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Some old words of wisdom — and an array of songs — about staying young

Bob Dylan said it well on dealing with aging: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” So did a bunch of others, including George Burns.

“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Bob Dylan, “My Back Pages” (The Byrds’ version)

So true — at least that’s what I often tell myself. Along with another mantra: “You’re not getting older — you’re getting better.”

And I don’t need any naysayers to contradict me.

I can certainly point to all sorts of contemporaries to back up my belief.

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Not to mention a couple of “historic figures” who lived long, full lives but never grew “old.” I’m thinking of two beloved entertainers:

Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972), who explains here some of the benefits of aging in his wise appraisal, “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore,” from the 1958 film “Gigi.”

• And the extremely quotable George Burns (1896-1996), who seems to want to rewind the clock, with “I Wish I Was 18 Again.”

Neither of them lacked for energy, and Burns had a couple of relevant things to say on our topic:

Age to me means nothing. I can’t get old; I’m working. I was old when I was 21 and out of work. As long as you’re working, you stay young.

You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.

So, let’s reinforce their “thinking young” movement with a sample from a wide array of songs and related messages.

Let’s start with a popular early-1960s youth-themed commercial from “The Pepsi Girl,” Joanie Sommers.

And then we’ve got a wide array of “young” songs — some with upbeat messages, some downbeat, some conflicted. You’re bound to know a bunch of them.

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How about a couple of Broadway songs courtesy of Rodgers and Hammerstein?

• Paul Anka’s upbeat version of “Hello Young Lovers,” from “The King and I.”

• And “Younger Than Springtime,” from “South Pacific.”

We’ll transition with one more “younger” song from the pop charts (The Critters’ version of “Younger Girl”) and then two from a very young Ricky Nelson: “Young World” and an angst-ridden “Young Emotions.”

• And the most successful  “young” song of the pop era — “Young Love,” a No. 1 song in 1957 for both Tab Hunter and Sonny James.

• Candi Staton’s discofied “Young Hearts Run Free.”

• Minnesota’s Gary Puckett (& the Union Gap) with “Young Girl.”

• Dick & Deedee’s “Young and In Love.”

“Young Americans,” my favorite David Bowie song.

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• Duane Eddy’s Top 10 instrumental “Because They’re Young,” from the like-titled 1960 movie, from the like-titled movie, which starred (appropriately) Dick Clark, long known as “The World’s Oldest Teenager.” 

• Roy Clark’s “Yesterday When I Was Young.”

• Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks.”

• Ruby and the Romantics’ “Young Wings Can Fly.”

• And another instrumental, known as “Nadia’s Theme” to Olympic Games followers and as “Theme From ‘The Young and Restless’ ” to soap opera fans.

• Plus two Frank Sinatra classics: “You Make Me Feel So Young” and “Young at Heart.”

Which also happens to be the name of a marvelous 2007 documentary that tells the story of a senior choir that wowed the world with its verve and repertoire. One of the movie’s highlights — the group’s performance of “Forever Young” before an enthusiastic crowd of inmates at an area prison — brings us full circle to Mr. Dylan.

Who could be better to celebrate the benefits of a youthful attitude with this anthem of his?