August 20: Happy Birthday Robert Plant and Demi Lovato


A pair of singers from different eras headline today’s article.

Robert Plant is turning 69 today.  He grew up in the Midlands of England and became very involved in the blues music scene in that area in his teens.  In 1968, when Jimmy Page was trying to assemble a new band in the wake of the Yardbirds’ dissolution, he heard Plant sing at a concert and recruited him as the lead singer of what became known as Led Zeppelin.  Plant in turn brought drummer John Bonham on board, and they were then joined by bass and keyboard player John Paul Jones.

Over the next dozen years, Plant became one of the main creative forces within the band.  He emerged as their primary lyricist, sharing songwriting credits with Page and sometimes Jones.  Led Zeppelin had some successful singles, but their great success was from albums and touring.  The band’s signature song was one that they never released as an official single until it came out in digital form.

Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 after Bonham’s death, although the remaining three members have had periodic reunions since then; Plant and Page have also recorded and toured as a duo.  Plant has released a number of solo albums, and engaged in a number of other collaborations, some of them not what you’d expect from a hard rock/heavy metal great—for instance, his partnership with bluegrass legend Alison Krauss on the Grammy-winning album Raising Sand.    Rolling Stone is one of several publications to rank Plant among the greatest rock vocalists ever.

Demi Lovato, who celebrates her 25th, first became known through Disney’s TV movie Camp Rock in 2008, and released her first album, Don’t Forget, which she recorded at the same time as the movie was filming.  Lovato has released five studio albums (with a sixth coming in the near future) along with participating in two Camp Rock soundtrack albums, all of which have reached #4 or higher on the Billboard 200.  She has had over a dozen charted singles, six of which have reached the Top 20.

Lovato has also done a fair amount of television work.  She starred as Allison “Sonny” Munroe on Disney Channel’s Sonny With a Chance, and returned as Mitchie Torres in the second Camp Rock movie.  She has also made guest appearances on series like Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, and was a judge and mentor on seasons 2 and 3 of The X Factor.

Peter Horton, who is known for playing Gary Shepherd on Thirtysomething and for his marriage to Michelle Pfeiffer, is 64 today.  He has also been an Emmy nominee as a director and producer on Grey’s Anatomy.  Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema, who is 59, is part of the Toronto New Wave in Canadian cinema (recent headliner Atom Egoyan is their most prominent member).  She is known for her adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield ParkColin Cunningham, who turns 51, was a regular on Falling Skies and now appears on Syfy’s Blood Drive as Julian Slink.  Misha Collins, who has been appearing on Supernatural as Castiel since its fourth season, turns 43 today.  Australian actor John Noble turns 69.  He played Denethor in The Return of the King and starred on Fox’s FringeBilly Gardell starred as Mike Biggs on Mike & Molly; he is celebrating his 48th.

Nine-time Grammy nominee John Hiatt turns 65 today.  He has had some moderate commercial success of his own but is best known as a songwriter whose songs have been covered by the likes of Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Three Dog Night, Conway Twitty, and many more.  Fred Durst, who turns 47, is the lead vocalist of the rap-rock band Limp Bizkit.  He has also directed feature films like The Education of Charlie BanksJim Reeves (1923-1964) was a country singer who had some pop crossover success in the late fifties and early sixties, with hits like “He’ll Have to Go,” before he perished in that eternal bane of musicians, a small plane crash.

We have two figures from the world of sports with birthdays, who share a surname.  Mijaín López, who turns 35, has won three straight Olympic gold medals for Cuba in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 120 and 130 kilogram divisions.  Al López (1908-2005) played major league baseball for several seasons, but was much more successful as a manager.  He won American League pennants managing the Indians in 1954 and the White Sox in 1959, the only two teams to win the AL between 1949 and 1964 except the Yankees.

Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) was the 23rd President of the US, and is the answer to a bunch of Presidential trivia questions.  He was 1) the only president to be the grandson of a previous president (specifically, William Henry Harrison), and 2) the only President to be succeeded in office by the man who he had previously defeated for the Presidency (Grover Cleveland), and 3) one of only a few Presidents who won the electoral college while losing the popular vote.

