Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler push through health issues, prove ‘music is their lives’:

Rockers are dedicated to their fans, but sometimes that dedication pushes them to their limits and impacts their health. Over the past year, several major acts have had to postpone their tours to address serious health issues.

Bruce Springsteen returned to the stage this week after suffering from a peptic ulcer last year.

The tour kicked off in Phoenix on March 19. According to the Associated Press, the “Born in the USA” singer addressed the crowd by saying, “Phoenix, first I want to apologize if there was any discomfort because we had to move the show last time. … I hope we didn’t inconvenience you too much.”

He went on to play a nearly three-hour show, showcasing his voice, dancing and even ripping his shirt open near the end of the show, per the AP.

Bruce Springsteen playing guitar on stage

Bruce Springsteen performs at Footprint Center on March 19, 2024, in Phoenix, returning to his tour after healing from a peptic ulcer last year. (John Medina/Getty Images)

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Rob Weiner, a pop culture librarian at Texas Tech University, has a simple explanation for what drives performers like Springsteen, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones and more to stay on the road.

“Music is their lives. It is what they do. Dying a slow death at home is not very appealing to most musicians,” he told Fox News Digital.

Weiner continued, “There is nothing that says you have to stop touring at any age. It’s what keeps them young in spirit. Artists create and want to keep doing it, and as long as audiences continue to show up, they try to keep going as long as they can.”

Marc Myers, a Wall Street Journal music and arts contributor, noted there’s also a financial element at stake for many stars.

Bruce Springsteen singing into microphone with both arms raised

Rob Weiner, a pop culture librarian at Texas Tech University, told Fox News Digital that for many performers, “Music is their lives. It is what they do. Dying a slow death at home is not very appealing to most musicians.” ( John Medina/Getty Images)

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“Many classic rock artists and acts have to tour,” he told Fox News Digital. “A good number have high bills related to multiple spouses and homes and to cover health care costs. Albums no longer earn money since music is given away on streaming platforms.”

“In addition, much classic rock is out of sync with contemporary pop. As a result, most classic rockers can’t fill large venues, which means they have to take on large numbers of smaller ones to earn what they need. Those that can are selling their catalogs, but some of these lucrative deals compel them to tour and to sustain visibility and keep catalog hits alive.”

Here’s a look at stars who’ve recently faced health issues but pushed through to deliver music to their fans.

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Bon Jovi

Side profile photo of Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi recently said he’s unsure when he’ll tour again due to recovering from “a major surgery” on his vocal cords. (Travis P. Ball/SXSW Conference & Festivals via Getty Images)

Springsteen’s fellow New Jersey-born rocker, Jon Bon Jovi, has a new album on the way, but his health is currently holding him back from touring.

Bon Jovi spoke with Boston’s Mix 104.1 radio station this month, saying, “I don’t know about a tour. It is my desire to do a tour next year, but I’m just still recovering from a major surgery.”

The “Livin’ on a Prayer” singer spoke in more detail about his surgery during Hulu’s panel for the new docuseries “Thank You, Good Night: The Bon Jovi Story” at the Television Critics Association in February.

According to People, he revealed that one of his vocal cords was “atrophying.”

“So, the strong one was pushing the weak one aside, and I wasn’t singing well,” said Bon Jovi, who described one vocal cord being “thick as the thumb” and the other being “thick as a pinkie.” He added, “My craft was being taken from me.”

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“But nonetheless, and I say in the film and in the latter episodes, if I just had my tools back, the rest of it I can deal with,” he said. “I can write you a song, I can perform as well as anybody. But I need to get my tools back.”

Bon Jovi performed for the first time post-surgery at his MusiCares Person of the Year honor and tribute concert in February.

Jon Bon Jovi playing guitar on stage

Bon Jovi performed post-surgery in February at his MusiCares Person of the Year honor and tribute concert. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

“I’m obviously humbled just to be here and most proud of our being here 40 years on … still about to release our 18th album,” he told Fox News Digital at the event. “We’re very excited about that. The documentary, everything to celebrate this 40th.”

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Aerosmith

Steven Tyler smiling at a podium

Steven Tyler fractured his larynx last year and postponed Aerosmith’s farewell tour. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Janie’s Fund)

Aerosmith’s farewell tour, dubbed The Peace Out Tour, kicked off in 2023 but has been postponed until later this year due to lead singer Steven Tyler’s medical issues.

The tour kicked off in September, but Tyler faced a fractured larynx shortly into the run, which forced the band to indefinitely postpone the shows.

In February, Tyler gave an update on his health while hosting his 5th annual Jam for Janie Grammys viewing party, benefiting his Janie’s Fund nonprofit.

