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Meet 10 Superfans Over 50

These passionate people love everything from Harry Styles to the British royal family

You can recite their albums chronologically. You’ve been to multiple stops on each of their concert tours. You even know their childhood nickname. Chances are, you’re a superfan! And you’re not alone. AARP rounded up some of the nation’s over-50 superfans to get a sense of what drives their love of everything from Cher to the Los Angeles Clippers.

spinner image left thomas salmon of watkinsville georgia holding vinyls of harry styles right harry styles performing
Thomas Salmon (left) holding his Harry Styles albums on vinyl.
Courtesy Thomas Salmon; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Fan of: Harry Styles

Thomas Salmon, 52

Watkinsville, Georgia

Shipping manager at a nursery

Thanks to having two kids, I vaguely knew of Harry Styles as the guy from the British band One Direction, which the teenage girls were going crazy for. But when I heard his solo music while watching Saturday Night Live five years ago, something struck me.

As I watched him command the stage, surrounded by vintage-style guitars and his critically acclaimed drummer, Sarah Jones, he immediately reminded me of my 1980s heroes: the Rolling Stones, Bowie, Prince. I thought, Hey! I can get into this!

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Harry makes music that shares DNA with the playlist of my early years, and so I’ll play Bowie’s “Changes,” which sounds like One Direction’s “Night Changes,” and my daughter, a Harry fanatic, will spot the influences.

Harry also taps into that old-school, live-show culture, where the music is loud, the sequins are bright and the audience is on their feet the whole time. My daughter, wife and I all scream until our voices give out. Stepping into Madison Square Garden does, for a moment, transport me back to the packed gigs I used to attend in the ’80s, but this time, there is no violence. The message is kindness. I may have matured since I first started going to rock shows, but rock has progressed too. And for that, I’m glad.

spinner image left clipper darrell bailey is a fan of the los angeles clippers shown right
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images; Harry How/Getty Images

Fan of: The Los Angeles Clippers

Darrell Bailey, a.k.a. ‘Clipper Darrell,’ 54

Lynwood, California

Motivational speaker and nonprofit founder

I got fired in 1992, and the guy told me that I would never amount to anything in life. I went home, lay on the couch and turned on the TV, and they were saying the same thing about the Clippers. I said, This is going to be my team. We are going to ride and die together.

In 2005, I thought of wearing a half-red, half-blue suit to the games because the NBA started making inactive players wear a sport coat on the bench. That suit has changed my life. I can’t believe celebrities know my name. I started a charity to show kids growing up in the hood, like I did, the kinds of things that are available in life. We take the kids to nice restaurants, and one of my celebrity friends will talk with them. Just to let them know what’s possible.

spinner image azhar pasha of meridian mississippi is a fan of the show the sopranos
Azhar Pasha (left) at the location of the show’s final scene.
Courtesy Azhar Pasha; Tom Briglia/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Fan of: The Sopranos

Azhar Pasha, 52

Meridian, Mississippi


Growing up in Pakistan, I learned about America through TV and films. Mafia stories like The Godfather hooked me. I was fascinated by characters who could be both evil and sympathetic.

When I moved to America, at 24, discovering The Sopranos continued my education in American culture. But it also reminded me of home. Pakistan is afflicted with corruption: nepotism, backdoor deals, strategic favors. Seeing this same type of corruption play out in U.S. society felt strangely comforting. No matter where you are, greed and the battle for power appear.

I also love the show because it’s at odds with who I am. I’m an intensely polite person. Tony Soprano is the opposite. He is tough and brazen, and he tells it like it is. When a patient who is abusing drugs demands a painkiller prescription from me, I tap into my inner Tony to stand my ground.

spinner image phae wolber of spokane washington with a cut out of singer cher
Phae Wolber with a cutout of Cher.
Courtesy Fae Wolber

Fan of: Cher

Phae Wolber, 55

Spokane, Washington


My earliest memories are of Cher. My room was cluttered with Cher dolls. The biggest punishment my parents could give me was to ban me from watching Sonny & Cher.

When I was a young woman, there were no other women in the media or in my own life owning their sexuality so unapologetically. And any of her supposed imperfections made me love her even more. Cher showed me that you can wear braces and still have people swoon. She’s like the big sister I never had — even though we’ve never met.

Standing behind the bar, I imagine I’m Cher. She aims to entertain, but she doesn’t take crap, and neither do I. And anyone who bad-mouths Cher gets kicked out of my bar.

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spinner image left the duke and duchess of cambridge after their marriage right royal family fan helen yuu gates
Sean Gallup/Getty Images; Courtesy Helen Yu Gates

Fan of: The British royal family

Helen Yuu Gates, 62


Nonprofit consultant

I’ve been a “royals watcher” since the marriage of Diana and Charles in 1981. It was the fairy-tale romance of the time, and I was simply swept up in it. Of course, it ended sadly. I watched Diana’s funeral and was devastated. But I have seen her sons grow, marry and have families of their own.

On a torrentially rainy day this past November, I waited for more than three hours to catch a glimpse of Prince William and Princess Kate at City Hall Plaza in Boston. Despite the weather and having to stand for hours, it was a thrill — my first time seeing the royals in person in all these years.

They’re just magnetic. They have that royal posture and bearing. Even on a cold and rainy day, they were ramrod straight, not one hair out of place, clothes unwrinkled. William spoke about environmental advocacy, an issue I care about deeply.

