Monday’s Music Moves Me: March Birthdays (Part 1)

Patrick, our guest conductor for this month, has given us an easy one this week: Musicians who celebrate a birthday in March. I found this list and started, and had to stop myself at 14 because I kept seeing musicians that I wanted to include. Finally, I said “save some for next week!” Since the playlist is a wee bit long, you might want to click this link and save it for later. Anyway, Happy Birthday to…

  • Harry Belafonte, who celebrated his 92nd birthday on March 1. The song I chose for him is “Jamaica Farewell,” from his 1956 album Calypso. My aunts used to play this one all the time and it about drove me nuts…
  • Larry Carlton, session guitarist extraordinaire who has done some amazing solo albums. He turned 71 on March 2. “Bubble Shuffle” is from his 1989 album On Solid Ground. Larry is known as “Mr. 335,” because his guitar of choice is generally a Gibson ES-335, though he’s playing a Les Paul Studio here.
  • Karen Carpenter, one half of the Carpenters, who would have been 69 on March 2 had bulimia not shortened her life to just under 33 years. “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” is from their 1977 album Passage. In the words of one commenter, this song proves that Karen Carpenter could sing the phone book and get an emotional response.
  • Arthel “Doc” Watson, who would be 96 on March 3 but who died in 2012. He is a legend in bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel guitar, blind since before his first birthday, who could also play the banjo, harmonica, and probably anything else you gave him. I heard Howlin’ Wolf’s version of “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” years ago, but Doc’s is amazing.
  • British blues-rocker Chris Rea‘s celebrated his 68th birthday on March 4. He’s now doing more straight-ahead blues, but he recorded “On The Beach,” in 1986 for the album of the same name. He re-recorded it in 1988 and it reached #9 on the US Adult Contemporary chart. Great song no matter what.
  • The late Andy Gibb‘s would have been 61 on March 5. Sadly, he died just after his 30th birthday in 1988 of natural causes brought on by years of drug and alcohol addiction. “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” was a #1 hit in the US and Canada in 1977.
  • Wes Montgomery died of a heart attack in 1968 when he was just 45, but we celebrated his 96th birthday on March 6. “Bumpin’ On Sunset” is from his 1966 album Tequila, his last album for Verve Records, and features a string section conducted by Claus Ogerman. Wes’ unusual approach to the guitar was particularly conducive to playing octaves, which he does almost all the way through this piece.
  • Micky Dolenz, drummer and sometimes front man for The Monkees as well as a former child actor who starred in the series Circus Boy, turned 74 on March 8. “Randy Scouse Git,” a 1967 composition by Micky that was released under the name “Alternate Title” in the UK because the original title was deemed to be taboo for British audiences (despite the fact that Micky heard it on a British TV show) nonetheless became a #2 hit there. It was also released on the US album Headquarters and is on a number of compilation albums. The late Peter Tork said it was one of his favorite Monkees songs.
  • Mark Lindsay, former lead singer for Paul Revere and The Raiders, turned 77 on March 9. “Arizona” was his greatest solo hit from 1970. Shoulda stayed with The Raiders, Mark… He now lives in Maine.
  • Moving up a little further into March, Jerry Reed would turn 82 on the 20th if he hadn’t died in 2008. A fantastic guitarist (he was honored as a Certified Guitar Player by his buddy Chet Atkins), singer, songwriter and all-around funny guy, Jerry starred in the Smokey and The Bandit movies and provided the music for them, including the song “East Bound and Down,” which reached #2 on the US and Canada country charts in 1977.
  • The incredible Sister Rosetta Tharpe, singer and guitarist who was influential in blues, rock, and gospel, would be 104 the same day as Jerry. “Didn’t It Rain” was recorded live in 1964 in Manchester, England as part of The British Tours of “The American Folk Blues Festival”. I don’t know what the second song is, but it rocks pretty heavy, too.
  • Christian rocker and fantastic guitarist Phil Keaggy turns 68 on March 23. “In The Light of the Common Day” is from his 1991 album Beyond Nature, a collection of instrumental guitar pieces. It’s a great album that I recommend highly.
  • The lovely Chaka Khan, who started with Chicago’s The American Breed, which morphed into Rufus in the ’70’s, shares a birthday with Phil Keaggy. She’ll turn 66 this year. “I Feel For You” is the title track from her 1984 solo LP. A song written and originally done by Prince, it features Stevie Wonder’s harmonica and Grandmaster Melle Mel’s rapping. This song reignited her career, reaching #1 in the UK and on the R&B and Dance charts and #3 on the Hot 100 and was certified gold in the US and UK.
  • Finally, a very, very happy 102nd birthday on Wednesday to Dame Vera Margaret Lynn, DBE, better known as just Vera Lynn, whose version of “The White Cliffs of Dover” was a huge hit with the troops during World War II.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for March 18, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

The Friday 5×2: 3,235 Weeks

My birthday is Sunday, so I’m going to play some of my favorite songs. I have a lot of favorite songs, so keeping it down to ten was a chore, and some of you who know me personally might be asking yourself “Why did he pick _____ instead of _____?” And the answer is, because it’s my birthday.

