Jan Scruggs
Memorial founder

Jan Scruggs

Founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

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Golden oldies

Q: The Who were on center stage -- again -- during the Super Bowl's half-time show. Why are some performers able to sustain their success for decades while others lose their appeal? What are the qualities and skills needed to stay revved up and relevant?

Have The Who sustained their success over the years, or are they merely replaying their hits from yesteryear? There is a big difference.

In the music industry, many performers enjoy a brief time of popularity, but very few have an ongoing ability to create hit songs over the long term. The skill set needed to sustain long-lasting success involves understanding the public's taste, as well as knowing and catering to the demographic to which your music has the greatest appeal.

Michael Jackson sustained his career over decades. While his popularity prior to his death was not what it was in his peak, his planned European Tour may have again launched more hits. We will never know.

The country music genre has a steady flow of people who can fill up stadiums and who understand what it takes to be successful over the long run. Waylon Jennings and Alabama are two who know what country music fans want and they deliver.

I suspect that The Who have not sustained their success as much as they have merely replayed their hits from yesteryear. And there's nothing wrong with that -- there is a ready market for people who still can sing and play the old hits.

It's jolting to get in an elevator and hear the Muzak version of the great hits from the 1960s and early 1970s. It is nice to know that some of these bands are still around to play these songs live.

By Jan Scruggs  |  February 11, 2010; 12:01 AM ET  | Category:  Sustaining success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Isn't it ironic that as examples of the longevity of country artists compared to the Who, the writer chooses two artists are are no longer playing together, or playing at all?

Posted by: ecglotfelty | February 14, 2010 4:16 PM
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