to modest-sized crowds in clubs and theaters.

    But there's another sense in which rock is very nearly dead: Just about every rock legend you can think of is going to die within the next decade or so.

    Yes, we've lost some already. On top of the icons who died horribly young decades ago — Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, John Lennon — there's the litany of legends felled by illness, drugs, and just plain old age in more recent years: George Harrison, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty.

    Those losses have been painful. But it's nothing compared with the tidal wave of obituaries to come. The grief and nostalgia will wash over us all. Yes, the Boomers left alive will take it hardest — these were their heroes and generational compatriots. But rock remained the biggest game in town through the 1990s, which implicates GenXers like myself, no less than plenty of millennials.

    All of which means there's going to be an awful lot of mourning going on.

    Behold the killing fields that lie before us: Bob Dylan (78 years old); Paul McCartney (77); Paul Simon (77) and Art Garfunkel (77); Carole King (77); Brian Wilson (77); Mick Jagger (76) and Keith Richards (75); Joni Mitchell (75); Jimmy Page (75) and Robert Plant (71); Ray Davies (75); Roger Daltrey (75) and Pete Townshend (74); Roger Waters (75) and David Gilmour (73); Rod Stewart (74); Eric Clapton (74); Debbie Harry (74); Neil Young (73); Van Morrison (73); Bryan Ferry (73); Elton John (72); Don Henley (72); James Taylor (71); Jackson Browne (70); Billy Joel (70); and Bruce Springsteen (69, but turning 70 next month).

    A few of these legends might manage to live into their 90s, despite all the … wear and tear to which they've subjected their bodies over the decades. But most of them will not.

    This will force us not only to endure their passing, but to confront our own mortality as well.

    From the beginning, rock music has been an expression of defiance, an assertion of youthful vitality and excess and libido against the ravages of time and maturity. This impulse sometimes (frequently?) veered into foolishness. Think of the early rock anthem in which the singer proclaimed, "I hope I die before I get old." As a gesture, this was a quintessential statement of rock bravado, but I doubt very much its author (The Who's Pete Townshend) regrets having survived into old age.

    It's one thing for a young musician to insist it's better to burn out than to fade away. But does this defiance commit the artist to a life of self-destruction, his authenticity tied to his active courting of annihilation? Only a delusional teenager convinced of his own invincibility, or a nihilist, could embrace such an ideal. For most rock stars, the bravado was an act, or it became one as the months stretched into years and then decades. The defiance tended to become sublimated into art, with the struggle against limits and constraints — the longing to break on through to the other side — merging with creative ambition to produce something of lasting worth. The rock star became another in our civilization's long line of geniuses raging against the dying of the light.

    Rock music was always a popular art made and consumed by ordinary, imperfect people. The artists themselves were often self-taught, absorbing influences from anywhere and everywhere, blending styles in new ways, pushing against their limitations as musicians and singers, taking up and assimilating technological innovations as quickly as they appeared. Many aspired to art — in composition, record production, and performance — but to reach it they had to ascend up and out of the muck from which they started.

    Before rock emerged from rhythm and blues in the late 1950s, and again since it began its long withdrawing roar in the late 1990s, the norm for popular music has been songwriting and record production conducted on the model of an assembly line. This is usually called the "Brill Building" approach to making music, named after the building in midtown Manhattan where leading music industry offices and studios were located in the pre-rock era. Professional songwriters toiled away in small cubicles, crafting future hits for singers who made records closely overseen by a team of producers and corporate drones. Today, something remarkably similar happens in pop and hip-hop, with song files zipping around the globe to a small number of highly successful songwriters and producers who add hooks and production flourishes in order to generate a team-built product that can only be described as pristine, if soulless, perfection.

    This is music created by committee and consensus, actively seeking the largest possible audience as an end in itself. Rock (especially as practiced by the most creatively ambitious bands of the mid-1960s: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and the Beach Boys) shattered this way of doing things, and for a few decades, a new model of the rock auteur prevailed. As critic Steven Hyden recounts in his delightful book Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock, rock bands and individual rock stars were given an enormous amount of creative freedom, and the best of them used every bit of it. They wrote their own music and lyrics, crafted their own arrangements, experimented with wildly ambitious production techniques, and oversaw the design of their album covers, the launching of marketing campaigns, and the conjuring of increasingly theatrical and decadent concert tours.

    This doesn't mean there was no corporate oversight or outside influence on rock musicians. Record companies and professional producers and engineers were usually at the helm, making sure to protect their reputations and investments. Yet to an astonishing degree, the artists got their way. Songs and albums were treated by all — the musicians themselves, but also the record companies, critics, and of course the fans — as Statements. For a time, the capitalist juggernaut made possible and sustained the creation of popular art that sometimes achieved a new form of human excellence. That it didn't last shouldn't keep us from appreciating how remarkable it was while it did.

    Like all monumental acts of creativity, the artists were driven by an aspiration to transcend their own finitude, to create something of lasting value, something enduring that would live beyond those who created it. That striving for immortality expressed itself in so many ways — in the deafening volume and garish sensory overload of rock concerts, in the death-defying excess of the parties and the drugs, in the adulation of groupies eager to bed the demigods who adorned their bedroom walls, in the unabashed literary aspirations of the singer-songwriters, in mind-blowing experiments with song forms marked by seemingly inhuman rhythmic and harmonic complexity, in the orchestral sweep, ambition, and (yes) frequent pretension of concept albums and rock operas. All of it was a testament to the all-too-human longing to outlast the present — to live on past our finite days. To grasp and never let go of immortality.

    It was all a lie, but it was a beautiful one. The rock stars' days are numbered. They are going to die, as will we all. No one gets out alive. When we mourn the passing of the legends and the tragic greatness of what they've left behind for us to enjoy in the time we have left, we will also be mourning for ourselves.
    Last edited by 1911user; Yesterday at 09:02 PM.

  2. #2
    We are going to lose a lot of great ones in music. Awesome list there.

    I never understood how Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin ever became popular / famous.
    His voice is revolting to my eardrums. Their music is not appealing in any way.

    Bruce Springsteen... flaming liberal. No thanks. Change the station when his songs come on.

    The Cars seemed to be very underrated. They had great songs and a fresh sound.
    Rick had a charmed life, will be missed.

  3. #3
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    As a general condition, age usually does terrible things to the human body as it stumbles forward. It is true that nobody gets out alive but I curiously share the views of those who are setting up the lament of the stars and enormous talents we have become so familiar and so comfortable with for so many years. For example, two of the three members of Emerson, Lake and Palmer are gone (Emerson and Lake). Their recordings will go on but their creative and philosophical energies will be missed.

    The past few days have seen the loss of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek. I remember hurrying to my afternoon drive air job at the time because I couldn't wait to play the Cars "Who's gonna take you Home Tonight" (Drive). It was terrific slightly ahead of the curve AM pop that went well almost everywhere. I had the record for many years.

    I'm keeping a positive outlook on long term musical icons like Ian Hunter (78), he of Mott the Hoople Fame and still touring actively. My first favorite star was John Wetton, the smokey voiced, uniquely talented bass player, writer and vocalist for groups such as Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep, the supergroup U.K (77-78) and most recently Asia. He also did an extended reunion with U.K, along with Eddie Jobson and drummers that varied between Terry Bozzio and European phenom Marco Minnerman. Wetton needed some time off for abdominal surgery with whispers involving cancer. My opinion? His King Crimson and U.K. work is overwhelming and potential hall of fame archivist level material. His live versions of "Exiles" and "21st Century Schizoid Man" (74, the USA album) are not to be missed and never will be forgotten. His take on "One More Red Nightmare" (Red, 1974) is breath taking and is just as ballsy and riveting today as it was when newly released.

    Even our folk singers are falling by the wayside. John Stewart of The Kingston Trio (followed by a long solo career) passed in 2008 at age 68. Mary Travers, the crisp female voice in Peter, Paul and Mary, passed away here in CT a few years ago after an extended illness.

    David Bowie passed recently. An iconic writer, composer and performer on so many levels. He wrote the anthem "All the Young Dudes" for Ian Hunter and his Mott the Hoople project back in the 70's.

    Sadly I agree that the days of the starkly human rock star are sharply limited and unfortunately numbered. It is a tough way to make a living with long hours on the road, poor personal habits including sleep deprivation, excess alcohol and poor nutritional habits weighing heavy on the health and vitality of the person involved. The pressure of some corporate type in a bad suit and tie must never be overlooked either. Musicians create but executives dominate. Those two forces do not mix well.

    Hang on to your memories and as many of your recordings as you can. All too soon those will be all we have to hold on to.

    ***My post #11,000 here on TB. ***
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight_Loring View Post
    We are going to lose a lot of great ones in music. Awesome list there.

    I never understood how Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin ever became popular / famous.
    His voice is revolting to my eardrums. Their music is not appealing in any way.


    Bruce Springsteen... flaming liberal. No thanks. Change the station when his songs come on.

    The Cars seemed to be very underrated. They had great songs and a fresh sound.
    Rick had a charmed life, will be missed.

    You didn't happen to work for Rolling Stone Magazine in the late 60's and early 70's did you? Your opinion is in the minority on that one.
    BTW....They were ALL hippie liberals.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti-Liberal View Post
    You didn't happen to work for Rolling Stone Magazine in the late 60's and early 70's did you? Your opinion is in the minority on that one.
    BTW....They were ALL hippie liberals.
    No, didn't work for them.
    But as a contrarian by nature, I love being opposite in opinion of society.

