Happy 95th Birthday to a YouTube Rock Star

Relatively few people can legitimately claim to have brought joy and happiness to millions. Today we honor someone who can prove it.

I first saw Marlow Cowan and his wife, Frances, on April 7, 2009. That was the day we embedded the YouTube video of them playing the piano at Mayo Clinic (which had been viewed 1,005 times in the previous six months) on our Sharing Mayo Clinic blog, and then posted the link to Facebook and tweeted it.

Less than two months later, their video had more than 2 million views, and Good Morning America flew them to New York City to perform live on national TV. The Cowans were featured in other media as well, from local and regional outlets to NHK Television in Japan. I also had the opportunity to interview them in their home. And the touching story of Jodi Hume and her mother, Sharon Turner, who had captured and posted the original video on a cell phone, has inspired tens of thousands.

In October 2011, as part of Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic, we presented the Cowans a special Lifetime Achievement Award and they delivered a show that will live long in our memories (and thankfully, it’s on YouTube, too):

Today is Mr. Cowan's 95th birthday, and so this morning some members of our team got together to sing greetings around the piano the Cowans helped to make famous:

Please join us in sending birthday best wishes to Mr. Cowan!

Just send a birthday tweet using the #Happy95thMrCowan hashtag, or leave a greeting on our YouTube video.


If you find it more convenient, you can just retweet this tweet:

... or like, comment or share on Facebook here:


... or +1, comment or share on Google+ here:

Happy 95th birthday, Mr. Cowan! So glad that video went viral–no one should miss it! I hope you provide many more spontaneous concerts! Hoping to greet you again on your 100th!

Liked by Lee Aase


Lee shared this video in Nov 2009 when I first met him. It was brilliant and endearing and I never forgot it. I was so lucky to be at another Mayo conference where Mr Cowan and his wife played in person. As we say in NY – Mazel Tov. #Happy95thMrCowan

Liked by Lee Aase

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