For everyone from business tycoons to athletes to performers, the question of when to leave the stage is fraught with complications. Do you go out on top and forgo further glory, or keep going and risk tarnishing your reputation? For the fans of Bob Dylan, it's a question asked with some urgency, says John Jurgensen in The Wall Street Journal, as the 69-year-old songwriting legend — never known for having a "conventionally pretty" voice — recently has been "sounding like a scatting Cookie Monster." Is Dylan a "hippie dinosaur" who should pack it in, or is he still capable of giving fans their money's worth?
Dylan should cut back his concert schedule: Bob Dylan is "a living legend and the greatest songwriter of our times," says Scott Mervis in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he "needs to realize that his 'concert voice' is brutal from doing 100 gigs a year and that his paying fans deserve better." He should "give it a rest," do at most 20 shows a year, and "drink some tea with honey" to "bring that dying instrument back to life."
"Should Bob Dylan retire?"
A few bad concerts do not diminish Dylan's greatness: "This is totally silly!" says Matthew Perpetua in New York. It's "unreasonable" to expect much out of a live performance by "an eccentric 69-year-old" such as Dylan. Besides, "if the entirety of his dismal output in the eighties and one of the craziest Christmas albums ever recorded could not damage the man's reputation as one of the all-time greats, a few lousy gigs won't hurt him either."
"Should Bob Dylan retire?"
Other aging rockers should hang it up first: Having seen Bob Dylan perform many times in recent years, says John Sinkevics in the Grand Rapids, Mich., Press, "I can attest to his vocal challenges." But as a folk rocker, he never did "cavort boisterously" onstage. There are "plenty of other candidates" who should retire before "rock's poet laureate." One thing's certain: As baby boomers age, plenty will ask whether, as the "now elderly Neil Young" once said, it's really "better to burn out than fade away."
"Retirement for Bob Dylan? How about The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Paul McCartney?"
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