April 15, 2008

What song was #1 on the day you were born?

It's easy to look up. In fact, it's easy to look up and click through to iTunes to download. In fact, I'm listening to Patti Page sing "The Tennessee Waltz" right now — that's how old I am.

And when you know your song, you can divine you fate through popstrology. According to Ian Van Tuyl:
Popstrology is no parlor game; its methodology is elaborate and broad—the book ["Popstrology"] is almost four hundred pages long. Van Tuyl identifies forty-five constellations (Lite & White, Mustache Rock, Shaking Booty), and, for each No. 1 artist (or “birthstar”), he provides a chart, which maps the birthstar’s signature qualities on a matrix of sexiness, soulfulness, and durability, among other variables....

Over a pint of Guinness in a bar on upper Broadway, Van Tuyl, who is thirty-eight years old and married to a sociology professor, considered a number of personages whose names had been in the papers. To do so, he had to expand the boundaries of the popstrological era, which, to orthodox practitioners, covers only the years from 1956 to 1989—Elvis Presley to Richard Marx. Apparently, many people over the age of forty-nine still hold positions of influence in the world.

First up, Michael Eisner and Robert Iger; Iger had just been named Eisner’s successor as the C.E.O. of Disney. “Michael Eisner is a Glenn Miller,” Van Tuyl said. “His birth song is ‘Moonlight Cocktail.’ Glenn Miller’s a bandleader, he’s an executive, but, more to the point, he died in an airplane over the English Channel. He didn’t leave on his own terms is the point. I mean, the guy was the Elvis of 1941 to 1943. So there are unbelievably strong career implications for Michael Eisner. And Eisner’s career accomplishments have been huge, but the fact is the children of Glenn Miller may not choose the way they go out.”

“Iger,” he continued. “Iger is a child of Patti Page. His birth song is ‘Tennessee Waltz,’..."
"... but she was also ‘How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?’ She was a bright, shining, thriving target for rock and roll to knock down. On the other hand, this woman sold records well into the sixties. I would be surprised to see any child of Patti Page showing any kind of revolutionary innovation. Probably stewardship is something Iger could aspire to.”
Dammit, Van Tuyl. Shut up.


Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I'm Full of Soup said...

Did not care for my birthday; #1 was an Al Martino song.

So this is the date I should have born : June 21, 1979.

Try it - pick the date you should have been born.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

"My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time" by Les Brown.

I have never heard of this song before today.

dbp said...

"The Monster Mash"

I did not expect to have it be a song I had even heard of, rather than one I actually know how to hum.

AllenS said...

1946 ... "Rumors Are Flying" by Frankie Carle.

I don't think that it had any staying power.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry aaaaaahhhgghh!

I prefer my graduation song Mrs Robinson.

George M. Spencer said...

The interesting thing about "The Tennessee Waltz" is that you never hear the song itself.

"I was dancin' with my darlin' to the Tennessee Waltz...."

Paddy O said...

"Nothing from Nothing" by Billy Preston:

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me
Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me

I'm not tryin' to be your hero
'Cause that zero is too cold for me, Brrr
I'm not tryin' to be your highness
'Cause that minus is too low to see, yeah

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
And I'm not stuffin'
Believe you me
Don't you remember I told ya
I'm a soldier in the war on poverty, yeah
Yes, I am

[Instrumental Interlude]

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me
Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me

You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me
You gotta bring me somethin' girl
If you wanna be with me

From the popstrology site about 1974:
It was the one and only year in the popstrological era in which no single star attempted to dominate the universe of pop, and glorious disorder was naturally the result. John Denver leading into Roberta Flack and Paul Anka into Eric Clapton? Barbra Streisand sandwiched between Ringo Starr and Barry White? When else but the seventies could one have witnessed such glorious incongruities, and when else but in 1974 could one have witnessed so many of them? Believe it or not, one prominent member of the critical establishment has actually called 1974 the worst year for pop music in American history, but that just goes to show you how easily one's mind can become corrupted by a false ideology like rock criticism. Popstrologists make it a rule to steer clear of terms like "best" and "worst" when discussing the pop-musical past, but rules are made to be broken, and you'll have little difficulty finding a popstrologist willing to proclaim 1974 one of the best of all possible years in which to have been born. At least for those who are comfortable going through life without a ruling philosophy or any hope of finding one that's offered to them by their peers to be even remotely acceptable.

Waddya got? I'm not looking for anything in particular, but you gotta have something.

Meade said...

"Make Love To Me"

reader_iam said...

Hilarious! "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker. Woulda been Del Shannon's "Runaway" if I'd been born when due.


OT: Anyone else getting lots of error messages when trying to post comments?/OT

reader_iam said...

In any case: "Nineteen sixty-one was a time of shifty and confusing power dynamics in the popstrological firmament ... "


JohnAnnArbor said...

Popstrology is no parlor game

We are a nation with a staggering amount of free time on our collective hands if a statement like this can be made.

Mortimer Brezny said...

"Funkytown" by Lipps, Inc.

Modern Otter said...

"Vaya Con Dios" - Les Paul & Mary Ford

Not too shabby!

