The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 951: Late bloomers

Look, it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Let me illustrate that with a few inspirational examples.

Anna Mary Robertson was born in New York City in 1860. For years, she worked as a housekeeper before moving on to farmwork with her husband, Thomas Moses. They had ten children.

When Thomas died and the kids all moved away, Anna needed something to occupy her time, so she took up painting. She was 78 years old. Anna became known as “Grandma Moses,” and became one of the most celebrated American painters of the 20th century. She’s also held up as an example of someone who found success even though she started late.

In early 2022, I ran across the story of Ruth Slenczynska. She is the last surviving pupil of classical legend Sergei Rachmaninov. Ruth first met him when she was declared a child prodigy back in the 1920s. She recorded some classical records for Decca in the 50s and early 60s, but that was it. Her contract lapsed and wasn’t renewed–that is until early in 2022 when she signed a brand new record deal with Decca for a solo album entitled My Life in Music, Ruth got this deal at the age of 97.

That got me thinking. Rock is supposed to be for the young. New artists are almost exclusively in their teens or early 20s. But not always. Sometimes it takes a little longer and a lot more work before certain artists got their big break. Some had to wait until their 30s, ancient by any measure when it comes to the contemporary music business. They were able to overcome the ageism that’s rife in the music biz.

Let’s take a look at the late bloomers of rock’n’roll.

Songs heard on this program:

  • Blondie, One Way or Another
  • Five for Fighting, Superman (It’s Not Easy)
  • LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk is Playing at My House
  • Dresden Dolls, Girl Anachronism
  • Police, Roxanne
  • Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, SOB
  • Semisonic, Closing Time
  • Fitz and the Tantrums, Moneygrabber
  • Leonard Cohen, Tower of Song

And here’s the requisite playlist from Eric Wilhite.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s, and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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