Rockers Then And Now

"Never trust anyone over thirty!" was once the battle cry of the rock n' roll generation. That slogan ought to be amended to make room for these icons of the genre who keep rockin' decades after leaving their twenties.

As the saying goes, "A rolling stone gathers no moss," and most of these rock stars don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, many of them are still cranking out new music and performing to sold-out crowds across the world. Some have even expanded into other mediums such as acting, writing, and visual arts.

Because of the hard living often associated with the rock n' roll lifestyle, rock stars aren't usually known for aging gracefully. Still, many of the musicians featured on this list seem to have beaten the odds, and they are no less "rock n' roll" in their old age. They may have traded in some of their former habits for healthier ones like yoga, but they still embody the rebellious ethos that makes rock n' roll an eternal art form

Debbie Harry


As the lead singer of Blondie, Debbie Harry left an indelible mark on popular music. Her influence has echoed through the punk and new wave scenes, and even into hip-hop. The 1980 classic "Rapture" is often considered the first rap song ever recorded.

While Harry still records new music, she has become more focused on philanthropic work, especially involving cancer and endometriosis.

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Bob Dylan


Bob Dylan is often considered the "voice of a generation," although he spurned the title. His every move sent shock waves throughout the culture, such as when he "went electric" in 1965, angering the folk scene that had first embraced him.

Dylan has been keeping himself busy with recording new music, writing books, and painting. Since the 1980s, he's been continuously performing around the globe on what he calls his "Never Ending Tour."

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Billy Idol

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Billy Idol began his music career with British punk band Generation X. In the 1980s, he set out on a hugely successful solo career, combining a bad-boy biker image with a hard-edged new wave sound. He scored a number of hits in the 1980s, most famously "White Wedding," "Rebel Yell," and "Dancing with Myself."

While he may no longer be at the top of the charts, Idol is still recording music. In 2014, he released an album, Kings & Queens of the Underground, and published a memoir, titled Dancing with Myself.

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Tina Turner

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Anna Marie Bullock got her start in the 1950s as the lead singer of Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm. In 1962, she married her bandleader and took on the name Tina Turner. As the Ike & Tina Revue, they became one of the most successful R&B/soul acts of the decade, with hits like "A Fool in Love," "River Deep – Mountain High," and "Proud Mary." However, as their success grew, their relationship became violent. Tina divorced Ike in 1972 and went on to pursue a solo career, recording some of her best songs, such as, “Private Dancer” and “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

After a tumultuous life in the spotlight, Turner lives a much quieter, more peaceful life. In 1994, she moved to Zurich, Switzerland, and in 2013, she relinquished her American citizenship to become a Swiss citizen. Despite having grown up Baptist, she is now a practicing Buddhist.

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Carly Simon


Carly Simon is considered "one of the quintessential singer/songwriters of the '70s", with 24 of her singles appearing on Billboard's Hot 100, including "You Belong To Me," "Jesse," "You're So Vain," and "Nobody Does It Better." 

Over the years, Simon has become an accomplished film and television actor. She's made guest appearances on Fraiser, Family Guy, and Bob's Burgers.

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Ozzy Osbourne

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Ozzy Osbourne rose to prominence as the lead singer of influential heavy-metal band Black Sabbath. His heavy drug use led to his departure from the band, but, with the help of his wife Sharon, he was eventually able to kick his addiction. He went on to a successful solo career and recorded hard rock anthems such as "Crazy Train" and "No More Tears."

Ozzy has remained relevant over the years by regularly performing live, most notably with his heavy-metal tour Ozzfest. The popular MTV reality show "The Osbournes" introduced The Prince of Darkness to a younger audience, and resulted in the catchphrase, "SHARON!"

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Brian Wilson

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Brian Wilson was bookish and never learned to surf, yet his music is now synonymous with the California beach scene of the 1960s. As the major songwriting force behind the Beach Boys, Wilson’s music evolved throughout the decade. His songwriting and composition peaked with the album Pet Sounds, which solidified his reputation as a pop-music genius. Unfortunately, Wilson was prone to the excesses of the era, and became a drug-addled recluse

Thankfully, he slowly recovered from his struggles with drugs and mental illness, and in 2004, he released his long-awaited masterpiece, Smile.

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Mick Jagger

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The fact that “swagger” and “Jagger” rhyme can’t be a coincidence. Mick Jagger, with his overtly sexual stage persona and bluesy voice, set the bar for all rock n' roll frontmen. With fellow Rolling Stone Keith Richards, he penned some of the classic rockers of 1960s, such as “Satisfaction,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and “Paint It Black.” 

Jagger refuses to let age stand in his way. He continues to tour extensively with the Rolling Stones, and, as seen in Martin Scorcese’s recent documentary Shine a Light, he has more energy and charisma than most singers half his age.

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Johnny Rotten

As lead singer of the Sex Pistols, Rotten is considered one of the founding fathers of punk rock. He was notorious for his anarchic stage persona and his irreverent lyrics, sung in his trademark nasal tone. Everything about him seemed to spit in the face of authority.

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While many didn’t expect him to make it to his senior years, he seems to be embracing them. After years of dental negligence, he now sports titanium teeth and is reported to be an avid bingo player.

