On October 13th, the "Happy Birthday" song turns turned nineteen plus a hundred. Over the past two centuries the kindergarten class greeting song has morphed into an ode to presidential lust, a symbol of corporate greed, an excuse to celebrate cake, and a beloved holiday anthem for every day of the year. If you were born in 1893, you'd probably look a lot different now too.
FACT: "Happy Birthday To You" is music's biggest hit ever.
Forget anything by The Beatles or Bieber.
The Guinness Book of World Records officially crowned the cake presentation chant as the world's most recognized song. So who's responsible for the hit? FACT: Two school teacher sisters are credited with first publishing the song in 1893.
Mildred and Patti Hill taught at a progressive Kentucky elementary school and incorporated music into early education classes. One day they decided to write a song to sing with kindergarteners at the start of the school day.
FACT: The first version Happy Birthday didn't include the words "happy" or "birthday."
The lyrics for Mildred and Patti's song went more like "Good Morning to All"; but legend has it their students adapted it for birthday parties outside of homeroom.
FACT: Happy Birthday's horoscope prediction was right ! Everything changed for the song around age 40.
A music-publishing house copyrighted the Hills' song with revised and popularized birthday lyrics in 1935, and for the next eighty plus years, the tune was big business.
FACT: Billy Bush was born on October 13th, too.
"Happy Birthday" song says Happy Birthday, Billy. FACT: One of "Birthday" song's recent co-purchasers was convicted of insider trading.
Time Warner bought the song in 1998, and it remained in their catalogue after a team of investors, including Edgar Bronfman Jr., purchased Warner Music Group in 2004. In 2011, Bronfman was convicted on insider trading charges relating to a former job and fined about $4.2 million.
That's about two years's of birthday song royalties. FACT: "Happy Birthday's" co-owner didn't write Happy Birthday but he did write songs for Babs and Celine.
Bronfman, the billionaire Seagrams heir, and current board-member at Warner Music Group, was a songwriter in his younger years. He had a penchant for songs about love--or the lack of it. In 1995 his song "To Love You More" became one of Celine Dion's biggest hits in Japan. Barbra Streisand had less chart success with Bronfman's "If I Didn't Love You," released in 1997. But hey, this Amazon reviewer liked it.
FACT: Nobody sings "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" in real life.
But movies like to pretend that's a totally regular occurrence because if they used "Happy Birthday"they'd pay $10,000 for the rights. "Jolly Good Fellow" on the other hand is free. Sing away.FACT: "Happy Birthday" decreased awareness of civil rights history.
A scene in the 1987 civil rights movement documentary Eyes on the Prize featured the song in archival footage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After the film's initial release, clearance rights to the song expired and the cost to renew was too high. So the time capsule of American history became virtually obsolete until 2008, when grants through PBS,covered the cost of a re-release. FACT: Marilyn Monroe owes a lot of money.
If you sing "Happy Birthday" at a big party, especially one that's recorded on video for posterity, you're technically supposed to pay for it. The company makes about $2 million a year thanks to moments far lower in profile than this one. FACT: T.G.I Fridays waiters don't sing their made-up birthday song because they're wacky.
They do it because their bosses make them. Yes, even singing it at restaurants is technically fee-worthy. And yes, it costs less to hire someone to create a whole new song than to use one that already exists. Is it Happy Hour yet?
FACT: We earthlings have some strange traditions.
Wikipedia's description of how and when we sing the birthday song will make you feel like a Martian. Enjoy:
"It is often the tradition that at a birthday party, the song 'Happy Birthday to You' is sung to the birthday person by the other guests gathered around. The birthday person is usually seated in front of a table where there is a birthday cake with candles that have just been lit. The number of candles is often the same as the age of the birthday person. After the song is sung (usually just once), sometimes party guests will add phrases like 'And many happy returns !' or 'And many more!'expressing the hope that the birthday person will enjoy a long life. The birthday person is asked to make a wish ('Make a wish!') --which is done silently-and then blow out the candles."
(Source: Yahoo Shine)