Today is the birthday of one-mouth band Bobby McFerrin, who was born in 1950 in New York City, New York. McFerrin is well-known for his brand of mouth music, creating vocals, percussion, and instrumental noises with his voice (and occasionally well-placed hand slaps against his body), and for his 1988 hit "Don't Worry Be Happy."
Both of McFerrin's parents were opera singers, but the young Bobby decided to study piano instead, playing in bands before jazz musician John Hendricks tapped McFerrin to play with him.
Comedian Bill Cosby saw McFerrin performing with Hendricks in San Francisco, and got him booked at the Playboy Jazz Festival in 1980. The musician decided he would be best off performing solo, using his voice to recreate the sounds of other instruments, rather than sticking to a career in jazz.
His covers of songs like the Beatles' "Blackbird," James Brown's "I Feel Good," and his own songs like "I'm My Own Walkman," have wowed audiences.
Since "Don't Worry Be Happy" hit #1, McFerrin has worked with top musicians in several genres, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma and jazzman Chick Corea, and even performed at the White House in 1993.
Other birthdays: Bruce Watson (Big Country), Flaco Jimenez (Texas Tornados), the late Lawrence Welk, Mike Hugg (Manfred Mann), Rick Rothwell (Mindbenders), Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), George Kooymans (Golden Earring), Mike Percy (Dead Or Alive), Lenny Wolf, Nina Hagen and Lisa Loeb. -- Beth Winegarner