Mick Jagger is 75, and Al Gore is 71
Our rock ’n’ roll stars are older than our politicians and not nearly in as a good a shape.
Mick Jagger is 75, and Al Gore is 71
While newspapers may be fading from society, they still provide the occasional interesting factoid, or as the kiddies…
While newspapers may be fading from society, they still provide the occasional interesting factoid, or as the kiddies like to say, “fun facts.” We only receive the Sunday edition of the Times Union, and at the risk of having my “man-card” revoked, I only do that for the coupons. Mock if you will, but is there a greater natural high than handing the cashier those magic pieces of paper and seeing the price you paid for your Bounty quicker-picker-uppers fall by a quarter? That’s what I thought.
Still, despite being enamoured with the coupon section, I still like to peruse the paper and look for the type of info that doesn’t always reveal itself too readily on the interweb. For example, inside the front page of the news section of the Times Union the paper lists all of the birthdays being celebrated by “notables.” This term notable in and of itself is debatable since anybody who they list under the age of 40 is usually unknown to me unless they can throw a ball or something along those lines. The list goes in age order from oldest to youngest. Sometimes the ages of some of the famous people listed is shockingly old. For instance, Shirley Jones from the Partridge Family just turned 85. How did that happen? She outlived her son Keith Partridge, how #sad.
However there was another birthday listed that stopped me in my tracks. (Which arguably wasn’t difficult considering I was sitting down at the time.) Why did this particular birthday stop me in my tracks you ask? Well it has to do with Mick Jagger, the legendary lead singer of the Rolling Stones who is undergoing a heart procedure, and as it was pointed out when I read about this news, is 75 years old, although I believe his hips are barely 16. However when I read that it was also Al Gore’s birthday, the former vice-president of the United States, and sort of elected president back in 2000 who had just turned 71, it seemed impossible to believe. How could Mick Jagger be that much older than Al Gore, and be in worse physical shape? Here’s an inconvenient truth, our rock stars are much older than our politicians, and their clock is winding down rapidly.
I know what you’re thinking and yes he does look cocky. But hey, you’d be cocky too if you invented the internet. (You Tube)
It’s not that anybody should be surprised that Mick Jagger is in his 70s, or for that matter so is Al Gore, it’s just that politicians never seem young or hip, (Except for AOC of course.) and in so many respects it doesn’t seem possible that Al Gore, one of the squarest politicians of the past 30 years is younger than the greatest rock star in its long and lustrous history. Yet nobody is immune to the ravages of time, and Mick Jagger and the self-proclaimed greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world, the Rolling Stones, have had to cancel their upcoming tour in support of their new album because it would appear that Mick is having a spot of heart trouble. You would think a man with a 33 inch waist wouldn’t have any heart problems, at least that’s what they’re always telling us right. If you have fat around your midsection you run a much higher risk of developing cardio issues. Doo doo doo doo doo, talk about a “heartbreaker.”
As mere mortals, it’s hard for us to believe that Mick Jagger is indeed a mortal, and is vulnerable to the same maladies as the rest of us. He may look fantastic, but he’s 75, and that’s more than just a number. Just to put it into perspective, the aforementioned Al Gore at 71 still qualifies as a baby-boomer since he was born in 1948. Obviously his father, the late Senator Al Gore Sr. was still celebrating the end of World War Two with Al’s mother, the lovely Mrs. Gore, and they produced Al three years after the war ended. Mick Jagger, clocking in at 75 years old was born in 1943, and isn’t even a baby-boomer. I don’t know if he was conceived during the Nazi’s blitz of London while his parents were holed up in the London Underground, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it was true.
He looks young and dynamic from far away, but when you get close, Mick does look a bit craggy. (You Tube)
A few years ago I wrote a blog regarding the abundance of very old rock ’n’ roll stars still performing on the road. (https://blog.timesunion.com/hoffmanfiles/i-cant-get-no-satisfaction-without-viagra/797/) I’m not against aging rockers going out on the road to perform. In fact, over the past two years I had the pleasure of seeing in concert Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Roger Daltrey, and I found all three shows quite enjoyable. I did however in my blog, and in a subsequent blog that I wrote this past summer entitled “Talkin’ ’bout my generation, then and now” (https://blog.timesunion.com/hoffmanfiles/talkin-bout-my-generation-then-and-now/44613/) how both the performers and their fans are definitely showing a little wear and tear. While some enjoyed these musings and getting the humor, (or at least acknowledging the attempt at humor.) others saw nothing to laugh at, and took a few shots at yours truly calling me a “hater” as well as a “know-it-all hipster” who is literally out to trash anything and everything that the public enjoys. (Like any good hipster, I put down my sustainable free-range chicken, and my IPA, and ran to my safe-space while stroking my unnecessarily long beard.)
