This year my favorite rock star reaches a milestone age: the big 7-0. You’d never guess it by looking at his lifestyle – last year he performed more than 85 shows, guest-starred in a couple of shows and hosted an ’80s cruise. Although he’s said in recent interviews that he hopes to cut back the touring a bit and get an acting gig closer to home so he doesn’t have to travel as much, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all as he continues to write, act and perform.
As I’m reaching a milestone age this year, too, I decided that I’m going to embrace it. My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 51 and died a few weeks later at 52 so in the past I always looked at the big 5-0 with a sense of trepidation. But now I just feel a sense of urgency to try things I’ve always wanted to try and if I’m fortunate enough to make it to the big 7-0, I hope I’m still going strong, too.
Yesterday I decided to check out the AARP website to see what that was about (don’t laugh, they have good articles).
Plus, if I’ll be eligible for some discounts soon, I want to learn more.
Anyway, there was an article about celebrities who are turning 50, 60 and 70 in 2019.
I scroll down the 50 list
Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez – 50 looks pretty good! Dave Grohl – hey, a RS connection (“Sound City”)
On the 60 list
Another RS connection – Martha Quinn (flashback to that MTV interview with the striped shirt): Look how cute they both look!
Also on the 60 list: Marie Osmond. Yet another RS connection!
Linda Blair is also turning 60 this year – she and RS have a long history together that continues today – her foundation for rescue dogs is usually one of the charities that RS recommends when fans want to donate money in honor of his birthday.
And then there’s the 70 list.
Steve Perry (“Don’t Stop Believing” starts playing in my head)
Billy Joel (“Sing me a song, you’re the piano man,” one of my favorite sing-along songs)
Meryl Streep (Obvious RS connection – “Ricki and the Flash”)
And then there he was:
I KNEW he’d be on the list, but it still made my heart skip a beat when I saw it. Imagine that, me almost 50 and him almost 70 and all these years later and I still have that reaction. That’s something that would have shocked me back in 1982.
(Note, Bruce Springsteen is on the list too, which is kind of a connection, as people often get the two mixed up, which RS wrote about in his song “Bruce.”)
Let’s go back 20 years
As I’ve mentioned before, probably a few times, RS has been a huge source of inspiration to me these past few years. Primarily with my songwriting. (Two notes here: First, I’ve started a songwriting blog so I have another place to ramble about my songwriting rather than cluttering up this blog with it and second, I’m going to be performing a few of my songs at a local songwriting event this month – on the same day RS is performing at Graceland. Absolutely no connection there, but it’s still cool to me.)
Anyway, let’s go back 20 years to when RS was about to turn 50. It’s 1999 and RS is planning on releasing “Karma,” his first album since “Rock of Life” in 1988. In 1998, he had started touring again after many years (and I was there at a show in Henderson, Nevada). When Karma was released in April (I was there!) he was still 49.
Here’s 49-year-old RS on the day Karma was released. When I first met him, he was the age I am now. I just need a moment for that to sink in.
OK, I’m ready to continue.
(OK, after I wrote that and posted this pic I noticed that it says “now” in the background. Weird. I have had this picture framed in my home for almost 20 years and never noticed that before.)
Anyway, sure he had a HUGE successful career already by then, but let’s look at all his songwriting AFTER he turned 50:
2004: Shock/Denial/Anger Acceptance
2008: Venus in Overdrive
2009: Precious Little Ones (lullabies he wrote when his sons were young)
2012: Songs for the End of the World
2016: Rocket Science
2018: The Snake King
Also a best-selling autobiography and a best-selling novel. Plus lots of acting.
So the moral of the story is, even though reaching a milestone age might feel unsettling because of all it represents, you should still embrace it because not everybody gets that opportunity to be that age and as long as you’re here, there is still plenty you can do.
And now I’m going to sleep because it’s almost midnight and at my age…