Of all the artists you love now, who do you think you'll still be listening to in 40 years? And of those, who do you think will still be making great music?
Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, then and now.
I’ve been thinking a lot about age lately. I saw Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant give an unforgettable performance in New York City recently. He’s 62. Neil Young’s new record Le Noise is pretty brilliant and so was his recent tour, just him on stage with an electric guitar. Neil Young is 64. Iggy Pop gave one of his best performances of his life at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival a few weeks ago. How that man is still alive, much less stage diving, is a mystery. Iggy Pop is 63.
This month is the 40th anniversary Jimi Hendrix's death. I still remember hearing the news on the radio on my drive to school. What a stunning loss it was, and no one has filled that creative void since. Jimi Hendrix was 27. Just a few weeks later Janis Joplin died, and she too was 27. The following summer The Doors' Jim Morrison died at 27, the same age as Brian Jones when he drowned in a swimming pool in 1969.
I have to say I never thought I’d be listening to Robert Plant, Neil Young or Jimi Hendrix all these years later. I surely never thought that Neil Young or Robert Plant would still be making music. The music of 40 years ago was sound of rebellion and youth and it just didn’t seem plausible that those artists could be old and still be making music that was vital and inspiring. What Rod Stewart does these days, singing standards and playing Vegas, seemed like the more plausible and frightening path rock and roll could take.
All this got me thinking about the 20 and 30-somethings making music now. I wonder who we'll still be listening to in 2050. And to take it one more step, who's making music now that will still be making interesting music worth hearing in 2050?