Seven Aging Rock Stars Who Have Held On To Their Dignity in Retirement

Why don’t the Rolling Stones take it easy?

Why don’t they sit down and write something symphonic?  Something that’s cultivated… Something that is more befitting of their age and status?

Hell, you cannot lead the rebellion forever guys!

Rock music should be left for young rebels...
Rock music should be left for young rebels…

And (for you, at least) there’s not much to protest about now is there? Mick (alone) is worth at least $300 million.

How can the Stones (and many like them) promote political activism and lead revolts against consumerism and conformity when they are — literally — fully integrated into the very establishment that they propose to hate?

Rock should be left to the young rebels to perform.

After all, it’s all about authenticity and vigour isn’t it?

If we continue to allow the geriatrics to take control of the school-yard, won’t the rock ‘n’ roll revolution just trundle to a stale and unsanitary halt?

But Here are Seven Mature Rock Stars Who Have Managed to Keep their Dignity Intact:

1: Carole King

A Beautiful Collection - Best Of Carole King
A Beautiful Collection – Best Of Carole King

Age: 73
Musical Career: 60 years

King began writing songs in her early teens. At James Madison High School, she chose the new last name “King” for herself as a stage name and formed her first quartet, the Co-Sines.

She attended Queens College in New York, where she met Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon, and Gerry Goffin — all future songwriters like herself. She briefly dated Sedaka, who produced a hit song entitled “Oh! Carol!” Named for her.

She married Goffin in 1960 at the age of seventeen.

She released one of the greatest albums of all time and has written music for the Shirelles, Drifters, Gene Pitney, Little Eva, The Righteous Brothers, the Animals, Ben E. King, P J Proby, The Byrds and The Monkees.

The 1967 Aretha Franklin hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” is one of the greatest songs of all time.

On May 10th 2012 Carole King announced she was retiring from music, not enitrely gracefully, though. She still managed some live shows (and a tour of Australia) but insisted that her recording days were behind her.

In 2013 King became the recipient of the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song — the first woman to receive the distinction.

2: Hank Marvin

Hank Marvin - Guitar Player
Hank Marvin – Guitar Player

Age: 73
Musical Career: 59 years

The Shadows were one of the most important British rock bands of the 1960s, and were a support band for Cliff Richard. They released over sixty UK chart singles.

As well as lending us Cockneys his name for our term for ‘Hungry’(I’m Hank Marvin me… Even as I write this … it has been a long time since breakfast) the multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and song writer has also been an enormously convincing guitarist. Brian May, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton and David Gilmour (and many others) cite Marvin as a major influence on their careers.

Hank Marvin was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and as a child he learned to play the banjo and piano. He began playing professionally in 1956 with the Crescent City Skiffle Group before landing it big when he was spotted at the 2i’s Coffee Bar in Soho. His Specs Appeal meant he was an easily identifiable star and he soon became a bit of an unlikely Sixties heart-throb.

He was offered an Honour from the Queen in 2004 (OBE) which Marvin declined for “personal reasons.” How rock ‘n’ roll is that?

Since 1986, Marvin has lived in Perth, Western Australia and manages the recording studios Nivram. He has been known to make the occasional spontaneous live appearance when friends are in town.. But otherwise, he leaves Dancing in the Shadows to others.

3: Duane Eddy

The Very Best Of Duane Eddy [3CD Box Set]
The Very Best Of Duane Eddy [3CD Box Set]
Age: 77
Musical Career: 59 years

Rebel Rouser Eddy is another guitar-twanger.

He wrote songs that were used in Forrest Gump and Natural Born Killers by Oliver Stone, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1960 he sold 12 million records.

Eddy started playing guitar at the age of five. By 16 he had formed his first band and after being discovered by DJ / Producer Lee Hazlewood, he recorded and released his first single in 1955.

He played lead guitar with Foreigner (1995 ) and appeared in several movies.

Eddy was the first rock ‘n’ roll guitar-player to have a signature model guitar made for him. Artists who publicly acknowledged his influence include such luminaries as George Harrison, Mark Knopfler and Dave Davies.

In 2010 Eddy performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London (sold out) and appeared at Glastonbury in 2011. But, otherwise, his Road Trip days are now behind him.

4: Donovan

HMS Donovan
HMS Donovan

Age: 69
Musical Career: 51 years

The hurdy-gurdy man of psychedelic pop, Donovan emerged in the British folk scene of the mid-sixties. He was a great friend of Joan Baez and Brian Jones (founder of the Rolling Stones) and he taught John Lennon how to finger-pick.

His glory days were the 1960’s but Donovan continued to perform and record during the 1970’s and 1980’s. And, although his image was despised by punk-rockers in the early 1970’s, his sounds made an impressive recovery during the 1990’s in Great Britain with the burgeoning rave scene.