There are so many celebrities nowadays because of social media. Anyone can be a hero. For me, I want to believe in something. I want to believe in people. I believe in the royal family. I know they’re controversial. They’re flawed, like any human beings can be. But they have persisted through time. I’ve lived through their heartaches, their missteps and their flaws. Yet still they carry on.

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Tom Dunn with his wife Diane and Fanbulance 2.0.
Brian Carlson

Fan of: The Atlanta Falcons

Tom Dunn, 65

Oviedo, Florida

Retired air traffic controller

When my wife and I got married and moved to Atlanta 40 years ago, we got season tickets for the Falcons. Everything kind of grew from there.

For tailgating, we eventually came up with the Fanbulance. We wanted to have a vehicle that I could load all the gear into at the start of the season and be done. My first idea was to buy a hearse. But my wife said she was only going to take one ride in a hearse and it would not be to a football game. So in 2003, we bought a used ambulance and decorated it with the team logo.

When we retired and moved near Orlando 10 years later, we had to retire that original Fanbulance. I didn’t trust it for the drive to Atlanta, so I bought a new Ford passenger van. We drive it to all the home games and meet up with friends there.

I’m not one that gets upset all week if the Falcons lose, but I do jump and yell. I work out a lot of my aggressions. I’m not in condition to play anymore, so this is the next best thing.

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spinner image left the sitcom friends right stacy brumley of conroe texas
Jon Ragel/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Fan of: Friends

Stacy Brumley, 55

Conroe, Texas


When my daughter, Treya, was stillborn in 2006, I fell into a deep depression. My husband had to return to his deployment in Iraq. I was broken, but I still had three sons to look after.

My oldest son, who was 19, had been lent a few DVDs of the show Friends, and he urged me to have a look. “It will make you feel better,” he promised. That show made me laugh for the first time in what felt like forever. I suddenly had six companions who could distract me and never need anything in return. The grief of losing my daughter has never gone away, but I’ve learned to live with it.

My sons are adults now and are total addicts of the show too. I have a tattoo of the logo’s colorful dots, and my son has a Friends-inspired tattoo too. To me, those six characters really are my friends. They helped me through the darkest period of my life.

spinner image inset linda and mark mcferren of riverside california are big fans of earth wind and fire
The McFerrens (left) at an Earth, Wind & Fire show.
Courtesy Mark McFerren; Jeffrey Mayer/Pictorial Press/Alamy Stock Photo

Fan of: Earth, Wind & Fire

Linda and Mark McFerren, both 60

Riverside, California

Administrative assistant (Linda) and retired high school math teacher (Mark)

Mark: We found the band before we found each other. We both attended the same event they played at in 1980, before our paths crossed.

Linda: We’re both big kids at heart, dancing and singing at any Earth, Wind & Fire concert we attend …

Mark: … to the horror of our children.

Linda: At this band’s concerts, you leave your ego and identity at the door; there are young, old, different races and even people with oxygen tanks, and everyone has invested their time to feel joy for joy’s sake.

Mark: You’ve got the horns doing their thing; you’ve got the bass player doing his thing; you’ve got the guitars. It’s so full, and it harmonizes beautifully. An Earth, Wind & Fire concert is my happy place. No matter what’s going on in life, no matter how crazy things are, we can go to a show and know that, for two hours, we’re going to have a good time.

spinner image left korean band b t s right fan dana schulman
Getty Images; Courtesy of Dana Schulman

Fan of: BTS, a K-pop boy band

Dana Schulman, 76

New Preston, Connecticut

Owner, gift and stationery shop and candy store

When I first became interested in the band in 2021, I was in a fragile place. It was the sixth anniversary of my husband’s death, and the weight of the loss felt heavier than usual. Mindlessly scrolling through a mishmash of videos on Instagram, I noticed these young men doing amazing choreography and singing pop tunes in Korean. They gave me a jolt of energy that helped pull me up out of my grief.

I started listening to BTS whenever I was low — in the car, at my desk or dancing around my store. It’s a world far removed from my own that I escape to — a private, joyful place. What has surprised me most is that I’m finding comfort from songs written in a language I don’t even speak. Regardless of cultural differences, the band’s message breaks through: It’s going to be all right.

I think everything comes into your life for a reason. Listening to the band’s music made me feel good about myself. It gave me my mojo back again. I could be flirty. It made me feel more positive about things. My friends said I looked happier. It pulled me out of thinking, Who am I without this man? No matter what life throws at you, you can still find joy.

spinner image kim mazur of palm harbor florida is a fan of seinfeld
Courtesy Kim Mazur; NBC/Photofest

Fan of: Seinfeld

Kim Mazur, 64

Palm Harbor, Florida

Human resources professional

Seinfeld is my family’s way of communicating. My kids, all in their 30s, span states and continents. But when we quote the show, it immediately connects us as a family.

We began watching Seinfeld when the kids were in their early teens. The sarcasm and snark shaped our family’s sense of humor and provided a ready response for any situation. What message do you leave when someone doesn’t answer that damn phone? “Hi, Jerry. Mr. Steinbrenner’s here. George is dead. Call me back.” What do you say when a family member gets upset? “Serenity now!”

As families grow up, kids have their own interests, friends and eventually families. But it takes only one funny line to immediately reconnect you and put you back in the groove, no explanation needed.

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