Ian Hunter

Gettin’ Old, Gettin’ Grey

So I was reading Steven Hyden’s AC/DC buyer’s guide and one thing stuck out at me in his review of High Voltage:

Bon Scott was pushing 30 when this LP was released; he was willing his denim-covered ass out of the pub and down the road to immortality

I never knew that.  I knew he’d been around for a while when they hired him, but I didn’t know he was that… old.

OK so thirty is not old, but it’s pretty old for a rock and roller.  I was trying to think of rock and roller who “made it” after the age of thirty.   Here’s what I came up with:

Ian Hunter

Ian started fronting Mott the Hoople in 1969 at the age of thirty, but they weren’t a commercial success until 1972 after David Bowie basically rescued them by offering them All the Young Dudes.  So he was about 32 or 33 when he finally made it.  His biggest solo hit after leaving Mott the Hoople was probably Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Ronnie James Dio

Let’s be real.  Ronnie had lots of things work against him.  Lack of conventional good looks, age, short stature and a receding hairline when he joined Rainbow at age 32.  I should say allegedly at age 32, because even that age is subject to some dispute.  But the voice could not be denied.  My personal choice for greatest heavy metal voice ever.  As a bonus, watch him talk to the crowd here- just seems like the coolest guy

Meat Puppets

In a case similar to Ian Hunter’s, the Meat Puppets were more or less pulled into fame by Nirvana covering a couple of their songs and bringing them on stage to play with them during Nirvana’s Unplugged appearance.

They only had one big hit, but were pretty influential for 90s grunge bands

Sharon Jones

Sharon isn’t a rocker, per se, but Soul music is pretty close to rock and roll.  And she’s not exactly a household name, but I’m going to add her here.  At any rate, after decades making sporadic appearances as a backup singer, she’s finally made it