“Saints, sinners, survivors” haiku

April 3 birthdays: Doris Day (1922), Jan Berry (1941 — March 26, 2004), Wayne Newton (1942), Billy Joe Royal (1942), Richard Manuel (1943 — March 4, 1986), Richard Thompson (1949)

What a birthday day
Lives echo on — musical,
Magical, tragic

Doris Day was fun
Before she was a virgin
Que sera, sera

Jan Berry wrote, sang,
Produced, rode the wild surf’s waves
With lifelong pal Dean

They seemed like two goofs
But led the TAMI show, played
My favorite surf tunes

Eerily, Jan crashed
His Corvette into a truck
Close to “Dead Man’s Curve”

But he did come back
Never gave up, walked again
Helped others go on

Billy Joe Royal
Wrong-side-of-the tracks classic
“Down in the Boondocks”

(And it just wouldn’t
Have been the same if that
Guitar were in tune)

Wayne Newton, lounge king,
Once won big libel case, told
Jury “Danke Shoen”

Richard Manuel
One of the Band’s great talents
And its troubled soul

A keyboard killer
And lights-out high-note singer
Spelled Levon on drums

But trouble found him
Brought cocaine and Grand Marnier
— Cases of the stuff

“Last Waltz” was more like
“Last Stumble,” though he cleaned up
And made a comeback

But his mentor passed
Richie couldn’t cope, became
The “Fallen Angel”

Richard Thompson — saved
The best for last — his guitar’s
As good as it gets

Six heartstrings, plucked out,
Unrequited, echoing
With what might have been

Walking on a wire?
He’ll show you the way — to fall,
Hit, bounce, and bleed on

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