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The answer: Golden Earring is the longest-running rock band

13 Jun
Golden Earring in 1974, the longest-running rock band

Golden Earring in 1974

Surprised? Don’t remember them?

Golden Earring is most famous for their two biggest hits, “Radar Love” (1973) and “Twilight Zone” (1982), although they have had numerous songs on the charts in the U.S. and internationally. They formed in 1961 and haven’t stopped since, with two founding members still in the band. Although they haven’t toured outside of Europe (their home country is The Netherlands), they still play over 200 shows per year and just released a studio album in May 2012.

When we posted the original question on Google+, one person emphatically answered with The Rolling Stones, and when presented with Golden Earring as “our” answer, replied that they are irrelevant. A friendly debate ensued, and here was the logic in our choice:

Our original criteria never included “still relevant”; it was only (1) continuously running without an “official retirement” and (2) at least one founding member throughout the band’s history. So, with “still relevant” as a criterion, there’s no argument that the Stones would win hands down. They started in 1962, only several months after Golden Earring—and of course, their magnitude is incomparable.

However, a counter-argument can be made that the Stones can’t hold a candle to Golden Earring in a couple respects—Earring is still playing regularly (again, over 200 shows per year) and just put out an album. The Stones haven’t toured in five years and have only recorded one studio album in the past 15 years (A Bigger Bang in 2005). In that same time, Golden Earring has released three studio albums. So, it’s true The Rolling Stones haven’t officially retired, but they’re hardly busting their asses performing and creating new music. (Not that we blame them, since they don’t have to.) And who knows, the guys in Golden Earring may need to, depending on their financial situation.

So, we’ll leave you to your choice—it’s either Golden Earring (based on our original “rules”) or The Rolling Stones (if you want to grade on a curve, accounting for current “relevance”).

What do you think the answer should be and why?

Can you name the longest-running rock band?

18 May

rock star on stage with question mark over faceOkay, without cheating by looking up on Google, can you name the longest-running rock band? By this, we mean the same band going continuously without an official “retirement” and with at least one continuous founding member.

We’ll announce the answer soon, along with the top runners up.

David Lee Roth Tells the Story Behind the Title of Our Book

25 Apr

Bon Jovi Celebrates 50th Birthday Today

2 Mar
Jon Bon Jovi in the 1980s and now

Jon Bon Jovi, then and now

A 50th birthday seems like a good time to reflect on your life so far, and Jon Bon Jovi certainly has nothing to regret in terms of accomplishments. He’s led one of the most successful rock bands for over 30 years, which has sold well over 100 million albums; he’s amassed a net worth of roughly $120 million; he’s received acclaim and awards for his solo albums; he’s enjoyed cross-over success on a number of songs; and he’s had a bit of fun dabbling in television and film acting.

And the fruits of his labor have extended to charitable ventures as well. He started the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation in 2006 in an effort to help America’s homeless, hungry, and poor. Then in late 2011, with his wife and personal chef, he opened Soul Kitchen, a “community restaurant” in New Jersey to offer those with little or no money the chance to enjoy better food through a “pay what you can” model. (The food is mainly donated by Whole Foods, with much of the vegetables grown on the property.) The concept allows people with low incomes to enjoy a restaurant meal that’s not fast food, while people with more means can pay a suggested price, or more, to help those who can’t. Incidentally, Panera Bread has been successfully operating several restaurants under the same model for a few years.

Bon Jovi exemplifies a number of key traits that mark every successful entrepreneur:

  • Hard work—He is a noted workaholic among his band and peers, diligently tending to his music business and other ventures.
  • Ethics—He doesn’t use his industrious nature as an excuse to run over people, treating those around him with due respect, especially his band mates who as a result have mostly been with him since the beginning.
  • Brand management—His flagship venture, his band, has been handled magnificently over the years, perhaps only matched (at that level) by U2, AC/DC, and Aerosmith. Though his and the band’s look and music has evolved over the years to keep up with the times, their core values have not. Bon Jovi’s middle-class, blue-collar, Jersey roots still run through all that he does both on stage and off stage; he never relocated to Los Angeles and adopted a Sunset Boulevard lifestyle.
  • Leadership—Aside from his solid ethical grounding, his band members attribute their loyalty to his leadership. He has a strong vision for Bon Jovi (the band) but has also allowed the others their creative room to breathe in side projects. He’s demanding, and yet doesn’t expect his band mates to share his workaholic nature.

Though he’s now eligible for membership in AARP, it’s highly unlikely Bon Jovi will be retiring anytime soon. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if he has another 50 years of meaningful contribution to music, business, and society in him.

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