Rolling Stones: How They Keep Rockin'
Are there health secrets that let these aging rock stars strut across stages year after year?
Why They Still Rock continued...
As the Stones were getting huge in the 1960s, The Who were singing,
"Hope I die before I get old." Cohen says the generation gap then
emerging was really an education gap. The average person over 65 back
then had just 8.6 years of education -- no match for college-educated flower
Now, the baby boomers who grew up with the Stones and The Who are getting a
bit long in the tooth themselves. Better educated than their forebears, they
also want to stay active longer. And they're willing to plunk down serious cash
to see the Stones for reasons largely unrelated to music. The Stones remind
them what it felt like to be young, even as they defy the common wisdom about
what will happen when they get old.
In fact, the Stones confirm an emerging consensus that staying active leads
to better physical and mental health in later years. "One of the keys to
successful aging is to remain engaged," Mulhausen says. "Find something
you're passionate about and stay passionate about it. People who do that are
happier as they grow older than people who are disengaged. And being a musician
really allows one the opportunity to remain engaged through the life
Research is emerging that challenging the older brain and body can help
Of course, Mick and his pals are just part of a growing roster of prominent
musicians who have stayed active well into their golden years (see Jerry Lee
Lewis, Chuck Berry, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and so on). Most of
these guys don't need the money. They stay active because rock and roll keeps
them young -- a good lesson for baby boomers, Cohen says.
These Guys Are Role Models?
Perhaps the Stones are indeed role models for the baby boomers. But if so,
they're role models of a very strange sort. If these wild men are still going
strong, one might ask, what's the point of keeping healthy habits at all?
It's the kind of question that makes experts on aging twitch nervously.