The oldest bands still touring today

31 July 2021, 20:00

You can't fail to have noticed that gigs and festivals are back on the menu. Who are the longest-serving rock 'n' roll acts who still have dates on the calendar for this year and the next?

  1. The Rolling Stones - established 1962

    Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones attend The Rolling Stones celebrate the North American debut of Exhibitionism at Industria in the West Village on November 15, 2016
    Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones attend The Rolling Stones celebrate the North American debut of Exhibitionism at Industria in the West Village on November 15, 2016. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

    Speaking to Rolling Stone recently, Keith Richards said of the Stones’ latest tour "Maybe this will be the last one, I don’t know." They’ve been playing together under that name for nearly 60 years!

    The band's No Filter tour resumes in September 2021 in North America, kicking off in St Louis and finishing in Austin, Texas on 20 November.

  2. The Who - established 1964

    Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who in November 2019
    Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who in November 2019. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

    Now just the duo of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, the band’s website names the Paradise Club in Peckham in July 1962 as the scene of the Oo’s first show. They changed their name to The Who in February ’64 and have been playing in some shape or form ever since.

    Their “farewell tour” seems to have no sign of coming to an end and the rockers had scheduled some shows in March 2021 to mark their first album in 13 years, but the ongoing pandemic called a halt to that. We expect to hear from them again any day now.

  3. Aerosmith - established 1970

    Brad Whitford, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith  at the Grammys in February 2019
    Brad Whitford, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith at the Grammys in February 2019. Picture: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Janie's Fund

    Aerosmith will belatedly mark their 50th anniversary in September 2022 with a huge show at Fenway Park in their hometown of Boston. They'll also be embarking on a European tour in the Summer of '22.

  4. U2 - established 1978

    The Edge, Bono, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr of U2 pose with the Global Icon award during the MTV EMAs 2017 held at The SSE Arena, Wembley on November 12, 2017
    The Edge, Bono, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr of U2 pose with the Global Icon award during the MTV EMAs 2017 held at The SSE Arena, Wembley on November 12, 2017. Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV

    Before they were U2 they were Feeback and The Hype, but for four decades Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Junior have been playing together. The band took their Joshua Tree show to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other countries in 2019 and showed that the group were still as popular and proficient as ever.

  5. The Beach Boys - established 1961

    Bruce Johnston and Mike Love of The Beach Boys perform live on stage during a concert at the Verti Music Hall on July 16, 2019 in Berlin
    Bruce Johnston and Mike Love of The Beach Boys perform live on stage during a concert at the Verti Music Hall on July 16, 2019 in Berlin. Picture: Frank Hoensch/Redferns/Getty Images

    Death, illness and mental health issues haven’t soured the American Dream and surf seems to be continually up for this legendary act. The "boys" - all now in their 70s - are still on the road. Brian Wilson, along with his Beach Boys colleagues Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, will be performing in the US in October, while original member Mike Love is still working his way around the country with his own show.

  6. KISS - established 1973

    Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS performing in New York in June 2021
    Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS performing in New York in June 2021. Picture: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for A&E

    It's nearly 50 years since Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley changed their name from Wicked Lester to KISS. They're still fronting the band, and their diary is still full from August 2021 right through to July 2022, with a headline slot at Download Festival on 10 June.

  7. Iron Maiden - established 1975

    Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden performs "Aces High" during the Legacy of the Beast tour in Minnesota, August 2019
    Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden performs "Aces High" during the Legacy of the Beast tour in Minnesota, August 2019. Picture: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

    The metal legends have been doing their unique thing since the mid-70s and will headline Download Festival 2022 on 11 June. Then they're off around Europe to perform to thousands of loyal fans on their Legacy Of The Beast tour.

  8. The Cure - established 1978

    Robert Smith of The Cure performs on The Pyramid Stage during day five of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 30, 2019
    Robert Smith of The Cure performs on The Pyramid Stage during day five of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 30, 2019. Picture: Harry Durrant/Getty Images

    July 2018 saw Robert Smith and his crew play a special show in London’s Hyde Park to mark 40 years since their first gig under the name The Cure - but the history of the group goes back to 1976. 2019 saw the band hitting some of the biggest festivals in the world including Glastonbury. While COVID has prevented any further live shows, Smith is threatening to release a new album, so expect a full tour.

  9. Def Leppard - established 1977

    The British metal legends have 2022 all mapped out - an enormous stadium tour of the US, over 40 years since they began their life in downtown Sheffield.

    Def Leppard announce their stadium tour in December 2019
    Def Leppard announce their stadium tour in December 2019. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
  10. Metallica - established 1981

    James Hetfield of Metallica live in Berlin, July 2019
    James Hetfield of Metallica live in Berlin, July 2019. Picture: Gina Wetzler/Getty Images

    The hardcore metal band will mark four decades in rock with dates in the US in September through to December 2021, while summer 2022 will see them hit the European festivals again.

  11. Red Hot Chili Peppers - established 1983

    Anthony Kiedis performing with Red Hot Chili Peppers in Hollywood, October 2019
    Anthony Kiedis performing with Red Hot Chili Peppers in Hollywood, October 2019. Picture: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Rock Under The Stars

    The LA rockers began their career as Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem almost forty years ago, which is incredible considering the ups and downs they've had over the years. They cleared their diary in 2021 to head back to work on their forthcoming twelfth studio album.