The headliners one year ago were Amy Adams and Andrew Garfield.

Amy Adams is celebrating her 43rd.  Last fall she appeared in two highly acclaimed films, Arrival and Nocturnal Animals.  Although she was shut out when it came to Oscar nominations, she received BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for the former film.  This fall she returns as Lois Lane in Justice LeagueAndrew Garfield, who turns 34, was also in two of last fall’s acclaimed films, Hacksaw Ridge and Silence, and was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and more for the former film.  He will appear in the upcoming films Breathe and Under the Silver Lake.

David O. Russell has not had a feature film out since 2015’s Joy, but is currently developing an untitled TV project.  He turns 59.  Three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen, who is turning 61, starred in ABC’s short-lived The Family, which was canceled after one season in 2016.  Sylvester McCoy, seen recently on Sense8 as The Old Man of Hoy, is 74.  Ray Wise is 70; he is a regular on Fresh Off the Boat and has appeared as Leland Palmer on the Twin Peaks revival.  Liana Liberato, who celebrates her 22nd, has supporting roles in several films out this year, including Novitiate and To the BoneJames Marsters is scheduled to play a supporting role in the upcoming series Marvel’s Runaways; he is 55 today.  Ben Barnes, who is 36, has also joined a Marvel series, as Billy Russo on The PunisherMeghan Ory, who is turning 35, currently stars on Hallmark’s Chesapeake Stories.

If today is your birthday, congratulations on sharing your big day with these notable names.  Birthday wishes to everyone celebrating a big day today.  Come back tomorrow for more celebrity birthdays.



Posted on August 20, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. So, a music oriented headline today. While Jimmy Page is probably the most famous member of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant was also a big creative force within the group and a major reason for their success.

    Demi Lovato may not have had the same level of success as some of her fellows in the pop princess category, but she’s remained successful and popular for a decade now.

    Meanwhile, last year’s headliners both had very good years. While, as we’ve discussed here previously, there may not be a true A-list of actors anymore, in the sense of being guaranteed box office draws, both Amy Adams and Andrew Garfield seem to be on the list of go-to performers for challenging roles and prestige pictures.


    • For first time, Demi is winning.

      September 29 was supposed to herald the blockbuster chart battle of the year with Miley Cyrus, Shania Twain and Demi Lovato all releasing new albums. As it turns out, only one of them found a substantial audience. Shania’s Now debuts at number one on the Billboard 200 with 137,000 album units (streaming included). Tom Petty’s greatest hits re-enters at number two, followed by Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me at number three. Despite the buzz and critical acclaim, she only managed 74,000 units (48,000 copies sold). It’s a smash, however, compared with Miley.

      The pop star, who attempted a country style reinvention, debuts at number five (behind A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie) with 45,000 units. Younger Now only managed to sell 33,000 traditional copies. To put things into perspective, 2013 LP Bangerz arrived with a healthy opening bow of 270,000 units. While album sales have fallen off significantly in the last couple of years, it’s still one of the lowest first-week tallies by an established artist in the last couple of years with recent albums by Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Halsey and Fifth Harmony all outselling. See a list below.

      Recent first-week debuts (streaming included):
      Beyonce’s Lemonade (653,000)
      Lady Gaga’s Joanne (201,000)
      Katy Perry’s Witness (180,000)
      Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman (175,000)
      Shania Twain’s Now (137,000)
      Selena Gomez’s Revival (117,000)
      Kesha’s Rainbow (117,000)
      Britney Spears’ Glory (111,000)
      Lorde’s Melodrama (109,000)
      Lana Del Rey’s Lust For Life (107,000)
      Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom (106,000)
      Sia’s This Is Acting (81,000)
      Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me (75,000)
      Solange’s A Seat At The Table (72,000)
      Fifth Harmony’s self-titled (46,0000)
      Miley Cyrus’ Younger Now (45,000)


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