Dead rock stars don’t age
John Lennon would have been 70 tomorrow. I, for one, can’t imagine that.
John Lennon, like any deceased star, is forever frozen at the age he was killed – 40. He is unable to age in our minds, which makes proclamations like “this guy would have been 70 today” seem so trivial. More trivial than usual, that is.
See, John Lennon at 70 wouldn’t have been the guy we deify today. People change, even legends. He would have been an older guy, struggling to adjust to a rapidly changing musical landscape. He would probably be fighting away from obscurity, or – at least – fighting to stay relevant. He may have become a hermit. We may have been talking about him like we once talked about Syd Barrett, secluded and crazy, his friends sheepishly recollecting his greatness. He might have spurned his fans and gone off the deep end. He might have turned into a total dick, said something racist, or wrote a song about Princess Diana.
He didn’t, though. And that’s why we’ve given him legendary status.
We can’t imagine Lennon at 70, no more than we can imagine him at 60 or 50 or even 41. He’s never going to grow older.
Kurt Cobain would have been 43. Jim Morrison would have been 67. Louis Armstrong would have been 109. Bob Marley would have been 65. Jeff Buckley would have been 44.
Can you imagine Cobain at 43, twelve albums into a career? Could you imagine Bob Marley, releasing yet another greatest hits album?
Do you even want to?