Buddy Holly died in 1958 at the age of 23 and, in some ways, some of his fans might be thankful. It saved them from having to watch him muddle through old age, releasing a string of Nashville-ized country albums, and touring around on a continual loop of "That'll Be the Day" and "Oh Boy."
Though, maybe he would get a Rick Rubin image makeover a la Johnny Cash, and that seems sort of awesome, now that I think about it.
The reason I am thinking about this at all is because The Rolling Stones are back on tour. And that has people sharing wheelchair, walker and zombie jokes (poor Keith Richards) as they think about shelling out hundreds (as much as $600 to $2,000 from what I've seen) for tickets to see the band play through "Satisfaction" and "Paint it Black" and "Jumping Jack Flash."
Even Mick Jagger (now 69) admits he doesn't have "moves like Jagger" anymore.
Old bands never die, but at a certain point don't they stop being relevant?
Black Sabbath just announced European dates for its latest reunion tour.
I saw Ozzy Osbourne at one of his "Last Bloody Shows." I put that in quotes because it was the name of the tour and because those were nowhere near his last shows. Twenty years later, it still is news when he decides to go back on the road.
In addition, there are two variations of the seminal punk band Black Flag on tour this year, each with members from the band's multiple line-ups. And it is telling that Henry Rollins (a man who has said he's done playing the hits) is not involved with either.
Even Coachella, a festival that caters to hipsters and is a breeding ground for up-and-coming bands, does much of its booking from the way-back machine. At least four of this year's top-billed bands started in the early 1980s. Last year the festival had sir Paul McCartney share a headlining bill with a hologram Tupac. How is that for relevant?
Of course, aside from the serious audiophiles, most of us never progress beyond our musical adolescence. The stuff we loved when we were 14 or 18 or 21 is what we want to see and hear. When I attended Coachella in 2010, I was more excited to see Faith No More and Devo than Muse or MGMT. So I understand wanting to see bands like The Rolling Stones or Black Sabbath.
And I can't throw The Stones under the bus, either. I saw the band on the Voodoo Lounge tour in the late '90s. The show was at the Rose Bowl and the seats were a mile from the stage, and, still, the band killed it. They made the opening act -- none other than the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who headline the last night of this year's Coachella festival, oddly -- look like amateurs.
I certainly understand the love of playing in front of an audience and can't imagine Jagger, or the rest, wanting to give that up, especially when they stand to make tens of millions in the process (the band made $800 million from 2000-2010).
Still, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Maybe it's time for The Stones to step down and make room for some fresh blood. I hear David Bowie is back in the game.