Who would you fork out your hard-earned money on to go see in concert? Most likely Justin Bieber... Britney Spears, Usher, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Buble and, well, just roll off the list. There are a boatload of artists who play to packed venues in the here and now. It's rare that pop singers, country singers -- or any genre of artists for that matter -- have a long shelf life when it comes to maintaining a high-profile career. I could name hundreds of singers who have been shown the exit door after a few short years of selling records and playing the concert circuit. It's not that their talent went away. Fans can be fickle. They grow up. They move on.
There are a few artists who beat the odds and are still rolling down the tracks. Let's take a look at some wonderful exceptions. If we missed your favorite, hit that comment button. They would love a shout out from their loyal fans.
Jimmy Buffett (64)
Parrotheads have been uniting for this laid-back artist since "Margaritaville" became Buffett's signature hit song in 1977. "Cheeseburger in Paradise," which he recorded in 1978, became one of his best-known songs with a little help from his dynamic Coral Reefer Band. Buffett, who not only continues to perform to sold-out crowds, will always be the man fans want to spend a hot summer night with in any outdoor venue, with a nice cocktail in hand... maybe something a little more spicy than a Shirley Temple.
Paul McCartney (70)
The Beatles were that little band from the other side of the pond that became a worldwide phenomenon back in the early '60s. John, Paul, George and Ringo became titanic in the world of pop music. Sadly we've lost George and John. Ringo seems to be taking some time to smell the roses, but Paul has been performing to record crowds since... forever! I totally connect with Paul McCartney, and so, apparently, do millions of other fans evidenced by the fact that they still make their way to their seats and scream as loud as ever at his sold-out stadium concerts.
The Rolling Stones:
Mick Jagger (68)
Keith Richards (68)
Charlie Watts (71)
Ronnie Wood (65)
What can I say about the Rolling Stones that hasn't already been articulated? This group of rowdy, free spirit, musical rebels have been entertaining fans with their high-energy stage antics since the first Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line. The Mustang will always be a part of our pop culture nostalgia. Ditto the Rolling Stones. They just keep rolling, leaving no rocks unturned! (No pun intended.) Wherever they perform, tens of thousands of their fans show up to rock and roll!
Cher. Her name is still synonymous with the Sonny & Cher we all loved back in the day when "I Got You Babe" was on the playlist of every pop radio station in North America. Cher is still a force in the big wide world of entertainment -- proving that wearing big wigs, having talent, and knowing how to "turn back time" has worked in her favor. Cher ruled Las Vegas from 2008 into 2011. We can't wait for her next farewell tour.
Reba McEntire (57)
She's known as "Reba" now -- another artist who can be identified by just her first name... a sign that the words "super star" are actually justified. Some call her the "Queen of Country," but my instincts tell me that she should share that title with Dolly. Nonetheless, Reba has one of the strongest voices of any genre and packs 'em in when she's touring. One of the best concerts I've ever seen was when she and Kelly Clarkson toured together a couple of years ago. Reba is a must see!
Tony Bennett (85)
Living legend... over used term of endearment? Not in this case. Tony Bennett has been entertaining us for decades, although he experienced some career peaks and valleys along the way. His "come back" began in 1994 when he appeared on MTV with his great rendition of "Steppin' Out With My Baby," introducing his music to a young, hip crowd. His most recent album "Duets II" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 "making him the oldest living artist to hit that top spot."
Madonna's nipples are 53 years-old, but people still pay to see them. Sorry. Actually they pay to see her sing. Let's keep this clean. The Material Girl is still filling those stadium seats all over the world so something must still be clicking for her. Maybe talent and the ability to gracefully shock her audience? Yes, let's go with that. There will be no dozing at her concerts.
Dolly Parton (66)
It's not just "the twins" that keep her fans enchanted. Enough of the boob jokes. Dolly Parton has been entertaining the masses since, roughly, 1964, shortly after she stepped off the turnip truck in Nashville, TN to pursue her dreams. If that sounds insulting, Miss Dolly would be the first one to giggle at that southern cliché. This small-town southern girl from Sevierville, Tenn. has the voice of an angel and the gift of songwriting that had to come from above. This talented artist/song writer, who wrote such great hits as "9 to 5," "I Will Always Love You" (a huge hit for Whitney Houston), "Jolene" and so many other hit songs, will be around for as long as she wants to be around.
