You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant—but it appears we've seen Arlo Guthrie tell us that in person for the last time. In lengthy posts on his Facebook page and website, the 73-year-old folk singer announced Friday he's retiring from performance immediately. He's canceled numerous shows he had planned around the country for the next year and said he won't be booking any more, per the AP. "It's been a great 50-plus years of being a working entertainer, but I reached the difficult decision that touring and stage shows are no longer possible," he said in the statement titled "Gone Fishing." Guthrie didn't respond to email and phone messages asking to elaborate, but he indicated in his statement that health issues played a major role. He said he'd suffered two strokes in recent years, including a serious one that hospitalized him for several days last year.
The son of folk music legend Woody Guthrie rose to overnight fame in 1967 with the release of "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," a hilarious 18-minute talking blues ballad about how his Thanksgiving Day 1965 arrest for littering kept him out of the Army during the Vietnam War. He went on to record more than 30 albums, write several children's books, and occasionally appear in TV shows and films, including playing himself in the 1969 movie "Alice's Restaurant." Guthrie, who frequently declined to play "Alice's Restaurant Massacree” for audiences over the years, had planned to perform it at next year's shows. In July he released a new song, Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More," and indicated Friday that his retiring from the stage doesn't mean he'll go away completely. "In fact, I hope to be a thorn in the side of a new administration pretty soon,” he said in a veiled reference to President Trump. (Read more Arlo Guthrie stories.)