Submitted by: Harbert Biny

This characteristic song, one of the most famous in the world, is sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person’s birth. There are innumerable birthday-song versions sung all over the world. From traditional melodies played at parties, in restaurants, at home, as well as new ones, created on purpose to celebrate a special person in this special occasion. Singing a birthday-song is certainly a well-established custom all over the world, like giving presents and parties.It’s worthless to say that the most famous one is ‘Happy Birthday to you’, which is considered the most popular song in the English speaking world. But … did you know that it was first written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville sisters, both teachers? And that it was copyrighted only in 1935? Today it is a little bit different, but its neverending success continues to bring million of dollars in royalties each year.

It is followed by ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’, which have been translated into several languages too, and Auld Lang Syne.

There are so many ways to wish a cheerful and happy birthday to your loved one, relative, or friend. For example you can deliver your special, customised message with a birthday (also musical, if you prefer) greeting card, or download and send them from the internet.

Here is the “famous” text song…

Happy Birthday to You

Happy Birthday to You

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Happy Birthday Dear (name)

Happy Birthday to You.

From good friends and true,

From old friends and new,

May good luck go with you,

And happiness too.

Alternative ending:

How old are you?

How old are you?

How old, How old

How old are you?

You can have some fun playing the birthday-song with your friends at parties, giving your personal version of this famous song.

On the internet you can find and download tons of birthday songs, in all languages and versions. And, of course, the original lyrics. There are also amazing music-boxes playing these songs, a unique surprise, for the delight of eyes and ears. You have a wide range of songs to choose among: for children to grown-ups, for the 18 or 21 birthday and so on. Also important people, singers and actors have enjoyed themselves singing birthday-songs, with unexpected results. You can find them on their website.

But maybe one of the most famous and downloaded is Marilyn Monroe’s version, sung for President JFK’s birthday.

Even Jonathan Swift wrote a poetry titled ‘Directions for a Birthday Song’. There are also other funny adaptations created to celebrate people’s birthday, as well as a lot of movies and albums where a birthday-song is performed. Children find them fun, and at school they learn to sing them all together with nice and cheerful dances. In other words, it is a very well consolidated tradition spread all over the world, it is a symbol of a party and, maybe, a way of play down the years go by.

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