'Til Tuesday's Aimee Mann

On this day in 1960, fiery pop-rocker Aimee Mann was born in Boston. After studying at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, singer/bassist Mann hung out in the city's punk scene, and was a member of the local punk band the Young Snakes, as well as an early incarnation of Ministry. After scoring the top-10 1985 smash "Voices Carry" with her post-new-wave pop group 'Til Tuesday (which included her then-boyfriend, drummer Michael Hausman), Mann was pegged as an emerging rock superstar. Her good looks, witty lyrics, pop hooks and intoxicating voice seemed destined for mass acceptance, but it never materialized for her.

'Til Tuesday's success began with the "Voices Carry" single and its top-20 album of the same name. Mann and Hausman soon separated personally and she became involved romantically with noted pop composer Jules Shear. The single's accompanying video and Mann's relationship with Shear made her a highly visible pop figure in 1985.

The band quickly recorded its follow-up, 1986's Welcome Home, but its singles "What About Love" and "Coming Up Close" flopped commercially. By 1988's Everything's Different Now, 'Til Tuesday's roster had changed and Mann kept a lower profile after splitting with Shear. All of this resulted in the album becoming the band's least-selling effort. But rock critics began taking serious notice of Mann's knack for writing great pop hooks and the album even included a collaboration with another Mann admirer, Elvis Costello.

'Til Tuesday disbanded after Everything's Different Now and Mann had her share of legal problems with their record company, Epic, which preventing her first solo album from coming out until 1993. That disc, Whatever, began Mann's solo reign as a critic's darling. The album, featuring songs like "Say Anything" and "Stupid Thing," was folkier and more personal than the pop she created with her band, but it also was not a big seller despite the acclaim.

In 1995, Mann had a small hit, "That's Just What You Are," from the soundtrack to the steamy television soap "Melrose Place." But she was unable to capitalize on the song's momentum when her label, Imago, went bankrupt. Her next album, I'm With Stupid, wasn't issued in the U.S. until 1996, on DGC Records. This release, featuring "Ray" and "You Could Make a Killing," was angrier, but still melodic, and was another weak-seller. Still, the album was hailed by critics and is considered by many reviewers to be one of the best albums never to become a hit with the public.

In 1997, Mann covered Carly Simon's hit "Nobody Does It Better," on Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, which featured songs made famous in the hit film series about agent 007.

Other birthdays: Billy Henderson (Spinners), 59; Rinus Gerritsen (Golden Earring), 52; Ben Orr (the Cars), 43; Kurtis Blow, 39; and Whitney Houston, 35.