Happy Birthday to You

"Happy Birthday to You"
Birthday candles.jpg
Published 1893
Songwriter(s) Patty Hill, Mildred J. Hill

"Happy Birthday to You", more commonly known as simply "Happy Birthday", is a song that is traditionally sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth. According to the 1998 Guinness World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most recognized song in the English language, followed by " For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". The song's base lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages. [1] The melody of "Happy Birthday to You" comes from the song "Good Morning to All", [2] which has traditionally been attributed to American sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill in 1893, [3] [4] although the claim that the sisters composed the tune is disputed. [5]

Patty Hill was a kindergarten principal in Louisville, Kentucky, developing various teaching methods at what is now the Little Loomhouse; [6] her sister Mildred was a pianist and composer. [7] The sisters used "Good Morning to All" as a song that young children would find easy to sing. [8] The combination of melody and lyrics in "Happy Birthday to You" first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier. [9]

None of the early appearances of the "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics included credits or copyright notices. The Summy Company registered a copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R. R. Forman. In 1988, Warner/Chappell Music purchased the company owning the copyright for US$25 million, with the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at US$5 million. [10] [11] Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claimed that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are illegal unless royalties are paid to Warner. In one specific instance in February 2010, these royalties were said to amount to US$700. [12] By one estimate, the song is the highest-earning single song in history, with estimated earnings since its creation of US$50 million. [13] [14] In the European Union, the copyright for the song expired on January 1, 2017. [15]

The American copyright status of "Happy Birthday to You" began to draw more attention with the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned "Happy Birthday to You" in his dissenting opinion. [16] American law professor Robert Brauneis, who extensively researched the song, concluded in 2010 that "It is almost certainly no longer under copyright." [17] In 2013, based in large part on Brauneis's research, Good Morning to You Productions, a company producing a documentary about "Good Morning to All", sued Warner/Chappell for falsely claiming copyright to the song. [5] [10] In September 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song, and not to its lyrics and melody. In 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for US $14 million, and the court declared that "Happy Birthday to You" was in the public domain. [18] [19]


"Happy birthday to you"

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear [NAME]
Happy birthday to you. [20]

The person whose birthday is being celebrated is filled in for "[NAME]". The earliest known publication used "John" as the example.

Lyrics with melody

\relative c' { \key f \major \time 3/4 \partial 4 c8. c16 | d4 c f | e2 c8. c16 | d4 c g' | f2 c8. c16 | c'4 a f | e( d) bes'8. bes16 | a4 f g | f2 \bar "|." } \addlyrics { Hap -- py birth -- day to you, Hap -- py birth -- day to you, Hap -- py birth -- day dear [NAME], __ Hap -- py birth -- day to you. }

Traditional variations

It is traditional, among English-speakers, that at a birthday party, the song "Happy Birthday to You" be sung to the birthday person by the other guests celebrating the birthday. More specifically, the birthday person is traditionally presented with a birthday cake with lit candles, with the number of candles sometimes corresponding to the age of the person. After the song is sung (usually just once), party guests sometimes add wishes like "and many more!" expressing the hope that the birthday person will enjoy a long life. The birthday person may be asked to make a wish ("Make a wish!")—which he or she does silently—and then is supposed to blow out the candles. Traditionally, blowing out of the candles is believed (or is considered a lighthearted superstition) to ensure that the wish will come true. [21] Once the candles have been blown out, people may applaud, after which the cake may be served, often with the first piece being served to the person whose birthday it is.

In Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Ireland, immediately after "Happy Birthday" has been sung, it is traditional for one of the guests to enthusiastically lead with " Hip hip..." and then for all of the other guests to join in and say "... hooray!" This is normally repeated three times. In Canada, especially at young children's birthdays, immediately after "Happy Birthday" has been sung, the singers segue into "How old are you now? How old are you now? How old are you now-ow, how old are you now?" and then count up: "Are you one? Are you two? Are you..." until they reach the right age, at which the celebrant says "yes", and everybody else, who presumably know the right number, all cheer.

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Happy birthday to you
Ελληνικά: Happy Birthday to You
euskara: Zorionak zuri
Հայերեն: Happy Birthday to You
Bahasa Indonesia: Happy Birthday to You
norsk bokmål: Happy Birthday To You
português: Parabéns a Você
русский: Happy Birthday to You
українська: Happy Birthday to You
Tiếng Việt: Happy Birthday to You