Roger Daltrey, Rocking, and Retirement


In a recent interview with The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey he made an interesting comment when asked if the band could still play: I can still sing the sh*&$% out of those songs. 

Roger is seventy-five years old. 

I’m not sure if something has given old school rockers a special means of grace but they never seem to slow down. Paul McCartney is in his seventies and still plays three hour shows without sipping water (a friend witnessed this recently). I don’t know if there’s a fountain of youth afforded to musicians who have done more drugs than a Mexican Cartel. 

One thing is for certain: retirement is not a thing for most of these aging artists. 

I’ve been reflecting on retirement of late not because I’m anywhere close to what our state deems “retirement age.” Not that I care. I like work and creating and hopefully leaving things better than I left them. I know my body and mind will break down at some point and retirement in some form will be necessary. 

But I don’t think retirement should be our ultimate goal and reason we work. Our Creator made us in his image to reflect him, and this Creator is a Worker. Our reflecting involves creating, making, working, and stewarding stuff from the resources of creation. Retirement is not a thing. 

Daltrey, McCartney, Tom Petty until his untimely death, still rocked and worked and shared their music with the world. They don’t need to. They have more money than most. 

Yet, why does our culture place such a high premium on retirement?

Recently I read something from Frederick Buechner that talked about retirement:

“SOMEWHERE AROUND the age of sixty-five, many people decide it's time to stop working and start just enjoying life. The trouble, of course, is that they're apt to discover that with nothing much to do except play golf, travel, catch up on their reading, watch TV, and so on, life isn't all that enjoyable. They need something to give themselves to the way they once gave themselves to their jobs. The question is, give themselves to what? Maybe they could do worse than give themselves to the world that needs them as much as they need the world.


This may involve things like volunteer work at the hospital or delivering meals on wheels or heading the library-fund drive, but the place where giving yourself to the world starts is simply paying attention to the world—to the people you've been saying hello to for years without really knowing them, to the elementary-school kids hanging upside down on the jungle gym, to the woman taxi driver with the face of a Boston bull and no teeth to speak of who waits for fares at the bus stop, to the old vets marching down Main Street on Memorial Day.


If retirees just learn to keep their eyes open, the chances are they will find themselves more involved, fulfilled, challenged, and nourished than all the years they spent with their noses to the grindstone. And enjoying themselves more too.” -Originally published in Beyond Words 

I want to keep rocking when I’m seventy five, pushing the limits, serving the world with grace, creating art, and making a dent until Jesus calls me home. I want to give myself to something that matters and I don’t think TV and golf are high on the list.

Let’s keep rocking!