  6. #6
    Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith of the Monkees are also in their 70's.
    "Why not stay awake now? Who wants to sleep now with so much happening, so much to see? Life used to be dull you see...and you don't have to sleep alone, you don't even have to sleep at all; and so, all you have to do is show the stick to the dog now and then and say, 'Thank God for nothing.'"

    Drusilla, "The UNVANQUISHED. William Faulkner

  7. #7
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    But Mick Jagger and the Stones are chemically preserved.

    They'll see 125 years.


    Ozzy too, he just won't have any lucid moments.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade

    Deplorable


  8. #8
    It's not just musicians but anyone still around from the early days of tv are really getting up there in age too. It's going to be someone famous kicking off on a daily basis from here on out.

  9. #9
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    When these are gone, there is no one in the entertainment industry, be it song or film, that will ever be worthy to even TRY to fill their shoes. Small people, with small minds and small skills.



    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vxHjRqnY7zA



    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=45u0kdUgFgo

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    But Mick Jagger and the Stones are chemically preserved.

    They'll see 125 years.


    Ozzy too, he just won't have any lucid moments.
    In all actuality, he'll probably be the next "big one" to go. He's not been doing well for the last few months.
    III

    Keep ignoring my rights and I'll keep ignoring your laws.

  11. #11
    Peter Tork and Davey Jones from The Monkees are gone, as is Jerry Garcia and Freddy Mercury, the latter two being HUGE R&R influences.

    I worked in the record industry in my 20's; ABC/Dunhill Records, Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Records, and finally Warner Bros. Records before video killed the radio star, the industry underwent a massive change and eventually I was laid off. What an incredible time in my life.

  12. #12
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    How and when did we get so damn old?
    "Walk toward the fire. Don't worry about what they call you." - Andrew Breitbart

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by thompson View Post
    How and when did we get so damn old?
    It's not the years (honey)...... It's the mileage. Indiana Jones.
    III

    Keep ignoring my rights and I'll keep ignoring your laws.

  14. #14
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    Not to be cruel but ... meh. I listen to Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Fats Domino, and some of the other greats that have been gone a long time. Just because someone dies, which is the natural order of things, doesn’t mean that their contributions die. Not to mention that some on the OP’s list a reportedly aholes and deviants. No one gets a pass come their Judgment.
    Find my free fiction stories here.

    "Isnít it interesting that the same people who laugh at science fiction listen to weather forecasts and economists?Ē - Kelvin R. Throop III

  15. #15
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    You forgot the beach boys.
    Jesus didn't MERELY only physically "die on the cross". He so loved us that
    It was God, suffering, bearing the sin, shame, guilt and punishment
    for every single person who had, or would ever live.
    So Justice could be preserved, Enabling Grace and Mercy to all who believe.

  16. #16
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    Rock from the 60s and 70s if fast becoming the big band era of my parents generation............while there are big bands surviving today, what market (and I'm a huge fan of them) do they have with today's youth relative to hip hop, rap, cheesy pop and country?

    In the final analysis rock was the outgrowth of the blues when the acoustic guitar became electric and a front row instrument............it was such an exciting time to experience its growth while at the same time I'm sure the previous generation mourned the loss of brass as lead instruments................

    From the Eddie Cochran double stops.......Chuck Berry duck walking.........Beatles on Ed Sullivan.......to Woodstock and beyond it was quite a ride..............

    For me in many respects that key blues rooted electric guitar rock sound begin its down hill slide for good when the guy who revived some of it in the 80s....died in that helicopter...........most of you should know who that is.........and for those of you who don't he goes by SRV............

    What really is heart breaking to me is I'm a guitar player of some 54 years now............and its the sound of a phat Gibson humbucker or a single coil driving Fender Strat and those jangle sounds of Rickenbackers are the foundation of rock and those instruments are getting harder to find........electric guitars in general are falling away at the same time of those remaining they are getting hard to find good quality instruments........the majority of electrics you can find are cheaper student model electrics catering mostly to shredding and metal kids.......worse than that........finding a guitar tech you can trust to do a reliable fret job on your favorite axe is journey into the abbess nowadays.......

    ......the times they are changing............and for me its too soon and not for the better.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ainitfunny View Post
    You forgot the beach boys.
    And the BeeGees

  18. #18
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    Well, considering that it will more or less coincide with the demise of just about every Rock Fan, we've reached a fine balance.
    Enjoy them while you can.

  19. #19
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    "The Coming Death of Just About Every Rock Legend" and their fans.

    We, the baby boomers, the spoiled offspring of "The Greatest Generation" were never supposed to get old or at least not me. My plan was to sail into old age healthy and free. Well at least I still have the free part, hopefully til the end.

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