THE doyens of the Smash Hits era are now in their 60s, with many still forced to crank out the old hits on punishing 80s retro tours. Could these acts have prepared better for their twilight years?
The Human League
Phil Oakey could write a good tune, so they just needed to move with the times. In the 90s they should have ditched the synths, got some jangly guitars, and hey presto – The Human Britpop League. It would have been great to see The Lebanon (Dance Mix) trouncing Wonderwall in the charts, and Susan Ann Sulley telling Liam Gallagher to learn some bloody manners as if she was his mum.
He could be coining it in, doing a few gigs a year in December with the reunited Smiths and spending the rest of the year with his feet up watching his Coronation Street box sets with a nice cup of Yorkshire Tea in a Union Jack mug. But no, Morrissey had to spend his dotage in LA ruminating on what a terrible place Britain had become since reggae was allowed in the charts.
That Shakin’ Stevens is on the brink of releasing a new album aged 75 is a sorry tale. It would have been better if he’d retired aged 21. Not from his financial standpoint, he’d be eating own-brand baked beans on a basic state pension, but for the cultural health of the nation generally.
Instead of spending his savings on smack and having to do I’m A Celebrity, George could have reinvented himself as ‘Man George’. He would have been as respected a public figure as Sir David Attenborough, but his insistence on sticking with an outdated moniker left him languishing on the sidelines. That and kidnapping a rent boy and chaining him to a wall which, to our knowledge, Sir David has never done.
Adam and the Ants
It’s reported that when Adam Ant received his first major royalty payment, he spent the money on 48 Harley-Davidsons, which, as any accountant would tell you, represents 48 instantly depreciating assets. Had he changed the name of the group to Adam and the Accountants in the mid-80s, with a change of sartorial style and more prudent financial approach, Adam and his fellow dandy highwaymen would be quids in today.
The exception that proves the rule. Andrew looked after the royalties and devoted the last 40 years to pure pleasure and self-indulgence, declining to set foot near a recording studio and besmirch Wham!’s good name with mediocre vanity albums. F**k, don’t we all wish we were less-talented, nose-jobbed pretty boy Andrew?