tonight's walkman tunes
invisible adjunct

i can't take it anymore

No, I don't mean watching the Giants lose. I mean going through all of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees one by one to examine an uninteresting point about their career trajectories. My theory is true, even though it's also mostly meaningless: rock and rollers peak early in their career, usually by their mid-30s at the latest, and there are very few rock and rollers who continue to get better throughout the aging process. Anyone, like that guy in the Buffalo newspaper, who tries to tell you these folks get better with age is wrong.

Since 1991, 96 artists have been inducted. The vast majority clearly and obviously fit my theory just like all the ones I've already posted about. Only a handful are even worth discussing, and in many cases, I already have discussed them somewhere in all these posts: Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner. That's six possible out of ninety-six, and to be honest, none of them are outside my theory. Lucinda Williams is the exception that proves the rule. And maybe Emmylou Harris, and maybe that guy from Giant Sand that Charlie mentioned. And I guess if someone wanted to make a case for Sonic Youth, I wouldn't argue.

Like I say, I don't know what it means or why it should matter. We should still listen to aging rock and rollers, and there are plenty of great albums made by rockers in their 40s and 50s and maybe even beyond. I just wondered why it would be that rock and roll artists would peak early ... I don't know enough about other art forms, is this true of painters? Sculptors? Novelists? Poets? It's true of athletes, but there's no apparent reason why rockers' careers should be more like baseball players than like muralists.

I'll throw out one more name, a name no one has mentioned. Pops Staples was singing gospel music and playing guitar in the 1930s. In the early 70s, the Staple Singers had hits with "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There." Pops was 57 years old when the latter was recorded. In 1975, when Pops was 60, "Let's Do It Again" hit the top of the charts. And even then they weren't done ... a version of the Talking Heads song "Slippery People" made #4 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts in 1984, at which time, Pops was 69 years old. OK, maybe he didn't have a lot to do with the music by then, but what the heck, daughter Mavis was in her mid-40s.

I guess what I'm saying is this: if there is ever an award for Best Aging Process by a Rock and Roller, I think it should be called the "Pops" Award.

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