I have huge respect for these people because they just keep on going. Chuck Berry is sometimes regarded as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, while Tony Bennett has turned his love for jazz into a 60-year career. Tori Amos, who recently performed in Jozi and Cape Town, refuses to become an irrelevant old woman.
Both Berry and Bennett were born in 1926, and will turn 88 later this year. Long after their fame has supposedly died, they continue to make music, performing several times a year. Wow, now that is impressive. Tori Amos’s recent double-piano stint also stunned concertgoers, and she continues to impress with her work ethic and her disciplined outputs musically.
Like the Rolling Stones or the men from ABBA, these people just keep making music, and have ensured that they will leave a musical legacy as a result. And while there is nothing wrong with the work ethic of Miley Cyrus or One Direction, the amount of time these people have put into their music is truly astounding. There are life lessons to be learnt from, because they have found their niche and have not faltered from their paths, even if the going has been tough. Also, like South African greats Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, they have steered the course and continue to move forward. Even Zimbabwean artist Oliver Mtukudzi has proven what a difference a long time in music can do to a career.
Why am I writing this? Why is this relevant? Why do you care? Well, maybe for the same reason that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was, in my opinion, the best movie of 2012: because in the age of instant coffee, instant meals, and instant everything, there is a lot to be said for living a life that continues to inspire people from all walks of life, over a long period of time. We are all given but one life to live. And yet, if we continue to live as we age, instead of dying at 65 because that is supposedly retirement age, we have a much greater chance of living a life of magnificence and significance. That’s my soap box for the day.