The Happy Birthday Song

By Denise on July 19, 2014, 3362 views

Everyone knows the Birthday Song but how many of you know who wrote it and how it all began. Let’s discover the history of the birthday song, its common lyrics and even some interesting birthday trivia about it.

Did you know that this is the most popular song in the English language followed next by “For he’s a jolly good fellow” and is copyrighted and brings around two million dollars a year from fees?

Or that he most famous rendition of "Happy Birthday" is when Marilyn Monroe sang it, on 19 May 1962, to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden? Let’s see how it all started!

The “Happy Birthday” song originated as a children’s song “Good morning to All” composed by the sisters Mildred And Patty Hill. Patty was a kindergarten teacher in Louisville, Kentucky while her sister was a pianist. The song was designed to be sung by the teacher to the children but then it was switched for children to play it so it became “Good morning to You”.

Years later, they published the tune in their songbook Song Stories for the Kindergarten. As the song grew in popularity it seems that the meaning changed to “Happy Birthday to you” and has made itself the number one song to be sung at celebrations and anniversaries and has been translated in over 20 languages so far.

The combination of melody and lyrics in "Happy Birthday to You" first appeared in print in 1912 but no credits were included so in 1935 the Summy Company registered for copyright in the name of Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R.R. Forman. The copyright we’ve mentioned earlier seems to be valid up to at least 2030. In the European Union, the copyright of the song will expire on December 31, 2016.

Good Morning to All

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children.
Good morning to all.[11]

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
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?

The Happy Birthday song is traditionally sung when the birthday cake is brought right before the birthday person blows the candles on the cake. After it there are many wishes to be said such as “And many more!” referring to having other happy birthdays in the future. After the candles are blown and the person has put their wishes they often cut the cake and continue the partying. In the United Kingdom and Australia, after "Happy Birthday" has been sung, it is common for one of the guests to lead with "Hip hip..." and then for the other guests to join in and say "...hooray

About the author

Denise, Founder and Editor in Chief

Denise, Founder and Editor in Chief

Denise shows her take on subjects she is passionate about as the Founder and Editor in Chief of and other online projects she is involved in. See profile