Madonna King: Jimmy Barnes’ music hasn’t aged. Perhaps we thought he wouldn’t either

Jimmy Barnes had open-heart surgery for a second time in his life this week.

Jimmy Barnes had open-heart surgery for a second time in his life this week. Photo: Getty

Just when we believed that 80 was the new 60 and 60 was the new 40 and 40 was the new 30, Jimmy Barnes goes under the knife.

He’s 67, and uses social media like a teen. He makes us feel young, even alerting fans to his emergency surgery for a bacterial infection that had spread to his heart – via Instagram.

And then the thank you, after the operation, came on X; a testament to how Jimmy Barnes has grown and kept his massive audience base through social media.

How many of us tuned into Facebook during COVID lockdowns for the Jimmy and Jane show; to see the couple entertain us with regular tunes?

He might be Scottish-born, but he’s shown over and over he’s Aussie to the core. Forever Jimmy. Forever 50.

No. He’s 67. That’s not old, especially when you consider the Rolling Stones – first formed in 1962 with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts – will hit the road again, next year.

But who would have thought he was 67? And because his music is just as good, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of youth.

But time waits for no one. Sir Paul McCartney has reached his ninth decade. Ninth! But the music he produces is just as young.

Guess, without reading on, how old John Farnham now is.

Sixty?  OK, 65?

Wrong. John Farnham, despite boasting the elixir of youth, is now 74. And he probably got a reminder of his mortality last year, when he underwent marathon surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his mouth.

John Farnham. And now Jimmy Barnes. A reminder that 70 might not be the new 50 at all.

Perhaps it’s because their music doesn’t age that we believe those behind it won’t either.

When the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll Tina Turner died earlier this year, people opined how terribly sad it was that she died so early.

But she was aged 83; only a smidgeon younger than the average age of death for females in Australia.

Jimmy Buffett was 76 when he died from skin cancer in September. A reminder perhaps that the sun shines just as brightly on us all, even in Margaritaville.

For almost all of us, music plays a deeply personal and individual role. The first dance with that boy who stole your heart. In the labour ward, arguing over which song would mute the pain more.

Training for a half-marathon to Eye of the Tiger, which is now 41 years old!

The song hasn’t changed, although the director and star of Rocky, Sylvester Stallone, who is now 77, is probably a touch less agile than he used to be. Certainly the black mass of hair has turned grey.

John Farnham last year reminded us that time stops for no one. Jimmy Barnes did that again next week.

Thank goodness, they are here and strong at the end of 2023. And may they both see 80 and 90, even.

But perhaps their health scares should serve as a Christmas reminder to all of us; not just that if we are lucky we grow old, but that an annual check-up – for both our heart and our head – is a good idea.

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