Can You Go a Little Deeper: Jethro Tull“Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die” isn’t, by the strictest sense, a deep track. Actually the version I’m posting comes from one of two Jethro Tull greatest hits collections I have, so it’s apparently considered by some to be in that category.
Tull released Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! in 1976. It was written as a concept album with a plot involving a retired rock star named Ray Lomas. An aging Lomas wins money on a quiz show, but finds society has changed so much that, with no one left like him, he can't enjoying his money.
Lomas decides to commit suicide via motorcycle crash but fails and ends up in a coma. When he awakens he discovers society has changed and his style of dress and music are popular once again. In addition, the cosmetic surgery he received after disfiguring his face in the crash makes him look 20 years younger. He becomes an overnight sensation with the young kids who now try to dress and act like him.
In his liner notes to the 2002 reissue, Ian Anderson said the story was “based on a late-'50s motorcycle rocker and his living-in-the-past nostalgia for youthful years. Not me, guv, honest,” he wrote.
Critics complained the story was muddled; fans didn’t care much for the album or its story; and Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll ended up as Tull’s only release from the 70s to not achieve at least gold status
The title track surfaces once in a while on classic rock radio but is too often overlooked in favor of the bigger hits, i.e. “Locomotive Breath” or “Cross-Eyed Mary.” I think “Too Old to Rock and Roll” is one of Tull’s greatest songs, well deserving of its place on a hits collection. It perfectly describes someone who has remained young at heart while everyone around him has grown up, gotten married, and became adults: “He's the last of the blue blood greaser boys / All of his mates are doing time: married with three kids up by the ring road.”
Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die.mp3
(Can You Go a Little Deeper is an irregularly recurring feature here wherein I resurrect old favorites, lost songs, and other things you maybe haven’t heard in a while)