Although born in Scotland, his family moved to England in 1956. He began playing guitar aged 14. He became a beatnik and spent his time playing folk clubs around his home town of St Albans. In 1964 he was offered his first contract.

Donovan befriended Brian Jones and hooked up with his ex-girlfriend Linda Lawrence. She became mother to his son, but refused to marry him. His career took off when he began to collaborate with producer Mickie Most — releasing several hit singles and albums — and getting to work with the future members of Led ZeppelinJohn Paul Jones and Jimmy Page. In the mid-1960s he developed a friendship with Paul McCartney and helped write “Yellow Submarine”.

He also became the first major British rock star to be arrested for possession of cannabis. (1966.)

In 2004, Donovan played “Sunshine Superman” at the wedding concert for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark. And in 2005 he toured with Damned drummer Rat Scabies and Flipron keyboard player, Joe Atkinson. But nowadays he confines his performances to gentle shows at places like London’s Jazz Cafe and giving talks on transcendental meditation.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

5: Manfred Mann


Age: 74
Musical Career: 56 years

Born Manfred Sepse Lubowitz in South Africa the keyboarder better known as Manfred Mann started off working as a jazz pianist in clubs around Johannesburg. In 1959 he and childhood friend Saul Ozynski recorded the first of two albums under the band name: the Vikings – They were South Africa’s first rock and roll band.

Leaving South Africa because of his opposition to apartheid — he moved to London in 1961. He met musician Mike Hugg at Butlins Holiday Camp and the pair started a band named the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers. Mann also recruited Paul Jones and then, later, celebrated guitarist Tom McGuinness.

The band was renamed as Manfred Mann and they played an important role in the social history of the Sixties, when asked to create the theme song for the newly influential television pop show Ready Steady Go! They recorded “5-4-3-2-1” in 1964.

Although they could write and record their own material,they seemed to be even more successful when recording pop standards and Bob Dylan numbers. They had a big hit with “Mighty Quinn” in 1968 and Mann became famous worldwide for being a superb interpreter and arranger of popular songs.

Mann famously ‘reinvented’ his band several times. In the late 1970’s he had chart success with his ‘Earth Band’ and Springsteen’sBlinded by the Light.”

After a second career as an academic, Mann now divides his time between London and Helsingborg in Sweden. He released a delicate new album titled Lone Arranger last October.

6: Fats Domino

The Imperial Singles Collection [3CD Box Set]
The Imperial Singles Collection [3CD Box Set]
Age: 87
Musical Career: 68 years

Domino was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and learned to play the violin as a youngster.

A local band-leader named Billy Diamond discovered him in 1947 and asked him to join the Solid Senders.

His “Fat Man” single was released in 1949 and is often cited as one of the first rock ‘n’ roll numbers. It sold a million copies and was co-written by Domino. (With jazz trumpeter Dave Bartholomew — now aged 94.)

He is probably most famous for his 1956 cover-version of “Blueberry Hill” a highly successful and well-loved hit song which led to his appearances in movies such as Shake, Rattle & Rock.

By the 1980s, Domino decided he could live comfortably off of his royalties. So he decided to stop touring. Even an invitation to perform at the White House failed to persuade him to leave his beloved city. And although he sometimes appears at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and other local events, he now rarely leaves home.

Nevertheless, he has played several benefit shows Post-Katrina and he featured in season 3 of American television drama Treme.

Domino has been credited with more charted rock hits than any other classic rock artist except Elvis Presley. He refused induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he got a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.

7: Lonnie Mack

The Wham of That Memphis Man
The Wham of That Memphis Man

Age: 73
Musical Career: 61 years

Although he is internationally known as the ‘Memphis’ man Lonnie Mack was born in Dearborn County, Indiana. He was raised on subsistence farms in southern Indiana, and, as a child, was influenced by R&B and black gospel music.

He started playing acoustic guitar at age seven. He dropped out of school at age 13 and began playing road houses in and around the Cincinnati area. At the end of 1950 he put together his own band.

In 1958, Mack bought the seventh-ever Gibson Flying V guitar. He said it reminded him of an Indian arrow-head. He has used it ever since.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck both admit that Lonnie Mack was a great influence. And one reason for this is that Mack invented the “extended guitar solo.” It’s part of the ‘brand’ of rock… Perhaps classic rock would be unthinkable without the ‘lead guitar break.’ Because of this innovation, Mack has been described as the “guitar hero’s guitar hero.”

During his career he released ten studio albums and has successfully collaborated with Freddie King, James Brown, the Doors, Wayne Perkins and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

In recent years, Mack has been made occasional visits to off-the-grid rural road-houses in the state of Tennessee, surprising and delighting punters. But, otherwise, he limits his performances to benefit concerts and special events.

He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2005.

Words: @neilmach 2015 ©
Images provided by artists or their representative.

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