Classic rock is classic for a reason. Although times have changed since the heyday of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, there's no expiration date when it comes to enjoying their music. Regardless of the amount of time that’s passed, some of classic rock's brightest stars are still at it and playing live for their most devoted fans around the world. From the Rolling Stones to Deep Purple, here are eight classic rockers who have no intention of putting down their guitars anytime soon.
The Rolling Stones
It was clear during the British invasion of the early 1960s that the Rolling Stones were a force to be reckoned with, thanks to their exploratory fusion of blues and psychedelic rock. Despite the rotating list of temporary members and the band taking time apart to pursue solo interests throughout the years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, and Mick Taylor celebrated their golden anniversary in 2012, commemorating half a century and 30 studio albums together. As part of the observance, the Stones embarked on their 50 & Counting… and 14 On Fire tours, followed by a tour in Latin America through 2016. The “Paint It Black” rockers also since released a book, two documentaries, and a blues cover album. Though no official announcement has been made, dates for 2017 performances have begun to spring up.
Although Bruce Springsteen initially struggled to gain fame when his career began in the early 1970s, the Americana legend has no problem performing four-hour-long sets to sold-out audiences across the world these days. Having produced 18 studio albums and embarked on 16 tours, it’s no surprise that the “Born to Run” artist is one of the few musicians capable of surpassing pop princess Taylor Swift in tour profits, bringing in more than $268.3 million with his E Street Band for The River 2016 Tour. In November 2016, he and 20 other recipients were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. With his The River tour drawing to a close, Springsteen anticipates the release of his next solo album sometime this year.
Still steadily rocking along, musician, poet, and activist Willie Nelson shows no signs of slowing down. Though he's turning 84, the multifaceted artist has acted in more than 30 movies, produced 68 studio albums, and still actively advocates for the legalization of marijuana. When he’s not sharing photos on social media of hilarious holiday sweaters Snoop Dogg gave him, he’s adding to the collection of books he’s published. His new album, God’s Problem Child, is out April 28, led by singles like “Still Not Dead” and “Old Timer.” His sense of humor sure hasn't wavered. You can catch Nelson and his legendary guitar Trigger at the Celebrity Theatre on April 25.
Few songwriters are inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame. Fewer win Pulitzer Prizes for their impact on music and American culture. Even fewer are awarded Nobel Prizes in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Bob Dylan has achieved all of these things and more. The Americana singer/songwriter has been keeping busy through the years with drawing and painting, showcasing his work for gallery display and book printing. In March, the Minnesota native released Triplicate, his 38th record.
The elusive Beatles’ drummer might not enjoy the spotlight and popularity that comes with being a famous musician, but that didn't stop him from riding the wave of fame and enjoying his successful solo career. Since branching out to record his own work and help a heap of other famous musicians post-Beatles breakup in 1970, Starr has released 18 studio albums, including 2015’s Postcards From Paradise. His solo efforts landed him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a second time, making him one of only 21 people inducted for multiple projects. Rumor has it his All-Starrs band is releasing an album in 2017 after delaying the project for more than 25 years.
Preferring to go on indefinite hiatuses rather than strangle one another, guitarist and vocalist Pete Townshend and the gang jammed out and destroyed expensive music equipment on stage together for almost 20 years before taking a break from studios and life on the road. The Who did reunite every so often for charity events of anniversary celebrations, but after the death of bass guitarist John Entwistle in 2002, Townshend and lead singer Roger Daltrey decided to continue performing as The Who, releasing 2006’s Endless Wire and partaking in numerous tours. No strangers to festivals like Woodstock or Isle of Wight, the English band is set to headline the 2017 edition of Outside Lands in San Francisco.
Meg Ryan might hate him, but John Mellencamp is one of the most beloved musicians around. Luckily for fans, the “Jack & Diane” singer’s 23rd record, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, is due this month. Albeit a far cry from his recent collaboration with horror writer Stephen King, the compilation of songs is a blend of tracks written by Mellencamp himself, songs written by Carlene Carter, and a bunch of duets between the two. The associated tour begins in early summer.
Even though their changing list of members and hiatuses are confusing, Deep Purple has been commercially successful since their arrival in the late 1960s. To this day, “Smoke on the Water” is still one of the first songs everyone learns to play on guitar. And while they are no longer causing waves as part of the “unholy trinity of British rock” along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, the anticipation for their 20th studio album is bittersweet, as it spells the indefinite hiatus for the group. This month's inFinite and its soon-to-be-announced farewell performances have officially been dubbed The Long Goodbye Tour.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE...
Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.