Folks turning 70 (or 90) in April

half of everybody

I decided to note some people turning 70 each month in 2023. But the list of those that caught my fancy in April was not all that long, whereas there are eight in May. I decided to add a nonagenarian to the mix.

Rick Moranis (18th) was one of the last regular cast members added to the great SCTV (Second City Television), not joining until 1980 and appearing in about 50 episodes. He won an Emmy for the show with 17 other writers, including six acting colleagues.

One of his regular bits was Bob McKenzie with his brother Doug (Dave Thomas) from the Great White North, which generated an LP I own. It features Take Off with Geddy Lee and their take on Twelve Days of Christmas (“five golden toques.”)

He’s best known for the movies Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Eric Bogosian (24th) has always impressed me as an intense guy. Indeed, his IMDb bio notes,  “Between 1976 and 1982, Bogosian wrote, directed and/or starred in over sixteen productions Off-Off-Broadway… In the early 1980s, Eric Bogosian became well-known in New York for his intense one-man theater pieces, winning the Obie Award three times and the Drama Desk Award.”

Yet, I know him best for being in five dozen episodes as captain Danny Ross on Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

The Red-Headed Stranger

Willie Nelson is turning 90 on April 30. I’ve been voting for him on the fan ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since the voting began. While he started in fourth place, behind George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, and Warren Zevon, he slipped to sixth, behind Iron Maiden and Soundgarden.

I’ve been hearing some people say that he’s not “rock and roll.” But he surely has a rock and roll attitude. As musician Michael Eck, who has an actual ballot, noted: “He is… like Richard Thompson, that rare quadruple threat— equal parts brilliant songwriter, exquisite singer, guitar picker extraordinaire, and sensitive interpreter.”

I was playing Eric Clapton and Friends’ The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale recently, and I had forgotten that there were TWO Willie vocals, Songbird and Starbound.

Indeed, Willie has said he’s sung with half of everybody. Checking his discography,  he may be right. Who else has sung with Julio lglesias and Merle Haggard?

My favorite Willie album is Across the Borderline, in which he covers songs by some of my favorite musicians.


Woody Harrelson was interviewed for CBS Sunday Morning, which aired on February 25. The actor talked about giving up cannabis. “His longtime pal and fellow toker Willie Nelson brought that experiment to an end at one of their regular poker games: ‘Willie would always act like he didn’t know that I quit. I’m saying for, like, the fifth time that day, ‘I quit, you know?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, oh.’ I win a big hand. He hands it right to me, and I just grab it, and I take a big toke, and he goes, ‘Welcome home, son!'”

Back in 2018, Willie made the cover of AARP The Magazine. The piece noted that he’s appeared in over 40 films, organized Farm Aid, and so much more. He said he’ll never retire, and he’s still doing a half dozen shows a month.

BTW, he looks so different without the long hair and beard. Here’s my Willie post from five years ago.

Willie Nelson turns 85 (April 29)

It features songs by Paul Simon, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, and Willie Nelson.

Long before I knew who Willie Nelson even was, I was listening to the music he wrote. Pretty Paper was a hit for Roy Orbison in 1963. On The Supremes Sing Country, Western & Pop (1965), they covered Funny How Time Slips Away.

Of course, the big hit was Crazy by Patsy Cline which went to #2 on the Adult Contemporary charts in 1961 and #2 on the country charts early the next year. More significantly for, it hit #9 on the pop charts in 1961, and was covered by Linda Ronstadt (#6 country in 1977).

I don’t know when I was first aware of Nelson as a performer. He was the “outlaw” country star who owed money to the IRS due to bad management and who got arrested several times for marijuana possession.

I do know the first album of his that I bought was Across the Borderline (1993), produced by Don Was, Paul Simon, and Roy Halee. It features songs by Simon, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, and Nelson. It features songs such as Getting Over You, a duet with Bonnie Raitt; and Peter Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up, a duet with Sinead O’Connor.

I thought that his 40th album would be a commercial pop breakthrough. For a while, it was out of print, but it’s currently available as an add-on from Amazon for five bucks.

Subsequently, I got other Nelson albums, including his hit, Red Headed Stranger (1975). I know at least one work colleague who simply cannot stand his voice, but I’ve grown to enjoy it.

Listen to

Crazy – Patsy Cline
Crazy – Willie Nelson
Crazy – Linda Ronstadt

Pretty Paper – Roy Orbison, #10 adult contemporary, #15 pop, #27 on the Christmas singles chart in 1963
Pretty Paper – Willie Nelson, 1964

Funny How Time Slips Away – Willie Nelson
Funny How Time Slips Away – Supremes

She’s Not for You, #43 country in 1965

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, #1 country, 21 pop in 1975

On the Road Again, #1 country, #7 adult contemporary, #20 pop in 1980

Always on My Mind, #1 country, #2 adult contemporary, #5 in 1985

Still is Still Moving to Me, single that failed to chart in 1993

American Tune, a duet with Simon, #70 pop in 1993

Something You Get Through, 2018

Coverville 1214: The Willie Nelson Cover Story III

Music Throwback: Valentine

Introduce your heart to mine
And be my valentine

willie nelson.across the borderlineOne of my very favorite albums of the 1990s, and indeed in my top 100 or so all time, is Across the Borderline by Willie Nelson, a 1993 release, produced by Don Was, Paul Simon, and Roy Halee. It is filled with a bunch of covers by Paul Simon, John Hiatt, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, plus songs by Willie himself, including Valentine.

It’s a very simple lyric:

Valentine, won’t you be my valentine
And introduce your heart to mine
And be my valentine

Summertime, we could run and play like summertime
With storybooks and nursery rhymes
So be my valentine

Candy heart, if anyone could, you could have a candy heart
You’re the sweetest of all sweethearts
Won’t you give your heart to me, can’t you see

This was not a terribly successful album commercially, getting only to #15 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums, and #75 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200, though it fared better in Norway and Canada, where it was a Top 5 album. It had only one charting single, Graceland, a duet with Paul Simon, that only got to #70 on the country singles charts.

The album was, I thought, out of print for the longest time, but now is currently available on Amazon at a reasonable price. I found that the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed the collection; it washed over me, emotionally.

Less romantic is Heartland, written and sung by Nelson and Bob Dylan, where an “American dream fell apart at the seams.”

Listen to
Valentine here or here.
Heartland here.

Also, read (and listen to)
Is an ex’s photo worth ten chicken wings?

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