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Knowing when to quit

(80 Posts)
NanKate Thu 21-Jan-16 20:19:52

I have just been to see the Glen Miller Story on a theatre trip with my WI. Tommy Steele was playing G M.

Now don't get me wrong it was a good show with great music, but I felt Tommy Steele at 79 was just too old to play someone in his 30s or40s. TS's voice was still good but he just looked a bit doddery.

He was on stage nearly the whole show, which showed he had stamina. He danced a bit and had a good stage presence but I felt uncomfortable with him wooing his future wife who looked young enough to be his grand daughter.

I heard Terry Wogan say recently he was looking forward to returning to the BBC after a break. Last time I saw him on a tv programme with a taxi driver visiting local towns I felt he had lost his sparkle.

I don't want to be ageist but I also don't want to see actors/presenters passed their prime still on tv radio trying to recapture how they were.

Having said that I was watching David Attenborough on tv at 88 and he was as good as he has always been, so there are exceptions to the rule.

Elrel Mon 25-Jan-16 12:15:35

Leonard Cohen, on his tours in the last few years, was phenomenal. I still find myself beaming all over my face when I hear the live cd. Whatever it was, he's still got it, both as an entertainer and a man. The time he spent on stage was impressive too.
I get the impression that at least a couple of high profile and adored 'national treasure' septuagenarian singers truly believe they've still got it but lost it long ago.

JackyB Mon 25-Jan-16 12:15:08

Isn't it a bit like comparing apples and oranges when lining Tommy Steele, Brucie, Rod Stewart et al up against David Attenborough and John Humphries?

There are those who are there to entertain us, which takes a huge amount of stamina and charisma. The Attenboroughs and Humphries are there to inform us, and while this requires an agile mind and a pleasant voice, they don't have to keep up the physical presence, endless grinning and sparkle for hours non-stop.

Hving said that, Humphrey Lyttleton certainly had all his peers' admiration on to a great age, and certainly knew how to entertain. As does Nicholas Parsons.

We saw Elton John a while back. I had been given the ticket as a present for my birthday, so, although I was not mad about going, we went anyway. He put up a really good show and I'm glad I went in the end. Ditto Chris de Burgh - I only went to placate my husband, was rather embarrassed to be seen there, but the show was really good.

Mind you, the Elton John tickets, now I think about it, I got for my 50th birthday, so it was over 10 years ago now!

gettingonabit Mon 25-Jan-16 10:55:06

The Rubettes!! That's a blast from the past.

Mind you, my first "gig" was Bay City Rollersblush.

WilmaKnickersfit Mon 25-Jan-16 00:55:51

I got free tickets to see both Shirley Bassey and Tony Bennett when I was about 13 and didn't think much of them! The free ticket to see The Rubettes was much more appreciated! grin

It's strange about Paul McCartney. Maybe he does know, but doesn't want to let people down by saying no when he's asked to do something important.

I saw Anthony Newley in the musical version of Scrooge in the early 90s and although I didn't know any of his songs, it was obvious that sadly he was also way passed his best.

Jomarie Sun 24-Jan-16 23:59:20

Has anyone actually told Paul McCartney that he's past it? Surely one of his children would have broken it to him by now - or is his ego so big he won't accept it? So sad really - but the same for many great performers.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 24-Jan-16 19:39:08

I think he was more of an entertainer than a singer. Very good one too.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 24-Jan-16 19:37:56

He used to be very good at squash in his young days. I hope he doesn't play that now.

specki4eyes Sun 24-Jan-16 18:42:29

A friend of mine plays tennis with Tommy Steele and apparently he's pretty good.

Eloethan Sun 24-Jan-16 18:05:06

Shirley Bassey is great - what a performer. I think Rod Stewart still has a pretty good voice (although I don't like his jazz stuff), and Tom Jones.

I find it quite uncomfortable watching famous singers whose voices are obviously past their best. It's very sad to see them struggling and, whilst I can understand their desire to keep doing something they love, it's a shame that our memories of their earlier performances are over-shadowed by later more shaky ones.

Having said that, I thought the 79-year old man who sang a jazz standard on the Voice two weeks ago was very good and had great timing.

gettingonabit Sun 24-Jan-16 16:04:46

Wilmas yes, true about the backing track. I guess this applies to competitors on X Factor and the like. Mainly backing track; very little vocal input.

