By Leah Greenblatt
Updated January 04, 2010 at 07:37 PM EST
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Life (or should we say, its Rich Pageant) made an internationally recognized rock star out of a scrappy little military brat born January 4, 1960, in Decatur, Georgia; today, it also makes him one of the first of 2010 to celebrate his semi-centennial.

To follow this year: Bono (May 10), Chuck D (August 1), Aimee Mann (Sept. 8), Husker Du’s Bob Mould (Oct. 16) and the Replacements’ Paul Westerberg (Dec. 31). Also? Sean Penn, Hugh Grant, Jean Claud Van Damme and Jennifer Grey (nobody puts Baby in the AARP!)

Now 27 years into a career that began with R.E.M.’s college-rock watermark Murmur in 1983, Stipe has been an activist, a multi-Grammy winner, a misplacer of religion, a maestro of Mary Kay, and, as of 2007, an official Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Watch him and the band performing “Moon River” and “Pretty Persuasion” on England’s Old Grey Whistle Test in 1984. Youth! Hair! Wonderment! Mr. Stipe, we salute you:

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