VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
These classic music acts still have plenty left in the tank! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we're looking at musicians who are still going strong after being in the business for more than 30 years. Our countdown of classic artists who have kept their mojo includes Jon Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and more!
Top 10 Classic Artists Who Have Kept Their Mojo
Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re looking at musicians who are still going strong after being in the business for more than 30 years.
#10: Jon Bon Jovi
Somehow, the charismatic frontman survived the death of hair metal, the rise of grunge, the boy band era, and continues to release albums with Bon Jovi. Although the band's most recent record – the first without long term guitarist Richie Sambora – received a lukewarm critical reception, something the band is used to, Bon Jovi continue to sell out everywhere they go. Their 2013 Because We Can tour ranks as the highest grossing tour that year, earning more than the likes of Lady Gaga's 2009 The Monster Ball Tour and Justin Bieber's 2016 Purpose World Tour. And Jon Bon Jovi’s charisma continues to shine impossibly bright.
#9: Joni Mitchell
With a career dating back to the sixties, the Canadian singer-songwriter has rightfully earned a reputation as a music legend and one of the most influential artists in folk history. Joni Mitchell repeatedly demonstrated a rare ability to incorporate new trends while maintaining a sound that is distinctively hers. Although most artists have a huge team of producers and yes men to fall back on, the “Help Me” singer produced a majority of her own albums and designed their covers. Mitchell hasn't released a studio album since 2007's "Shine.” And, in 2015, she was stricken by a brain aneurysm. But in 2022, she made a very welcome return to performing live.
#8: Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks' mere presence automatically improves anything. That goes for singing about dreams with her fellow Fleetwood Mac members, collaborating with Lana Del Rey, or even appearing as a fictionalized version of herself on “American Horror Story” Over the years, the music legend has been nominated for eight solo Grammy Awards and a further six with Fleetwood Mac; sadly, none of her five Best Female Vocalist nods resulted in a win. But her catalog speaks for itself. In 2018, Nicks followed up the previous year's 24 Karat Gold Tour by returning to the road with Fleetwood Mac.
#7: Roger Waters
Anyone with even an ounce of taste knows that Pink Floyd is a legendary band, made up of legendary musicians. And founding member Roger Waters’ legend continues to grow. In 2017, to the shock and delight of the music world, the then-73-year-old legend released his first studio album in a quarter of a century. the socially conscious “Is This the Life We Really Want?”. He also launched the US + Them Tour in Canada and the U.S.. Fueled by the volatile political scene around him, Waters demonstrated that he lost absolutely none of the passion or anger seen in classics like “The Wall.”
#6: Paul Simon
Deciding to leave a popular group and go solo is a risky move at best – just ask Mick Jagger or David Lee Roth – but, on rare occasions, it leads to greatness. After Simon & Garfunkel went their separate ways, Paul Simon went on to release four highly acclaimed albums, culminating with the award-winning “Graceland”. Rolling Stone included Simon in two separate greatest of all time lists, one focused on guitarists and the other songwriters. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2018, Simon announced his touring retirement. However, he has still performed live since. And, in 2023, he released his fifteenth solo album, “Seven Psalms”
#5: Elton John
He might not be able to hit as many high notes as he used to, but the seventy-six-year-old can still rock a piano. Even in recent years, John’s sets have lasted upwards of three hours, and he delivers them with just as much stamina as back in the seventies. His list of immortal hits and accolades speak for themselves, but the sixty-year career of creativity never slowed down, either. John’s been writing as recently as the 2000s, helping to compose the “Billy Elliot” musical, collaborating with Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and various other exciting artists. His three-year farewell tour astoundingly sold over $900 million in tickets. If he weren’t retiring for personal reasons, we might expect this music legend to grace the stage forever.
#4: Iggy Pop
The godfather of punk is not the same young buck he was when The Stooges first burst onto the scene in the late '60s. For example – he no longer stage dives. But his punk spirit has nonetheless stayed alive Iggy Pop remains a strong presence within the music industry, releasing albums at a steady rate and even exploring different genres - such as jazz. When not giving one-off lectures at Salford, the unpredictable icon could very well be seen on the big screen, like acclaimed director Terrence Malick’s film “Song to Song”. Iggy Pop is truly a one-of-a-kind presence.
#3: Paul McCartney
If a resumé includes 'co-founder of The Beatles', that's a person who has already done their part. Obviously, Paul McCartney thought differently. Who else could boast about being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice - once as a member of The Beatles and another as a solo artist – and still be performing in front of a crowd of over 100,000 decades later. And we haven't even mentioned Wings, McCartney's knighthood, the insane amount of Grammys won and his film and TV work! To this day, Paul McCartney is always capable of making anything better.
#2: Bruce Springsteen
Alongside the E Street Band, The Boss spent the better part of the last half a century helping to prop America back up by delivering some of the most memorable and heartfelt working-class anthems. Whether presented as a fist-pumping stadium rocker, like “Born to Run,” or the ominous “Darkness on the Edge of Town” – there is a sincerity found in Springsteen's lyrics that few artists are able to match. Born and raised in New Jersey, where he still lives, the cult hero remains as active as ever. He’s even seen his career explore new territory, such as his Tony Award-winning “Springsteen on Broadway” residency.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
The Metal Legends Continue to Mount Must-See Tours
The "Punk Poet Laureate" Continues to Draw Crowds
The Country Music Legend Recently Announced Her First Rock Album
The Talking Heads Frontman’s “American Utopia” Tour Was an Incredible Undertaking
#1: The Rolling Stones
It feels like the name “Rolling Stones” has been around as long as music itself. These members of the British invasion offered a unique rock and blues sound that inspired many and could never truly be duplicated. After sixty years of performing, they launched their “No Filter” tour in 2017 and then collaborated on new material during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Stones’ music has always effectively represented the ever-changing sociopolitical world they’ve lived through, and new songs like “Living in a Ghost Town” continue this legacy. Despite feuds, substance use disorder, and the tragic loss of drummer Charlie Watts, in 2021, the band endures with a new upcoming album…sixty-one years after their first show. And we can’t wait to see what the mythical rockers have come up with!
Do you agree with our list? Which classic artist remains untouchable? Let us know in the comments!