You Say It's Your Birthday: Natalie Merchant

Today is the birthday of Natalie Merchant, who achieved most of her

fame with her group, 10,000 maniacs, which was formed in New York in

1983. In 1985 the band signed with Elektra and released The

Wishing Chair , their folk-rock debut. Beginning what would be a

long and fruitful collaboration with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, the

Maniacs next released In My Tribe , with Stipe guesting on

"Like The Weather" and "Peace Train." They next had a hit with 1989's

Blind Man Zoo, which went gold, and then again hit big with

1992's Our Time In Eden. The following year the band taped an

appearance on MTV's "Unplugged," which would turn out to be their last

album together. Merchant left the band before the album was released,

and pursued a solo career. Her recent debut solo release,

Tigerlily features a similar sound to much of her work with the

Maniacs, with the first single, "Carnival," getting lots of airplay.

Merchant is currently on tour, where she can be spotted performing her

assorted silly dances. Today is also the birthday of Keith Strickland

of the B-52s. Dance this mess around, Keith!!