Tag Archives: birthdays

Macca is 69, and soon Brian will be


Paul McCartney formerly of the Beatles turns 69 today. Brian Wilson, formerly of the Beach Boys, will be 69 on June 20. The southpaws, labelmates in the US on Capitol Records, inspired each other musically.

NEXT year, I’ll post my favorite songs by McCartney (solo/with Wings) and the Beach Boys. But these are the songs Continue reading Macca is 69, and soon Brian will be

Bob Dylan is 70


A couple books (that I have not read) have come out about Bob Dylan recently, Sean Wilentz’s “Bob Dylan in America,” and “Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus, Writings 1968-2010” by Greil Marcus. Dylan will turn 70 today, which also, I read in Jon Friedman’s Media Web column for MarketWatch.com, marks “the 50th anniversary of his arrival in New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene. He was a star when John F. Kennedy was our president.”

I’ve been writing a bit about him already this year, from a reinterpretation of his lyrics to cover versions of his songs.

But Continue reading Bob Dylan is 70

Marcia's birthday

One of the things I guess I’ve decided to do – I didn’t think about it, it just evolved – is to note the birthdays of my sisters each year, not just on the ones divisible by 5 or 10. And no, it is not one of the “big” birthdays this year for any of us, actually.

Marcia, the “baby” sister, quite possibly had a tougher Mother’s Day than either Leslie or I did. After all, she lived with our mom for much of her life; first my mom was taking care of her, then in the later years, her taking care of Mom. Whereas Leslie and I would visit Mom one to three times a year for a few days, Marcia would see her daily. Continue reading Marcia's birthday

Happy birthday, Willie Mays!


My favorite baseball player as a kid was Willie Mays. I thought, and I still think that he was the greatest person who played in my lifetime. He could hit for average (.302 lifetime). He could hit for power; he was fifth all-time in extra base hits, behind only Hank Aaron, Mays’ godson Barry Bonds, Stan Musial, and Babe Ruth, and 4th in home runs after Bonds, Aaron and Ruth. He was a great fielder, with 12 Golden Gloves in a row (1957-1968).

Willie came up with the New York Giants in 1951, but his 1952 season was truncated and his ’53 season obliterated because of military service. In 1954, the Giants faced the powerful Cleveland team, a roster that won a record 111 out of 154 regular-season games, in the World Series. The Giants swept the Series in four games, in no small part due to Mays.

So when the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, the Bay City was expecting more pennants. But they lost the Series to the Yankees in 1962. I didn’t realize Continue reading Happy birthday, Willie Mays!

LaMBS is 55

When I was in college, I was co-editor of a thrice-weekly newsletter, inexplicably called the Wind Sun News, sponsored by the Student Government. They instituted this publication in no small measure because the editors of The Oracle, the student newspaper, decided that political issues such American involvement in overthrowing Chile’s Allende in favor of Pinochet was more important to cover than the prosaic issue of college politics.

I had a very good friend then, who I’ll call Lynn, mostly because it was her name. She had been kvetching about turning 20. It was a Wind Sun News night, when a bunch of us would work from 8 or 9 p.m. until around 2 a.m., and occasionally later. Normally, Lynn would be there, but her friend Pam convinced her to go out to dinner with her because she “needed” to talk to Lynn about her relationship with her boyfriend. It was an effective ruse because Pam apparently DID talk to her about the beau.

Lynn came back to the office just before midnight, glum Continue reading LaMBS is 55

Hemby is 58


I always mention the birthday of Fred Hembeck on this blog, not just because he’s my friend, but because he very specifically got me into blogging. When I discovered his blog in October 2004, not only did I read it, I went back and read everything on his site, going back to its inception on New Years Day 2003. Subsequently, I gave him an idea or two for his blog, then I decided, “Hey, maybe I should do my OWN blog.” Whether that’s worked out is for you to judge.

Moreover, he promoted my blog several times that first several months. Not only that, he had a boatload of links to check out, so I did. I would comment on someone’s blog, that person would check out my blog, and directly or indirectly, most of my blogging buddies are a result of Fred’s roster.

