I've said before, as a twin from a family of twins, that I'm skeptical about astrology. But when I heard that Tom Jones and Prince share a birthday today, I wondered. You could make an argument that these men share some things in common, and not just because they both do great versions of Prince's song "Kiss."
Today's New York Post — my primary source for all astrological information — offers this advice for people with today's birthday: "Try to see the good in every situation. Try to see that every event in this life has a purpose, even when it appears to be random. How you choose to look at the world is of huge importance. You make the world, not the other way round."
Wise words for any of us, and while I look for purpose in all things, I'm going to spend some time wondering what else these five people have in common.
1. Allen Iverson, b. 1975. A native of Hampton, VA, Iverson was known as "The Answer" even before he got to Georgetown, where he played for John Thompson from 1994–96. He left Georgetown after two seasons for the NBA draft, and played for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1996 to 2006. Since then he's spent two seasons with the Denver Nuggets, moved to the Detroit Pistons, played three games with the Memphis Grizzlies, and returned to the 76ers earlier this year before taking a leave of absence to deal with a "very serious issue" related to the health of his four-year-old daughter. A March article in the Sporting News reported that Iverson is struggling with alcohol and gambling problems as well as family difficulties.
2. Dave Navarro, b. 1967. Legendary rock guitarist whose bands have included Jane's Addiction, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Spirits in the Sky, and Camp Freddy; he's also played with Guns N' Roses and Nine Inch Nails. He used to be married to Carmen Electra, and his cousin Dan is one half of the folk-rock duo Lowen & Navarro. You can listen to his weekly Internet radio show, Dark Matter, here. The fact that he shares this birthday with Prince and Tom Jones does make me wonder whether something about June 7 makes people born on this date exceptionally cool.
3. Prince, b. 1958. Prince is 52 today, begging the question: how bad does AARP want him to be their spokesman? I can only imagine. Ten platinum albums, 30 Top-40 singles, seven Grammys, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award (for the song "Purple Rain," 1985). Member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame since 2004, the first year he was eligible. He's one of the world's greatest live performers, and created the "Minneapolis sound," a distinctive funk-rock I think of as one of the defining sounds of the 1980s. He too once had a relationship with Carmen Electra. Hmm.
4. Louise Erdrich, b. 1954. The exception that proves the rule, or equally badass in her own field? Discuss. Louise Erdrich is the author or co-author of 13 novels for adults, five children's books, a collection of short stories, three collections of poetry, and three nonfiction books. An enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Ojibwe or Chippewa), she has won or been nominated for just about every major literary award available to American authors. She owns Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore, in Minneapolis, MN.
5. Tom Jones, b. 1940. Actually, that's Sir Tom Jones, OBE, to us; he was knighted in 2006. Born Thomas John Woodward in Trefforest, Wales, he married at 16 and became a father almost immediately. He and his wife, Linda, have been married more than 50 years, despite some well-publicized indiscretions; his son, Mark, has been Sir Tom's manager for almost 25 years. His music career started in earnest in 1963, and he won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1965. He was friends with Elvis; he's performed with everyone from Van Morrison to Wyclef Jean; he's had hit records for close to 50 years; and he's still touring. Friends who have seen him live say it's one of the best shows they've ever seen, and I hope I get a chance to see him myself one of these days.