Turning 50 in 2021

Want to feel old? Let’s run through our Rock and Roll Revisited list of music, pop culture icons and people turning 50 in 2021.

These LP’s are celebrating fifty years since their debut. “Ooh, look out, you rock’n’rollers.” That’s how David Bowie playfully opened Changes, side one, track one from his transformative album Hunky Dory. Marvin Gaye transformed from Motown crooner to social commentator with What’s Goin’ On. Black Sabbath‘s Master of Reality was a hit with metal fans fifty years ago. Joni Mitchell‘s depressive Blue LP came out in ’71. She told Rolling Stone, “at that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes.” Sly Stone‘s increasing unreliability lead to what was ultimately a solo lp in 1971. There’s a Riot Goin’ On relied on drum machines and other technology with Sly at the center of the action. Harry Nilsson was at his creative peak with the release of Nilsson Schmilsson, a collection that turned away from his Everybody’s Talkin’ pop roots. Al Green Gets Next to You, Aretha’s Live at Fillmore West and The Doors L.A. Woman all turn 50 this year, as does Carole King‘s best remembered LP, Tapestry, the album that cemented her prowess, not only as a songwriter but as a performer.

MeTV notes several pop culture icons that are turning 50 in 2021. General Mills breakfast cereals, Count Chocula and Franken Berry were released in 1971. The McDonald’s Quarter Pounder was the brainchild of a Bay Area franchisee who thought adults wanted a “higher ratio of meat to bun,” than offered by the Big Mac. Hamburger Helper carpet bombed television with a new way to add some flavor to ground beef fifty years ago. It was a group of Minnesota educators who came up with the seminal computer game Oregon Trail in 1971. A generation memorized the meme, “You died of dysentery,” as a result. And six years after Roald Dahl published Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Paramount Pictures released the iconic film, starring Gene Wilder.

Notable personalities turning 50 in 2021 include, Taye Diggs, Jeremy Renner, Mary J. Blige, Alex Borstein, Denise Richards, Sean Astin and Jon Hamm.

Today in History:

1965, Paul Simon drops out of law school to pursue music full-time.

1974, Former members from Free, (Paul Rodgers & Simon Kirke), Mott The Hoople (Mick Ralphs), and King Crimson, (Boz Burrell), formed Bad Company. The band went on to score a US No.1 album with their debut release.

1978, Johnny Paycheck‘s cover of David Allan Coe’s ode to workplace frustrations, “Take This Job and Shove It”, reached the top spot on the Billboard Country chart. Although the song failed to crack the Hot 100, it still seems to be one that we all know and can relate to. (Video)

1989, At just 38 years old, Stevie Wonder became the youngest living person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At a ceremony held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, other inductees include The Rolling Stones, The Temptations, Otis Redding and Dion DiMucci. Let’s listen to ‘Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing’ from 1973.  (Video)

2016, The Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey died at the age of 67 in New York City. Frey co-founded the Eagles in 1971 with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. After the breakup of the Eagles in 1980, Frey embarked on a successful solo career and went on to score the Top 40 hits ‘The One You Love’, ‘Smuggler’s Blues’, ‘The Heat Is On’, and ‘You Belong to the City’. Here’s Rolling Stone’s article highlighting Glenn’s “20 Essential Songs“. Here’s ’The One You Love’ from 1982  (Video)

Happy Birthday to: A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh). 1882 (d. 1956); Ray Dolby (Dolby Sound System), 1933 (d. 2013); Bobby Goldsboro, 1941; David Ruffin, 1941 (d. 1991); Kevin Costner, 1955

Today’s Quote Worth Re-quoting:Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” ~ Seth Godin

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit