Okay, I'll go first.
I've been a fan of Jonathan Richman for so long that sometimes it seems weird to me to imagine a time before I even knew who he was. (Granted, I have nothing on some of the people here, but cut me some slack, I'm only 23). What Jonathan is to me, to sound totally hokey, is a force of optimism in my generally cynical life. Listening to him makes me happy, for reasons I can't explain. I love to share him with people, to take them to his concerts, to try and spread some of the joy that his music gives me. Because I think that's what music is all about, really, sharing a piece of ourselves with someone else and hoping they understand.
Jonathan was so kind to me when I met him a while ago, about a year and a half, maybe. I've never forgotten that, after meeting a handful of musicians in my life, he was by far the nicest. I don't know why it matters so much, but somehow it does. One thing I have noticed about Jonathan fans is that very few people seem to feel ambivalent about him. In the most random places in my life, I have mentioned Jonathan, only to hear someone go "Oh my God, I love him!" out of the blue, so excited to have discovered that someone else is in on the secret. Actually, just today, I posted something at a group I'm a member of, and someone responded "Oh God, he's so adorable." Never from people I would expect it from.
I'm selfish enough that I hope he never retires, so I can keep sharing him with people and making them fall in love with his music too.
Happy birthday, Jonathan.