Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-17-2019, 12:42 AM
ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness's Avatar
ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hollywood Riveria, CA
Posts: 2,116

Late bloomers in popular music


The biggest surprise for me in the passing of The Cars' Ric Ocasek was his age. 75? Doing the math means he was 34 when their debut album was released. That means he was 40 when I saw them on the Heartbeat City tour. 34 seems unusually old for a starting rocker. Heck, the Beatles broke up before any of them had turned 30. Ocasek is actually 2 months older than The Kink's Ray Davies, who had hits 14 years earlier.

So, anyone else start their career at a relatively late age? I know Debbie Harry was 33 when Blondie broke through with their third album Parallel Lines.

Who else?
  #2  
Old 09-17-2019, 12:57 AM
Guest-starring: Id!'s Avatar
Guest-starring: Id! is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 4,211
Profoundly awesome guitarist Karl Sanders was well into his 30s before deathmetal Egyptologists Nile started to get off the ground.
  #3  
Old 09-17-2019, 01:21 AM
nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 13,003
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness View Post
The biggest surprise for me in the passing of The Cars' Ric Ocasek was his age. 75? Doing the math means he was 34 when their debut album was released. That means he was 40 when I saw them on the Heartbeat City tour. 34 seems unusually old for a starting rocker. Heck, the Beatles broke up before any of them had turned 30. Ocasek is actually 2 months older than The Kink's Ray Davies, who had hits 14 years earlier.

So, anyone else start their career at a relatively late age? I know Debbie Harry was 33 when Blondie broke through with their third album Parallel Lines.

Who else?
That's why he said he was 5 years younger than he actually was at the beginning of his career.

Mick Mars of Motley Crue has long been known to be at least a decade older than he says he is. This would also make him in his 70s.
  #4  
Old 09-17-2019, 04:59 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 26,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness View Post
34 seems unusually old for a starting rocker.
The Cars was not his first band.
  #5  
Old 09-17-2019, 05:32 AM
Jonathan Chance is offline
Domo Arigato Mister Moderato
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: On the run with Kilroy
Posts: 22,925
Art Alexakis from Everclear.

He's five years older than I am - and therefore old - and came to prominence in the 90s with 'Santa Monica'. The album was released in 1995 but Santa Monica broke big in 1996.

That makes the start of Alexakis prominence in the alt-music circles to start at 33 and break big at 34. His three platinum albums were released when he was 33, 35 and 38.
  #6  
Old 09-17-2019, 06:11 AM
Alessan's Avatar
Alessan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 24,753
The late Leonard Cohen was the poster boy for this, of course. He was 33 when his first album came out; he was 36 when he first went on tour.
  #7  
Old 09-17-2019, 06:17 AM
Alessan's Avatar
Alessan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 24,753
That said, I think the record holder has to be Tuli Kupferberg. He was 41 years old when he co-founded the Fugs, and 42 when they cut their first album.
  #8  
Old 09-17-2019, 12:19 PM
Shoeless's Avatar
Shoeless is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Sunflower State
Posts: 6,847
Andy Summers was 35 when he joined the Police. Nothing really notable before that, except for a brief stint with the Animals about ten years earlier.
__________________
I'm not black, but there's a whole lotsa times I wish I could say I'm not white. -- FZ
  #9  
Old 09-17-2019, 12:32 PM
Snowboarder Bo's Avatar
Snowboarder Bo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 27,528
He's not really popular, but Johnny Dowd was 49 years old when his first album, Wrong Side of Memphis was released in 1997. He's released another 17 or 18 studio albums since then, about half a dozen live recordings, a couple of DVDs and a book of poetry.

For the record, his material is almost uniformly brilliant. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes disturbingly personal, his music often sounds like if The Residents tried to be a country/blues band and they recruited a crank from the Appalachian Mountains to write lyrics and sing for them. Other times he sounds like a earnest would-be songwriter that Nashville would never want anything to do with. And sometimes he just sounds like a cross-genre weirdo.

Johnny Dowd - God Created Woman
  #10  
Old 09-17-2019, 01:18 PM
Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 31,649
Ed Cassidy was 42 when he joined his stepson, Randy California, in Spirit.

Like the others already mentioned, he had a long career as a musician before he gained fame as a rock star.
  #11  
Old 09-17-2019, 01:52 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,849
Papa John Creach. He was 53 when asked to join both Hot Tuna and the Jefferson Airplane.

