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Old Aug-17-2009, 12:10 AM
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Retirement is surely imminent for some of our favorite classic rockers, especially in hard rock circles. Many of them simply can't live up to their own high standards anymore due to physical limitations, as age catches up with them and the cracks start to show. Some weather the years better than others.

David Coverdale looks pretty good, and his lower register sounds fine but he's lost a lot of range and he needs to play to his strengths.

Aerosmith has enjoyed a 2nd shot at success ever since they regrouped in the mid-80's. Steven Tyler is 61 now, and I'm pretty sure he did a lot more chemical damage to his body than Mick Jagger did back in the day. Not sure how much longer they'll be around, given the recent health woes of a couple band members.

Alice Cooper still looks and sounds good. I can see him giving up recording to dedicate his time to golf and radio, though...maybe continuing his annual Christmas shows...

Blue Oyster Cult continues to hit the road for a pretty respectable string of dates every year. Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma may look like your Dad these days, but they have one of the coolest catalogs of songs around, they continue to kick ass and they rarely, if ever, play the same set twice. These past couple years every time I've seen them play a small part of me wonders if I'll ever see them again...

Ian Hunter. Seemingly ageless, Hunter's voice has taken on a bit more rasp over the years. His recent material upholds the high standards of his earlier work.

Dio. Also ageless, except for the bit of raspy edge to his voice these days. Still a consummate performer.

Ozzy Osbourne. I used to be a big fan. He hasn't recorded anything worth my time for as long as I can remember. Thanks to his domineering television-obsessed witch of a wife, he's nothing more than a caricature. Ozzy will always be great because of his accomplishments, but he stopped accomplishing anything great long ago.

Motorhead. I have no idea how Lemmy can keep doing what he does. He's 62 or 63 now, believe it or not. Lemmy is the ultimate rocker. Long live Motorhead!

Lynyrd Skynyrd. Gary Rossington should retire the Skynyrd name, go home and be proud of what the band did. More members of this band have died than any other band I know...one singer, three guitarists, a backup singer, their keyboardist, their bassist...tragedy has followed this band for years. There's a lot of life packed into those songs.

Scorpions. Would you believe Rudolf Schenker started the band in 1965?! Yep, and they've been recording since 1972. Amazing. The band is still going strong with two original members in Schenker and singer Klaus Meine, with no signs of slowing down quite yet.

Uriah Heep. Man, these guys have a lot of albums out. Good stuff, too, despite a ton of lineup changes. Just one original member left at this point, but the others have been around a good quarter century now. The band's latest album "Wake the Sleeper" was among its strongest in years. Who knows how long they'll continue?

Foghat. They were, and are, a great live band. But is it really Foghat? I can't really see the reason to continue at this point, with Lonesome Dave and Rod Price gone. Kind of like The Guess Who without Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman.

The Moody Blues seem to have all but retired. They recorded a great seasonal album a few years ago called 'December', and released a really good live album. But they seem to have slowed way down, and I would imagine one day soon we'll realize they quietly slipped away.

Eric Clapton withered away and died creatively years ago, if you ask me. Same with Carlos Santana.

Gary Moore can still play guitar like a house on fire, but why he continues to tread water with this endless string of blues albums is beyond me. What a waste. The guy's a great songwriter, and the blues can be so limiting. Unless you're talking about Joe Bonamassa, who is very creative within the context of the blues. Bonamassa's work is outstanding! Heads up, Gary! You've still got some years ahead of you - make the most of them!

Deep Purple still puts on a good show, even if their set is somewhat predictable. The Purple family tree is one of the most fascinating to follow, as its members branch out into funk/rock/soul like Glenn Hughes, classical music like Jon Lord, renaissance / medieval like Ritchie Blackmore, oldies like Nick Simper, AOR / hard rock like Joe Lynn Turner, rootsy / world / rock like Ian Gillan, progressive / fusion rock like Steve Morse, progressive / conceptual like Don Airey...and tons more offshoots from those. Rainbow, Whitesnake, Paice/Ashton/Lord, etc. Purple continues to put out new material, albeit not as frequently as they once did. Seems the former members are more prolific these days. Glenn is a perfect example, and he remains at the top of his game, which is quite exciting for fans of his work.

Thoughts?

Cheers...Todd
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