/ The coming death of every rock legend

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Cú Chullain 03 Sep 2019

On top of the icons who died horribly young decades ago, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, there's the litany of legends felled by illness, drugs, and just plain old age in more recent years: George Harrison, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty.


Those losses have been painful. But it's nothing compared with the tidal wave of obituaries to come. The grief and nostalgia will wash over us all. Yes, the Boomers left alive will take it hardest, these were their heroes and generational compatriots. But rock remained the biggest game in town through the 1990s, which implicates GenXers like myself, no less than plenty of millennials.

All of which means there's going to be an awful lot of mourning going on.

Behold the killing fields that lie before us: Bob Dylan (78 years old); Paul McCartney (77); Paul Simon (77) and Art Garfunkel (77); Carole King (77); Brian Wilson (77); Mick Jagger (76) and Keith Richards (75); Joni Mitchell (75); Jimmy Page (75) and Robert Plant (71); Ray Davies (75); Roger Daltrey (75) and Pete Townshend (74); Roger Waters (75) and David Gilmour (73); Rod Stewart (74); Eric Clapton (74); Debbie Harry (74); Neil Young (73); Van Morrison (73); Bryan Ferry (73); Elton John (72); Don Henley (72); James Taylor (71); Jackson Browne (70); Billy Joel (70); and Bruce Springsteen (69, but turning 70 next month).

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subtle 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

But we will still have the likes of Biffy Clyro so stop being so morbid, life continues to move on, we grow old and make way for the young

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Trangia 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Oh for goodness sake don't be so morbid! 

We all die, its a fact of life. but the ages you quote in your predicted tidal wave of mourning are still relatively young. I'm in that age range but I am not living from day to day worrying about approaching death. I'm just planning what I'm going to do over the next 20 years or so. If I should die sooner than later so be it, but I've had a good life and wouldn't have missed it for anything. 

People die all the time, including "legends" but their music will live on, and that's what matters.

Get a grip and go out and have some fun

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Hat Dude 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

> All of which means there's going to be an awful lot of mourning going on.

Put em all onto a plane and fly it into a mountain a la "Day the Music Died"

Get it all over in one fell swoop ;-)

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dgbryan 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

No, I like this anticipatory melancholy ... what Celt isn't happiest when miserable?

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DaveHK 03 Sep 2019
In reply to subtle:

> But we will still have the likes of Biffy Clyro 

Lord help us. 

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stevieb 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Hey, Vera Lynn is still going strong at 102. Not every rock and roll icon dies before they get old. 

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syv_k 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Wasn’t it 2016 that wiped out vast numbers of aging entertainers? Maybe it’s like a sudden cold snap - those that survived it have another ten years left in them.

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toad 03 Sep 2019
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cb294 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Rock legends? OK, Lemmy died, but Leonard Cohen? Then again, I seem to vaguely remember the thundering double bass and screaming guitar solos in Suzanne.... Or maybe not.

CB

* I like LC, but rock legend?

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GrahamD 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Ozzy, of course, even though hes been diagnosed as indestructible, or something.

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Andy Hardy 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

How long till the cheeky girls shuffle off their mortal coils do you reckon?

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GrahamD 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> How long till the cheeky girls shuffle off their mortal coils do you reckon?

Off their what ?

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dread-i 03 Sep 2019
In reply to toad:

Dave, when I said 'have you got any Vera Lynn's...'

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Kevster 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Surely "legend" infers age or time served. Whether that's themselves, legacy or a function of both.

On that basis. All legends were either outstanding beyond others, or have been around for a long time. Are we suprised that legends are long in the tooth? 

The next legend may be Taylor Swift or ed shearan,  not legends yet though are they? But if they keep going as they've started..... In popularity.... or whatever other measure, they will in time become legendry too. And older, and more likely to pass away. 

Being a legend and closer to death when compared to the new cohort is logical....

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skog 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

> but the ages you quote in your predicted tidal wave of mourning are still relatively young

Relative to what?

I think a lot of people have unrealistic expectancies on this, e.g. the average male life expectancy in Scotland is 77 (so plenty die quite a bit younger); I'm not sure what it is for Western rock and roll legends who may not have looked after themselves all that well in their youth...

As you say, there's not a lot of point in wasting time worrying about when it'll happen - but Cú Chullain does make an interesting point about what's coming up, the end of an era and all that.

In fact, I saw the Cure play a couple of weeks ago - they're a particularly fine example of music that benefits from, as dgbtyan calls it above, anticipatory melancholy.

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Eric9Points 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

If you believe the theory proposed by William Burroughs in the last chapter of The Soft Machine it's likely that Keef will live to be about 205.

But yes, the world is moving beneath our feet.

It is worth therefore heeding the words of another famous dead rock star, Jim Morrison, "I'm gonna get my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" <cue Roadhouse Blues..>.

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Iamgregp 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Paul McCartney's been dead for decades, haven't you seen the covers of Sgt Pepper's & Abbey Road?

You need to start listening to those albums in reverse mate, it's all in there...

Post edited at 13:08
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PaulJepson 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

It'd be much worse if any of them had done anything of note in the past 40 years.

I very much enjoy some of their music but does it really matter? They're not putting anything good out now, and if you go see them live they're just a depressing shell of their former self (maybe the Stones being an exception?). 

The way I see it, they're already dead. I have no connection to them outside of the music they produce and they won't be putting anything out that I want to hear whether they die tomorrow or in 25 years time. Would be much more of a loss for someone current to pop their clogs. 