Glenn Frey (63)
Don Henley (64)
Joe Walsh (64)
Timothy B. Schmit (64)
The Eagles still rock with their huge hits including "One of These Nights," "Take It to the Limit," and "Hotel California." Fans still come in droves to listen to their favorite Eagles hits. The only downside is you almost have to live in California or Nevada to see them in concert. I have one piece of advice for the guys: Road trip! There are 50 other states that are starving for your attention.
George Strait (60)
"The King of Country" has been belting out the hit songs since 1981 and has compiled 59 No. 1 hits according to the Mediabase country music radio chart. That smooth voice and his rugged good looks are a part of the package deal that makes him so appealing on stage. He was named Artist of the Decade for the 2000s at the Academy of Country Music Awards for a darn good reason. This country gentleman never disappoints.
Garth Brooks (50)
Another right choice for Artist of the Decade (1990s) by the Academy of Country Music. When this man was in his prime, he tore up the stage with his dramatic performances that included too many hit songs to mention. One needed a hit of oxygen just watching him jump around on that stage. After taking a break to raise his three daughters, he is back at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas selling out his weekend shows. When daughter number three heads off to college, he's hinted that he will be back performing at larger venues. Do it! Don't make us beg. We have friends in low places.
Toby Keith (50)
Toby Keith keeps packin' 'em in because he's a human lightning bolt. The man puts on a show that is just electric! Be sure and take your "Red Solo Cup" with you to his concert, because his hit songs just keep rollin' out of this man's mouth, and you'll want something wet to soothe your dry throat while you're singing along. You can't not sing along! His body of work includes a lot of kick-ass songs. He's also a real trouper... he takes time to honor our troops at his concerts. If you need an attitude adjustment, go to one of his concerts and you'll come away in an incredibly good mood.
Elton John (65)
Sir Elton John has been around for over four decades, and he's still the man! The "Crocodile Rock" singer recently entertained Queen Elizabeth at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert, so he's still high up on that A List go-to performers. Over the years, he's toned down the flamboyant clothing -- or has he? No matter, thousands of people still show up when he performs in concert to sing his umpteen incredible hit songs.
Billy Joel (63)
The piano maestro just keeps getting better. "Piano Man" being Billy Joel's first hit song in 1973, was just the beginning of multiple hits that he's laid down over the years. My personal Joel favorites: "Just the Way You Are," and "Honesty." Joel's Face-to-Face Tour with Elton John was a huge success from 1994 to 2003, reviving it in 2009 to sold-out crowds. Rumors surfaced that the two might pick it up again in the near future, so let's count on that shall we?
The Beach Boys
Mike Love (71)
Brian Wilson (70)
Al Jardine (69)
David Marks (63)
Bruce Johnston (70)
Help me Rhonda! The original Beach Boys are back together touring for the first time in 20 years, they announced in a recent GMA appearance for their Summer Concert Series. If there's any indication from the fans that showed up in Central Park, it looks like they'll be performing to standing-room-only crowds at their upcoming concerts. They obviously still have good vibrations. Long live the Beach Boys!
Steven Tyler (64)
Steven Tyler is one of the most notable bad boys of Aerosmith taking that long and winding road (my apologies to The Beatles) from the 1970s -- when they were one of the most popular hard rock bands in the world -- through the ups and downs of drug addiction and internal conflicts, coming full circle in 2012 as a force not to be denied. Steven and the boys will be playing, no doubt, to packed houses as they tour from mid June through early August across this great country of ours.
Gene Simmons (62)
KISS this! Gene Simmons appears to be unstoppable. He's everywhere -- reality TV (Gene Simmons Family Jewels), rocking out with his band KISS on tour from mid July through late September hitting over 42 venues and probably making his way to the drive-thru windows at any fast food place in sight, traveling incognito. He's still got our attention.
Bruce Springsteen (62)
Legend has it that The Boss was so in awe of the King of Rock and Roll when he first saw him on The Ed Sullivan Show, he was inspired to become a famous singer/musician in his own right. The stars aligned in his corner because he is now as well known as Elvis. According to E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt (as told to SiriusXM's Cousin Brucie), Springsteen once jumped over the wall at Graceland in the mid '70s, knocked on the front door, and was told that Elvis wasn't home. Great story! The "Born in the U.S.A" super star will be touring all summer. But, did he ever meet Elvis?
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