Sorry I can’t dig up the article but I read a piece a few weeks ago that suggested The Rolling Stones were still a big deal because even though they are old men, they’re playing a young man’s music.
The title of this blog refers to the song My Generation by The Who. They were in their 20s when they wanted to expire before they became senior citizens.
Now Pete and Roger are pensioners..and I’m sure My Generation is part of their current set list.
Rock and roll is all about energy and attitude and, as Jack Black’s character in School of Rock said, “There used to be a way to stick it to the man….it was called rock and roll.”
The flipside of the old man/young man’s music is represented by retro bands like The Sheepdogs and Rival Sons. Young men playing music from 40 years ago. Rival Sons is a great band but they’re a mix of Led Zeppelin and Bad Company.
A few years back, Bono said something along the lines of, “If this (new) album isn’t our best record, we’re no longer relevant.”
It wasn’t. You aren’t.
U2 are likely better musicians than they were in their 20s, and more skilled at crafting songs. But rock and roll isn’t about craft. There was an unmistakable passion in songs like I Will Follow and Sunday Bloody Sunday. Bono and crew had something to say. They were young, hungry and eager to deliver that next album.
Aerosmith can still write good songs. Good, not great. They will never compose another Dream On or Walk This Way. They don’t have to because they’re rich. Steven Tyler reportedly earned $10-million just for one season of judging folks we’ll never hear from again on American Idol.
The wonderful thing about the internet (and, shameless plug, The Rock and Roll Riot) is that we can seek out the originals. Jerry Lee Lewis singing Great Balls of Fire. Elvis doing Hound Dog. Little Richard rocking us with Good Golly Miss Molly.
The Beatles called it quits when they were still young men so they will never age as a band.
Great rock and roll keeps us feeling youthful. When we hear I Wanna Hold Your Hand we picture John, Paul, George and Ringo performing on the Ed Sullivan Show (even if we only saw it on TV years later).
To go back to The Who, they also gave us the Young Man’s Blues.
“Nowadays it’s the old man’s got all the money (and that is truer today than it was in the ’60s) and the young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days.”
But he’s always had rock and roll.