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2016: The Year Senior Citizen Musicians Took Over

Yahoo Music – By Dave DiMartino/Executive Editor – December 18, 2016

paul-mccartney-neil-young-desert-trip-2016-billboard-1548
Photo: Neil Young, right, performs with Sir Paul McCartney at Desert Trip at the Empire Polo Club on Oct. 8, 2016, in Indio, Calif.

You would not need extraordinarily thick eyeglasses or a hearing aid to notice what may have been the biggest music story of 2016.

Everybody got older.

Breaking news? Not exactly, but consider this:

• One of the hottest music festivals of the year was unofficially dubbed “Oldchella,” featured a celebrated cast of main performers all in their 70s (save youthful Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, just 69), and boasted an admission price exceeding the typical U.S. monthly mortgage payment ($1,061) by 50 percent.

• New albums by the Stones, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and even the Monkees clicked commercially and got rave reviews from media outlets both aggressively hip and dependably square. Sort of like what happened 50 years ago, but now everybody has wrinkles.

• Two of the year’s very best, most critically lauded albums were Blackstar by David Bowie and You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen. Both artists lived long enough to see their albums released, but just barely. Bowie had just turned 69 when he died in early January, and Cohen — whose first album was released in 1967, when he was already 33 — died last month at the age of 82.

Related: Bruce Springsteen, Oldchella, and the Year of Rock Star Mortality

And there was no small irony that the recent Desert Trip rock festival featured the Who singing a 51-year-old song with the lyric “hope I die before I get old”; a grizzled, eccentric, 70-year-old Young offering his classic ’70s track “Old Man”; and former “cute” Beatle Paul McCartney avoiding a performance of “When I’m 64” perhaps because of its conceptual implausibility.

coachella-bob-dylan-mick-jagger-paul-mccartney-pete-townshend-roger-waters-neil-young-photo
Photo: Coachella-bob-dylan-mick-jagger-paul-mccartney-pete-townshend-roger-waters-neil-young.

But the story here is not that people — whether they be rock icons or music fans — are merely getting older. Everyone is. It’s that, in 2016, older artists simply seemed to rule.

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Posted by Teri Perticone

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