The latest Rolling Stones round of touring brought forth the predictably two-part, contradictory media response:

1. They’re too old to rock ‘n’ roll and should have hung it up decades ago, and

2. Isn’t it incredible how Mick Jagger can run around the stage at 70?

Quickly, no, the Stones aren’t too old to rock ’n’ roll, not so long as fans are still willing to shell out the big bucks to watch. And, yes, it is incredible how Jagger can run around the stage at almost 70, though methinks he was much better at 20 just standing there and singing (see The Rolling Stones Charlie Is My Darling—Ireland 1965, the terrific documentary of the band’s 1965 Irish tour, released last year).


But Jagger’s not the only rocker whose stage act belies his golden-years age. Eric Burdon, in fact, just turned 72, and celebrated earlier this month here in New York with a flurry of promotional activity including sitting in with the band on Letterman, a special invite-only birthday celebration at the John Varvatos store in the former CBGB’s, and two nights at the Highline Ballroom.

Burdon, fully recovered from the back surgery that put him down last year, never sounded better on Letterman, where he sang his Animals classics “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “House Of The Rising Sun,” and at Varvatos, where he split his set between Animals and his acclaimed new album ’Til Your River Runs Dry. The disc finds Burdon progressively committed as ever with songs like lead track/first single “Water,” which reflects his profound interest in water conservation—having lived in Southern California since the 1970s—and came out of a conversation with fellow water-awareness advocate Mikhail Gorbachev.


Like Burdon, John Fogerty, who turns 68 today, was here last week, doing two nights on Letterman and other activities in support of his new album, Wrote A Song For Everyone, just out today with a five-star Rolling Stonereview. Yes, the album is excellent, but in spite of itself: Fogerty easily outsings and outplays guests half his age (Foo Fighters on “Fortunate Son,” Keith Urban on “Almost Saturday Night”) who join him on remakes of Fogerty originals that can’t possibly be improved upon—even if Jennifer Hudson gives “Proud Mary” her best Tina Turner and Fogerty’s sons Shane and Tyler give “Lodi” a rockier reading.

Luckily at an iHeart Radio simulcast/taping, no guests were present, just Fogerty and a big band (three guitarists, including Shane; two female backup singers, bass, organ and drummer Kenny Aronoff)—nothing to take away from Fogerty by trying to gratuitously add anything on. And like Burdon, no one, certainly not Jagger, sings with such spirit and conviction.

Also like Burdon, Fogerty’s songwriting is in top form—though there are only two new ones on Wrote A Song For Everyone. The one he played at iHeart, “Mystic Highway,” was beautifully delivered and held up with any of the classics. Thankfully, it’s not diluted on the album by any voice besides Fogerty’s own, and hopefully, it will be followed in short order by a Fogerty album of all new material.

Jim Bessman

comment closed

Copyright © 2013 M Music & Musicians Magazine ·