Rod Stewart on Elton John’s retirement tour: ‘it’s dishonest, not rock and roll’

Pinktober Red Carpet Arrivals

In January, 70-year-old Elton John announced his retirement from touring, after a massive, three-year farewell tour (tickets for which sold out here in Atlanta in about three minutes). The announcement was met with a mix of sadness and excitement from fans and some mild shaming from his longtime friend and musical rival, Rod Stewart.

Rod, who is 73 himself, showed up on Watch What Happens Live on Wednesday night, along with the delightful Cyndi Lauper, to promote their summer tour. When a fan called in to ask him for his reaction to Elton’s news, Rod joked, “I did email her and said, ‘What, again dear?’ And I didn’t hear anything back.”

The rocker, who re-recorded his hit “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” last year with DNCE, went on to add, “Talking about retirement, I’ve never spoken about retirement, and if I do retire, I won’t make an announcement. I’ll just fade away. I don’t think this big deal, ‘I’m going to retire’ – it stinks of selling tickets…it’s dishonest. It’s not rock and roll.”

Cyndi had a slightly different take on it, suggesting that a retirement announcement was “not a bad idea,” elaborating, “We could say, ‘For the last time, we’re retiring.’ Then one more time. ‘Well, maybe the second to last time.’” Cyndi has toured with Cher, whose had at least three or four farewell tours, so she should know. By the way, Rod and Cyndi’s 22-date summer tour kicks off on June 25 at the Hollywood Bowl.

Where Rod took a more lighthearted take on Elton’s retirement, “rock ’n’ roll curmudgeon” Neil Young pulled no punches about it. During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he alluded to Elton and other retiring rockers by joking,

I’m going out with Cher. Cher and I are doing a retirement tour. [Laughs] “Neil and Cher.” When I retire, people will know, because I’ll be dead. They’ll know, “He’s not coming back! He retired.” But I’m not gonna say, “I’m not coming back.” What kind of bullshit is that? I could go out and play if I felt like it, but I don’t feel like it.

[From Rolling Stone]

I have seen Rod Stewart in concert a couple of times, back when I was in college, and I’ve seen Cyndi a few times as well (most recently open for Cher on her Dressed to Kill tour). Both of them still “have it” and I’m not looking forward to their retirement. In fact, watching all of the musicians I grew up now retiring is making me feel sad…and old.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Rod Stewart performing at Forum di Assago

Rod Stewart performs at Nowlan Park

Photos: Getty Images,

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30 Responses to “Rod Stewart on Elton John’s retirement tour: ‘it’s dishonest, not rock and roll’”

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  1. PunkyMomma says:

    Ha! I remember attending one of Cher’s retirement concerts twenty years ago.

    But I do think Sir Elton means what he says. His children are quite young.

    • HadleyB says:

      This statement is so sad..retirement and his children are quite young. He is so selfish.

      • Grace says:

        I suppose you could think of it that way. But none of us know how much time we’re given. I’m sure his boys are very loved and cared for. I think that’s what matters.

      • Milla says:

        I am sorry that he has been gay since forever but he wasn’t able to adopt kids. Or have a surrogate earlier.

        I love them both, but Rod can find a better way to get the headlines. Cos Elton’s health isn’t the best so it may be his last tour.

  2. lightpurple says:

    I LOVE the bitchiness of old rockers. And yes, if you can still do it, continue. Musical talent is a great and joyous gift that needs to be shared. Classical musicians have often continued well into old age. If the body allows and the gift hasn’t diminished, musicians in other fields of music should continue too. Vocalists and drummers are the areas where I acknowledge there might be decline that would prompt retirement.

  3. Scal says:

    I mean-Elton’s not retiring from music through right just touring? I can see wanting to stop touring when you have young kids and are older.

  4. Alexandria says:

    Wow can’t believe I kinda agree with Rod. They’re established musicians. If they feel like having a gig, go. If not, don’t. Who knows once his kids are teens, Elton may want to feel the rush of live overseas gigs again in an attempt to feel young lol.

  5. Chef Grace says:

    Just say you’re taking a break. Be back soon.
    EJ loves his drama though.

  6. Chrissy says:

    That’s rich coming from the man who supports his family by singing nothing but standards for the last twenty years. Such bitchiness. Rod lost his rock’ ‘roll cred a long time ago. Elton wants to be around for his young kids and enjoy their childhood years with them. Good decision IMO.