While it is certainly enjoyable to see The Eagles, or Elton John, or Billy Joel, or Bruce Springsteen or any of the classic bands or performers from the 1960s and ’70s doing their thing, there was something about the Rolling Stones, and particularly Mick Jagger that made seeing them just a little bit special. It’s not just their endless catalogue of hits, or their legendary status, it was Jagger himself. The man seemed to defy age. So many other dynamic frontmen have come and gone, and yet Jagger keeps prancing, hopefully with his trousers on, after all, you wouldn’t want his trousers to fall down. (See “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out.) Here’s a few examples of some of the greatest frontmen in rock ’n’ roll history who have physically or spiritually fallen by the wayside while Mick’s train kept-a-rollin’:
- Robert Plant — Led Zeppelin — Plant hasn’t fronted “Zep” officially in 40 years, and while he’s had a very successful solo career, he looks like Gandolf the Grey, not even “the White.” I’m also pretty sure he’s not showing his midriff anymore these days either.
- Freddy Mercury — Queen — Freddy was the ultimate showman, but could he have kept up his performance to where it was almost identical to what it was in his heyday the way Mick has?
- Roger Daltrey — The Who — They will always be my favorite band, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Daltrey at Turning Stone Casino last summer, but his voice cracked several times, and he forgot the words to Athena twice. Long gone are the golden locks, and that’s fine, but he’s not the way one remembers him. From a safe distance, when you look at Mick on stage, it could easily be 1978.
- Ian Anderson — Jethro Tull — While it’s true that Mick Jagger could never play the flute while balancing on one leg the way Anderson could, Ian Anderson has been in semi-retirement living as a fisherman or a salmon farmer or something that’s “not hot,” for many years. I don’t see Mick baiting many hooks.
- Ozzy Osbourne — Black Sabbath — While Ozzy has maintained his wild man persona, can we really expect him to bite off the head of a bat like it was 1973? Mick can make a bat’s head pop off by simply shaking that supple, gyrating ass.
A man born to entertain. You get the same performance whether it’s 1969, 1979, 1989, or 2019…pending his heart surgery of course. (Getty Images)
Mick’s sudden health scare is of course made all the more surreal due to the fact that his partner in grime, Keith Richards is, well, still alive. People say Jimmy Page made a deal with the devil in order to procure fame for Led Zeppelin. Others point to the legendary blues guitarist Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil in order to achieve his phenomenal blues guitar skills. While one may choose to believe these stories or not, I don’t believe anybody can possibly argue with the fact that Keith Richards continued good health must be due to some sort of other worldly intervention. Richards who once allegedly went through a complete blood transfusion on a flight to Canada so when he was taken into custody he wouldn’t test positive for any illegal substances, has outlived a lot of rock ’n’ roll greats, and now appears to be of the “Glimmer Twins,” the more physically fit sibling. (And yes I can’t believe I wrote that sentence.)
I wonder how many pictures exist of Keith Richards in his over 50 year career lived out in the public eye where he doesn’t have a cigarette in his mouth. I’m not advocating for smoking, but if they ever need a new Marlboro Man, they don’t have to look far. (New York Times)
It doesn’t seem possible that Mick Jagger could be sick while Keith Richards mocks death at every turn, anymore than it seems possible that Mick Jagger could be four years older than Al Gore. So much of the Stones’ greatness seems wrapped up in Keith Richards’ smokey booziness (Or is it boozy smokiness?) in contrast to Mick Jagger’s endless, boyish energy. The fact that the Rolling Stones have continued to put out memorable performances for adoring fans of all ages for over 50 years makes it feel as if their traveling show will never come to an end, which of course it must.
I’ve only seen the Rolling Stones once and that was on the Steel Wheels tour in 1989. We saw them in Shea Stadium on a beautiful fall night, with Living Color opening up for them. (I insightfully predicted that they would be the band of the ’90s the way I foresaw “Big Country” as the dominant band of the ’80s. At least I was spot on with my prediction that “Outkast” would be “The Beatles” of the first decade of the 2000s.) The Rolling Stones put on a brilliant show playing so many of their greatest hits, as Mick Jagger never sounded better. We considered ourselves fortunate since it was widely rumoured that this was going to be their last tour. I was similarly lucky to have seen The Who’s final tour in 1982 in Syracuse..whew!
There’s a hot rumor going around that Keith Richards is coming out with a self-help book. Apparently the mistake that most of us are committing is that we’re not smoking nearly enough. ( You Tube)
I firmly believe that as more and more of our rock heroes pass from the living, the survivors from these various bands will simply find each other and form “super-groups,” the way the members of Cream, Blind Faith, Asia, and so many other bands came together, except this time they’ll be doing it in their 80s, and I have an idea where they can find a guitarist, just follow the cigarette smoke.
While it would seem that rock ’n’ roll performers have an endless shelf life, other professions are not so fortunate. Most professional athletes have to hang it up by the time they’re 40. Actors and especially actresses can see their opportunities dwindle with age, and dancers and models have a particularly small window before their careers come to an end. You would think for a politician at least, age wouldn’t matter. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case for some. In a world where nothing seems to make sense anymore, Al Gore remains on the sidelines as he has since he was in his early 50s. Apparently there are no second acts for the winners of the popular vote.