You Say It's Your Birthday: Lenny Kravitz

Today is the birthday of Lenny Kravitz (given name:

Leonard Albert Kravitz), who was born in 1964 in New York City, New York.

Kravitz is known for reviving Hendrix-inspired, soulful rock 'n' roll with hits

like "Let Love Rule" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way?"

Kravitz is the only

child of a mixed-race couple; he lived his first 10 years in Manhattan before

moving to Los Angeles with his parents. There, he learned to play guitar,

piano, drums and bass; high school classmates included a pre-Guns N' Roses Saul

Hudson (Slash) and Maria McKee. Kravitz invented a musical persona for himself

under the name "Romeo Blue," but it wasn't until his 1987 marriage to Cosby

Show star Lisa Bonet that he rose to the spotlight.

Kravitz's debut

album, Let Love Rule, was released in 1989 and its title track was

hailed as a return to the peace-loving sounds of the late 1960s. He was

compared to everything "retro," from Elvis Costello to the Beatles and Bob

Dylan. In 1990 he co-wrote "Justify My Love," a song which earned Madonna her

first MTV ban, and the following year he split with Bonet for good. Inspired by

the 1991 Gulf War phenomena, he gathered up musicians to re-record "Give Peace

a Chance."

Also in 1991 Kravitz released his sophomore effort, Mama

Said, charting with a R&B-styled ballad, "It Ain't Over Till It's Over." In

1993 Kravitz enjoyed his biggest success to date with the hard-rocking "Are You

Gonna Go My Way," the title track to his album released the same year. The song

was nominated for two Grammies in 1994, but won neither. Kravitz's most recent

album is 1995's Circle.

Other birthdays: Joey Kibble (Take 6),

Verden Allen (Mott The Hoople), Mick Ronson, Wayne Hussey (Sisters Of Mercy),

Levon Helm (The Band), Garry Peterson (Guess Who), Stevie Nicks, Hank Williams,

Jr. and Marian Gold (Alphaville). -- Beth Winegarner