    • Felicia says:

      Not to mention the very obvious work Rod has had done on his face…

    • Hazel says:

      Rod’s got a couple of young kids, too. This is just typical Rod/Elton stuff.
      I’ve seen both in concert when they (& I) were younger. It’s kind of fun to see what that early anti-establishment, youth culture rock n rollers are doing in their retirement years. I’m thinking in particular of the Stones, but it’s great they’re all still making music & performing.

    • Jaded says:

      That’s exactly what I was going to say. I lost all interest in Rod after his initial success with Jeff Beck and The Faces. Then he simply turned to schlock pop and elevator jazz for the money.

    • milla says:

      I actually loved Rods last album. But i have soft spot for Elton. He is old diva with real talent and i just love him. Rod’s story is much less complicated. And btw Elton loved George and it another reason i adore him.

  7. Jayna says:

    Elton is a touring machine. Not only his kids, but he’s had health problems. People are used to thinking they can see him on tour. So you might think, I can see him next tour, so I will skip this one. So it makes a difference knowing he’s retiring from touring. Many will want to catch it now.

    But do I think this is the end? Nah. He’ll tour again one day. But at his age there’s no guarantee he’ll be around,

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      Which is why I bought two VIP packages for Elton’s Raleigh, NC show next March. He has cancelled on me twice before due to ill health; this may be my last chance to ever see him in concert. Fingers crossed!

  8. Lala says:

    Did…DID HE CALL ELTON JOHN “HER”?!?!?! That is TOO RICH!

    • NameChange says:

      I don’t know if Rod misspoke, but a lot of my gay male friends do refer to each other as “her” or “she.” It’s not an offense.

    • lightpurple says:

      He has done so for years. Several other of the older British rockers refer to Elton as “her” too.

      And can’t we get Keith Richards to weigh in on this?

    • whatWHAT? says:

      heard a story about this on the radio this AM.

      they’ve been friends for literally decades, and apparently have playful names for each other. Rod calls Elton “Sharon” and Elton calls Rod “Phyllis”.

      it’s akin to Keith Richards calling Mick “Brenda” (as he’s done FOR YEARS). just a joking thing amongst British rockers.

      strange to us “yanks”, but apparently it’s an affection thing they engage in.

  9. Ravensdaughter says:

    Yes, rock n roll bitchiness is glorious.
    Rod the Bod’s comments aside, touring is strenuous physically and mentally. I look at Elton John and I don’t see a healthy man (unlike Rod, who looks great). If that is the case, it behooves him to get off the road, take better care of himself, and spend time with his family.
    Those early years go by so fast and he needs to be present!
    He can still make music from the studio.

  10. CrazyCatLady says:

    Haha I also attended Cher’s retirement tour 20 years ago.👀

    I went to see EJ tour with Billy Joel about 6-7 years ago. I went to see EJ. I left with appreciation for Billy instead. EJ had no energy or stage presence. Bland .

    • Imqrious2 says:

      I’ve seen them both, apart and together, and I will take a Billy Joel concert over EJ any day (amazing energy and fun). Though I have to say, EJ concerts in the 70s were a LOT great. His earlier work is far superior.

  11. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Eh, it’s just like imported rug stores going out of business…they never close, and they never go out of business, but they stay in perpetual GOB sales. Rock on retirees!

  12. Tina says:

    Elton’s only got two kids to support, Rod. He has the luxury of retirement.

  13. moo says:

    oh dear….. Rod is going the way of Kenny Rogers and doesn’t look like himself anymore. bummer….. he was pretty hot in the day, but I have no idea who that guy is.

  14. SJhere says:

    I think Rod looks great! In his 70s and looks fab.
    I’m in my late 50s and would be thrilled to look that good.
    Just any of Rods children work? As far as I know they are all still living off his money, maybe that’s why he isn’t planning to retire from touring.
    I’d go to see Rod and Cyndi on tour, bet they still put on a good show.

  15. holly hobby says:

    Read Rod’s bio. He is actually very funny. The dry British humor. I had new respect for him after reading the bio.

  16. Milla says:

    It was not about labels. It was about experience and drugs. So gay or straight, rnr didn’t really care. Homophobia came back in style in the 80s, when everyone wanted AIDS to be gay plague.

    I am gonna miss real pop rock musicians/ songwriters. Haven’t heard that energy since the 90s and Seattle scene and brit pop era.