by Robert Wilkinson
Beside Papa Nez, Red Rhodes, and Bo Diddley, today is the birthday of 3 other greats of all time! Del Shannon, Noel (Paul) Stookey, and Jeff Lynne are also December 30 birthday boys. Videos, of course!
Today I’ll give you a bunch of the best of each of these birthday boys. Del, Noel, and Jeff each created magic in their own way, and influenced millions of others through their talent, styles, and excellence.
First, the awesome voice of Del Shannon (December 30, 1934 – February 8, 1990). Though he had many hits, most don't remember him except for his iconic monster hit "Runaway." Another from 1987 at the "Spring Break Special," a said-to-be rare live performance of "Runaway." And from 1988, another live performance of "Runaway."
Now for some more of his great hits for your enjoyment! Some of these have to buffer for a minute, but it's worth it!
From "Where the Action Is" in 1964, Del lip synching "Handy Man." For a great live performance at Little Darlin's in Florida in 1988, here's Del doing a strong delivery of "Handy Man." (Just let it buffer!)
Here's Del doing a song he wrote made famous by Peter and Gordon, the poignant "I Go To Pieces."
Here's Del in a great live performance covering the Roy Orbison hit, "Crying." From the same show, the compelling warning of "Little Town Flirt." Here's the original studio version of "Little Town Flirt."
Here's the studio version of Del doing the Searcher's hit, "Needles and Pins."
Another haunted tune with Del on the move! Here's Del lip synching to his hit "Stranger In Town"
From 1982, Del and Burton Cummings doing Del's hit "Keep Searchin'"
Most don't know Del was one of the premier yodelers in music! For your enjoyment, Del live in 1985 doing his famous "Coopersville Yodel."
From 1985 on “Nashville Now,” Del in a live performance of “In My Arms Again”
Here's Del live doing "Swiss Maid."
We now turn to Jeff Lynne (30 December 1947), formerly of the Electric Light Orchestra, aka ELO, and the Traveling Wilburys. Songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, he's produced and/or played on more great records than can be listed here. So today, I'll give you a few that showcase Jeff's talents. He wrote ALL of these hits (except "Roll Over Beethoven"), no small feat!
From the Mike Douglas show in 1974, ELO doing a 9 minute set of "Intro," "Poor Boy," and "Can't Get It Out of my Head."
Here's ELO live on the Midnight Special in 1974 doing "Can't Get It Out of My Head," and on the same show in 1975, here they are doing "Evil Woman." Also from the Midnight Special, here they are doing “Do Ya”
From the 1977 American Music Awards, here's ELO live doing "Livin' Thing."
From the 1986 Heartbeat Charity Concert, here's ELO live doing "Telephone Line."
Here's ELO doing Jeff's tune "Turn To Stone"
Here's the music video for the great Jeff Lynne tune, "Calling America."
In a historical note, Jeff helped Sir George Martin produce the two "final" original Beatles songs that appeared on "Anthology," both of which sailed high in the charts. For your enjoyment, "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love."
In a fitting end to this Jeff Lynne birthday tribute, the Wilburys were going to add Del Shannon to their lineup after Roy Orbison died. Unfortunately, Del died before they could record what would be another historic session, but we do have this gem by the Traveling Wilburys, their studio version of the Del Shannon monster hit, "Runaway."
So Happy Birthday Otis Clayton Wilbury! Sorry so many of the tribe have left the building, but at least you still have a couple you can still hang with!
Now that we've covered the rockers, we now turn our attention to the third of these amazing birthday talents, Noel Paul Stookey (December 30, 1937) of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame. It's Folk City, people! He's a true raconteur and very funny guy with a heart as big as it gets!
Though Peter Yarrow wrote some of their best-known hits and Mary Travers brought a big voice, blond hair, and compelling gravitas to their trio, Paul also wrote or co-wrote a bunch of great tunes, including one of the most famous and well-loved wedding songs in history, written for Peter Yarrow's wedding and played at countless weddings since.
This trio cut an impressive wake in the Civil Rights Era, and kept the flame alight for many years after! I recently had the rare privilege of seeing Peter and Noel perform live in a small theater, and the entire audience was one very folky organism!
If what I experienced that night means anything, there are millions of us who still love them and miss Mary, and are grateful for all the years the three were together, performing their folk anthems. (And as Peter mentioned, Mary’s voice is curiously there when they perform. I really thought I heard it on "If I Had A Hammer.") And now, happy birthday to Mister Noel Paul Stookey!!
First, a great video from 1966! This is the BBC’s “Tonight in Person,” and I found the entire one hour concert with PP&M in all their glory!
Peter, Paul, and Mary Live on the BBC pt 1 (Set list: “When the Ship Comes In,” “The First Time,” “San Francisco Bay Blues,” “For Loving Me,” “Jesus Met the Woman,” “Children Go Where I send Thee,” “The Whole Wide World Around,” “Early in the Morning.”)
Peter, Paul, and Mary Live on the BBC pt 2 (Set list: “The Times are a Changing,” “Hangman,” “In My Dreams,” “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Rising of the Moon,” “Great Day,” “Blowing in the Wind,” “If I Had My Way.”)
From that 1966 live BBC show, here are a few pieces if you just don’t want to enjoy yourself for a full hour! ;-) First, here are PP & M doing two timeless Dylan classics, "Blowin' In The Wind." and "The Times They Are A Changin'" From the same show, "Early Morning Rain," and Peter's classic, "Puff the Magic Dragon."
From 1964, Peter, Paul and Mary on the Jack Benny Show performing "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Waukegan." (There’s also a gag number as part of the show. Enjoy a slice of humor from 50 years ago….)
From a performance in the 60s, PP & M doing "For Loving Me."
A live performance of Dylan's "When The Ship Comes In."
Doing Noel's composition, "Very Last Day."
Here they are in a live performance of "Go Tell It On The Mountain"
From the 60s, Noel co-wrote this one with the others, "There Is A Ship."
Here are PP & M doing Paul's tune, "Early in the Morning."
Doing their radio hit of pop music references co-written by Noel, "Rock and Roll Music."
From “Something to Sing About”in 1969, here’s Peter, Paul, and Mary with John Denver performing “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
Live in Japan in 1990, "Leavin' On A Jet Plane."
From the 25th Anniversary Concert in 1989, Peter, Paul, and Mary – “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
From the same Anniversary Concert, a great performance of the Pete Seeger classic, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"
Dylan provided them quite a few hits, this one included! "Don't Think Twice It's All Right."
From the 1988 Holiday Concert, here are Peter, Paul, and Mary live on television performing the iconic Peter Yarrow anthem “Light One Candle”
For the finale of the set, here's Noel doing a solo live performance of the incredibly beautiful "The Wedding Song (There Is Love) Here's another live performance by Noel in Australia at the Sydney Opera House in 1970 of "The Wedding Song."
For our encore, here's a solid hour of Noel performing live courtesy of St. Petersburg College! For your enjoyment, An Evening with Noel Paul Stookey At St. Petersburg College
And there you have it, folks! A birthday tribute for musical appetites ranging from folk to rock to electronic! Truly a big Happy to all three of these amazing talents, as well as the other birthday boys of December 30, Michael Nesmith, Red Rhodes, and Bo Diddley!!
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson