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Many of the world’s most iconic rock and pop music stars – the very symbols of youth in their prime – have now hit the big 8-Oh!
Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson just turned 80 on Monday, June 20. Paul McCartney, still a teenager, celebrated his 80th birthday last Saturday.
Many legends who left us too young, of course, would also have been close to 80 years old. Guitar god Jimi Hendrix and singer extraordinaire Janis Joplin died tragically within weeks of each other in the fall of 1970. Hendrix would be 80 in November, Joplin 80 in January. Mama Cass, who died in 1974, would have been 80 at this time.
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Here’s a look at eight pop and rock legends who recently turned 80 and are still impacting pop culture today in one way or another.
Chubby Checker, 80 (born October 3, 1941)
Checker made his way into American pop culture consciousness with his contagious hit “The Twist.” It topped the charts in 1960, then again in 1962.
A slightly modified version titled “Let’s Twist Again” was a huge hit in 1961. They remain among the greatest classics in pop music history. “The Twist” was named the biggest hit of all time by Billboard in 2018.
Checker is still performing nationwide on his doctored bus called The Checkerlicious Express.
Bob Dylan, 81 (born May 24, 1941)
Times began to change for Dylan with the release of his hit album, “The Freewheelin’ Dob Dylan” on May 27, 1963, just three days after his 22nd birthday.
His “Rough and Rowdy Ways” tour is currently taking place across California and other western states. The tour will continue through 2024, according to BobDylan.com.
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Dylan’s music was featured in the recent Broadway hit ‘Girl from the North Country’, which closed earlier this year amid COVID restrictions.
Paul McCartney, 80 (born June 18, 1942)
McCartney still leads a band on the run, wrapping up his US “Got Back” tour last week in front of 60,000 cheering fans at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, who sang “Happy Birthday” to him two days earlier.
During the tour, he paid tribute to his late Beatles bandmates John Lennon, who would be 81, and George Harrison, who would be expecting his 80th birthday in February.
McCartney remains a global star today, nearly 60 years after Beatlemania reshaped pop culture. McCartney has just announced the release of a box set of his solo albums, covering his post-Beatles career from the 1970s to today.
Smokey Robinson, 82 (born February 19, 1940)
Go-gos are still jumping with Smokey’s sweet sounds — nearly 70 years after Smokey Robinson and the Miracles began performing together and 35 years after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He is one of the most influential musicians in history, both songwriter and executive of Motown Records in its heyday.
Robinson is still on the road today, performing in concert halls across the United States and Canada.
Ringo Starr, 81 (born July 7, 1940)
“It’s not easy” for octogenarian rock stars. Ringo and His All Starr Band announced a revised North American tour last week, including 12 dates that had to be rescheduled due to coronavirus concerns.
The tour is set to kick off September 5 in Tanglewood, Massachusetts. It ends in October in Mexico City, according to RingoStarr.com.
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Ringo’s All Starr Band lives up to the bill. It includes American singer/songwriter Edgar Winter and Australian hitmaker Colin Hay of Men at Work.
Tina Turner, 82 (born November 26, 1939)
Turner was a hot commodity in the 1960s, 1980s – and still is in his 80s, although she claimed she was retired.
She is still present. The music world lit up a few days ago after news that Miles Davis recorded an instrumental version of “What’s Love Got to Do With It” in 1985. The song was a smash hit for Turner the previous year, winning three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
The dance diva is also being celebrated on Broadway today with “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” which is set to wrap up its COVID-halted run in August.
Dionne Warwick, 81 (born December 12, 1940)
Warwick’s voice has been with us forever and forever, it seems. She placed 56 songs on the Billboard charts from 1962 to 1998, making her one of the most successful singers of all time.
Her hits include all-time classics such as 1967’s “I Say A Little Prayer” and “That’s What Friends Are For”, which she recorded in 1985 with Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder. It won a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1986.
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Warwick performs in the UK today as part of his ‘She’s Back: One Last Time’ tour.
Brian Wilson, 80 (born June 20, 1942)
Wilson’s bright, sunny music blending sweet surf sounds with delightful harmonies will forever capture Southern California’s glory days.
Wilson turned 80 on Monday but is still moving, “round,” round.
He’s touring America with the 1970s hitmakers in Chicago, including his birthday in Kansas City.
“To me you are the only true pop genius in the world and I love you very much,” Elton John said from Denmark.
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It was a video card featuring 80th birthday wishes from some of the world’s biggest celebrities.
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