70 — The New 65?: Musical Artists Turning 70 This Year!

Rob O'Connor
List Of The Day (NEW)

It eventually had to happen. No one stays young forever. That said, a list of musicians turning 70 is supposed to be a list of guys from the Swing Era. But now rock 'n' rollers are turning the Senior Circuit into a place where you no longer have to hike your pants up to your nipples. While I'm personally disappointed that my dream of being "The Waver" when I get old, sitting on my front lawn in plaid slacks and waving to traffic is now considered that of a bygone era, it's probably all for the best.

With that in mind, though, Frank Bonner -- Herb Tarlek on WKRP in Cincinnati -- who valiantly stood for the suits in The Suits vs. The Dungarees battle on the show, turned 70 on February 28. Howard Hesseman and Richard Sanders, who played Johnny Fever and Les Nessman respectively, turned 70 in 2010! All my heroes collect Social Security!

Here's a list of 25 Musicians still living (as of this blogging) who turn 70 in 2012! Barbra Streisand turns 70 on April 24 but she does not rock, so is excluded from this list. Same for Wayne Newton, whose 70th birthday was this April 3. What exists in Vegas, stays in Vegas. And/or in Branson.

25) Country Joe McDonald -- January 1: Give me an "F." Though he has recorded over 30 albums, just about everyone on Earth knows him for the obscene version of "The Fish Cheer" during his appearance at Woodstock, the savviest move of his career.

24) Marty Balin, January 30: While "Hearts" is punishable as a criminal offense, Balin was a member of the Jefferson Airplane and was notably punched out by a Hell's Angel at Altamont, so I think we're even.

23) Graham Nash -- February 2: As the "N" in CSN, CSN&Y and C&N, Nash is the amiable sort who somehow keeps on the sunny side of life with such incredibly insightful material as "Teach Your Children," "Our House" and "Chicago (We Can Change The World)." He has never littered in his life.

22) Cory Wells -- February 5: Three Dog Night had three lead singers and all three were born in 1942. Wells was the oldest dog.

21) Carole King -- February 9: Once upon a time in every girl's life, a copy of Tapestry was given. It was cheaper and took up less room than a piano. (Boys usually got a Bruce Springsteen album and were forced to attend a concert with their dad.)

20) Peter Tork -- February 13: The oldest member of the Monkees, Peter Tork should really have a statue erected in front of Jann Wenner's estate until he is allowed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

19) Lou Reed -- March 2: Rock's Grumpiest Old Rocker, Lou Reed will never be seen raging at the dying of the light, but simmering and taking it out on hapless journalists looking for a helpful quote.

18) John Cale -- March 9: There aren't many Welshmen in rock 'n' roll, at least compared to merry ole England and Scotland, with whom Wales shares an island. Why is this so? "The Land of Song"? Subtract Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey and what's left? Budgie? Gorky's however you spell it? Super Furry Animals? The Alarm? OK, that's about a month's worth of bands in the UK!

17) Aretha Franklin -- March 25: Lady Soul is best-known to the current generation as the Lady with the Hat. At this rate, we really are going to have to teach this stuff in school if we expect kids to know anything. If we can get them to stop playing with their phone!

16) Leon Russell -- April 2: Elton John's making sure Leon Russell isn't being forgotten, which really goes to show how fortunes change, since there was a time when it would've been inconceivable that people wouldn't remember Leon Russell. Face it, in one hundred years, all anyone will acknowledge is Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Elvis Presley and the Little River Band because some comic will think it's hilarious.

15) Chuck Negron -- June 8: The second oldest singer in Three Dog Night, Negron sang Harry Nilsson's "One" and established the Dog's career.

14) Paul McCartney -- June 18: Sir Paul may have been the world's most famous musician and he surely deserves his position as an elder statesmen no matter how few people are still buying Back To the Egg or any post-Wings album not named Flaming Pie, but his best career move these days has been attending Yankees games where he doesn't have to do anything more than sit and watch to get publicity. To those who are skeptical, yes, the Beatles really did exist and they were really that good.

