Say It's Your Birthday: Golden Throats

Still the King.

January 8 brings us a bumper crop of singers to render the

timeless birthday ballad. First up, because he's the oldest (having been born

in 1935), but mostly just because he's The King, is Elvis Aron Presley. Not

only is Elvis the oldest of today's birthday celebrities, he's also the

deadest. Next is Shirley Bassey (born 1937), the Welsh songstress whose only

Top Ten stateside hit was the 1965 theme for the James bond movie

Goldfinger, but who for 30 years has been an exalted Euro-jazz diva.

Robbie Krieger (born 1946) played guitar in the Doors, but didn't he also sing

on one of their tunes? Yes, that would be "Running Blue" on the Soft

Parade album, but we'll let him stick around anyway. Terry Sylvester (born

1945) replaced Graham Nash in the Hollies, and while he wasn't a lead singer,

that English group's harmonies were so spectacular that Terry is welcome to

hang out and sing back up. Lee Jackson (born 1943) was the bassist with the

Nice but when it came town to cut a solo album as Python Lee Jackson in 1970,

he hired Rod Stewart to do his singing for him. Smart guy. Mike Reno (born

1955) was--and for all we know still is--the singer of Loverboy. Waiting to

make a fashionably late entrance in the hope of somehow upstaging The King, is

David Bowie (born 1947). Diamond Dave doesn't have a fraction of The King's

vocal power, but he's ten times the actor old Elvis ever was. There's one last

birthday voice that demands to be heard from, that of Jerome Anthony Gourdine

(born 1940). Better known as Little Anthony of the immortal Little Anthony and

the Imperials, Gourdine is the magnificent voice on hits like "Tears On My

Pillow," "Shimmy Shimmy, Ko-ko Bop," "Going Out Of My Head," and "Hurt So Bad,"

records that even The King would bow down to.