Dr. John celebrated his 78th birthday on Wednesday (November 21st) — or at least he thought so. A newly uncovered birth announcement has actually revealed the renowned New Orleans piano player to be a year younger.
According to The Associated Press, a music writer for Nola.com and The Times-Picayune discovered a newspaper clipping noting Dr. John’s birth year to be 1941, not 1940 as has been long thought. Not only that, but his official birth date has also been off by one day; it’s officially November 20th.
Dr. John, born Malcolm John Rebennack, was said to have tacked on an extra year to his age early on in his career so that he’d be allowed to perform in the clubs of New Orleans as a teen. Then it just stuck around permanently. “Mac has rolled with it since his teenage years,” said his publicist Karen Beninato, who helped dig up his real birthday.
The incorrect 1940 birth year was perpetuated in interviews and writings penned by Rebennack himself. In his very own memoir, 2005’s Under a Hoodoo Moon, the six-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer claimed to have been born shortly before “Thanksgiving 1940”.
The recent discovery kind of gives a new meaning to Rebennack’s 1973 smash hit, “Right Place, Wrong Time”.