- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2006

Steve Sailer has perked up my antennae yet again. He’s wondering why the median age of breakthrough rock musicians is now closer to 30 these days, compared to the tyros of the British Invasion era.

He writes: “[T]he Beatles were between 20 (George) and 23 (John and Ringo) when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were 21 when they released ‘Satisfaction’ in 1965. Roger Daltrey was 21, Pete Townshend 20, and Keith Moon 19 when the Who recorded ‘My Generation’ in 1965. Mick Jones was 21 and Joe Strummer was 24 when they released ‘The Clash’ in 1977. Elvis Costello was 22 when ‘My Aim Is True’ came out.”

One might add for yuks that the Beatles broke up by the time they were 30 and that Jagger/Richards completed their “Beggars-Banquet-Let-It-Bleed-Sticky-Fingers-Exile” cycle before they hit the same milestone.

It’s an interesting question, and both Sailer and his readers have some interesting theories. Among the most interesting is this: “To be a rock star at 20, you have to spend a lot of afternoons at 15 and 16 playing your instrument. Middle class teenagers aren’t allowed to fool around anymore, and lower class teens are institutionalized - and I don’t mean particularly prison, but organized afterschool programs and youth groups. People don’t seem to have a handle on how little freedom young people in America have today. The last big young act — Hanson — was homeschooled. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”

I don’t either.

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