Mississippi Fred McDowell was also 53 when he started recording, and was a successful blues performer.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #12  
Old 09-17-2019, 02:26 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 15,764
Nathaniel Rateliff (of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats) was 36 or 37 when he finally broke through with the song "S.O.B." But, again, he's another example of someone who had been working at music for a long time before finally getting a hit.
  #13  
Old 09-17-2019, 03:01 PM
Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5,188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
The late Leonard Cohen was the poster boy for this, of course. He was 33 when his first album came out; he was 36 when he first went on tour.
And stayed relevant (IMHO) the whole time. Amazing.
  #14  
Old 09-17-2019, 04:45 PM
EinsteinsHund's Avatar
EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 3,063
The father of British blues, the great Alexis Korner, was a musical generation older than all his pupils who later formed the British blues explosion, starting with the Stones which he tutored. But he only made his first recording at age 34 in 1962, in the same year as the Stones. Of course he had had an important role and career before and was a man of many talents, and he had brought many American blues greats to Britain (Muddy Waters and Big Bill Broonzy slept in his kitchen) which sparked the interest of British people in the blues.
__________________
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine

Last edited by EinsteinsHund; 09-17-2019 at 04:49 PM.
  #15  
Old 09-17-2019, 04:51 PM
cochrane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Nekkid Pueblo
Posts: 22,222
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
The Cars was not his first band.
Right, but he didn't become popular until the first Cars album when he was 36. As mentioned in the OP, the Beatles had their popularity and had broken up before any of them were 30.
  #16  
Old 09-17-2019, 05:07 PM
PastTense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,746
Susan Boyle was 48 when she appeared in Britain's Got Talent, the start of her career.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Boyle
  #17  
Old 09-17-2019, 06:44 PM
Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,604
Toni Basil was 38 when she had her (as far as I know) only hit with Mickey

Sia was 41 when she had her first number 1 hit Cheap Thrills, though she'd been in the industry for a long time before that
__________________
Science created the modern world. Politics is doing its best to destroy it.
  #18  
Old 09-17-2019, 06:53 PM
drad dog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 6,228
Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices was born in Oct 1957. For me he became famous in 1994 with Bee Thousand, at 37.
  #19  
Old 09-17-2019, 07:00 PM
drad dog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 6,228
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Jones

I think Sharon Jones was born in 1956 and released her first LP in 2002. @46 years old.
  #20  
Old 09-17-2019, 07:46 PM
EinsteinsHund's Avatar
EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 3,063
Quote:
Originally Posted by EinsteinsHund View Post
The father of British blues, the great Alexis Korner, was a musical generation older than all his pupils who later formed the British blues explosion, starting with the Stones which he tutored. But he only made his first recording at age 34 in 1962, in the same year as the Stones. Of course he had had an important role and career before and was a man of many talents, and he had brought many American blues greats to Britain (Muddy Waters and Big Bill Broonzy slept in his kitchen) which sparked the interest of British people in the blues.
On review, having checked several online sources, I have to correct two things:

First, Alexis Korner had made already recordings for different outfits before his Blues Incorporated released "R&B From The Marquee" in late 1962. But it was the first album that gave him some publicity, though it wasn't a great success, and at least it was the first British electric blues album. The following British blues boom gave him some more recognition, but he didn't have a hit until 1970 with his project CCS with a cover of "Whole Lotta Love". He also worked a lot for radio and TV, everything blues, rock and r&b related from the sixties to the eighties. I remember him moderating music shows on German TV in the seventies when I was a wee lad (partly of Austrian origin, he spoke German perfectly).

The second error was that of course the first record release by the Stones was not in 1962, but in summer 1963.
__________________
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine

Last edited by EinsteinsHund; 09-17-2019 at 07:49 PM.
  #21  
Old 09-17-2019, 11:16 PM
Horatio Hellpop is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Jeju-si, S. Korea
Posts: 9,756
Cyndi Lauper and Tori Amos both hit it big around age 30 with solo albums, and Sheryl Crow did likewise at 32. All had fronted bands that almost cracked the big time for about five years prior. Natalie Merchant was a little older with her solo debut, but her previous band was quite successful, at least with her at the helm. She's been a celebrity since her mid-20s, I'd say.
  #22  
Old 09-17-2019, 11:37 PM
Nava is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 42,745
Joaquín Sabina made it when he was 38; at that point he'd been recording for ten years but was more succesful as a songwriter and people outside of the Madrid music circuit didn't know his name. He's been called "the Spanish Leonard Cohen"; still kicking, still sounding like shit, very much one of the best lyricists in Spanish, he's published books of poems as well as his music. Both him and his friend Joan Manuel Serrat (who made it young) are frequently mentioned as possible candidates for the Academy of the Spanish Language.

