Depending on your interests, the "big news" this week is: a) Lindsay Lohan is still an idiot, b) LeBron James is a ___ (reader's choice here), or c) Ringo Starr has turned 70 years old. I'll take the latter. The world is full of idiots and it seems like bad karma to give them any more of the spotlight. I can't comment on Mr. James at all. Maybe if somebody gave me 30 million dollars to do my job… would that challenge my concept of loyalty? It's not worth thinking about, to be honest.
Yeah, so as it turns out, rock stars aren't immune to the passage of time. Who knew? I tend to think of artists as being fixed at whatever their age was when I first became a fan. Springsteen is in his late 20s. Ringo is in his late 30s. An exception might be Tom Waits, who to my mind can't (or maybe shouldn't) be described by age.
In my head, I do know that this rock star age calculus is wrong. Still, I am sometimes surprised when I'm reminded of the reality of the situation. I guess I keep up the mental facade as a defense mechanism, allowing me to cope with the sad fact that their youth (and my own!) has passed by.
I've never really been comfortable with that "hope I die before I get old" thing. Some people think that rock stars should hang it up when they get to a certain age. Not me. As long as there are fans to be entertained…even a single one…then it's worth it. For the remaining members of the Beatles, the irrational part of me hopes time will slow down. I'm not their biggest fan, but the influence of their music is undeniable. They gave the world a big chunk of wonderment, and for that alone I am grateful.
I'm not alone in these thoughts. There were many special guests at Ringo's 70th birthday celebration/show at Radio City Music Hall, from Steve Van Zandt to Yoko Ono. The big surprise came at the end of the show, when Paul McCartney stepped onstage to help blast out a fine rendition of "Birthday." Even in these crummy YouTube videos, the electricity that erupted in the crown is impossible to miss. What an incredible moment, another in a long line of events stretching way back into the 1960s.
So happy belated birthday, Ringo. I hope I look that good when I'm 70, or even at 64. Hell, I'm not sure I look that good this morning… after only four hours of sleep.