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10 Rockers Going Strong After 70

The retirement threshold was just the beginning for these legends

Paul Simon was just 26 years old when he looked at his distant future with Art Garfunkel on the song “Old Friends”. “Can you imagine us years from today sharing a park bench silently,” he wrote. “How terribly strange to be 70.” That “terribly strange” birthday arrived in October of 2011, and Paul wasn’t exactly a mute, geriatric figure on a park bench. He was on tour promoting his fantastic album So Beautiful or So What, singing and playing as well as ever. And he’s far from alone. Many of his peers have crossed the 70 threshold in recent years, and most of them are still touring and recording. Here’s a look at 30 rock stars past their 70th birthday.

1. Mick Jagger (70)

Birthday: 7/26/43
Age When First Single Came Out: 19
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 44
Most Recent Album: SuperHeavy
Last Top 40 Hit: “Rock and a Hard Place” (1989)
Current Status: The Rolling Stones are on tour and due in Australia this November.

2. Robbie Robertson (70)

Birthday: 7/5/43
Age When First Single Came Out: 21
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 51
Most Recent Album: How to Become Clairvoyant (2011)
Last Top 40 Hit: “Don’t Do It” (1972)
Current Status: He hasn’t toured since The Band broke up, but Robertson does release very occasional solo albums. He has served as music supervisor on many recent movies by Martin Scorsese.

3. Brian Wilson (72)

Birthday: 6/20/42
Age When First Single Came Out: 18
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 45
Most Recent Album: That’s Why God Made the Radio (2012)
Last Top 40 Hit: ” Getcha Back” (1985)
Current Status: He’s now touring with fellow Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks along with Jeff Beck, who plays on his upcoming solo album.

4. Aretha Franklin (72)

Birthday: 3/25/42
Age When First Single Came Out: 14
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 45
Most Recent Album: A Woman Falling Out of Love (2011)
Last Top 40 Hit: “A Rose Is Still a Rose” (1998)
Current Status: A medical scare a couple of years ago had media outlets practically writing her obituary, but Franklin survived and is now back on the road.

5. Graham Nash (72)

Birthday: 2/2/42
Age When First Single Came Out: 21
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 45
Most Recent Album: Crosby & Nash (2004)
Last Top 40 Hit: “Southern Cross” (1982)
Current Status: He released a memoir last year and tours occasionally.

6. Paul McCartney (72)

Birthday: 6/18/42
Age When First Single Came Out: 20
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 45
Most Recent Album: New (2013)
Last Top 40 Hit: “My Brave Face” (1989)
Current Status: He released a new album last year and still stages marathon, three-hour stadium concerts all over the world.

7. Paul Simon (72)

Birthday: 10/13/41
Age When First Single Came Out: 16
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 48
Most Recent Album: So Beautiful of So What (2011)
Last Top 40 Hit: “You Can Call Me Al” (1986)
Current Status: He recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of Graceland with a box set and a European tour where he played the album straight through. He’ll tour Australia with Sting in 2015.

8. Bob Dylan (73)

Birthday: 5/24/41
Age When First Single Came Out: 21
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 46
Most Recent Album: Tempest (2012)
Last Top 40 Hit: “Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979)
Current Status: He’s been on the Never Ending Tour since the summer of 1988, and it’s living full up to its name.

9. David Crosby (72)

Birthday: 8/14/41
Age When First Single Came Out: 23
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 48
Most Recent Album: Crosby & Nash (2004)
Last Top 40 Hit: “Southern Cross” (1982)
Current Status: Crosby, Stills and Nash tour every single year, and Crosby released his first solo album in 20 years earlier this year. 

10. Charlie Watts (73)

Birthday: 6/2/41
Age When First Single Came Out: 22
Age When Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 46
Most Recent Album: A Bigger Bang (2005)
Last Top 40 Hit: “Rock and a Hard Place” (1989)
Current Status: He survived throat cancer in 2005, and continues to tour with his jazz band when the Rolling Stones aren’t active.