Fred is still blogging regularly, though not daily, as he was in the beginning. He does have a separate section where he talks about films, Hey, Did I Tell You About That MOVIE I Saw Recently?, which is my favorite current feature. He also Continue reading Hemby is 58

Joan Baez


This fall, I finished watching some program on the DVR, and the TV defaulted back to the PBS station. I wasn’t really paying attention, but, even with my back turned, I knew INSTANTLY that the speaking voice I was hearing was that of Joan Baez. It turned out to be a rebroadcast of Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound, “American Masters explores fifty years of folk legend and human rights activist Joan Baez,” which originally aired in October of 2009.

There was an album in our household that was played quite often when I was growing up, the oddly-named The Best of Joan Baez from 1963, an edited version of Folksingers ‘Round Harvard Square from 1959. The original came out before her “official” first release, “Joan Baez” on Vanguard Records in 1960. The Best of album, in fact, was the template the Green Family Singers (my father, my sister and I) used when we sang So Soon In the Morning.

Watching the PBS show, I was reminded how some people now may not have known that when she hit the national spotlight, it was her fame and connections that helped popularize her boyfriend for a time, Bob Dylan. She performed several of his tunes over the years, including a whole album, originally released as 2 LPs, called Any Day Now, which I own.

But it wasn’t just her beautiful and distinctive soprano that made her iconic. She believed that music could be used as a tool for change in the areas of civil rights, nonviolence, and worker’s rights. She (and Dylan) performed at the March on Washington in August of 1963, just one of a string of events where she put her voice, and occasionally her body, on the line for issues of justice.

I remember in the mid-1970s when I was at the home of one of my professors. He was playing Joan’s then-new album Diamonds and Rust. I was half listening to A Simple Twist of Fate, a Dylan song, when, at about 2:19, she breaks into this wicked Dylan impression. I howled with laughter.

She performed at the Troy Music Hall in the fall of 2010. I didn’t get to go, as the show sold out quickly. But I hear it was a great performance. The only time I KNOW I saw her perform live was August 9, 1998 in Saratoga Springs, NY as part of the Newport Folk Festival along with Lyle Lovett, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Nanci Griffith, Marc Cohn, Lucinda Williams and others; THAT was for sure a great show.

Anyway, Joan is 70 today, and I thought I needed to acknowledge that. Here’s one of the relatively few songs she wrote, the title tune to the aforementioned Diamonds and Rust album.

“Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

John Lennon Would Have Been 70


The Beatles were my favorite group, and John Lennon was my favorite Beatle. As I stated on Ringo’s 70th, I decided I would list my 10 favorite songs of each Beatle on his 70th birthday, or what would be his 70th. Here’s my JL list, with YouTube links throughout.

10. Crippled Inside – Frankly, I have lots of #10 choices, but this one jumped out at me this month playing all my Lennon CDs. Maybe it’s because of the juxtaposition between the title and the jaunty melody.
9. Mind Games – “Love IS the answer.”
8. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – I had a girlfriend who thought this was the silliest Christmas song ever. (Had she heard Macca’s Wonderful Christmastime?) But I’m very fond, though I tended to cry when I heard it in December 1980. “War is over, if you want it.” Idealist? Naive? Don’t care.
7. Cold Turkey – with its blistering guitar line, it FELT like drug withdrawal. Continue reading John Lennon Would Have Been 70

The Crocodile Song

My father would have been 84 tomorrow. There’s a guy, Ray, who was my friend from second to ninth grade. He went to a different high school, and moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. However, I was in his wedding in October 1976, and I got to escort his mother, who was the Den mother of our Cub Scout troop, down the aisle.

He’s now my Facebook friend. About a month ago, unbidden, he started sending these messages, a verse at a time:

“Sung by: Les Green
To the kids of the ‘50s and ‘60s at Daniel S. Dickinson, PS #9 School, Binghamton, NY

“The Crocodile Song” Continue reading The Crocodile Song