It’s another Freebie day on Monday’s Music Moves Me, when we can do whatever the heck we want. I’d do that today, anyway, because it’s my birthday!
Last week, we did March birthdays. This week, in honor of the day, I’m doing more March birthdays, starting out with a few that are celebrating brthdays with me.
- Anita Bryant, “Paper Roses” I get it, nobody likes Anita Bryant, but it is her 79th birthday, and I like her voice. “Paper Roses” was a #5 hit for her in 1960.
- Bonnie Guitar, “Dark Moon” Bonnie died this past January, so she’ll be celebrating her 96th in heaven, right next to the “Dark Moon” that she sang about in 1957. She took this to #6 on the Pop chart and #14 on the Country chart.
- Jeff Healey, “Roadhouse Blues” Blind most of his life due to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes, Jeff passed away in 2008 at the age of 41. He’d be celebrating his 53rd birthday. “Roadhouse Blues” is from the 1989 movie Road House starring Patrick Swayze. Jeff was in the movie and did a lot of the soundtrack.
- Johnny Burnette, “Rockabilly Boogie” Best known for “You’re Sixteen,” Johnny was quite the rockabilly star in his day. Johnny died in 1964, but he’d be celebrating birthday #85 today. 1957’s “Rockabilly Boogie” didn’t chart, but it was a great song nevertheless.
- Aretha Franklin, “I Say A Little Prayer” Today would be the First Lady of Soul’s 77th birthday had she not died last August. “I Say A Little Prayer” was the B side of “The House That Jack Built,” and reached #10 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in 1968.
- Elton John, “I’m Still Standing” Ironic that we started the list of today’s birthdays with Anita Bryant and are ending it (this part of the list anyway) with Elton John, who’s 72 today. “I’m Still Standing” reached #12 on the Hot 100 in 1983 and seems oddly appropriate today.
- The Monkees, “Last Train To Clarksville” For many of their early hits, The Monkees were backed in the studio by LA’s famous Wrecking Crew. Carol Kaye, who has played bass and guitar on more hits than anyone can count, including “Last Train To Clarksville,” celebrated her 84th birthday yesterday. Everything I learned about playing bass guitar I learned from her.
- Nena, “99 Luftballons” Gabriele Susanne Kerner, also known as Nena, sang this while a member of the band named after her. She turned 59 yesterday. “99 Luftballons” was a #2 hit in the US and a #1 in most of the rest of the world, and the English translation, “99 Red Balloons,” went to #1 in the UK and Canada, all in 1983.
- Diana Ross, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” The lovely Ms. Ross celebrates her 75th birthday tomorrow. This is the theme song from the 1975 film starring Diana, Billy Dee Williams, Jean-Pierre Aumont, and Anthony Perkins. It reached #1 in early 1976 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- Robert Lockwood Jr., “Sweet Home Chicago” Robert learned to play guitar from blues great Robert Johnson (and called himself “Robert Jr.” throughout his career) and he does a killer job of Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” here. He passed in 2006, but would have been 104 this Wednesday.
- Reba McEntire, “Fancy” Okay, I admit it, I have a thing for Reba McEntire, who turns 64 on Thursday. Maybe it’s the red hair, maybe it’s that she covers Bobbie Gentry’s “Fancy” so well. From her 1990 album Rumor Has It, she reached #8 on the US and Canadian Country charts in 1991.
- Frankie Laine, “Mule Train” Francesco Paolo LoVecchio, born in the Italian neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, became Frankie Laine early in his career and had a ton of hits, such as “Mule Train,” which reached #1 for him in 1949. Frankie died in 2007, but he would be 106 on Saturday.
- Shirley Jones, “‘Til There Was You” Shirley was a huge star long before her days as Shirley Partridge on The Partridge Family and has one of the great voices of our time. You might remember she played Marian the librarian in the 1962 film The Music Man, with Robert Preston and little Ronny Howard, which is where this comes from. She’ll be 85 on Sunday.
- Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, “Mexican Shuffle” Some of you might remember this as “The Teaberry Shuffle”, but trumpeter, composer, arranger, songwriter, singer, record producer, record executive, painter, and sculptor Herb Alpert recorded this with the Tijuana Brass for the TJB’s 1964 album South of the Border. Herb turns 84 on Sunday.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for March 25, 2019.