13) Brian Wilson -- June 20: Two days after Paul McCartney was born, his competitor Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys was born in Inglewood, California to begin his troubled but brilliant life. If we remove June 1942 from existence, popular music in the 1960s comes out completely different!

12) Roger McGuinn -- July 13: Less than a month later comes Jim "Roger" McGuinn whose Byrds would make Bob Dylan's songs sound OK to people who hate Bob's voice. Sales of Rickenbacker 12-string guitars and granny glasses go through the proverbial roof and pudding bowl haircuts are all the rage for people who should know better.

11) B.J. Thomas -- August 7: "Hooked On A Feeling," "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" and his cover of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" make for four more hit singles that most artists can claim for immortality. Then there's stuff like "Two Car Garage," which represents the hopes of dreams of thousandaires the world over.

10) Caetano Veloso -- August 7: Brazilian folksinger and activist was like the Phil Ochs of his day, but with a tougher terrain to traverse. He even spent time in jail just for being who he was. His first all-English CD was released in 2004 with a cover of Nirvana's "Come As You Are." Unlike the Beatles, he was slow to capitalize on the American marketplace, who have since ignored him in favor of Jay-Z!

9) Al Jardine -- September 3: A founding member of the Beach Boys, Jardine was born in Ohio before the family headed to San Francisco. By high school he was in Hawthorne, California chumming around with Brian Wilson, a friendship that changed the trajectory of his life. Now, look at all the people you made friends with in high school and ask yourself why they couldn't have done more for your life.

8) Danny Hutton -- September 10: The third and final singer for Three Dog Night to be born in 1942, a year that is clearly the 'Year of the Dog', Hutton did what all the others in the group did. He sang. Considered a light-weight pop group in some circles, the Dog sound pretty good to these ears. That their music can often be found being sold extremely cheaply in CD bins in the local drug store just makes their music sound even better.

7) Gary Puckett -- October 17: As the leader of the Union Gap, Puckett created a sound that still divides listeners pretty well. "Young Girl" and the later single "This Girl Is A Woman Now" show the group kept a close eye on their female fans. A little too close, perhaps.

6) Elvin Bishop -- October 21: Probably the smartest thing Elvin Bishop ever did was sit in with the Grateful Dead in 1969 and create enough goodwill among deadheads to keep his name in the mix. As a respected practitioner of the blues, Bishop had his biggest hit with the song "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" that features singer MIckey Thomas on vocals, who went on to sing with Starship and build a city on rock 'n' roll.

5) Johnny Rivers -- November 7: For "Secret Agent Man" alone, Rivers would be remembered. However, a look at his catalog proves he had fine taste in covers and while very few of the people on this list will be remembered in 100 years, I sincerely hope "Secret Agent Man" is kept alive by the future generations who won't give a toss about us.

4) Bob Lind -- November 25: Lind has been a writer for the Weekly World News and the author of many novels, but he is best known for the 1966 hit "Elusive Butterfly," and by Brit-Pop fans for the Pulp song, "Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)." When Jarvis Cocker speaks your name, you have a right to feel suspicious.

3) Dave Clark -- December 15: Though the Dave Clark Five were clearly lousier than the Beatles, Dave Clark had a head for business and wound up being one of the few who owned his own music and didn't invite Allen Klein to "help." He also owns all the episodes of Ready, Steady Go!, the UK music show. The man bleeds money!

2) Mike Nesmith -- December 30: Nesmith knew he could do more than Don Kirshner would allow and he put his fist through a wall to make his point. He would eventually become the heir of the Liquid Paper empire that was luckily sold to Gillette before its need was severely diminished by newfangled computers a decade later. He is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be inducted in April. While I don't advocate violence, maybe I do.

1) Andy Summers -- December 31: Summers joined the Police when he was closing in on 35 years old, practically ancient by rock star standards. He'd already played with Soft Machine, Eric Burdon and the Animals, and toured and/ or recorded with Kevin Coyne, Neil Sedaka and Kevin Ayers. Since the Police, he has written film music for Weekend At Bernie's and hung out with Robert Fripp. A true renaissance man, who was almost born in 1943!