Happy Birthday to Karin and Christina!
And in honor of this momentous day, I have delved into the history of the Happy Birthday song. After a few different searches I have this to share with you:
Happy Birthday is the number 1 most popular song in all of the English speaking world. (Supposedly the next 2 most popular songs are Auld Lang Syne or He's a Jolly Good Fellow. I find that incredibly hard to believe, because there is not one human soul on the planet that knows the correct words to Auld Lang Syne. Not one. I dare you to find them. Actually I don't, because they don't exist and you would be wasting an enormous amount of time and energy.) But I digress...
The melody of Happy Birthday was written by two southern Kindergarten teachers in 1893. When exactly the words and melody came together is a fact no one really knows. But by 1924 they appeared in a song book and by the 1930's the song was becoming a standard tune at birthday celebrations.
Happy Birthday is actually a copyrighted song until at least the year 2030. No royalties due when singing in your house, but commercial usage does require that you pay a fee. Happy Birthday makes about $2 million a year in royalties.
It was also the first song performed in space. It was sung on the Apollo 9 mission in 1969. Marilyn Monroe's performance of Happy Birthday to President Kennedy in 1962 is considered to be the most famous rendition of the song.
AND did you know that the 6 note song of Happy Birthday is actually the chorus to a whole song? Apparently, this is the first verse of Happy Birthday:
So today is your birthday
That's what I've been told
What a wonderful birthday
Now you're one more year old
On your cake there'll be candles
All lighted, it's true
While the whole world is singing
Happy Birthday to you ....
(Happy Birthday chorus)
I have no idea of the melody, but who in the heck knew there were more words??!
And finally, in order to appropriately say Happy Birthday to my friends today, I have found three bizarre musical renditions of this tune. Vote for your favorite:
Cats: good Violins: even better
Monkeys with human mouths: comic goldmine
Giant birthday cat wearing a tie in a tiny armchair: best moment of my life so far