You Say It's Your Birthday: Melissa Etheridge

Today is the birthday of singer Melissa Etheridge, who was

born in 1961 in Leavenworth, Kansas. Etheridge is famous for her outspoken

blues-rocking songs such as "Bring Me Some Water" and "Come to My Window," as

well as her fight for equal rights for sexual minorities and

women.

Etheridge got her first guitar at age 8 and taught herself to play.

By the time she was 12, she was performing with a country group and continued

to work with different bands, and after high school attended the Berklee

College of Music in Boston. Her self-titled debut was released in 1988 and

found immediate success with singles for "Bring Me Some Water" and "Like the

Way I Do." By her third album, 1992's Never Enough, Etheridge had earned

four Grammy nominations for which she took home one award. The following year

she came out as a lesbian and released Yes I Am, which included hits

such as "If I Wanted To" and "I'm The Only One."

Etheridge took a long

hiatus between albums, revealing her relationship with longtime partner Julie

Cypher and their plans to have a child together. She returned in 1996 with

Your Little Secret; since then the singer's popularity seems to have

grown, between meeting President Clinton at the White House and performing with

Bruce Springsteen on her Unplugged appearance. Adding to her good

fortune, Cypher gave birth in late 1996 to a daughter. Aside from her musical

career, Etheridge may also star in an upcoming film documenting the life of

'60s blues sensation Janis Joplin. Other birthdays: Gary Brooker (Procol

Harum), Mike Rossi (Status Quo), Irmin Schmidt (Can), Mel Gaynor (Simple

Minds), Sir Monti Rock III, Rebbie Jackson, comedian Bob Hope, General Hospital

actor Anthony Geary and actress Lisa Whelchel. -- Beth Winegarner