To celebrate his birthday, here are 10 fun facts about Robert Burns:
- After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure.
- J.D. Salinger’s famous 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye based its title from a poem by Robert Burns “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye.”
- Bob Dylan selected Burns’ 1794 song “A Red, Red Rose” when asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration.
- John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel Of Mice and Men from a line contained in Burns’ poem “To a Mouse:” “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.”
- Burns’ Auld Lang Syne is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being one of the top three most popular songs in the English language. The other two are ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow.’
- A miniature book of Robert Burns’ poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two-week space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7-million mile trip and 217 orbits of the Earth.
- Robert Burns produced over 550 songs and poems. That averages at around 25 works for each year of his adult life (Burns passed away at 37).
- The city of Atlanta, Georgia, has a life-size replica of the Alloway cottage that Burns was born in. It was built by the Burns Club of Atlanta in 1911.
- In 2009, viewers of STV voted Robert Burns the greatest Scot ever, with more votes than Robert the Bruce and Alexander Fleming.
- Robert Burns was going to move from Scotland to Jamaica. He decided against this when sales of poetry collection Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (also known as the Kilmarnock volume) took off.
Robert Burns was born in Alloway on 25th January, 1759.