“My throat’s been better, but it is on the mend,” he told attendees of the party, per People.

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His daughter, Mia Tyler, told People that while her father is “much better,” he doesn’t always follow doctors’ orders.

“He’s not supposed to be talking sometimes, so I have to literally yell at him and be like, ‘You can’t be on the phone with me right now, let’s just text,'” she said, adding that he talks to his phone instead of typing.

“You can’t shut him up, he can’t close that mouth,” she joked, adding that he is “very healthy.”

Mia Tyler with her dad Steven Tyler on the red carpet

Tyler’s daughter, Mia Tyler, told People that her father doesn’t always follow doctors’ orders to continue his healing, joking, “You can’t shut him up, he can’t close that mouth.” (Elyse Jankowski/Getty Images)

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Tyler’s bandmate, Joe Perry, told the Boston Globe in late December 2023 that the band was “bummed” to miss their New Year’s Eve show, adding, “[B]ut with any luck, we will be back out late summer and fall of ’24.”

Weiner noted, “Aerosmith’s songs take a lot of energy to sing night after night. Tyler’s vocal style has never been easy.”

“It is important for singers like Steven Tyler and Steve Perry to take care of their throat, as it is what keeps them in money,” he said.

He also pointed to fans appreciating bands’ and performers’ dedication to performing.

“There are always naysayers who think these legacy acts should give it up. But people keep going to see these acts whose best work and performance ability is far behind them,” he said, adding, “Everybody has had health issues, so I do think audiences can be forgiving (not always though, especially when tickets are already bought).”

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The Eagles and Steely Dan

The Eagles performing

Vince Gill, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Deacon Frey and Joe Walsh of the Eagles perform last September at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Eagles)

The Eagles and Steely Dan teamed up for a farewell tour beginning in 2023 but have faced serious hardship and a tragic loss.

In March, Steely Dan keyboardist Jim Beard died after an illness. He had been a member of the band since 2008 and last performed with them on Jan. 20 in Phoenix.

Along with being a keyboardist, Beard was also a pianist, composer, producer and arranger.

As of now, both bands still have tour dates listed for the end of May in the U.K. The Eagles are also performing a Jimmy Buffett tribute show at the Hollywood Bowl in April.

Steely Dan also ran into issues early in their tour in October 2023 due to the hospitalization of frontman Donald Fagen. According to the Indianapolis star, Don Henley said onstage that Fagen was in the hospital but “the show must go on.”

Steely Dan Donald Fagen performing

Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen performs in January after having to pause the band’s joint tour with the Eagles last year. (Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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Fagen was released shortly after his stay and the tour continued.

Weiner explained that “the show must go on” mentality isn’t meant to be cold or callous on either band’s part.

“Some of these legacy acts have no original members but often have longstanding members who have been with the act for many years. Steely Dan was more of a studio band, and the general public did not know who they were. They just liked the songs. The show always has to go on, and in Steely Dan’s case, I doubt the public will notice too much, except for the hardcore fans,” he said.

He added, “Oftentimes, musical artists have to add some ‘newer’ players to their lineup to keep things fresh and on track. So many legacy acts have only one or two original members, but people still want to hear the music.”

He cited examples like Killer Queen, which has replaced the late Freddie Mercury with Adam Lambert, or U2, which replaced founding member Larry Mullen due to his ongoing health issues.

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The Rolling Stones

Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards pose together

Ronnie Wood, Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are kicking off a 16-city tour in April this year. (David M. Benett/Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The Rolling Stones announced their latest tour, for their 18th album, “Hackney Diamonds,” last year, sponsored by AARP, the organization “dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.”

The band will play in 16 cities across the U.S. and Canada, and AARP members will have access to a special pre-sale. The tour kicks off in April in Houston​ and wraps up in July in Santa Clara, California.

Last year, in an interview with the BBC, Richards admitted that he’s had to change his approach to playing guitar after more than 60 years with the band, in part due to having arthritis.

Keith Richards playing guitar in profile

Keith Richards told the BBC last year that arthritis has affected his guitar playing but hasn’t slowed him down. (Nelson Almeida/AFP via Getty Images)

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“Funnily enough, I’ve no doubt it has, but I don’t have any pain, it’s a sort of benign version,” Richards said. “I think if I’ve slowed down a little bit, it’s probably due more to age.”

“And also, I found that interesting when I’m like, ‘I can’t quite do that anymore,’ the guitar will show me there’s another way of doing it. Some finger will go one space different, and a whole new door opens,” he continued.

“Keith Richards has also said he would be ‘rocking in his wheelchair.’ It is what artists do,” Weiner said.

“Musicians are a unique breed. They often just keep going and going. They don’t or can’t do anything else. There is something that drives them beyond retirement age.”

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