Even children get older, now I’m getting older too

images-3I once saw a posting on Facebook that said, “There’s a time in one’s life when it’s appropriate to stop having birthday parties.  That age is 11.”

That seems a bit harsh.  There’s “Sweet Sixteen” (driver’s license time);  there’s 18 (voting age);  there’s 21 (drinking age);  there’s 30 (“over the hill” parties).  And you could make a case for 40, 50, and every decade thereafter as significant milestones.

But really, don’t we go a little crazy about the whole birthday thing?  It’s just another day on life’s journey, isn’t it?  Apparently not, say some folks, who relish the opportunity to shower friends and loved ones with loads of attention one day every year, whether it’s a milestone birthday or not.

I’m often amused when someone learns he or she has the same birthday as I do, and is just stunned.  “Wow, what a coincidence!  I mean, what are the ODDS?”  (Actually, they’re pretty low; there are, after all, only 365 days to choose from, and 318,000,000 of us in this country…)

Ah well.  If birthdays are going to continue to be commemorated, it’s always good to have some appropriate songs to mark the occasion.  I’ve taken the liberty of compiling an eclectic list of tunes — some hits, some obscure, some joyous, some reflective — that can come in handy when you want to pay respect to, or reflect upon, the act of aging, turning another year older, growing up, the passing of another year:

maxresdefault-6“Happy, Happy Birthday Baby,” The Tune Weavers, 1957

A classic slice of doo-wop that hit #5 on the charts in the early years of the rock era.   It was written by Margo Sylvia and Gilbert Lopez, and Sylvia sang lead vocals on the track.  Sylvia wrote the lyrics about her recent breakup with her boyfriend and how much she wanted to be by his side on his birthday.  This one was covered by such luminaries as Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Sandy Posey, Ronnie Milsap and Wanda Jackson.

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If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?

images-9“I’ve lost a lot of friends on this highway, so long, everyone, I watched them all sail into the distance, like a setting sun, they’d only just begun, and we just lost another one…”  Graham Nash, 2002

It’s a sad truth that the creative arts fields — music, film, literature — have had more than their fair share of gifted artists who have died prematurely.  In popular music in particular, a disturbing number of promising, successful talents have left us at a young age.  Considering that the average age of death in the US these days is nearly 79, anyone dying in their 40s or 50s has died young.  Those passing away in the 20s or 30s have died WAY too young.

In rock ‘n roll’s first couple of decades, it seemed to be an almost monthly occurrence that we’d lose a major player to drugs, or suicide, or a plane crash, or a bullet, or a terminal illness.  I don’t know about you, but for a while there, I got really tired of grieving for yet another musical hero who bit the dust for whatever reason.

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