Sunday, July 08, 2012

Music Sunday: Happy Birthday Edition...

Here in the United States, we celebrated our nation's birthday this week, with all of the food, fireworks and patriotic music that implies. It put me in mind of the July 4th I spent, many years ago, riding around north Wales and discovering that one of the radio stations there was actually playing John Phillip Sousa marches and other patriotic songs from the US. It was interesting to me that they would do that, and it was kind of fun spending that gray, rainy (until late afternoon, when the sun came out) day seeing green hills, sheep and cows, small Welsh villages and, occasionally, the ruins of a castle on a distant hilltop, and listening to American patriotic music.

But, since I'm really not a huge fan of that genre of music, I thought I'd take a look and see who in the music world celebrated their birthdays in the past week, and share some of their music with you.

It was Ringo Starr's birthday on July 7. I've shared music from The Beatles here before, more than once, but I thought I'd share one of the songs Starr recorded after he left the band. This one, "It Don't Come Easy", is my favorite of his post-Beatles career, if for nothing else the line, "I don't ask for much/I only want trust":

It was also Robbie Robertson's birthday this week, on July 5. Robertson, of course, had a long career with The Band, but he has also done some interesting solo work. This song, "Somewhere Down the Crazy River", is my favorite of his work away from The Band:

Huey Lewis also celebrated a birthday on July 5. He had a number of hits with his band, The News but, again, I thought I would share some of his work from outside his usual habitat, "Cruisin'" recorded with Gweneth Paltrow, from the film Duets.

From the world of country music, Toby Keith is celebrating his birthday today, July 8. He has recorded a number of songs that could be classed as patriotic music, and created more than a little controversy with some of it. But I first became aware of his work with this song, "How Do You Like Me Now?" How many of us haven't wanted to go back and tell someone from our past, "Hey, look at me now. Not as bad as you thought, huh?" But the video doesn't take the easy way out; he didn't get the girl in high school, and he doesn't get her when comes back twenty years later, either. It's a fun song and a clever video:

And then, just to wrap things up and come 'round full circle to The Beatles, here is Paul McCartney, singing "Birthday" to Ringo Starr a couple of years ago at a show at Radio City Music Hall:

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