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