Funny how time slips away… Sounds like lyrics to a song, huh? And as time does slip by, a lot of the recording artists we grew up with retire, pass away, or go on to other careers. But what about the ones that don’t stop recording, who continue to put out music, like the inestimable and forever relevant Paul McCartney? They’re out there. In fact, most musicians and recording artists don’t simply disappear into oblivion. They continue to perform and record. Believe it or not, there is a thriving industry of older artists who continue to tour and entertain (and not just those ’50s doo-wop crooners, either) and, upon occasion, release live and new studio material. Last year was no exception. So here’s a few albums from some past industry giants that you might have missed…
One of the world’s greatest and most enduring classic rock live performances is Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive!,” a double-album vinyl set that gave the world “Show Me The Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do.” It remains one of the top best-selling live albums of all time. In April 2010, Peter Frampton released “Thank You Mr. Churchill,” his tenth album since his breakout #1 live recording, his fifteenth overall. The album, his first since his Grammy-winning “Fingerprints” in 2006 (for Best Pop Instrumental Album), debuted at No. 154.
Indiana rocker John Mellencamp, probably known best for his little ditty about “Jack and Diane,” released his 21st studio album (his 25th overall) in 2010. “No Better Than This” dropped on August 17 and debuted a week later on the Billboard 200 at No. 10. The album was Mellencamp’s first album in two years. Produced by Grammy-winner T. Bone Burnett (“Raising Sand,” “O Brother Where Art Thou?” Soundtrack), the album was less classic rock and captured a more country, folk-rockabilly sound. It made Rolling Stone‘s top albums of 2010 list, placing at #12.
The Doobie Brothers offered their 13th studio album in September. “World Gone Crazy” debuted at #39, their highest ranking album on the Billboard 200 since 1989’s “Cycles.” The album was released with many of the band’s original line-up in place, including guitarist Pat Simmons. Tom Johnston, who shared much of the album’s song-writing credits with Simmons, was the original Doobie Brothers frontman who would later be replaced by Michael McDonald (who also appears on the album) for a period. He told Songfacts that the album’s title track was inspired by how crazy the world had become, because ” what people are doing to each other around the world is not stuff that would have happened 20 years ago.”
How is it that we miss these albums? Well, unless they’re a supergroup or legendary, like the Eagles or the Rolling Stones, many just don’t get the promotion that a lot of the newer artists get. Occasionally, you might catch an older artist appearing on a talk show or on late night, perhaps even on a radio station, and find out about new music just released or forthcoming. Some of the more Internet-savvy seek out official websites or fansites to get updates on reunions, tours or new albums. (Just about every artist has an official website and at least one fan website these days.) But if you have a favorite classic rock artist (or just a favorite artist you haven’t heard from in quite some time), chances are they’re still recording. Take the Steve Miller Band, for instance, who put out a new album in June…
For those who recognize the first line in the article but can’t place it, the lyrics come from the song “Funny How Time Slips Away,” which was written by Willie Nelson in 1962 and recorded by the red-haired stranger himself, as well as The Supremes, Al Green, Billy Joe Royal, Joe Hinton, The Spinners, and Elvis Presley.