As you know, around here we like to celebrate a few of those big, round-number birthdays. Today, 16 September, it is Peter Tibbles.
In case you have not been reading the TGB Sunday Elder Music column Peter has been writing since 2009, let me introduce you.
He first came to my attention a year earlier with smart, funny, informed, interesting comments on my poor attempts to write a weekly music post. He was so good, so well informed that I roped him into contributing several music columns for publishing while I was out of town.
One thing led to another and now we have what I believe is the best, most informed and informative, not to mention fun music column anywhere on the internet.
Peter lives in Melbourne, Australia, and that comes through in his columns. In addition to getting a great education in most genres of music, you learn a bit about his country, meet some great musicians from Down Under you may not have heard of and I personally enjoy following his language idioms.
That old line about the U.S. and England, “two countries divided by the same language,” is equally applicable to the U.S. and Australia and it always gives me a laugh when they turn up in Peter's columns.
As we have discussed here in the past, making internet friends is one of the best things about blogging and sometimes we even get to meet those friends who live so far away.
This is Peter perusing the menu on the open balcony of a local restaurant in my town last year when he and the “assistant musicologist,” Norma, spent several weeks visiting the United States - some of them with me.
Not only is Peter an excellent cook, he knows a lot about good wine so I always eat and drink well he and Norma are in town.
Now, since this IS Peter's big seven-oh birthday, let's take a little bit of a look at what the world was like in and around 16 September 1945.
World War II had finally come to an end that year. Germany surrendered in May, Japan in August. Here's what the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald looked like on 17 September 1945. I couldn't find an image for the exact date, Peter, but the argument could be made (and I'm making it) that the headlines reflect the previous day - your day of birth.
Because Peter is such a brilliant and well-informed music maven, we should find out what popular musical hits people were listening to when he was born. I can't find a list anywhere online for an Australia top ten but since the U.S. can be so embarrassingly dominant in the world, I assume Aussies were listening to some American music in 1945. Such hit tunes that year as
Sentimental Journey by Les Brown and Doris Day
Rum and Coca-Cola by The Andrews Sisters
Till the End of Time by Perry Como
On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe by the composer, Johnny Mercer
There were a lot more movie musicals in those days than now. Three biggies in 1945 were Anchors Aweigh, Duffy's Tavern and The Bells of St. Mary's.
Bing Crosby, who starred as the priest in The Bells of St. Mary's was also named Top Male Vocalist of 1945 by Motion Picture Daily magazine.
Some other big musical names are associated with your birthdate and/or birth year, Peter. Blind Willie Johnson died two days after you were born and you have featured him twice in your column: Nobody's Fault But Mine and Dark was the Night.
Did you know that Dave Bromberg is one day younger than you, and Jessye Norman is one day older?
There are a whole bunch of well known artists of various kinds born the same date as you, although not the year – some are dead, some are not and here are a few, in no particular order:
Ed Begley, Jr.
Pretty, good company, I'd say. Peter reads about as much as he listens to music and his birth year is bursting with what are now classic works from esteemed writers and thinkers:
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams
Cannery Row - John Steinbeck
Stuart Little - E.B. White
Age of Reason - Jean-Paul Sartre
Berlin Stories Christopher Isherwood
So that's a little of what the world was like in 1945. Happy 70th birthday, Peter, and because parties should always be full of fun and laughter, here is comedian Bill Maher's closing "New Rules" monologue from his Real Time show last Friday.
As Huffington Post explained the bit, the host decided to give Donald Trump a taste of the racism he has been spewing:
”Maher channeled the real estate mogul-turned-reality TV host-turned presidential candidate and called for Americans to rally against the growing number of Australians 'taking our jobs.'”
It is wonderful and hilarious and, at the very end, important:
To readers: you will find Peter's music column at this blog every Sunday. A list of all previous columns is here or you can always find it by clicking the name "Elder Music" in the category cloud in the right sidebar.
To Peter: HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I AM SO GLAD I KNOW YOU.