If Baby Boomers know anything, it’s music. After all, many boomers were coming of age as rock ‘n roll became king. And now that those same boomers are entering their golden years, how do they feel about getting older? Well, even that’s not so bad when you say it with song.
Ever wonder why ‘70s music is so popular with this group? It reminds them of their youth – when times were carefree and problems were few. Kids and teens of every generation tend to see themselves as invincible – they expect to live forever, yet never really picture themselves getting “old.” A paradox for sure. But getting older is a fact of life, as baby boomers are finding out!
So here’s a look at 11 songs about age or getting older. How many are on your playlist?
- Old Man by Neil Young. The lyrics, “Old man, take a look at your life – I’m a lot like you,” didn’t really hit home for young fans when they were written in 1972. But now, those same listeners are sure to identify with the hopes and fears expressed in these poignant words.
- Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen. This one looks back at the fun and innocence of youth. “And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it but I probably will. Glory days, well they’ll pass you by. Glory days.”
But don’t worry — the Boss may have had a way with words, but this lively tune won’t have you singing the blues.
- Veronica by Elvis Costello. Anyone touched by dementia will be touched by this song, inspired by Costello’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. “These days I’m afraid she’s not even sure if her name is Veronica.” The tune will make you tap your feet but if you’re watching the video, be sure to have a tissue handy.
- Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds. Written by Pete Seeger and recorded by The Byrds, this song turns to the Bible for its lyrics — “To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn). And a time for every purpose under Heaven.” Again, the lively beat and beautiful harmonies underplay the true message about moving through life’s stages.
- When You are Old and Gray by Tom Lehrer. Absolutely no sentiment here! Here’s hoping that the song was meant to be a satire all along. With lyrics like “Your teeth will start to go, dear, your waist will start to spread. In twenty years or so, dear, I’ll wish that you were dead,” it’s safe to say that Lehrer isn’t someone you’d want to date – much less spend your golden years with!
- A Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon and Garfunkel. On first glance (or listen), this may seem like a song about the seasons, but it’s much more – an older man looking back at his life when “there’s a patch of snow on the ground.” They sing, “It’s the springtime of my life. Seasons change with the scenery, weaving time in a tapestry. Won’t you stop and remember me?” How could we forget?
- When I’m 64 by The Beatles. This is often one of the first songs to come to mind when you think of songs about aging. Written by Paul McCartney when he was just 16, it’s a fun, light-hearted look at what life and love might be like at the ripe old age of 64. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” Now at 72, he’s been married three times. His first wife and longtime love, Linda, died of cancer. His second marriage to Heather Mills ended in a nasty divorce. He’s been with his current wife Nancy since 2007, and by all accounts age hasn’t diminished their love one bit!
- A Touch of Grey by The Grateful Dead. No one would expect the Grateful Dead to sing a sad song about aging, and they don’t disappoint. But listen closely, and you’ll find a message in the lyrics: “Oh, well, a touch of gray, kinda suits you anyway. That was all I had to say but it’s alright — I will get by.” No doubt.
- Grandma’s Hands by Bill Withers. While this song didn’t make any Top-10 lists, it’s a beautiful testament to the bluesy singer’s love and respect for his grandmother – no matter her age. “Grandma’s hands picked me up each time I fell… But I don’t have Grandma anymore. If I get to Heaven I’ll look for Grandma’s hands.” Enough said.
- Hey Nineteen by Steely Dan. This one isn’t so much a tale of growing old as it’s an observation about one of the obstacles facing a May-December romance. Attraction aside, these two don’t have much in common. “She thinks I’m crazy but I’m just growing old. No, we can’t dance together, no we can’t talk at all.” So is what they do have enough?
- Young at Heart by Frank Sinatra. Upbeat, romantic and hopeful, this one is a keeper. A million-selling hit song back in 1953, this ballad is timeless. It might not be your exercise go-to tune, but dim the lights and put this on for a romantic slow dance with the love of your life. “Fairy tales can come true – it can happen to you if you’re young at heart. And if you should survive to 105, think of all you’ll derive out of being alive. And here is the best part — you had a head start if you’re among the very young at heart.” What better testament to staying young, no matter your age — and believing in love?
At GreenTree At Westwood, we have senior programs that can help you remain healthy and active during your time at our senior living community. Contact us at 812.270.9262 today to learn about our rooms and amenities.