  1. Les Baxter, “The Poor People Of Paris” According to most of the sources I’ve read, this was #1 the day I was born.
  2. Bobby Vee, “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” I just like this one. Featuring Bobby Vee this week reminded me. It’s good to sing along to.
  3. Three Dog Night, “Out In The Country” I’ve always liked the guitar in this one.
  4. Ryu Sakamoto, “Ue O Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki)” I understand why they called this one “Sukiyaki,” but it really detracts something from the meaning of the lyrics. So here it is, with the English translation of them.
  5. Dee Clark, “Raindrops” Chicago’s Dee Clark recorded this on Chicago’s Vee Jay records, but that’s not the reason I chose this. I’ve always liked the way the melody goes abruptly from major to minor at the end of the verse.
  6. The Ventures, “Walk, Don’t Run” It was a choice between this one and “Hawai’i Five-O” and this won.
  7. The Beatles, “Free As A Bird” The story goes that Yoko found a tape with a couple of songs John Lennon recorded and sent them on to the other three Beatles, who added their voices and instruments and turned this into the first new Beatles song since the group broke up in 1970. The first time I heard it, my heart jumped into my throat, and even now, it gives me the shivers.
  8. George Harrison, “When We Was Fab” George Harrison is the reason I started playing the guitar. The Quiet Beatle had a wicked sense of humor, as demonstrated here.
  9. Chicago, “Poem 58” Begins with an extended jam by Terry Kath, Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitar player. Wish I had known that when I was in high school, where Jimi was worshipped and Terry was laughed at.
  10. Django Reinhardt, “Limehouse Blues” Django’s solo is incredible: he plays so fast, but you can hear every note, and it builds from single notes to octaves to full chords and dissonance.

This was fun. I’ll have to do it again soon. That’s your Friday 5×2 for March 23, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: #1 Songs on My Brothers’ Birthdays

Permit me to be sappy here for a minute: God blessed me with three wonderful brothers. Well, Mom had a lot to do with it, as did Dad and Tex, who was her second husband. Here are the #1 songs in the US and UK on the days they were born. I’m not going to tell you which year; figure it out if you want to know that badly.


Jim (December 11):

US: Elvis Presley, “Jailhouse Rock” You have to figure that Elvis would be in here somewhere.

UK: Harry Belafonte, “Mary’s Boy Child” A Christmas song, which you might expect, it being two weeks before Christmas.

Kip (November 13):

US: The Kingston Trio, “Tom Dooley” The folk boom was in full swing when this one reached #1.

UK: Tommy Edwards, “It’s All In The Game” Simply a beautiful song.

Pat (September 9):

US: Glen Campbell, “Rhinestone Cowboy” Haven’t heard much about Glen, who was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease the last I heard about a year ago.

UK: Rod Stewart, “Sailing” Had to listen to this to make sure this wasn’t the Christopher Cross song of the same name.

And just for good measure, on my birthday, March 25:

US: Les Baxter & His Orchestra, “The Poor People of Paris” A delightful little tune from the days when delightful little tunes made it to the Hot 100.

UK: The Dream Weavers, “It’s Almost Tomorrow” I had never heard this one. Another video of this song had Ed Sullivan saying that they were a group from the University of Florida.

Special thanks to BirthdayJams for their help. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for June 5, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


Monday’s Music Moves Me: Happy Birthday!

We’re tasked with finding artists who were born on May 8 and thus having a birthday. The Blogger’s Best Friend tells us these musical artists are having a birthday today, so…

Happy 77th to Toni Tennille, born this day in 1940. Here’s “Do That To Me One More Time” from 1979.

Happy 76th to John Fred, born this day in 1941. A one-hit wonder! Here’s John & His Playboy Band with “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” from 1968.

Happy heavenly birthday to singer and TV actor Rick(y) Nelson, born this day in 1940. Here he is with “Hello Mary Lou,” from 1961, featuring the James Burton solo that made hundreds of kids want to play the guitar.

Happy 73rd to Gary Glitter! Here’s “Rock & Roll (Part 2)” from 1972.

And happy 66th to Philip Bailey, drummer with Earth wind & Fire, who had a huge hit with Phil Collins in 1984, “Easy Lover.”

Finally, a happy heavenly birthday to the lovely Miyoshi Umeki, born this day in 1929. Here’s “Sayonara,” from 1953.

And happy birthday to you, if today is your birthday. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 8, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.