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.
Fan of: Harry Styles
Thomas Salmon, 52
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!
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.
Fan of: The Los Angeles Clippers
Darrell Bailey, a.k.a. ‘Clipper Darrell,’ 54
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.
Fan of: The Sopranos
Azhar Pasha, 52
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.