Happy Birthday Clarence Clemons!
via Remedy Jam Outburst
From 1972 until his death, Clarence Clemons, Jr. (January 11, 1942 – June 18, 2011) played the tenor saxophone as a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Popularly known as "The Big Man", Clemons has released several solo albums and has acted in film and television, having appeared in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Simpsons, and The Wire.
As a child, Clemons received an alto saxophone as a Christmas present from his father, and he began taking music lessons. He later switched to baritone sax and then tenor sax. Clemons' first meeting with Bruce Springsteen has become part of the band's mythology, and was immortalized in "The E Street Shuffle" as well as "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" on Springsteen's album Born to Run. In several interviews, Clemons told this story about the first time they met:
Happy Birthday, Pat Benatar!
Patricia Mae Andrzejewski (January 10, 1953) is an American singer and Grammy award winner from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, whose music was immensely popular throughout the 80s. During that time, she won four Grammy Awards and had 19 Top 40 singles, including "Love is A Battlefield", "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", and "Invincible". Although the singer had a musical upbringing during her childhood on Long Island and had plans to attend Juilliard, Benatar's professional music career was put on hold when she decided to attend SUNY Stony Brook. After a year, she dropped out to marry her high school sweetheart, Dennis Benatar, a member of the Army. While the couple was stationed in Virginia, Pat worked as a bank teller outside of Richmond.
Happy Birthday, David Johansen!
David Roger Johansen (December 9, 1950) is an American rock musician and songwriter, as well as pop singer and actor. Johansen is best known as a member of the protopunk bank, The New York Dolls. In the late 70's, Johansen began a solo career and released a number of albums which showcase his versatility as a musician. In the late 80s, Johansen became a commercial success under the pseudonym Buster Poindexter, perhaps best remembered for his song, "Hot Hot Hot". Johansen has also appeared in a number of film and television roles, including the Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooged, and an appearance on The Jim Henson Hour.
Happy Birthday, Graham Chapman!
Graham Arthur Chapman (January 8, 1941–October 4, 1989) was an English comedian, writer, actor, and a member of Monty Python. Although he earned a degree in medicine, Chapman's brush with the Footlights at Cambridge proved much more influential on his career.
After graduation, Chapman began writing for television, including stints on The Week That Was, Doctor, and This Is Petula Clark. Chapman and fellow future Python member John Cleese began writing for the BBC during the 1960s for David Frost and Marty Feldman.
Happy Birthday, Albert Bierstadt!
Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter associated with the Hudson River School and known for his sweeping landscapes of the American West. Bierstadt's work is marked by his romantic style which favored the creation of dreamy, awe-inspiring scenery rather than absolutely precise depictions of American geography. He painted prolificially from the beginning of his career, and is thought to have completed anywhere between 500 and 4000 works of art.
Happy Birthday Danny Thomas!
Danny Thomas (January 6, 1912 – February 6, 1991) was an American comedian and television and film actor, and later producer, who is best remembered for for his starring role on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy, later known as The Danny Thomas Show. His acting career spanned five decades, and he later went to produce such shows as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and The Mod Squad. As a producer, Thomas was responsible for actress Mary Tyler Moore's first major role on television, personally recommending "the girl with three names" to Carl Reiner for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Thomas was the founder of the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Happy Birthday Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini, and Arturo Benedetti Michangeli!
Take note, musical parents: January 5 seems to be a good day for the birth of prolific pianists! Today is the birthday of three: Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini, and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.
Happy Birthday, Louis Braille!
Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852) was the inventor of Braille, the language system designed for the use of the blind or visually impaired. Braille himself had been blinded in an accident as a small child, and was raised as normally as possible by his parents, who helped him navigate their village with specially-designed canes. Braille studied at the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, and his own thirst for learning pushed him to make the world as accessible as possible for the blind, stating, "Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge... We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals – and communication is the way this can be brought about."
"Fantasy remains a human right" - J.R.R Tolkien
Happy Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English author, poet, university professor, and philologist. Tolkien's father died when he was three, and his mother raised her two sons Hilary and Ronald, as he was called, by herself. As a child, Tolkien often visited his aunt Jane's farm, called Bag End, a name he later adopted for his novels. Tolkien's mother Mabel was quite academic, and taught her sons a great deal of botany, as well as Latin. Tolkien's most famous works, of course, are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Similarion. Tolkien referred to his collected works as his legendarium.
"The human mind is a wonderful thing, it starts working from before you're born and doesn't stop till you sit down to write a song." - Roger Miller
Happy Birthday Roger Miller!
Roger Dean Miller (January 2, 1936 – October 25, 1992) was an American musician, songwriter, and actor, best known for his novelty songs inspired by honky tonk and the Nashville sound sub-genre of country music. His notable recordings include "Billy Bayou", Home", and covers of "Tall, Tall Trees" and "Husbands and Wives". His last popular album was a collaboration with Willie Nelson called Old Friends. In his later career, he acted and wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Big River.
"The worst thing that being an artist could do to you would be that it would make you slightly unhappy constantly."
Happy Birthday, J.D. Salinger!
J.D. Salinger (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) was an American novelist and author of The Catcher in the Rye, which remains one of the most widely read and culturally significant books about American adolescence. The novel became such an incredible success that it significantly raised Salinger's profile from a novelist to a literary celebrity, to his distaste. Salinger's other notable works, including the story collection Nine Stories, contained a novella and the short story Franny and Zooey. In his later career, Salinger published new works sparsely, and remained quite reclusive until the end of his life.