Rock and roll icons Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Keith Moon infamously died at young ages, and they certainly aren’t the only ones. It seems as though sometimes musical greatness ends with tragedy. Yet there are many other classic rock icons who aren’t just alive, but are still performing well into their 70s and 80s. These are 10 of the greatest rockers that are still alive in 2023.
Rising to popularity in the 1960s, Bob Dylan first started producing acoustic classics like “The Times They Are A-Changin.” It wasn’t long before he decided to try his hand at rock and roll, switching to electric instruments. Throughout the decade his music was fundamental to the counterculture movement. Dylan’s influential work has led some to call him “the Shakespeare of his generation.”
In 1988 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2016 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He’s won numerous Grammy Awards and was even given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Throughout his career he has sold over 125 million records, making him one of the highest-selling musicians ever. Dylan, now 81, hasn’t stopped performing yet and is currently on a 2021-2024 world tour.
Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney
The Beatles are one of the most iconic bands of all time, and their music set off an unprecedented obsession among their fans. After the deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison, there are now only two band members still alive: Ringo Starr, 82, and Paul McCartney, 80. Although they rose to popularity as a group, they officially disbanded by the beginning of the 1970s. That didn’t stop Starr and McCartney from embarking on solo careers.
Drummer Starr, also an impressive singer, released numerous albums and was featured in many films over the years. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, having previously been inducted as part of The Beatles. McCartney started the band Wings, with whom he recorded and produced many hits in the ’70s. By the ’80s he was back to solo work, finding his place in the Hall of Fame in 1999.
The pair are both still performing, but it is rare to see them on a stage together – although it does happen occasionally, to the delight of fans.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, of Simon and Garfunkel, recorded their first album together in 1964 which included the hit “The Sound of Silence.” It was this song that led to their fame, with future hits like “Bridge over Troubled Water” helping to solidify them as rock legends. As a duo, they won seven Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Yet all good things must come to an end, and they split at the beginning of the 1970s. As with the remaining two Beatles, both artists went on to have reasonably successful careers on their own, and were both independently inducted into the Hall of Fame. They have continued to appear together for shows over the years, including touring between 2003-2004. Simon and Garfunkel, both 81 years old, have now retired from performing.
John Fogerty is best known for helping found the band Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose song “Fortunate Son” became a counter-anthem for the Vietnam War. Fogerty, now 77, had an incredibly successful career with the group, acting as songwriter, lead singer, and lead guitarist. They produced eight gold albums between 1968-1972. Although the band split up, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
In the meantime, Fogerty went on to perform solo music, being ranked number 40 on Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Songwriters. He’s still producing music and released an album titled Fogerty’s Factory in 2020, which includes cover versions of songs he performed with family members as well as CCR classics.
Although he began his career as a member of bands such as The Dimensions, the Jeff Beck Group, and Faces, that’s not what Rod Stewart, 78, is best known for today. It was his solo music that shot him into the spotlight. Throughout his career he sold over 250 million records, double that of Bob Dylan, making him one of the best-selling artists in the world. Stewart released 31 top-ten singles in the UK, and 10 number-one albums.
He found his way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and earned numerous Grammy Awards along the way. In 2016, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his music and charitable efforts. With a career spanning 60 years, he is now worth a whopping £250 million. Although he is getting up there in years, he’s made no efforts to move away from music. Stewart released another live album in 2019, and as of 2023 is planning an international tour.
With his namesake band, Steve Miller, 79, is still actively performing just as he was when they got together in 1966 – with a few members moved around here and there. The group’s original fame came in the mid-1970s with their hits like “The Joker,” “Space Cowboy,” and “Gangster of Love.” While the band’s new songs aren’t generating the same level of excitement as they once did, their old material remains incredibly popular.
In fact, they are on tour in 2023 and are certainly having no issues attracting fans. The Steve Miller Band has not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Miller was in 2016. He was disgruntled about this decision, saying, “It wasn’t my decision (…) If they had asked me what do, I think I would have said, ‘Here’s a list of everyone that was ever in my band. They all ought to be here.'”
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
There are two members of The Rolling Stones who are still part of the rock and roll scene. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, both 79, first earned their fame as part of the group, who were incredibly popular throughout the 1960s. Jagger and Richards co-wrote most of the band’s songs, eventually taking on the name the “Glimmer Twins.” Their partnership has been highly praised over the decades, with Rolling Stone voting them the sixth greatest songwriter(s) of all time.
Although they’ve both released their own solo music, it was nowhere near as popular as the material they produced with the Stones. It’s no wonder, then, that the band isn’t even close to retiring. Apart from taking time off in the late-1980s, they have continued to release music – the latest album being the 2016 Blue & Lonesome – and perform on world tours.
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They’ve been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame, selling over 200 million records to date.