Say It's Your Birthday: Grandmaster Flash

Happy happy happy to Grandmaster Flash, born Joseph

Saddler on New Year's Day in 1958. It's almost impossible to recapture what

Robert Hughes calls "the shock of the new" upon first hearing Grandmaster Flash

and the Furious Five singles like "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash On The

Wheels Of Steel," and "The Message" back in the early '80s. Subsequent

developments have blunted --or bludgeoned--the impact of the strides these

records made in turn table technology and style ("Wheels Of Steel") and urban

social commentary ("The Message"). Sure, they may sound almost quaint now, but

there's a reason for that. These are not just hits, they're archetypes. It was

kinda sad to see Flash and the Five sent out with Run-D.M.C. and Curtis Blow as

a rap oldies tour, though perhaps inevitable. What was even sadder is that

several dates were canceled for lack of ticket sales. Meet the new boss...It's

also the birthday of Mott the Hopple keyboard player Morgan Fisher, Fish

frontman, Country Joe Mac Donald, and big band leader Xavier

Cugat.