“If you start me up, if you start me up I’ll never stop…” (1981) Start Me Up. Recorded in 1978 & 1981 by: The Rolling Stones. Composers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards.
From a radio/record perspective of Start me Up, it truly has one of the biggest hooks in rock & roll history. It sticks to the ear. Even now you probably are hearing it in your head. From a rock composer’s perspective, the instrumental is carefully crafted.
Recently, I have been astonished at the musical icons still on tour, or performing stop-and-go dates. The Stones are a great example. 76 year old Mick, along with Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie are still cranking it on stage across the planet. Then there’s Roger and Pete from The Who continue kickin’ the boards worldwide. Of course, Barry Manilow, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson (86), and Ann (69) & Nancy (65) Wilson of Heart are like well oiled machines. Brian and Roger of Queen are dotting the world in song still. I would be neglectful if I didn’t mention Mick, John, Stevie, and Christine of Fleetwood Mac raising the arena roofs. Gene Simmons of KISS recently stated that he will be 70 in August. By the time their End of The Road Tour wraps, he will be 72 and believes he will be cooked well-done by then. There’s no way I would leave out Elton, Paul and Ringo wowing concert goers on every continent.
Photo: Joan Baez in Spain. Concert by the sea, July 2019. Photo by my friend, Grace Stumberg from upstage.
A buddy of mine, near Green Bay, WI, worked part-time in security for major concert events. One recent night he found himself in charge of the green room back stage for the band, Kansas. While they were on stage performing Dust In The Wind, he got a good look at all their drugs sitting out, completely exposed. He was surprised to find a mix of Levemir, asthma inhalers, an assortment of beta blockers for blood pressure, and statins for cholesterol. Signs of the times? (LOL) Most all of the above, with a few of exceptions, are artists who range from 75 years old and older. Mick Jagger made major news, not long ago, with heart surgery holding back the current tour. He got through it nicely and is hopping around on stage like a young rabbit. Being an old performer myself, I know how tough it is to be on your energetic stage toes as you get older. There’s just certain things I just can’t do as well as I once did.
Vocally, I’m fine. But too many times lately, I find I lean on my mic stand for support, or sit on a bar stool to finish a set of music. After decades of performances, I know I could probably never take on a major role in a musical again.
Or, it could be these are photos of my imaginary son. (LOL)
The truth bites. Honestly, I don’t know how these long-in-the-tooth artists are able to take the wear & tear of concert touring. Most all of these acts have 15 years minimum jump on my age. I guess Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine was right with the lyric, Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.
All of this came to mind earlier this month when it was 120f degrees inside my 2008 Nissan Xterra. It’s been a terrific vehicle since I bought it about 9 years ago. One July afternoon I got in the oven…uh, rather the SUV, turned the key as it tried to start, but was denied. Knowing it wasn’t the starter or the battery, it left me bewildered, and hot. Try, try again they say. After the third attempt, it turned over. So, off to the auto shop it went for diagnosis. Right away they gave me the bad news. It was the actual crankshaft, and with it, crankshaft sensors. If the crankshaft doesn’t spin, the pistons won’t engage. Arg!
I hate car trouble. After a couple of days, and $750.00 later, it drove as if right off the assembly line. On the way back home, I heard Start Me Up on a classic rock radio station. I thought it was most coincidental. The laughter came tumbling out of my mouth. Wouldn’t you know, I turned it up and sang along, using my best Jagger accent, of course.
Some say age is all in the mind. Maybe that’s true to a certain extent. Then again, why isn’t 79 year old Chuck Norris competing in the MMA? I certainly see how the mind can overcome many rusty, slow-moving items in life. On the flip-side, there are times when the mind says, “I know how to do this. I’ve always done this.” Yet, the body doesn’t get that memo. Parts rust, wear and tear, and the muscles weaken with stiffness to boot. Age is what it is…age.
So, for now, I will grab the energy God gives in His installment plan. He does say to rely on Him for strength, even physically. The One who makes all things new is the best physical trainer. My job is to nurture and exercise this aging earthsuit while I’m still in it. The turning of the key to Divinity is all about trusting what He promised to those who acknowledge and follow Him.
Wisdom says, get to know your body and its limits. It’s prudent to explore the boundaries when starting up the day. Who knows, maybe you’ll never stop.
If I do sing and dance on stage when I’m 76 years old, it will only be because I consumed fuel for the race.
“Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.” – God Isaiah 46:4 (NAS)