When it comes to music legends, I maintain a double standard: I can get old and wrinkly. They can’t.
My rock and roll self wants to believe that Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Roger Daltry will never be inflicted with such common man conditions as heart disease and diabetes. Overdosing is to be expected, but to admit to overactive bladder? No way, man!
Shortly after Michael Jackson’s death, a YouTube video surfaced of the King of Pop wearing bifocals. Child molestation could almost be shrugged off as a misunderstanding. Yet, to see the Moonwalker struggling to make out words on a page as he read a deposition was horrifying.
Roger Daltry who for years belted “I hope I die before I get old” pulled the same stunt, appearing at an awards show in Jacko’s glasses. “Who is this AARP card carrying man?” I wanted to scream at the TV. I wanted the shirtless rock and roller I saw perform at the infamous Who concert in Cincinnati.
Athletes can retire, and, if lucky, land an ESPN commentator gig and a Jockey endorsement. They’re free to talk about their acid reflux and prostate cancer, unlike Eric Clapton who shared in a Crème documentary that after he got sober he was impotent for a long time. Slowhand?!
Years ago, I worked with Hank Aaron on a patient education campaign for osteoarthritis. When people heard the legendary ballplayer destroyed his knees and pre-treatment could barely walk, they ran to their doctors and demanded, “I want what Hank’s taking.”
If Mick started forgetting lyrics because of Alzheimer’s disease, I doubt fans would be as empathic.
I recently saw Rod Stewart perform at Madison Square Garden. Expecting a fat rocker stuffed into spandex, I couldn’t wait to tell my gal friends: “The guy still rocks! He looks better than when I saw him perform at Riverfront Coliseum in 1978.”
The fact that my seats were in Section 208 seemed like a minor detail.
Long live rock!