WilmaKnickersfit Sun 24-Jan-16 14:23:28

I agree with your list too gettingonabit, although I can't comment on Tina Turner. I was thinking about Shirley Bassey after my last post because she was great on the Strictly Christmas special. That led me to think about all the older singers who have appeared on Strictly over the years and how obvious it was that many were passed their best. Andy Williams came straight to mind, he was embarrassing to watch.

It's worth mentioning though that even if someone is singing live, it's pretty common these days to sing to a backing track and that gives a false impression of how good a voice really is as it smooths it out. wink

granjura Sun 24-Jan-16 12:32:14

Totally agree with your list of 'yes' and 'nos'. Same list for me.

gettingonabit Sun 24-Jan-16 10:55:10

Some of them still seem to "have it". Others not so.

Tom Jones still "has it" for me. His voice is not quite as it was, but he still has that naughty twinkle. Mick Jagger "has it", although I'm not a fan. Paul NcCartney? No. Tina Turner? Yes. Shirley Bassey? Yes!

Brucie? No. Wogan? No. David Attenborough? Yes.

I guess they'll go on as long as there's an audience. And money to be made.

Nvella Sun 24-Jan-16 09:37:00

I agree about Leonard Cohen. Could not believe he could perform like that at over 80 - though I have read he is not going to do any more touring.

NanKate Sun 24-Jan-16 06:35:45

Last year we went to see Georgie Fame, one of my teenage favourites and I am happy to report he was great. His two sons accompanied him musically. His memory is spot on (more than can be said for me) and he recounted the story of all the artists he knew in the 60s and 70s - what a fascinating story.

In fact we are re-booking to see him when he returns to this area in April.

FarNorth Sat 23-Jan-16 22:09:41

If people are going to pay money to see someone perform, that someone's performance ought to be of a reasonable standard.
The paying public don't know what standard it will be until after they have paid and then seen the performance.

Sadiesnan Sat 23-Jan-16 17:36:08

I suppose if people pay to go and see someone perform, they think they can still m̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ entertain you.

jenn Fri 22-Jan-16 23:30:38

Leonard Cohen is brilliant.

WilmaKnickersfit Fri 22-Jan-16 23:16:26

Rod Stewart is so much better now than when he was younger. I did like a couple of his old songs, but in the last 10 or 15 years he's tried different styles and it was a surprise to me to find he was pretty good.

Paul McCartney is an embarrassment.

Not a Stones fan, but Mick can still perform.

Completely agree about Brucie. For years I thought he should stay on Strictly until he thought it was time to go, but the last 3 years in particular were dire. He refused to wear an ear piece so the producers could speak to him - unheard of on live shows these days - so Tess basically had to keep him on track throughout the show. He refused to use an autocue because he wouldn't wear his glasses, so huge written signs were used until the last few years, when he did use the autocue with extra large text. This meant his delivery wasn't smooth because not enough text could be on view at one time. He covered this with jokes about his age. He was great with the studio audience before the show started, but in show business he has a reputation for being arrogant. His one man show At Christmas he looked so poorly after his operation. He's the last of the great all round British entertainers, but he just didn't know when to quit. I love Tess and Claudia doing the show.

chloe1984 Fri 22-Jan-16 21:53:26

I went to see my ultimate favourite Dr Hook last year was so very disappointed as his voice had really deteriorated. Just wish I had just remembered him when he was in his prime.

SeasideGran1 Fri 22-Jan-16 21:39:37

We went to see Elton John and wouldn't go again! No longer floats my boat, in fact it is well and truly grounded in his case.

granjura Fri 22-Jan-16 19:52:27

Toupet ;)

Agreed about Macca- since the Olympic debacle, I just can't watch him!

Jalima Fri 22-Jan-16 19:52:01

She doesn't look as though she eats much cake.
No, it's probably sheer will power that keeps her going.

I would be like the side of a house faced with all that CAKE!

Maggiemaybe Fri 22-Jan-16 18:49:12

I have to disagree with anyone dismissing Rod Stewart. I've seen him twice in the last four years and he's still very much a showman, seems to have boundless energy, and comes across as an all round nice guy. And he can still belt out those songs of his that suit his sexy distinctive voice. Same with Tom Jones. And Leonard Cohen, according to friends of mine who saw him a couple of years ago envy I saw Eric Clapton last year and he's still got it, apart from coming over as a miserable sod.

I cringe if I see Paul McCartney coming into view....

Ana Fri 22-Jan-16 17:57:07

She doesn't look as though she eats much cake...grin