Still Rockin’

By Sharon Naylor

December 21, 2015 5 min read

Sixty-seven-year-old Alice Cooper is still rocking -- at an age when most people would be content to retire, play golf or sip pina coladas on a tropical beach. While it's likely that Cooper and his rock star brethren enjoy a few rounds of golf and tropical beaches in their leisure time, performing is still very much in their blood. And touring is still on their agenda.

Alice Cooper was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just a few years ago and last year was the opening act for the final Motley Crue tour. He has gathered a number of fellow musicians, including Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, into a group called the Hollywood Vampires, performing gigs in the most famous music venues.

Also 67, Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, left his position as judge on "American Idol" to return to his musical endeavors and a tour from 2012 to 2014. Aerosmith's "Global Warming" tour stretched from 2012 to 2014 in 41 locations across North America, among other performances. Tyler's expansion into country music is to be revealed in his new solo album.

Bob Dylan, age 74, shows no signs of slowing down. His aptly named "Never-Ending" tour started in 1988 and has made hundreds of stops over the years in places across the globe. He made a number of stops in 2015.

At 70, Rod Stewart has tour dates around the world set for 2016. Seventy-three-year-old Sir Paul McCartney famously performs three-hour concerts in stadiums across the globe.

Sting -- a youthful 64 -- tours regularly, and he recently partnered with Paul Simon, age 74, on a tour across the world. According to the experts at concert website Songkick, Sting has racked up over 1.5 million miles while on tour throughout his career.

At age 66, Ozzy Osbourne has tour dates set for 2016 performing in Black Sabbath's farewell tour. Also age 66, Billy Joel continues to sell out Madison Square Garden for his concert dates and has tour gigs set for 2016.

Making these legends look a bit like youngsters, 89-year-old Chuck Berry performs concerts once a month at a venue in St. Louis, Missouri. Eighty-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis still performs as well. Eighty-one-year-old Frankie Valli made his Broadway debut in 2012 with a weeklong concert series.

Other retirement-age rockers who are still performing or creating music for other performers include:

--Art Garfunkel, 74

--Graham Nash, 73

--Robbie Robertson, 72

--Mick Jagger, 72

--Eric Clapton, 70

--David Bowie, 68

--Brian Wilson, 73

--Gene Simmons, 66

--Neil Diamond, 74

--Ringo Starr, 75

--Smokey Robinson, 75

While not quite at retirement age, Cyndi Lauper and Pat Benatar, both 62, are touring. Also in this age bracket are Eddie Van Halen (60) and David Lee Roth (61).

A tour can be grueling, with travel and practice adding to the exertion. A vast number of younger performers can't seem to keep going. But beloved rockers and performers must harness something very positive for themselves through the energy and love of their fans: the ability to bring so much joy to their audiences. A cynic might say they do it for the money, and while there's no doubt that some money comes into play, the tenets of good health -- a sense of community, physical activity, connecting to a passion -- may very well play into these legends' decisions to keep touring, playing, singing and writing music.

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, playing an instrument from a young age keeps the mind sharper as one ages. The study, done at the University of Kansas Medical Center, gathered 70 healthy adults ages 60 to 83, and divided them into groups based on their levels of musical experience. The longtime musicians performed better on several cognitive tests than those who had never studied an instrument or learned to read music. Lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy found that musical activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter. Learning and performing music can thus compensate for cognitive decline due to aging.

These rockers can serve as an inspiration to everyone in their golden years. After all, it's hard to have an "I'm too old" mindset when a musician your age, or a decade older, is still rocking after all these years.

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