Folk singer Arlo Guthrie announces retirement from touring

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant -- but Arlo Guthrie will no longer be serving up the lyrics.

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After more than 50 years on the road, the folk singing legend said that “touring and stage shows are no longer possible," Billboard reported.

In a message on his website and also on Facebook, Guthrie on Friday penned “Gone Fishing,” to explain his decision.

In his explanation, Guthrie, 73, said he has experienced several mini-strokes since 2016.

“I got really dizzy in the parking lot of the hotel, and started seeing as though I were looking through a kaleidoscope,” Guthrie said. “It didn’t appear to affect my performance, or my state of being. I continued touring for the next 4 years.”

Gone Fishing It’s been a great 50+ years of being a working entertainer, but I reached the difficult decision that...

Posted by Arlo Guthrie on Friday, October 23, 2020

Guthrie experienced another mini-stroke in 2019 on Thanksgiving Day, but was able to perform at New York City’s Carnegie Hall the next day.

“They kept me there for three days, running tests of all kinds, and essentially informed me that I’d suffered a stroke,” Guthrie wrote. “This time was more serious, as I’d lost some ability to walk, and I wondered if I would be able to play music.”

Guthrie is famous for his long version of the 1967 spoken-word blues song, “Alice’s Restaurant” (also known as “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”), which clocked in at nearly 18 1/2 minutes long. Guthrie is also noted for covering Steve Goodman’s song, “City of New Orleans,” in 1972.

Guthrie thanked his girlfriend, Marti, for her support and care, and said he has been quarantining at his farm in Massachusetts, Billboard reported. He continues to play music online.

“A folk singer’s shelf life may be a lot longer than a dancer or an athlete, but at some point, unless you’re incredibly fortunate or just plain whacko (either one or both) it’s time to hang up the ‘Gone Fishing’ sign,” Guthrie wrote. “Going from town to town and doing stage shows, remaining on the road is no longer an option.”

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