Please Stop Telling Me Where They Are Now!

broken guitar

Whenever you see an article or video entitled “Where Are They Now?”, run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.

There is nothing inherently wrong with these bits of journalistic fluff.  And all of us have wondered from time to time whatever happened to that musician we used to like in high school or that group that provided the soundtrack to seemingly important parts of our lives.

But, trust me, with very few exceptions, you don’t want to know whatever became of them.

Just remember them as they were.  It is better that way.

I came to this realization last night while searching for various musical artists I used to enjoy back in the 1980s.  For the most part I just watched their music videos or maybe live concert footage of their hit songs.  This was all fine and good.

But then I stumbled across a few “Where Are They Now?” links.

There is nothing, with the possible exception of the Sarah McLachlin SPCA commercials, that is more depressing than finding out what became of your favorite artists.

For one thing, they all went from becoming fresh-faced, big-haired, sneering youths to grizzled, curmudgeonly octogenarians with bushy eyebrows and monk-halo hairdos.

There is nothing wrong with that.  It happens to all of us.  But it is hard to watch them belting out their youth-oriented anthems in which they have become the old geezers that their songs rail so strongly against.

For another thing, very few of them can sing any more.  Not like they used to, anyway.  Their voices are raspy and gravelly and it sounds as if they have been smoking 5 packs of cigarettes a day for the past 30 years while downing a bottle of scotch just for the hell of it.  Again, they can’t help it.  It is just part of the natural aging process.  But when I am watching them go for that high note that used to give me goosebumps back in the day, and instead they drop down about 4 octaves to a low growl that sounds like they had a bad burrito just before taking the stage … well … it is disappointing.

And thirdly, it makes me cry to see the venues they are playing now.  On YouTube, right next to a video of them playing to a sold out crowd of 75,000 adoring fans in a giant stadium somewhere, is the video of them playing in what looks to be someone’s living room with about 20 friends of the person who provided the living room and the six pack of beer.  And, when interviewed afterwards, the aged rock stars invariably claim that, “We like being so close to our fans” or “we like playing these more intimate venues”.

If the venues were any more intimate, someone would eventually whisper, “I don’t usually do this on a first concert …”

Anyway, my point is to not criticize people for getting old.  One simply can’t help it.  It is inevitable.

My point is that entertainment companies should stop making “Where Are They Now?” videos.

Leave my memories alone!

There aren’t many of them left.

22 comments

    • That’s very true! If only I had all of the money that a typical sports star has. I would retire in a heartbeat. As it is, I must work for a while longer. About 90 more years ought to do it. Ha ha!

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    • Ha ha! Very true! I have noticed some artists I used to enjoy in my youth on big billboards for the casinos up in Oklahoma or in Louisiana. I notice they always use photos of them from their heyday back in the 1980s, and not recent photos. I even occasionally see casino ads for people I thought were long since passed away. For instance, I just recently saw a casino billboard advertising The Temptations.

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  1. I know just what you mean! I saw a picture of an actor as he is now, but when he was in his twenties he played a role that helped turn my whole life around. Seeing him now, older, balding and running to fat, made me want to cry 😢

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is very sad and I think it triggers in us a feeling not unlike mourning. After all, something we dearly loved (an image or an ideal) has, in a sense, passed away. So, I try be a little compassionate in my thinking about them. After all, none of us can avoid the fate that has befallen them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It reminds me of a story someone told me about meeting John Carradine. He was a pretty big star for quite a while, mostly horror movies and westerns; but, this guy met him sitting alone in an airport coffee shop. Carradine’s hands were so twisted with arthritis, he could hardly use them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, those sorts of encounters are always very sad. That is why I am so glad I was never an entertainer. People want entertainers to be frozen in time and to never age or suffer infirmities. That is an impossible standard to live up to.

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  3. There is a human compulsion (the same one that cheered at the guillotine, great show but it’s over so fast) to linger in that territory. We really want to see the most awful outcome possible, so that we can tell ourselves, I’LL never let myself go like that, not that I’ve aged at all since about the age of 12. In all THEIR brains, they are as fresh and full of piss and-you know-what. That’s right. Vinegar.

    Yes, unlike 98% of the rest of the world, we fear the aging process. Such that we will address some elderly ladies as ‘young ladies’, or ‘girls’ so as to create a fog that obscures the facts that they are old. Some of them old AF, to use a youthful parlance.

    We should be like the Japanese who send their elderly off in a flaming raft. Oh and sorry, I believe it is the Swedish who maintain that raft tradition. I am pretty sure that the Japanese cast their elderly adrift on giant rose petals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm … that explains why people are always trying to get me to get on board a raft that is loaded with gasoline cans and kindling wood.

      I wish we honored our elderly more than we do, but I don’t see that changing much. I did not appreciate the elderly until I was fast approaching it myself. And by then, it is too late. The cycle continues.

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  4. This is exactly why I didn’t go to see Gordon Lightfoot when he played here recently, and why I’ll not be going to see Fleetwood Mac — with or without Lindsey Buckingham. As for Willie — I love him to death, but I’ll listen to still-can-sing Willie, thank you very much, not the 2018 version.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I saw Gordon recently. It wasn’t like the 1970s when i first saw him, that’s for sure. Still, the songs are powerful even if the voice has changed so much to be almost recognizable. Glad I saw him – but I didn’t pay for the ticket so I am possibly a little more forgiving of the aging process.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I SO agree with you!!!! My husband is a consummate Gordon Lightfoot fan and he dragged me to a few of his concerts. When I started going, he was a mere shadow of his earlier presence. Now he sounds like sandpaper on helium. He’s worse than you can imagine. Did I mention how much I agree with you?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I, too, love Gordon Lightfoot! I have since I was in high school. Part of me would love dearly to see him . . . but I am also very worried about him not sounding as wonderful as he does in my head. I know that is my problem and not his, but regardless, he will always remain in my pantheon of all time greatest singer/songwriters in the history of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I have so far resisted the urge to go see any sort of “reunion tour” or themed cruise featuring old geezers (i.e. the youthful stars of my own youth). I prefer to remember them (and myself) as they were.

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