Who are the oldest bands still touring today?

15 January 2022, 18:00 | Updated: 2 February 2022, 10:48

Still in business? The Rolling Stones, Metallica and Aerosmith. Picture: ZUMA Press, Inc./MediaPunch Inc/WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Which of the longest-serving rock 'n' roll acts have dates on the calendar for this year? And who can we reasonably expect to make a comeback?

By Radio X

COVID-19 has scuppered a great many tours over the past two years, but there are many groups that are still a going concern when it comes to live work. In reverse order, then. here are some of the most experienced bands you'll be able to see performing soon...

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - established 1983

    Anthony Kiedis performing with Red Hot Chili Peppers in Hollywood, October 2019. Picture: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Rock Under The Stars

    The LA rockers began their career as Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem almost forty years ago, which is incredible considering the ups and downs they've had over the years. They cleared their diary in 2021 to head back to work on their forthcoming twelfth studio album and have booked a series of enormous dates for '22, with shows in Manchester, London, Glasgow and Dublin in June and July this year.

  2. Metallica - established 1981

    James Hetfield of Metallica live in Berlin, July 2019. Picture: Gina Wetzler/Getty Images

    The hardcore metal pioneers will hit the European festivals again, with sets at Pinkpop, Firenze Rocks, Rock Wertcher, Mad Cool and NOS ALive.

  3. U2 - established 1978

    The Edge, Bono, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr of U2 pose with the Global Icon award during the MTV EMAs 2017 held at The SSE Arena, Wembley on November 12, 2017. Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV

    Before they were U2 they were Feeback and The Hype, but for four decades Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Junior have been playing together. The band took their Joshua Tree show to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other countries in 2019 and showed that the group were still as popular and proficient as ever.

  4. The Cure - established 1978

    Robert Smith of The Cure performs on The Pyramid Stage during day five of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 30, 2019. Picture: Harry Durrant/Getty Images

    July 2018 saw Robert Smith and his crew play a special show in London’s Hyde Park to mark 40 years since their first gig under the name The Cure - but the history of the group goes back to 1976. The band will play their first dates in three years with a European tour that kicks off in October and makes its way to the UK in December - and there's also a promise of that long-awaited new album, too.

  5. Def Leppard - established 1977

    Def Leppard announce their stadium tour in December 2019. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    The British metal legends have 2022 all mapped out - an enormous stadium tour of the US, over 40 years since they began their life in downtown Sheffield.

  6. Iron Maiden - established 1975

    Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden performs "Aces High" during the Legacy of the Beast tour in Minnesota, August 2019. Picture: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

    The metal legends have been doing their unique thing since the mid-70s and will headline Download Festival 2022 on 11 June. Then they're off around Europe to perform to thousands of loyal fans on their Legacy Of The Beast tour.

  7. KISS - established 1973

    Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS performing in New York in June 2021. Picture: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for A&E

    It's nearly 50 years since Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley changed their name from Wicked Lester to KISS. They're still fronting the band, and they'll be at it all over again starting in Australia in March, with a headline slot at Download Festival on 10 June. After which, they'll be replaced by cyborgs or something.

  8. Aerosmith - established 1970

    Brad Whitford, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith at the Grammys in February 2019. Picture: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Janie's Fund

    Aerosmith will belatedly mark their 50th anniversary in September 2022 with a huge show at Fenway Park in their hometown of Boston. Unfortunately, they've cancelled their European dates this summer, saying "We have continued to monitor the ongoing COVID situation, and with the related uncertainty around travel logistics and the continued presence of COVID restrictions and other issues, it has become clear that it will not be possible to go ahead with our summer shows in the region."

  9. The Who - established 1964

    Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who in November 2019. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

    Now just the duo of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, the band’s website names the Paradise Club in Peckham in July 1962 as the scene of the Oo’s first show. They changed their name to The Who in February ’64 and have been playing in some shape or form ever since.

    The band had to reschedule some shows intended to mark their first album in 13 years to Spring 2021, but the ongoing pandemic meant the whole tour was called off. Roger Daltrey has a solo tour lined up for June 2022, and we fully expect The Who to stage another comeback.

  10. The Rolling Stones - established 1962

    The Rolling Stones performing on their No Filter tour - without drummer Charlie Watts - in September 2021. Picture: Bill Greenblatt/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy

    Despite the death of stalwart member Charlie Watts last year, 2021 saw the Stones named as the highest-earning live act in rock. Their rescheduled No Filter tour ended in Hollywood without the drummer in November, with Mick Jagger saying "anything could happen" in the future. The band celebrate 60 years in the business in 2022.

  11. The Beach Boys - established 1961

    Bruce Johnston and Mike Love of The Beach Boys perform live on stage during a concert at the Verti Music Hall on July 16, 2019 in Berlin. Picture: Frank Hoensch/Redferns/Getty Images

    Death, illness and mental health issues haven’t soured the American Dream and surf seems to be continually up for this legendary act. The "boys" - all now approaching their 80s - will be taking place in a "Good Vibrations cruise" to the Bahamas in March with a line-up that features veterans Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. Love is also working his way around the country with his own show.