Someone once said that youth is wasted on the young. Well whichever bitter old thing said that, they did not account for all the young spending youth in the wilderness, preparing for greatness. Like these five.
1. Jarvis Cocker & Pulp
When Jarvis Cocker got a demo tape to legendary BBC radio DJ John Peel in 1981 things were looking up for the then 18-year-old and his band. As it was it took another 10 years before the Cocker-fronted Pulp finally burst into primetime in 1994 with their album ‘His ‘n’ Hers’. Cocker was 31 at the time of its release and within two years Pulp had become a household name and won the Mercury Music Prize. Cocker temporarily ‘guested’ during Michael Jackson’s Brit Awards performance and became, according to one music paper, “The Fifth Most Famous Man In Britain”.
2. Huey Lewis
He was known as Hughie Louis in 1971 when he joined the band Clover as lead singer, aged 21. Clover recorded a couple of albums but things didn’t take off and their frontman was still unsure as to how he wanted to be known – Huey Louis came and went, even Huey Harp took a turn – before he finally settled on Huey Lewis. The 1980 debut from Huey Lewis and the News wasn’t a hit either but finally in 1982 the stars aligned and a 32-year-old Huey led his band to global success including an Oscar nomination.
3. Leonard Cohen
As a child and teenager in Quebec the young Leonard Cohen was interested in both music and poetry. It was as a poet that he was first introduced to the world after he had his first collection was published in his early 20s. He continued to write poetry and novels throughout his 20s, only deciding to turn his attention to singing and songwriting in his 30s. His debut album, ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen’, was released a few months after his 33rd birthday.
4. James Murphy/LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy didn’t even start up hipster-beloved New York electro band LCD Soundsystem until he was an older and wiser 31-years-old. Success didn’t come until 2005 with the then 35-year-old Murphy’s eight minute masterpiece ‘Losing My Edge’. A song about getting older and worrying about keeping up with the kids. Six years later they were selling out Madison Square Garden.
5. Seasick Steve
It’s a familiar story – young musician leaves home, works through a number of casual jobs until he becomes more successful with his music, scores a record contract and goes on to win awards and play all over the world. Which is basically the career path of Steve Wold, better known as blues musician Seasick Steve, but in his particular case all that took almost 50 years! Yes Seasick Steve played music all his life but didn’t release his debut album until 2003 when he was 63 years young. Four years later he won the Mojo Award for Best Breakthrough and this youthful newcomer hasn’t stopped since. And neither should you.