Anonymous said...

That's odd. My song is a Gregorian chant.

"I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March. Annoying song. Hmm...destiny?

Anonymous said...

On a side note, I have to go back to 1987 before I recognize the chart topper on my b-day.

John Stodder said...

I entered this world with a fresh and tender kiss and a stolen night of bliss..."Memories are Made of This," Dean Martin.

Just about the coolest #1 song on your birth date you could have.

(Vic Tenetta's version is pretty good, too.)

Trooper York said...

Honeycomb by Jimmie Rodgers. That's freakin' embarressing. It's not even the best Jimmie Rodgers song.

Synova said...

House of the Rising Sun.

Very cool!

rhhardin said...

Laugh if you want. But astrology, at least, has a case, from Vicki Hearne, and Douglas Adams

You can see the Adams theory applies to song of the day as well.

J.R. said...

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and even though I don't like much of this music from this era, this is one I do like.

Ron said...

[sings!]Patti Page no less!
I was bloggin',
with the Althouse,
and not that Tennessee Schmaltz,
(named Reynolds)


Well...I tried to make it work!

Me? "At the Hop" I could do worse!

rhhardin said...

Green Eyes by Jimmy Dorsey. It would explain why I got assigned the trombone, except that was Tommy Dorsey.

I wound up unhappy until I found the ukulele, in camp one summer, borrowed from some untalented kid.

There followed classical guitar, and finally the lute. Guitar just adds two strings and changes one octave, and lute tunes the G string down to an F#, as far as chording goes.

I never liked the 40s crap. It sounds better now. Perhaps nostalgia.

Covered by D.H.Lawrence but without the sentiment.

You'd hear it sometimes on somebody's radio through a window.

Nels said...

"Mandy" by Barry Manilow. I had heard of this song but never actually listened to it until now. Really, really dreadful. I thought he was supposed to be good.

Jeff said...

"Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies. Eh. I sort of like it in an oldies kind of way. The day after my birthday is "I can't get next to you" by The Temptations. That I like a lot better.

Trooper York said...

It's funny but Popstrology has a different song, Buddy Holly's That will be the day, the song title he stole from the Duke's movie. Now that's more like it.

Simon said...

Hah - it was "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen. I'm much more interested in knowing what position Dark Side of the Moon was on the day of my birth.

MadisonMan said...

Mr. Custer by Larry Verne. I've never heard it. If I'd been born a year earlier? Mack the Knife. A year later? Hit the Road Jack. I'm a little distressed that I became legal when Endless Love was #1. Horrid song.

The two Beatles songs that were #1 on my birthday? Yesterday and Hey Jude. Not bad.

Richard Fagin said...

Don't be Cruel/Hound Dog - 1956. Although my theme line is from The Clovers' Love Potion No. 9, as it is for my fellow nerds everywhere: "I told her that I was a flop with chicks. I've been this way since 1956."

And I LIKE Gene Autry's Rudolph, dammit!

Susan said...

AllenS - Same year, another Frankie Carle song "Oh! What It Seemed to Be". Who the hell was Frankie Carle? And with TWO #1 hits that year!

Freeman Hunt said...

So Stodder gets Dean Martin and I get... The Pina Coloda Song...

Popstrology is so unfair.

P_J said...

"I'm a Believer" by the Monkees?!?


save_the_rustbelt said...

Blue Tango

Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra


I'm really glad I was not conscious of music.

Trooper - I'll trade for Jimmy Rodgers

John Kindley said...

"Sugar, Sugar," by the Archies.

Drew W said...

Mine was "Mr. Blue" by the Fleetwoods. A bit drippy but still pretty. (The No.1 spot had previously been held by "Mack The Knife," but I think "Mr. Blue" is more interesting.)

For my daughter, it was Michael Jackson's undeniably creepy "You Are Not Alone." After I looked that up, I found it hard to believe he was still getting hits in 1995, but I suppose I did my best not to listen at the time. (Besides, my wife was about to have a baby.) If she'd been born a few days later, it would have been Coolio singing "Gangsta's Paradise," which I'm not sure would have been much better.

My condolences go out to Dust Bunny Queen, Trooper York, Freeman Hunt, and Mortimer Brezny, but most deeply -- oh so deeply -- to Nels.

Palladian said...

"Before the Next Teardrop Falls" by Freddy Fender

Dear God.

Ann Althouse said...

Pastor_Jeff said..."I'm a Believer" by the Monkees?! Barf."

Pastor! You are a believer, so it looks like popstrology is working there. Anyway, "I'm a Believer" is great. I love those perfect 60s pop songs.

"Sugar, Sugar" is probably the best of them all. Those who got that are lucky.

One of my sons got "Billie Jean." Unfortunately, the other got "What a Feeling."

jeff said...

Uh-oh. Ray Charles, "hit the road, Jack". I dont like the way this is going.

Synova said...

So now that we know how old everyone is.



I'm Full of Soup said...


That song is maybe one of my all time favorites. What was the date for that late 60's?

P_J said...

Pastor! You are a believer, so it looks like popstrology is working there. Anyway, "I'm a Believer" is great. I love those perfect 60s pop songs.

