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Musicians Who Scored Success Even At Age 39

Bryan Ferry Was Still Going Strong At Age 39


Britney Spears releasing “Swimming in the Stars,” heretofore unavailable to fans, to mark her 39th birthday. Since the track has received popular reviews from pop critics, I must assume that the former teen idol still has the gift that made her one of the highest-selling artists of her generation.

Her ability to bring about good music as she approaches middle age puts Spears in good company with other famous artists, including one whose album topped the charts during the last year of his fourth decade.

Here is a list of the musicians who still exhibited the creative desire, even at the age of 39.

1. Elvis Costello

The Juliet Letters, which was critically acclaimed in both the United Kingdom and the United States, was made in 1993.

2. Bob Dylan

The year 1980 continued the Christian approach Dylan had begun with Slow Train Coming, only the album was called Saved and it spawned the enduring single “Solid Rock.”

3. Jeff Tweedy

Loose Fur, the project Tweedy formed with Wilco collaborators Glenn Kotche and Jim O' Rourke, released their second album Born Again in the USA in 2006. Its anti-organized religion tracks are its best, especially “Apostolic” and “Thou Shalt Wilt.”

4. Tom Petty

“Free Fallin'”, “I Won't Back Down”, and “Runnin' Down a Dream” all came out on Full Moon Fever in 1989, when the head of the Heartbreakers was 39.

5. Paul McCartney

Taking a step aside from Wings proved a worthy risk, for it resulted in the fine Tug o' War record in 1982. Besides the Stevie Wonder duet “Ebony and Ivory” it also gave us one with Carl Perkins as well as the delightful “Dress Me Up as a Robber” and “Ballroom Dancing.”

6. Steven Tyler

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Permanent Vacation, which included “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “Rag Doll,” came out in 1987 when Tyler was a few months shy of his fortieth birthday.

7. Paul Simon

Not only did 39-year old Rhymin' bring out the album “Late in the Evening” and One Trick Pony in 1980, but he also starred in a film with the same title.

8. Ray Davies State of Confusion

The Kinks had remained strong in the Sixties and Seventies, so 1983's “Come Dancing” and its album helped keep 39-year old Ray Davies and his band relevant in the Eighties.

9. Freddie Mercury

A Kind of Magic reinforced the fact that Queen had returned, even beyond the comeback album The Works. The record reached number one in the UK in 1986, just as their phenomenal lead singer was bidding goodbye to his thirties.

10. Bryan Ferry

He had left Roxy Music a few years before, but with his 1985 solo album Boys and Girls and the single “Slave To Love” proved that the soon-to-be forty Ferry still had his musical magic.

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