in Times of
Last week’s celebration of Bob Dylan’s 60th birthday got me thinking of the longevity of Rock musicians in the west. His Royal Bobness has more than 50 albums to his credit and not only did he win the Grammy for best album a few years back, he also won this year’s Oscar for best song in a movie. Wow, what a career! And that too in an age where Andy Warhol’s predication of "everyone having his or her fifteen minutes of fame" threatens to come true! It was in the late sixties that an American friend gifted me Dylan’s first album and I will never forget his weird rasping singing voice and even weirder hair! His lyrics had unusual urgency and his insights gave a new meaning to existence, as we knew it. Some of his early work is still relevant and it was only recently that I quoted his lyrics for "the times they are a changin’" in an article I was writing in the context of our ever changing world. Well Bob does not seem to be loosing any of his attitude and I am sure we are going to see a lot more of him in the years to come.
Rock has given the world numerous artistes like Dylan who continue to impact us and they all seem to have grown in strength with advancing age. It was in the seventies that Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull said that he was " too old to Rock and Roll and too young to die" but the old man continues to boogie all over the world and has a following that would make any young artiste proud. Until recently, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones was touring and it is rumored that with every show he looses almost two kilos. He keeps himself in excellent shape and his amorous activities catch the world’s newspaper headlines every other year. The Stones, definitely the oldest music group still around, continues to release new music every two or three years and you can be sure that it debuts at number one on the world’s music charts. It’s truly difficult to believe that these gentlemen are all in the sixties or nearing it!
The Beatles, "the world’s best beat group" naturally has the best longevity record in today’s showbiz world. Their very effective Management has kept them uppermost in people’s minds with timely releases of old recordings re-mastered or with "value additions’ like off takes, conversations, pictures, variations etc. Their Anthology series in 1997 won 3 Grammy’s. In addition, over one billion dollars in merchandise was sold and the Anthology albums sold over 20 million copies (41% of the buyers were ages 12-25). Each Anthology release got to the number one spot on the Billboard Top 200 and were the fastest selling and highest grossing releases in history. And all this was achieved by a music group that has not played a single note together since the seventies. Paul McCartney, one of the richest musicians alive today, is still composing actively and recently premiered his Classical Symphony. He has also since released a book of poems. Phew! I guess the sixties had some magic portion that truly vitalized these artistes.
More Rock Legends next week!