Last edited by Nava; 09-17-2019 at 11:39 PM.
  #23  
Old 09-18-2019, 04:53 AM
Wendell Wagner is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 14,373
Eva Cassidy would have been 38 when she broke through in 2001, but she had already been dead for four and a half years. I'm counting her breakthrough as being when she topped the charts with an album for the first time. Her releases before then had sold that much.
  #24  
Old 09-18-2019, 07:32 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,313
How about Moms Mabley? Famous comedian who came out at a young age.

She also did a little bit of singing but it was her cover version of Abraham, Martin and John that was her only major song. It reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. "At 75 years old, Mabley became the oldest living person ever to have a US Top 40 hit."

Mrs. Miller had her first song in the Hot 100 at the age of 60. A cover of Downtown. I strongly suggest you don't ever listen to it.
  #25  
Old 09-18-2019, 10:50 AM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,849
John Mayall was 33 when "Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton" was released.

"Gallant Men" made the top 40 charts when Sen. Everett Dirksen was 71

Walter Brennan had a hit with "Mama Sang a Song" when he was 68.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 09-18-2019 at 10:53 AM.
  #26  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:49 AM
Horatio Hellpop is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Jeju-si, S. Korea
Posts: 9,756
Roger Whittaker has been active musically since his mid-20s. His only major hit in the US, "The :Last Farewell," charted here when he was 39. He has always seemed kind of elderly, and was heavily vested in sea-shanty type music.
  #27  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:49 AM
Author Balk is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Mrs. Miller[/URL] had her first song in the Hot 100 at the age of 60. A cover of Downtown. I strongly suggest you don't ever listen to it.
At a bowling alley somebody played a song I don't like. The person did it on purpose to bother me. I retaliated by playing the Mrs. Miller/Downtown song.
  #28  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:52 AM
Limmin's Avatar
Limmin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 152
FWIW Anton Bruckner started composing his first (of many) symphonies at age 41.
  #29  
Old 09-18-2019, 02:33 PM
Lamoral's Avatar
Lamoral is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Fenario
Posts: 2,868
Mark Sandman is a good example of this, as he was 37 when he founded Morphine. That Wikipedia article says "Sandman was reported to have been particularly secretive about his age, becoming angry with any reporter who expressed an interest in revealing it publicly, perhaps because he was 10 to 20 years older than most of his indie-rock contemporaries."

He died young, also, at age 46, of a heart attack.
  #30  
Old 09-19-2019, 11:48 AM
xizor's Avatar
xizor is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 5,512
Los Del Rio, gave us the one hit wonder Macarena when both band members were in their late 50s

Last edited by xizor; 09-19-2019 at 11:49 AM.
  #31  
Old 09-19-2019, 02:13 PM
Steophan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Nottingham
Posts: 9,112
Christopher Lee had his breakthrough album aged 87.
  #32  
Old 09-19-2019, 04:22 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,313
Shatner was 37 when he released The Transformed Man.

It ... was ... not ... good.
  #33  
Old 09-19-2019, 04:51 PM
Chefguy's Avatar
Chefguy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 42,425
Antonio Carlos Jobim did not become well known in Brazil until he was 30, and didn't become a major international star until he teamed with Getz and Gilberto to produce Getz/Gilberto at age 37.
  #34  
Old 09-20-2019, 11:18 AM
Wrenching Spanners is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: London
Posts: 538
Seasick Steve had a long career as a studio musician before his breakthrough in the UK aged 55.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasick_Steve
  #35  
Old 09-20-2019, 03:54 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,313
Didn't remember to check Leonard Nimoy's recording career when looking up Shatner's.

He was 36 when Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space came out. Reached 83 on the album chart.

Shatner's career seems better remembered, but probably not for a good reason.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:14 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017