He is about to turn 70. He still tours, and tops the charts—but is he a golden oldie, or a tarnished one?
A few years ago a concert promoter took the BBC television series “Walking with Dinosaurs” and turned it into a stage show that toured the world’s indoor arenas. Seen from one angle, it was an enterprising move. Seen from another, it was quite unnecessary. The world’s arenas were already crawling with dinosaurs, in the form of old rock stars.
The early years of the 21st century have been the age of the veteran in rock and pop. Records are now trumped by live music, a field where the oldies can dominate. The golden age of popular music, the Sixties, is just close enough for the central figures from it to be still on the road. The Rolling Stones do a world tour every few years; Paul McCartney, with a small child to think about, does a short tour every few months. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, now a doddery old teddy bear propped up by a dazzling young band, turns out every other year. Simon & Garfunkel, not always on the best of terms, manage a month here and a month there.
And then there is Bob Dylan.