It would be nice if they spread themselves out a bit though, so we can get separate weeks of mourning and prime-time tv documentaries. 

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snoop6060 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Gary Glitter is 75 as well. Be a sad day when he passes. I mean if are you gonna include MJ and Pete Townshend, why not GG? 

Post edited at 14:33
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DerwentDiluted 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

What a depressing OP. I try to find the positive.... I take great comfort from reminding myself that Bono and Chris Martin aren't getting any younger.

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Timmd 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

It's probably not going to happen all at once,  so all the people who've never known them personally will manage I reckon.

What gets to me more, is the people I hear about who die from smoking. friends of friends, distant family friends, or other people I come across.

Dying of aging is no bad thing in the end, a long life to be celebrated by everybody else. A privilege not everybody has.

Post edited at 15:03
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L wbo2 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:  freeze them so all that rock goodness isnt lost forever mate ( voice of Smashey, nicey).

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The New NickB 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Paul McCartney's been dead for decades, haven't you seen the covers of Sgt Pepper's & Abbey Road?

That would account for his singing voice these days!

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Pursued by a bear 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Richard Thompson (70) and Ian Anderson (72) aren't in the first flush of youth either.

T.

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Tom V 03 Sep 2019
In reply to snoop6060:

Not forgetting that bloke who sang Stairway to Heaven.

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Pursued by a bear 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Tom V:

*That* bloke is 89, I believe.

T.

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Tyler 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Can't believe Debbie Harry and Bob Dylan are only 4 years apart in age. For someone my age their music seems generations apart. Mind you when you are 11 years old 4 years is a very long time.

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Irk the Purist 03 Sep 2019
In reply to skog:

Life expectancy for a 75 year old male in the UK is another 12 years.

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Bulls Crack 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Are they all booked on the same flight or something?

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mbh 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Tyler:

For me, Debbie Harry will forever be the age she was as a poster girl in the cafe where I often went (always that cafe) to play Space Invaders when I was 17 or so.

In real life, she and her band have just been a tribute act to themselves for years (unless I have missed oodles of notable new stuff), so rock and pop won't notice their passing, beyond the range of reactions we have when people we admire but don't know die.

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skog 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Irk the Purist:

That will depend a lot on where in the UK.

And probably on how much of a rock and roll lifestyle they had in their youth.

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brianjcooper 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

The trick is to be around yourself and able to mourn them.

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birdie num num 04 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Iggy Pop has still got a six pack, and will probably see us all off

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Tom V 04 Sep 2019
In reply to brianjcooper:

That's a Whillanesque statement. Nice one.

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Blue Straggler 04 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Neil Diamond, Melanie Safka.

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Andy Gamisou 04 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

You missed out Brian Pern on your list btw!

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Andy Hardy 04 Sep 2019
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> What a depressing OP. I try to find the positive.... I take great comfort from reminding myself that Bono and Chris Martin aren't getting any younger.


How old is Chris deBurgh?

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Martin Hore 04 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Beethoven, Bach, Mozart - won't it be absolutely dreadful when they die and no-one will ever be able to listen to their music again.

Martin

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malk 04 Sep 2019
In reply to Irk the Purist:

yeah, i reckon it could be 15-20 years before the last rock star of the '60s passes on. ozzy is only 70;)

Post edited at 14:10
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The Wild Scallion 04 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

So this isn't about ageing climbers then ? 

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Timmd 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> That's a Whillanesque statement. Nice one.

He had an unusual gift for words

'It's a good life, so long as you don't weaken.' 'What happens if you weaken?' 'They bury you'. 

I've grown to realise it's about trying to stay connected with people who are positive/helpful, and develop a life which enriches, along with the inner strength.

Post edited at 13:56
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cb294 08 Sep 2019
In reply to malk:

> ozzy is only 70;)

... and he is so pickled in drugs that he will live to 150. Every bacterium or cancer cell trying its luck will just die.

CB

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Ceiriog Chris 08 Sep 2019
In reply to cb294:

I’ve liked loads of Artists over the years, but keep going back to anything Ian Anderson and slowhand himself have done, only watching Clapton last night on U Tube playing with Steve Winwood, absolute perfection. Can’t imagine them not being around 

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Ceiriog Chris 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> How old is Chris deBurgh?

112

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Pefa 09 Sep 2019
In reply to cb294:

> ... and he is so pickled in drugs that he will live to 150. Every bacterium or cancer cell trying its luck will just die.

That reminds me of a comment made by I'm sure it was Dauphin on here a few years back during a debate on which rock star was the heaviest drug user and someone said Iggy Pop to which Dauphin said Keith Richards would snort the ashes of Iggy Pop. 

Classic comment. 

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Muttly 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú  

At some point our descendent should will have to think about what kind of planet they are going to leave for Keith Richards. 

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DancingOnRock 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

That’s quite a list. 

I’m not sure it will hit the baby boomers very hard. Im a GenXer and already my friends and people my age are starting to die. Not sure it’s mourning or rather a realisation of our own mortality, these people remind us of our teenage years, but by now the baby boomers should be well aware of their mortality.  

Post edited at 20:18
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DubyaJamesDubya 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Given that every death is an excuse to explore their music again, from a purely music appreciation perspective, it is nothing to get too upset about.

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Blue Straggler 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Maybe not a rock legend in the sense of your OP, but the influential and inspirational Daniel Johnston died in the past few days. He was 58 

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muppetfilter 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Bryan Ferry ... Pro fox hunting knobhead, no loss to music.

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