Old dogs, old tricks: Seventysomething rockers are still going out on the road

"Don't want to stay alive when you're 25" go the words of Mott the Hoople's 1972 hit "All the Young Dudes", written by David Bowie. Several decades on, the band's frontman, Ian Hunter, begs to differ.

Now 70 – that's 70! – he is to embark on a series of sell-out shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in London this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the band, which hasn't played together since splitting up 35 years ago. He is not alone. More than half a century after they first emerged, rock musicians born before the outbreak of the Second World War are still rolling on.

Many of the septuagenarians have survived rock'n'roll's wildest years, when drink and drugs were the staples of life on the road. But they'll have some way to go to match blues legend David "Honeyboy" Edwards, who performs tonight in Swansea on a tour of Europe and the US. He is a sprightly 94.

Ian Hunter

Singer, 70

The former frontman of Mott the Hoople found fame late, at the age of 30, and is not about to let go in a hurry. Still looking implausibly young, he will return to the stage with the band this week in a series of sell-out concerts in London, 35 years after the band split in 1974. Still recording, his latest album, Man Overboard – his 13th as a solo artist – received rave reviews in America, where he now lives, and has been described as a 'bionic rocker' by the US press.

Willie Nelson

Country and western singer, 76

This Texan singer-songwriter and activist truly hit the big time as a performer in his fifties after some hit singles and playing in a band with Johnny Cash. He had previously been a successful songwriter, penning Patsy Cline's hit 'Crazy'. He also branched out into acting in the late 1970s and recently played Uncle Jesse Duke in the 2005 remake The Dukes of Hazzard. He was arrested for possession of cannabis in 2006. Still rocking, Willie is set to perform 14 dates in the US in October.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Singer, songwriter and pianist, 73

Legend has it that his parents mortgaged their farm to buy their son a piano. Most famous for his hit 'Great Balls of Fire', Lewis first appeared on television in 1957. Despite a scandal in the 1950s which saw him dropped from record labels and radio playlists, he has far outlasted his contemporaries Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. 'The Killer' is about to play eight countries in a month.

Spencer Davis

Musician, 70

Welsh founder of the 1960s band the Spencer Davis Group, who entered rock immortality with hits 'Gimme Some Loving', 'Keep On Running' and 'Somebody Help Me'. He helped to foster the talent of Steve Winwood, who was just 15 when spotted by Davis. The former languages teacher turned rocker now lives in the US, and is on a European tour with 1960s contemporaries The Animals that will see him performing several times a week until the end of November.

Leonard Cohen

Singer, 75

Canadian singer described by Lou Reed as belonging to the 'highest and most influential echelon of songwriters'. On 19 February 2009, he played his first American concert in 15 years in New York, before going on to perform in front of tens of thousands at a festival in California in April. A bout of food poisoning that led him to collapse on stage at a concert in Spain earlier this month has failed to put him off performing live. He is preparing for a 15-date tour of the US.

Ginger Baker

Drummer, 70

He found worldwide fame with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce in 1970s supergroup Cream. The drummer, who also played in Blind Faith and Hawkwind, is still hitting the skins and returns to London in November in a special gig at the Jazz Café. His autobiography, Hellraiser, published next month, reveals how he lived the lifestyle of a rock drummer to the full, on one occasion making a bet with Eric Clapton about who would be first to sleep with all the waitresses in a club.

John Mayall

Guitarist, 75

The British blues legend helped the careers of musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, to name a few. He was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, and finally called time on the band in 2008; just months later he went back on the road with a new band. Mayall released his 57th album this month, the appropriately titled Tough, and is now preparing to play 12 dates in Canada as part of a world tour he began earlier this year.

... and the granddaddy of them all

David 'Honeyboy' Edwards

Blues singer, 94

Just a few years off his 100th birthday, he is still playing regularly. The Grammy award-winning guitarist is one of the last remaining Delta blues players from Mississippi and was there the night in August 1938 that his friend Robert Johnson died after drinking from a bottle of poisoned whisky.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?