"Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die" as written by and Ian Anderson....
The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
Wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end --- drank his ale too light.
Death's head belt buckle --- yesterday's dreams ---
The transport caf' prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
In his post-war-babe gloom.

Now he's too old to Rock'n'Roll but he's too young to die.

He once owned a Harley Davidson and a Triumph Bonneville.
Counted his friends in burned-out spark plugs
And prays that he always will.
But he's the last of the blue blood greaser boys
All of his mates are doing time:
Married with three kids up by the ring road
Sold their souls straight down the line.
And some of them own little sports cars
And meet at the tennis club do's.
For drinks on a Sunday --- work on Monday.
They've thrown away their blue suede shoes.

Now they're too old to Rock'n'Roll and they're too young to die.

So the old Rocker gets out his bike
To make a ton before he takes his leave.
Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner
Just like it used to be.
And as he flies --- tears in his eyes ---
His wind-whipped words echo the final take
And he hits the trunk road doing around 120
With no room left to brake.

And he was too old to Rock'n'Roll but he was too young to die.
No, you're never too old to Rock'n'Roll if you're too young to die.


Lyrics submitted by Philadelphia Eagles

"Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll, Too Young To Die" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis songs always brings me close to tears. It's about an old rocker who's outlived his heyday, but is still too young to die, so he goes out in a self-inflicted blaze of glory. It's beautiful and terrible.
    futiledazeon February 21, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like the way this song has it both ways. It is a sad song about nostalgia and the way we see times and other people change combined with a classic "death ballad". But it also contains an up-beat shift in attitude: "Your'e NEVER too old to rock and roll" and you find out in the next song on the album, Pied Piper, that it wasn't a death ballad either.

    I particularly like these lines that express the protagonist's point of view: "all of his mates are doing time:
    married with three kids".
    rassendyllon March 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think it's literally about being too old to rock'n'roll. It's more about clinging to the glory days of your youth, whatever they may have been. Do you try to stay as you were, when everyone else has "sold their souls straight down the line" and all you are now is an anachronism? Or do you sacrifice everything you believed in, and give it up to be like all your old mates are now? If you can't do the first one and won't do the second, there's nothing left except to go out in a blaze of glory. It's a beautiful and powerful message, all the more so as you get older and watch life going past you, while longing for the good old days.
    Urban Cannibalon September 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti would like to say, thats the first time i have read and understood the lyrics. And that means its the first time have understood the song, for what it is. its beautiful, and tragic, and the last verse is just, well tull at their best.
    jefrotullon April 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti would like to say, thats the first time i have read and understood the lyrics. And that means its the first time have understood the song, for what it is. its beautiful, and tragic, and the last verse is just, well tull at their best.
    jefrotullon April 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAre you ever too old to rock and roll? People wonder, then look at Lemmy, or Ian Anderson.
    Skydogon October 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSad song really, but look at today's artists like THe Who or The Rolling Stones that prove you can never be too old to rock n roll.
    kfe2on January 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe finds out that he was never too old to RnR in Chequered Flag, just before he does die (I think, I haven't managed to obtain Pied Piper yet).
    inpraiseoffollyon October 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningOn it's own, it's a song about loneliness, loss, yearning nostalgia and suicide.
    In the context of the album of the same name, the hero Ray Lomas feels that he and his music and style have been outmoded. This is what leads him to attempt suicide. The final refrain of the song "You're never too old" speaks to the theme of the album, that all music and style are eventually rediscovered, recycled and reincorporated into current trends. Ray's relevance is restored in the end.
    Zorton August 10, 2013   Link

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