Merril Bainbridge

In 1996, Australian singer Merril Bainbridge became the first Aussie act in nine years to top the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Bainbridge was born June 2, 1968, in Melbourne, Australia. She began singing in cover bands as a teen. In exchange for her services as a background singer on others' records, Bainbridge received production help on her own demo from producer Siew.

She signed to the Australian label Gotham Records, which released her debut, The Garden, in Australia in 1994. The single "Mouth" became the first single written and sung by a female artist to top the Australian chart. Though "Mouth" took months to become a hit, it eventually led to Bainbridge signing with Universal Records in the United States. The Garden was released Stateside in 1996, with "Mouth" topping the Billboard singles chart that same year.

Following the success of "Mouth," Bainbridge released Between the Days in 1998. The album contained such tracks as the title cut and "Blindfolded."

Other birthdays Friday: William Guest (Gladys Knight and the Pips), 59; Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones), 59; Marvin Hamlisch, 56; Antone "Chubby" Tavares (Tavares), 53; Steve Brookins (.38 Special), 49; Michael Steele (Bangles), 46; Lydia Lunch, 41; Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), 40; Thór Eldon Jonsson (Sugarcubes), 38; B-Real (Cypress Hill), 30; and Charles Miller (War), 1939–1980.

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