Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hey Hey, My My

Jimmy Page turned 63 today. Paul McCartney will reach the official pensionable age of 65 in June. Mick Jagger is a year younger than Macca. Pete Townshend will celebrate his 62nd birthday in May.

If announced, which four tours are likely to be the highest-grossing in the UK this year? If Led Zeppelin tour, there's will almost certainly be amongst the highest-paid gigs in history. Paul McCartney has already lined up one date as part of Livepool's European City of Culture celebrations, so a tour might also be on the cards. The Stones will no doubt continue to drag their mammoth enterprise around the globe, hoovering up the millions as they do so. And The Who have made a recent return to the live arena in support of their first album in decades.

Why have no bands from the past decade, Oasis and U2 excepted, made the same leap to stadium rock? Why instead do people turn out in their droves to hear half The Who sing "I hope I die before I get old"?

Obviously it come down to longevity. The Rolling Stones have ignored the walkouts and deaths of band members to battle on, perfecting their polished live show over more than 40 years. McCartney continues because millions of people around the world still want to hear a Beatle sing Beatles songs (and Ringo playing arenas on the back of Don't Pass Me By and Octopus's Garden isn't likely to be as big a draw).

I may sound critical, but I was amongst the millions who sought tickets for Led Zepellin's comeback gig, and I was impressed with the The Who's show at T In The Park a couple of years back. If Macca does tour, I'll be there, quite possibly screaming like a teenage girl from 1964.

It must be a strange quandry for the artists to be in - with each passing year, with each new performance, they risk damaging their own reputation and sullying their own legends. Yet the public demand for these performances and reunions grows apace.

John Lennon became immortal the instant Mark David Chapman pulled the trigger of his pistol in New York more than 27 years ago. Jimi Hendrix's death saw him annointed the greatest ever guitarist for eternity. For some, Brian Jones and Keith Moon are more spectacularly towering figures than Keith Richards and Roger Daltrey, simply because they are no longer here to descend into middle age and geriatricy in the full view of the public.

Better to burn out and live forever or to fade away comfortable with the legacy you've left behind?


marky said...

Good stuff. Jimmy Page rules. The Who in the 70's would blow your mid in the arena, i saw them three times. On a good night only Led Zep could equal. The Stones are not usually very good live, like the Grateful Dead. Love Jimmy Pages silver hair. I post on my blog about being on stage with the Who.

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Read an article about Jimmy Page just the other day.

I really do not think those who live long lives ever really just fade away. They are always in the hearts and minds of the people who loved their ways.