Neil Diamond, 77, recently stunned music fans by announcing that he has Parkinson’s disease and was immediately retiring from touring — canceling an entire leg of the tour he was on.
But he isn’t the only one retiring.
A number of bands and musicians, including Paul Simon, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Elton John, have recently announced retirement or, at least, farewell tours. (The possibility of a reunion tour is always strong.) Most of these acts belong to the baby-boom generation, the same ones that are being pushed off classic rock radio stations in favor of 1990s grunge.
Such a spell of retirements might feel like the end of an era, but there’s still a chance to catch these bands in concert.
Here’s a guide to help out.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel first harmonized together in sixth grade, after meeting at school in Queens. Together, they would become a pop music force unlike any at the time, using their dulcet voices to breathe life into delicate tracks like “America,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “The Sound of Silence.”
Simon, a restless songwriter, began to write his own tunes in 1958, according to AllMusic. But it was his 1986 album “Graceland,” which incorporated mbaqanga music of South Africa with American pop, that became his magnum opus. It’s been listed as a top 100 album by publications as wide-ranging as Rolling Stone and Time.
Simon has released 13 solo albums and toured them tirelessly, but last December his guitarist Vincent Nguini died from liver cancer.
That’s one reason the 76-year-old songwriter said he’s retiring from touring, the other being that “the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing,” he said in a statement.
Likelihood of actual retirement: It’s up in the air. Simon said he does “anticipate doing the occasional performance” after his farewell tour. And before announcing his retirement, Simon told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m never going to retire” from making music.
Where to see him: “Homeward Bound — The Farewell Tour” stretches across the United States and Europe. From May 16 to June 20, he’ll play several major cities, though he’s skipping some major markets like New York City, D.C., Atlanta and San Francisco. He’s then in Europe from June 30 to July 15. See the dates here.
The seminal Southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd formed in 1964 and has experienced its fair share of tragedy and success ever since.
The band’s name was inspired by Leonard Skinner, the high school gym teacher who taught several of the band’s members, according to Reuters. As the story goes, he sent a few of them to the principal’s office for having long hair. When they later formed the band, they named it in his honor — with a slight misspelling.
Twenty-six of the band’s albums climbed the Billboard 200 chart, and the over-nine-minute-long song “Free Bird” has become a cultural fixture. It’s a joke at rock shows to request the song (even, or especially, if the band playing isn’t Skynyrd).
But in 1977, a plane carrying the band from Greenville, S.C., to Baton Rouge crashed, killing several members, including frontman Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines — two of the band’s founders.
Guitarist Gary Rossington, 66, is now the only founding member still with the band, but heart problems in recent years have caused him to cancel shows.
“My health isn’t very great, so it’s harder for me to tour these days, and everyone’s got kids and families and grandkids now,” Rossington told Billboard. “So we’re just gonna kick back a little bit because of our age, and I just want to go out on a high note.”
The band calls this its “final” tour on its website.
Likelihood of actual retirement: It seems low. Rossington told Billboard that the band is “just winding it down a little bit” and pointed out that many acts “retire” and then return to the stage.
“I know we’re going to take some time off after this farewell tour that’s all planned, and then who knows,” Rossington said. “Even, like, the Eagles and a lot of people retire for a year or two and they have to come back. It’s just in your blood, y’know? So I don’t know if it’s really ever gonna end.”
Where to see them: The tour — called “The Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour” in reference to the band’s 1977 record — is slated from May 4 to Sept. 1 and traverses most of the continental United States, though folks in the Southwest might need to travel to Phoenix or California to catch them. See the dates here.
From heavy metal rocker to MTV reality star, Ozzy Osbourne has had a prolific, and often tumultuous, run. He got his start in Black Sabbath in 1968. His nearly four-decades-long solo career began when he was kicked out of Black Sabbath for allegedly being unreliable and replaced with Ronnie James Dio.
His music was dark, and his shows were wild. On tour for his 1981 record “Diary of a Madman,” Osbourne would hurl pigs’ intestines and the like at the audience. At one show in Des Moines, as Rolling Stone recalled, one prepared fan threw a live but unconscious bat on stage. Thinking it was a prop, Osbourne bit the bat’s head off — and had to be rushed to the hospital to be treated for rabies.
So it’s not surprising that he’s retiring from world tours because, “I just need to slow it down a little,” as the 69-year-old performer told Rolling Stone.
“I enjoy being a grandfather,” he added. “I don’t want to go through another generation of Osbournes without seeing them grow up.”
Likelihood of actual retirement: Pretty unlikely. First, he said “I’m not retiring” from playing one-off gigs, just tours. Second, he supposedly retired from touring in the early 1990s with his farewell “No More Tours.” Osbourne isn’t hiding that fact, though: He named this farewell tour as if it was a sequel, “No More Tours 2.”
Where to see him: The tour kicks off on April 27 and runs through Oct. 13. It covers much of the United States, though neglecting most of the Gulf South, save for two shows in Florida. See the dates here.
Elton John teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin in 1967, and the two have dominated pop music since. They have nine No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, where 67 of their tunes landed.
One particular appeal of John was his openness about his personal life, particularly his homosexuality and his longtime addiction to drugs and alcohol. He got sober in the 1990s, at which point he berated himself for not being more active during the AIDS epidemic — so he started the Elton John AIDS Foundation. For both his activism and his music, Queen Elizabeth II knighted John in 1998.
John’s onstage stature has drawn enormous crowds for more than 50 years. He could command the masses from a piano, while they took in his famously flamboyant outfits and oversize glasses. He has climbed on stage dressed as a sheep, a bumblebee and even Minnie Mouse.
But now he’s a family man. He and his husband, David Furnish, have two sons together, and the 70-year-old pop star says he wants to see them grow up.
“I’ve been touring since I was 17 with various bands. I thought the time is right to say thank you to all my fans and say goodbye,” John told Anderson Cooper, adding that he and Furnish “changed our lives, and in 2015 we sat down with their school schedule, and we said I’m going to miss too much of this.”
Likelihood of actual retirement: It’s fairly likely, given that the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour includes more than 300 shows strung out across three years.
Where to see him: The tour spans five continents and most major American cities. Finding a show shouldn’t be an issue, though finding tickets might be — John recently added dates to the tour after the first 60 shows sold out. See the dates here.
More from Morning Mix: