Say It's Your Birthday: Manfred Man's Paul Jones

You know the lyric. "There she was just-a walkin'

down the street..." How do

we explain the timeless magic of "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" the 1964 Number 1 hit by

the English group Manfred Mann? If you go into pretty much any kindergarten

class room anywhere across this great land, you'll find kids jumping up and

down and singing it, either along with the record, or with new words many

teachers devise to harness this addictively fun song as a learning tool. Kids

instinctively love it's inspired nonsense, and it also serves as a delightfully

insidious primer on the inspired nonsense we call rock 'n' roll. In that sense,

"Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" may be one of the most subversive records ever made. So

instead of targeting gangster rap and death metal, guardians of public morals

like Bill Bennett and Pat Buchanan should have been hunting down today's

birthday boy, Paul Jones ( born B. Paul Pond in Portsmith, England in 1942)

whose bluesy British invasion vocal swagger sold this song to millions of

unsuspecting children the world over. Paul had other hits, as the lead singer

of Manfred Mann ("Pretty Flamingo," "5-3-2-1," "If You Gotta Go Go Now," "Oh No

Not My Baby," and many more), solo hits after he left the group in 1966, a

reasonably successful acting side career (including the staring role in the

1967 cult classic "Privilege"), right through to the '80s when his group the

Blues Band was among the hottest attractions on the English club circuit. And

"Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" continues to do it's subversive, inflammatory, and (dare

we say it) revolutionary business even as you read this. Happy birthday, Paul

Jones and right on! Other birthdays today, Nicky Hopkins and Rupert