Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Art of Persistence

As a little shock for your retinas, that’s Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, joining Mick & Keith in the exclusive club of aging rockers who persist in making themselves up like teenage girls so we won’t notice their faces are falling off. I’m not saying these guys should put on a pair of Dockers. But how about taking a page from someone like Bruce Springsteen—a year younger than Tyler and a year older than Perry—who manages to look hipper than my dad without resembling a drag queen.


In other music news, Barry Manilow has his first #1 album in more than 29 years. Oh Mandy! Showing the kids how it’s done, “The Greatest Songs of the Fifties” moved 156,000 units, besting efforts from Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx (giving Kanye West a run for his I-love-myself money) and Eminem. Barry was one of my very first crushes. Who could resist that page-boy hairdo (of course, now he looks like Mamie Eisenhower, but hey, I was a kid) and the way he always mentioned his dog Bagel in the liner notes. I chalked my love for Barry on the sidewalk, sending my friend Amy into hysterics, and memorized how to play “Mandy” on the piano; I let loose on a keyboard at Costco just last weekend.

Manilow all but disappeared from radio and sales charts decades ago and the music industry didn’t seem to mind. This is not the schnozz that will launch a thousand ringtones. But he persisted, playing concerts, popping up on the occasional talk show and prepping for a second act as the next Wayne Newton. He struck me as the sort of person who knew he had fallen out of fashion and didn’t really mind. He wasn’t going to follow the trends, and now, whaddya know, the trends have caught up to him.


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