I’d like to propose a new RTH Glossary entry, the Retirement Fund Song (aka Rock IRA). Now I would never dare think that artists as idiosyncratic and with as much integrity as Van Morrison and Lou Reed would ever consciously write a song with the goal of funding their retirement, but by chance they have succeeded wildly with “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” and “Perfect Day,” respectively. Think of all the special occasions folks will attach to those songs. Think of all the times those songs will be covered by a diverse set of artists. Think of the royalties those covers will generate.
Perhaps the original rock ‘n roll Retirement Fund Song was The Beatles‘ “Yesterday,” written and performed almost solely by Paul McCartney but powerful enough to fund the planned retirement of his songwriting partner John Lennon. Again, I have no reason to believe Paul consciously wrote “Yesterday” with retirement in mind, but in these tough economic times I can imagine today’s rockers feeling more apt to plan ahead.
To help a future generations of retired rockers, can we define the makings of a Retirement Fund Song (as opposed to any old “hit song”)? For instance, it would seem obvious that the song must be easy for other artists to cover and be romantic and/or nostalgic in lyrical content, but let’s get down to brass tacks. Let’s map out a rock ‘n roll retirement strategy around a legacy-making song that should be a part of the catalog of any artist with an eye toward a second vacation home.