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James Hetfield


As lead singer and guitarist of Metallica, James Hetfield revolutionized the genre of hard rock by combining the sinister tones of heavy metal with the thrashing speed of punk.

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Hetfield may have lost the mane, but he still has the power to rock arenas around the world. When not touring with Metallica, he spends his leisure time working on classic cars.

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Jon Bon Jovi

In the 1980s, Jon Bon Jovi became famous for his powerful vocals as well as his golden locks. His band, Bon Jovi, became international glam-rock icons with the album Slippery When Wet.

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Jon’s hair may have come down a bit, but his ambition hasn’t. He’s become a renowned philanthropist with his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, as well as a successful businessman. In 2004, he became founder and primary owner of an Arena Football team, the Philadelphia Soul.

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In the 1980s, Madonna became the Queen of Pop with her catchy songs, outrageous outfits, and controversial music videos. Despite her conservative Catholic upbringing, she has never been afraid to push the boundaries.

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According to Guinness World Records, Madonna is the best-selling female recording artist of all time. Madonna released her latest album, Rebel Heart, in 2015. On her last tour, she grossed $169.8 million in ticket sales.

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Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana's virtuoso guitar playing made him a fixture in the famous Haight-Ashbury hippie scene. His band, Santana, fused jazz, blues, acid rock, and Latin music to make a unique sound that set them apart from their contemporaries in the 1960s.

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Santana has remained a powerful force on the charts, releasing best-selling albums featuring collaborations with younger artists like Rob Thomas and Michelle Branch. He is also a dedicated social justice activist, often campaigning for the rights of immigrants and the Latino community.

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Patti Smith

Patti Smith was unlike any other artist to come out of the 1970s New York City punk scene. Her music combined the harsh guitar tones of the genre with deep, poetic lyrics, with the result being a unique punk sound for a literate audience.


In 2007, Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2010, she released a best-selling memoir, Just Kids, about her life in 1970s New York with her then-partner, artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

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Pat Benatar

Julliard graduate Pat Benatar became one of the most successful musical artists of the 1980s. She scored 19 Top 40 hits such as “Love is a Battlefield” and “Invincible.”

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Benatar hasn’t stopped performing, and even joined Blondie for a series of concerts in 2009.

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Linda Rondstadt

With a career that embraced rock, country, folk, Latin, and jazz, Linda Rondstadt became known as the “First Lady of Rock.” She became one of the top concert artists of the 1970s.

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After retiring in 2011, Rondstadt revealed that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating condition that made it nearly impossible for her to continue to perform.

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Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell developed her unique form of guitar playing after suffering from polio as a child. She had to use special tunings and unorthodox hand positions in order to work around her weekend hands. Along with her soothing voice and beautiful lyrics, she became one of the most celebrated folk artists of the 1960s, and managed to cross into the pop world with hits like “Big Yellow Taxi.”

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Mitchell is also an accomplished photographer and visual artist, having designed each of her album covers herself. Rolling Stone Magazine named her the 42nd "Greatest Singer" and 9th "Greatest Songwriter" of all time.




Bono rocketed to stardom in the 1980s as the frontman of U2. Albums like The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree showcased his soaring vocal range and socially conscious lyrics, dealing with issues close to his heart like famine in Africa and the troubles in his home country of Ireland. 


Bono continues to record music and perform sold-out shows with U2 all around the world. He has become a prominent philanthropist and social justice advocate, working with various charities and world leaders to combat the AIDS pandemic in Africa and to contribute to worldwide debt reliefs.

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Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop was a notorious rock n' roll wild man. As lead singer of the Stooges, he was known to intentionally cut himself on stage while performing, and often spread peanut butter all over his chest.


In 2010, Iggy and the Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At 69 years old, Iggy has managed to keep in shape, as evidenced by his ever-bare chest.

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Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart has been a rock legend and sex symbol since the 1960s, when he began his career with the English rock band The Faces.


Over a career that has spanned over six decades, Stewart has sold over 100 million records. In 2007, he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen.

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Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen's New Jersey background inspired his songs about blue-collar heroes trying to break out of their small-town fates. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, his albums with the E. Street Band became instant classics, such as Thunder Road, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Born in the USA. His music was the soundtrack of the working class at a time when many regular people were becoming jaded by the promise of the American Dream.

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Springsteen is now a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent got his start as lead guitarist in a Detroit rock band called the Amboy Dukes, who scored a hit with their 1968 psychedelic rock song "Journey to the Center of the Mind." In the 1970s, he went solo and created some of the heaviest guitar riffs ever in arena rock anthems like "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold." He became famous for his wild stage theatrics (often involving a crossbow), which earned him the nickname "the Motor City Madman."

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In recent years, Nugent has made headlines with his controversial, outspoken politics. He's a spokesman for the NRA, a vocal supporter of the Republican Party, and an avid hunter and outdoorsman.

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Stevie Knicks

Stevie Knicks' distinctive voice helped make Fleetwood Mac one of the most successful bands of the 1970s. The backstage drama between her and fellow band members during the recording of Rumors has become the stuff of rock n' roll legends, as has her interest in the occult and her battles with drug addiction. 


Luckily, she was able to kick her drug habit in the early '90s and is now a cast member on the hit TV show, American Horror Story.


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H/T: LifeBuzz

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