Heh. Except I'm a believer in better pop music. I'm not that big of a Beatles fan to begin with, so the knock-off Beatles rate pretty low in my book.

And yet I married a woman whose guilty pleasure is David Cassidy and the Partridge Family (we still have the albums). Go figure.

Ann Althouse said...

"So now that we know how old everyone is."

Ha ha. We are all pretty old.

Anonymous said...

For some damn reason my younger cousins { it was their parents old 45} would get hyper as hell and turn their living room into an early day mosh pit, whenever thry heard it.

Later on in life the older cousins turned them on to Black Sabbath but then they had to take that too far and out did us-

Megadeath and Metallica maniacs.

Sugar, ah honey honey
You are my candy girl
And you've got me wanting you.
Honey, ah sugar sugar
You are my candy girls
And you got me wanting you
Sugar, ah honey hiney [honey hiney!?-that's gotta be a typo]
you are my candy girl
and you got me wanting you
honey, ah sugar sugar
you are my candy girl
and you got me wanting you
Pour a little sugar on it honey

*Pop* BaNG! SMAck!
Pour a little sugar on it Baby
I'm gonna make your life so sweet, yeah yeah yeah
pour a little sugar on it yeah
pour a little sugar on it honey
pour a little sugar on it baby
I'm gonna make your life so sweet, yeah yeah yeah

snag, Snap- BAM!
pour a little sugar on it honey

SLAP, Crack Pow!

Somewhere in that song is the beginnings of all Heavy Metal...

[ps. they were/are Canadian]

chickelit said...

"Theme from 'A Summer Place'" by
Percy Faith And His Orchestra

Torrid movie in its day!

dick said...

"I'll Never Smile Again" by Tommy Dorsey

chickelit said...

Several friends and relatives have recently turned 50 and I had been giving them CDs with a song from each year (I chron all my digital music so this is pretty easy).
Now with this website I can make birthday playlists, one song from each birthday of each year!

Synova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

My version of House of the Rising Sun was the Animals... 1964.

Synova said...

I looked up my kids... Yikes!

My son got a Mariah Carey song.

My second daughter got a Boys II Men ballad.

My first daughter got the "I like Big Butts" one, which is funny.

My youngest got a rap song with nasty lyrics that I'm not going to show her. Ugh!

P_J said...

Oh. My. Lord.

Just for fun, I looked up my wife's song...

"Last Train to Clarksville"


Stop laughing, Ann.

TMink said...

The recent deluxe treatment of the Monkees albums are must haves. Really.

I got "El Paso" which makes me quite happy in some odd way.


Bender said...

Oh yeah I'll
tell you something,
I think you'll understand.
When I'll
say that something
I want to hold your hand,
I want to hold your hand,
I want to hold your hand.

AND, to mark the occasion of my birth, the entire nation celebrated by having the Beatles play the Ed Sullivan show that very night.

vnjagvet said...

In The Mood - Glen Miller

My first daughter's: You Light Up My Life - Debbie Boone

blake said...

Hey, we're not all old. Freeman got "The Pina Colada Song".

I think that makes her under 30.

Which means we can still trust her.

reader_iam said...

My slightly younger husband's is also House of the Rising Sun (1964). My son's is "Try Again" by Aaliyah.

No, I didn't know that one. Yes, I am old.


Pastor Jeff, that's absolutely tremendous! It must be fate!

reader_iam said...

I wonder how that popstrology theory is going work going forward, given that music-listening habits have changed so much since MP3s, etc.? For example, I'm pretty sure my son has never heard "his" song, and most of his music exposure has had nothing to do with radio, in contrast to earlier generations.

Freeman Hunt said...

I looked up my son's, and it was a song I'd never heard of called Irreplaceable by Beyonce. Sounds like a sappy love ballad; someone singing about their special someone being irreplaceable. Not so much:

To the left
To the left
To the left
To the left
Everything you own in the box to the left
In the closet that's my stuff - Yes
If I bought it nigga please don't touch
And keep talking that mess, that's fine
But could you walk and talk at the same time
And It's my mine name that is on that Jag
So remove your bags let me call you a cab ...


Well, my son, he's irreplaceable even if Beyonce's man isn't. :)

reader_iam said...

Thanks, Freeman Hunt. You're young and hip and you hadn't heard of your son's song either! I feel a little better now.

Roger J. said...

This may be the best use of the internet I have seen today--and if we counted back 9 months from our birthdates, we might gain an insight into our conception music. :)

Hazy Dave said...

I definitely would like to see Sir Archy weigh in on this topic.

Let's see here... "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" by Mitch Miller and the Gang. That's his Greatest Hit, I guess. Anyway, there's worse stuff from the decade. I remember my folks had some of Mitch's LPs, and I can remember seeing his TV show at least once as a wee sprout.

There's better Jimmie Rodgers songs than "Honeycomb"? Well, maybe "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" would meet the description, if his version is the one that plays in my head when I see that title. (You're not confusing him with the Singing Brakeman, I trust!)

howzerdo said...

Fun link! Mine is "Take Good Care of My Baby."