(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

It’s a Lenny Kravitz Birthday Bash, and you’re all invited! Let’s Let Love Rule and dive into the man’s discography.

Born on May 24, 1964, Leonard Albert Kravitz was a man destined for stardom. His father Sy Kravitz was a TV producer for NBC. His mother Roxie Roker was an actress. Read that last name again. Yes, Lenny Kravitz is related to Al Roker; they’re second cousins.

Lenny grew up in New York City, then moved to L.A. at the age of 10 when his mom was cast on The Jeffersons. It was there he had his first experiences as a singer and performer: he was a member of the California Boys Choir for three years.

Lenny Kravitz Birthday: Romeo Blue

Search “Lenny Kravitz Romeo Blue” on YouTube and one of the first hits you’ll get is a Lenny Kravitz tribute act. That’s because Lenny recorded under the name in the ’80s after being told my record labels that his music either wasn’t “black enough” or “white enough.”

Yes, there was a lot of ignorance (and, let’s be honest, racism) in those days. But Lenny’s talents were bigger than that. He kept writing, kept recording, and finally released his debut album–Let Love Rule–as Lenny Kravitz in 1989.

Lenny Kravitz Birthday: Lenny the Legend

Lenny spent the ’90s building his legacy, making music with a melting pot of genres. I think his third album, 1993’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, is the pinnacle of his recorded work. I wrote about why for the album’s 30th anniversary.

Then, for the 25th anniversary of 1998’s 5, I wrote about how his big-hit crossover album is better than I remembered. Cuts from both albums make my list below. So let’s crack that Lenny Kravitz birthday 6-pack and celebrate the man and his music.

  • "Let Love Rule"

    The song that put Lenny on the map for so many of us. Neo-psych swirly with Lisa Bonet in the video, it at once sounded like music you knew and loved, but also like nothing you’d ever heard way back in 1989.

  • "Always on the Run"

    Mama Said. 1991. Released just a few months before the Seattle grunge explosion later on that year, Lenny not only held his ground but widened his audience. Seven damn singles from this album! This one’s the first one. And the best one.

  • "Are You Gonna Go My Way"

    This was the song that made me a Lenny Kravitz fan. I’d liked what I’d heard and seen from his first two albums, but this song was–and is–a monster. And Cindy Blackman Santana’s drumming is a big reason why.

  • "Rock and Roll Is Dead"

    Ironically, this song rocks. Sure, it has plenty of funk and soul in the mix. But to lead off an album in 1995 by proclaiming “Rock and Roll Is Dead!” That’s peak Kravitz right there.

  • "If You Can't Say No"

    Yes, this album has “Fly Away” and Lenny’s cover of “American Woman” on it. But I’m with Pat Finnerty: those songs stink. This one does not. When Lenny does a ballad, Lenny does it his way.

  • "Dig In"

    You likely never heard or saw this leadoff single from Lenny’s 2001 effort. That’s because it was released on September 10, 2001. And I’ll just leave it at that.

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