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Now That I’m (Almost) Sixty-Four

Aging in the Rock ‘n’ Roll world.

by Dr. Spin
March 10, 2003

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Now That I’m (Almost) Sixty-Four_Dr. Spin-Aging in the Rock ‘n’ Roll world. Dear Spin Dr.,

What did you think of Simon & Garfunkel's contribution to the Grammy Award show & the rest of the show? I've hear S&G are going to tour again maybe. Is that a good thing? Do you think the pair has made a significant contribution to popular music?

Funky Simon


Dear Simon Funky,

I did not watch the Grammys though I did see clips from Simon and Garfunkel’s reunion. My first impression was that they both looked really old. This is becoming more and more true of artists of the ‘60’s. Most artists of that era are now hovering around 60 years old (Paul McCartney is four years away from making “When I’m 64” obsolete; when he turns sixty-five!) The human body is amazingly resilient, and with the aid of plastic surgery, Rock stars can look good and vibrant well into their fifties, but something starts happening in your sixties, and the body just can’t recover. This makes “Hello darkness my old friend,” (the opening lyrics of “Sounds of Silence”) take on a whole new and somewhat morbid meaning. Also, Mick Jagger needs to stop singing “(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” soon; if you haven’t found satisfaction by the time you’re 65, you’re just not gonna.

As for Simon and Garfunkel touring again being a good thing, well, it would certainly be a good thing for their pocketbooks. Personally, I would rather see them record another album together. If I want to see them do a reunion concert, I can just pull out the video of their reunion concert in Grant Park they did some fifteen years ago. Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel and many of their peers wrote some of the most significant music of their generation; music that still resonates with the younger generation. I would challenge them and their peers to write something at 60 that still has cross-generational appeal. That would be the mark of truly great songwriters.

***

Speaking of aging not so gracefully, Dr. Spin would like to say kudos to Johnny Cash and director Mark Romanek for his powerful video, “Hurt.” Though it is a cover version of (of all things) a Nine Inch Nails song, Johnny makes it his own and very personal, especially the video, which juxtaposes a weary-looking Cash playing piano and guitar in his memorabilia-stuffed home and shots of the flood-damaged House of Cash museum with archival footage of the country legend as a young man. Meanwhile the chorus claims, “You could have it all/this empire of dirt/I will bring you down/I will make you hurt.” It is unglamorous, unflinching and a bold statement on the cost of fame. Only someone of Cash’s magnitude could pull it off; it is stunning.

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