The Kinks Are in the Age Preservation Society?
IN THIS PHOTO: Mick Jagger is recovering after undergoing heart valve replacement surgery/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Ensuring We Keep the Music of the Legends Alive
PERHAPS my feature title is a bit unwieldy...
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Rasic/Getty Images
but it seemed appropriate to name-check a classic album from The Kinks – a band that, one feels, will start to lose relevance in years to come. My mind has gravitated towards the legends of music because, in sad news, Mick Jagger might be off of the road for a while. The BBC reported the news regarding his heart problems and the fact The Rolling Stones have proposed dates in the U.S. and Canada:
“The Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger has said he is "on the mend" and "feeling much better" after receiving hospital treatment.
The singer has reportedly undergone heart valve replacement surgery.
In a tweet Jagger, 75, thanked hospital staff "for doing a superb job" as well as fans for their messages of support.
The band postponed their tour of the US and Canada after Jagger was advised by doctors that he needed medical treatment.
The Rolling Stones were due to kick off a 17-concert tour in Miami on 20 April, before travelling across North America until a finale in Oro-Medonte, in Ontario, Canada on 29 June.
The band are working with promoters to reschedule the shows.
Jagger previously apologised to fans for postponing the tour, writing that he was "devastated" and would be "working very hard to be back on stage as soon as I can".
IN THIS PHOTO: Prince (who died in 2016)/PHOTO CREDIT: Richard E. Aaron/Redfern
There are varying reports but some are saying that Jagger and The Rolling Stones will not tour for another year. Jagger himself has said he’s in good spirits but, whoever you believe, it has been a bit scary. We always like to think the greats will be around forever and they will never go. We lost David Bowie and Prince in 2016 and Scott Walker died a week ago. My heart did slightly slow when I heard news Jagger was in hospital and that he needed an operation. He is in his seventies so it is understandable that he’d be prone to the same problems as anyone else. Jagger is this ever-fit and active frontman who struts around the stage and captivates the masses. I, like so many, grew up listening to The Rolling Stones and never would have believed Jagger and his band would still be performing in 2019. It is amazing to see the longevity they have and the fact there are no signs of retirement. Touring can be an issue for artists when they reach a certain age. Neil Diamond announced his plans to stop touring last year after a Parkinson’s diagnoses and illness has taken other icons from the stage. Although The Rolling Stones are not calling it quits yet, one feels that in this day and age the only real way of getting this great music to the stage is through touring.
IN THIS PHOTO: Joni Mitchell captured in 1983 (a favourite artist of mine and someone, I hope, whose music is preserved and celebrated long after she has gone)/PHOTO CREDIT: Laurie Lewis
The loss of David Bowie and Prince a few years back was devastating but, one hopes, generations will keep the music alive. I do think, in a streaming age, more emphasis is put on the newer breed. For many, the only way the music of legendary acts will get to them is via the stage. Paul Simon is another name that is on my mind as I was writing about Graceland yesterday. Simon is not quitting music but we will never see him tour again. The man has been a pioneer since the 1960s so it is sad, if understandable, that he has to give up performing. I guess it is inevitable that, when artists grow older, they have to think about their health and fitness. If some feel it is time to bow out, there are others who are raring to go. Paul McCartney has barely slowed down since The Beatles rocked into music in the early-1960s and, touch wood, he will keep plugging and playing for a lot longer. He is seventy-six now and I am not sure how many years of touring he has. It might sound like I am being morbid but there will be hard days ahead where we have to say goodbye to the icons of music. Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon will go; Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young too; Madonna, Ray Davies and many others. There is nothing we can do to stop it but, in less than a couple of decades, there is a chance that the greatest innovators and names who have ever lived will be gone – what happens with the music and keeping them alive?
We still listen to Prince and David Bowie but I do feel that there is a risk that, in time, the music of these geniuses will start to fade and buried in streaming sites. Radio stations will keep playing their music but I wonder whether there will be or should be a way of ensuring these great artists are as relevant now/the future as they have been. It is tragic thinking that there will be a day where the titans are not here but their music will inspire generations to come. Unless a musician/fan is looking for their music in record shops or listening to the best radio stations, will we see that popularity wane? The fact that I revisited Paul Simon’s 1986 masterpiece yesterday made me wonder whether I have been spending enough time with the music of people like Simon. I listen to McCartney a lot but do feel like bands like The Kinks and Pink Floyd are not as hot in my mind as they should be. When I was listening to Graceland yesterday, it led me to Paul Simon’s eponymous album and, from there, classic Simon & Garfunkel. I do wonder whether we tend to let classic albums slip because they are not being promoted or the artists responsible for them are not touring. We have come to a time when, sadly, some departed artists are being kept alive via holograms – a rather ghoulish and weird way of seeing them perform ‘live’.
IN THIS PHOTO: David Bowie photoed in Paris in 1976/PHOTO CREDIT: Andrew Kent
Every time a huge musician leaves us, there is a grieving period and that reaction but, before long, we sort of accept the news. Scott Walker just died and I do wonder whether generations to come will discover his music as readily now that he is not with us. Radio and the Internet preserve the music but how to bring it to the attention of the young?! I do think there should be a website or some way of ensuring that the great albums from these immense artists are promoted and we do not let them slip away. I have been pitching the idea of a website that makes it easier for people to access the work of great artists easily. By that, I mean they do not have to randomly stumble upon the work of, say, David Bowie to bring him to mind. I do feel like streaming services are brilliant but there is an emphasis on the new and relevant. We risk ignoring the greats who helped progress music in order to highlight the newcomers. I grew up around classic albums and these icons; they were a natural part of my upbringing and, as my family were so record-focused, I was listening to music from artists who died before I was born – including Elvis Presley and Marc Bolan. The more we turn to the Internet and this dictates tastes, the likelier it is that the great artists we have now might struggle for attention in decades to come.
Maybe I am being a bit protective and worried for no reason but the mortality of icons like Mick Jagger has made me look ahead. We do not really have music museums and exhibitions to illuminate music icons to the young. There are not websites around, really, that preserve the music and ensure they are part of our regular rotation. I am aware that I am a bit remiss and overlook some bands/artists that are departed. I have not listened to Aretha Franklin for a while and, when she was alive, I was much more proactive and aware. I know we do not have a duty to promote artists when they have gone but, at the same time, how are musicians of the future going to discover their work? Will the young now miss out on classic acts because they are not putting material out? I think it is more than me being nostalgic or wanting the icons to stay alive and not go anywhere. The swell and wave of grief and affection received when we do lose a legend shows how much their music means. I do feel like there should be some sort of conservation or preservation whereby we are reminded about these heroes without having to stumble upon the music or happen to tune into the radio at the right time. Luckily, let’s hope, we do not have to incur the loss of a giant for a very long time and, for those who have left us, I would like to see their work more readily available. Whether that means sites like Spotify doing a bit more or seeing a return of the classic album series – what the hell happened to them?! – I don’t know. We do need to understand the importance of these huge artists and ensure that, in years and decades from now, their music is as played and discovered as it is now. To lose them is tragic enough but to lose sight of the music itself would be…
IN THIS PHOTO: Aretha Franklin died in 2018/PHOTO CREDIT: Fred A. Sabine/NBC/Getty Images