45 Oldest Living Musicians

Dolly Parton

Aside from the occasional reach for physical support, Dolly Parton certainly did not look 77 when she performed during the halftime of the Thanksgiving 2023 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders. As both a prolific musician and an actress, Dolly Parton has been and continues to be one of the most important and influential women in the music industry.

Ringo Starr

We’ve already mentioned Beatles bandmate, Paul McCartney, but how does Ringo Starr’s age compare? Well, Ringo (the drummer for The Beatles, for those who don’t know) is actually the oldest member of the group, born in 1940, 2 years before Paul. 

Despite his age, Ringo has still been regularly releasing music and touring as of 2023, which is impressive for anyone 83 years old. 

Chubby Checker

The early 1960s were defined by dance moves not altogether different than some of the social media dance trends from the last 10 years. One of the most iconic and well-known of these dance moves from the 1960s is The Twist, which grew to prominence with the version released by Chubby Checker (born in 1941). 

Steve Cropper

Steve Cropper (born in 1941) is one of the unsung heroes of 1960s soul music guitar, appearing on countless recordings due to his employment in the Stax Records house band. You’ve heard him play guitar on tracks like Green Onions, Knock on Wood, and (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay. 

Mason Williams

If you’re serious about fingerstyle and classical styles of guitar, there’s a fair chance you’ve attempted to learn the song, Classical Gas. This standard repertoire piece (of which few people can perform flawlessly) was written by Mason Williams, who celebrated his 85th birthday in 2023. 

Brian Wilson

It’s difficult to exist in a world today that hasn’t been influenced by the harmonic genius that Brian Wilson (born in 1942) employed with the Beach Boys. His work influenced even the Beatles, who saw the group almost as direct competition. 

Wilson’s struggles with mental health and drug addiction have been well-documented over the years (including a memoir published in 1991). The fact that he is still contributing music to the world is a gift to humanity that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Rod Stewart

Rod Steward may have been born in 1945, but he's continually surprised the world with his vitality, especially where increasing the number of his family is concerned. The legendary singer has 8 children, the most recent of whom was born in 2012. 

Despite his age, Rod continues to perform frequently, most recently holding a multi-year residency in Las Vegas. He has been on tour almost every year since 1977. 

Rod Stewart

James Burton

James Burton (born in 1939) is one of the pioneers of how the electric guitar is played in country music, helping to invent that “chicken picking” sound. Burton is known for playing a Fender Telecaster while being Elvis Presley’s guitarist of choice during the years of his Las Vegas residency. 

Grace Slick

The psychedelic heyday of the late 1960s was ushered in by San Francisco bands, one of which contained the powerful voice of Grace Slick (born in 1939). Grace is primarily known for her work in Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship, with one of her biggest hits being White Rabbit. 

Jorma Kaukonen

Speaking of Jefferson Airplane, we must give mention to the band’s guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen, who was born in 1940. Kaukonen remains quite active, releasing his latest studio album in 2022, as well as performing regularly in Hot Tuna, a group he co-founded in the late 1960s with fellow Jefferson Airplane member, Jack Casady. 

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