The celestial beings must have decided that May 26 would be a day of musical greatness because four phenomenal artists were born on that magical date. These talented Geminis share the same birthday and irrefutable star quality, enjoying tremendous success throughout their careers. Here’s our tribute to them, including videos of most of their covers of the Happy Birthday song.
Stevie Nicks: May 26, 1948
She began singing at 4 years old and writing songs in her teens, but who knew little Stephanie Lynn a.k.a. Stevie Nicks would go on to enjoy enormous success as part of Fleetwood Mac and then as an outstanding solo artist?
While attending high school in California, Nicks joined the group Changing Times but then formed the band Fitz with fellow student Lindsey Buckingham and two other members her senior year. From 1968 to 1971 the group opened for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin but disbanded in 1974.
Nicks and Buckingham stayed together and recorded their 1973 debut Buckingham Nicks, which bombed but caught the attention of the original members of Fleetwood Mac, who asked the duo to join their group. For the next several years, they topped the charts with their album Rumors and mega hits including Dreams and Rhiannon.
In 1981, Nicks took a hiatus from the group to record her debut solo album Bella Donna, which included the Top 20 hits Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers), Leather and Lace (with Don Henley) and Edge of Seventeen. She released her second solo effort The Wild Heart, which featured the Top 5 hit Stand Back (co-written by Prince), followed by her third album Talk to Me in 1985.
After leaving the spotlight for a while, Nicks reunited with Fleetwood Mac for Tango in the Night and The Other Side of the Mirror, followed by her solo album Street Angel. She was back with the group in 1997 to tour and record The Dance. Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the following year. In 2014, she released 24-Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, featuring updated versions of her old songs.
Hank Williams Jr.: May 26, 1949
As the son of a legendary country music star, Hank Williams Jr. had big cowboy boots to fill — and he did it. Born Randall Hank Williams Jr. in Shreveport, Louisiana, he began singing at the age of 10. In his biography, Living Proof, Williams said, “I knew that I would never grow up to be a cowboy or a fireman or the President of the United States. I knew I’d grow up to be a singer. That’s all there ever was, the only option, from the beginning.”
At age 11, he made his Grand Opry debut and singing Lovesick Blues just as his father did many years prior. By 15, he already had a No. 1 single, Born to Boogie, and then released the single Long Gone Lonesome Blues, which shot to No. 5 on the country singles chart. With a suicide attempt and a mountain climbing accident, the 1970s were rough for Williams. But he got back on track in the next decade with hits including Texas Women, Dixie On My Mind, All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down) and All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight in 1984.
In 1987, two of his albums, Hank Live and Born To Boogie, went platinum, with the latter winning Album of the Year at the Country Music Awards in 1988. Williams struck gold when he inked a deal with ABC’s Monday Night Football to rework All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight into a theme song played before each game. The theme won four Emmy Awards, and Williams was the official Monday Night Football singer for 22 years. His amazing career includes 20 gold albums, six platinum albums and 13 chart-topping albums.
Lenny Kravitz: May 26, 1964
Gifted guitarist and remarkable rocker Lenny Kravitz was destined to be a star. Born to TV producer Sy Kravitz and actress Roxie Roker (The Jeffersons) in Manhattan, he and his family moved to California when he was 11. There, Kravitz joined the California Boys Choir and taught himself to play the guitar, bass, piano and drums. In high school he went by the name of Romeo Blue, and in 1987 he married actress Lisa Bonet of The Cosby Show.
That same year he met recording engineer Henry Hirsh, and by 1989 released his debut album Let Love Rule, which ranked No. 61 on the Billboard charts while the title track reached only No. 80 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The lackluster album was a disappointment for Kravitz, but he achieved widespread fame after Madonna covered his song Justify My Love in 1990.
With his marriage dissolving, Lenny released his sophomore album Mama Said in 1991. His painful divorce inspired the album, which landed on the Billboard Top 40, with the single It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over reaching No. 2 on the charts. Over the next few years, Kravitz released the hit albums Are Your Gonna Go My Way (1993) and Circus (1995) —No. 10 on the Billboard charts — and then Five (1998), which landed him his first Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
He released a greatest hits compilation album in 2000, and three years later he released the album Lenny, followed by Baptism in 2004, It is Time for a Love Revolution in 2008 and Black and White America in 2011. He’s also been garnering attention as an actor after his debut in the Oscar-nominated film Precious in 2009. Since then, he’s starred in The Hunger Games films and The Butler.
Lauryn Hill: May 26, 1975
Put aside her string of erratic behavior over the last several years and just focus on the remarkable artistry of Lauryn Hill. Born in East Orange, New Jersey, Hill developed a fascination for music at an early age. At 13, she appeared as a contestant on Showtime at the Apollo and then began pursing singing and acting professionally. In high school she met Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel, who asked her to join the hip-hop group they were forming called The Fugees.
While the group shopped a demo, Hill kept pursing her acting career. At 17, she had a recurring role on As the World Turns and then appeared in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit alongside Whoopi Goldberg. The Fugees finally landed a record deal and released their first album Blunted by Reality in 1994, but it was their second album The Score in 1996 that made them superstars, selling 6 million copies and topping the Billboard 200 and R&B charts.
After the group disbanded a few years later, Hill embarked on a solo career and released her treasured debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. The album topped the Billboard 200 for a month and the Billboard R&B charts for six weeks and sold 12 million copies. At the 1999 Grammy Awards, Lauryn was the first women to ever win five trophies at one time, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. Since then, Hill has dealt with financial issues and hasn’t released another studio album. Regardless, the mother of six is still one of the most talented and beloved female artists in the last 20 years.
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