By RANDAL C. HILL
The Rolling Stones
They wanted to be the anti-Beatles and favored Chuck Berry and Bo
Diddley over Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. Formed in London in 1962,
the Blues Boys changed their name after hearing an obscure Muddy Waters
track called Rollin’ Stone.
They’ve been called The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the world, and who’s going to argue with that? Now in their 56th year together, the current tour lineup includes original-member vocalist Mick Jagger, 75, guitarist Keith Richards, 74, and drummer Charlie Watts, 77. Second guitarist Ronnie Wood, who came on board as a Stone in 1975, is the “kid” at age 71.
At 85, Willie Nelson is still going strong. The grizzled,
twin-braided Texan has performed on over 100 albums.
Along the way, he’s been through four marriages,
health issues, drug busts and tax problems. He’s still
on the road and enjoys being there. (And we love seeing him at the Florida Strawberry Festival.)
Nelson moved to Nashville in 1960 to write songs
that have since become country classics (Crazy, Hello
Walls, Night Life). His own hits have included Blue
Eyes Crying in the Rain, Always on My Mind and with Julio Iglesias, To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before. And not to forget the iconic tune that cheerfully defines his concerts: On the Road Again.
She was born Diane Ross in Detroit in 1944. At
15, she and a few fellow girl singers from the projects formed the Primettes, a sister act to the Primes, who were local guy-group friends. In time, the Primettes morphed into the Supremes, and the Primes found stardom as the Temptations.
The Supremes reigned as Motown’s most successful
1960s recording act, becoming Billboard queens
with 12 No.1 singles. Starting in 1967, they officially became Diana Ross and the Supremes, and in 1970 Ross began a solo career that saw an eventual total of 27 singles reach the Top 40.
On concert tours, the still-gorgeous 74-year-old gladly rekindles many golden oldie memories with her numerous, now-classic hits.
Cher has sold 100 million records worldwide—and that’s not counting the 40 million more sold when she was half of the duo Sonny and Cher.
Cherilyn Sarkisian quit high school at 16, married Salvatore “Sonny” Bono at 18 and found worldwide success with him.
On her own she has recorded dozens of best-selling singles and albums and, as a movie star, earned an Academy Award in 1987 as Best Actress for the film Moonstruck.
At 72, the superstar is still recording, still acting, still performing live, still
knockin’ ‘em dead as only she can. See her in this summer’s movie musical Mama
Mia! Here We Go Again.
As a young man in Los Angeles, native Mike Love,
now 77, enjoyed family get-togethers and singing with his three Wilson cousins. In 1962, they formed the Pendletones (named after the Pendleton shirt) and recorded an original 45 called Surfin’.
But their bush-league record company disliked the
quartet’s name and – without permission – stuck the
name Beach Boys on the single, which became a local hit.
Over the years, Love and group leader Brian Wilson
composed dozens of classic Beach Boy tracks that lauded surfing, cruising, hot rods and teen romance. Love is now the only original member on the always-successful tour circuit, although backup musician Bruce Johnston, 76, has been a Beach Boy since 1965.
At 72, Neil Young has been a singer/songwriter/
record producer in a still-active career that has earned him three Grammy Awards and a ton of respect.
Young hails from Toronto, Ontario, where he
formed high school rock groups before dropping out
to make music full time. He met California musician
Steven Stills, and the two became part of the celebrated L.A. ensemble Buffalo Springfield.
Young later formed the country-rocking Crazy
Horse band before reuniting with Stills as part of the short-lived quartet Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He soon wanted more control of his own destiny, though, and split for a successful solo career.
You can find Young on the tour road to this day.