The Truth Of Happy Birthday Song
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Mindsparker, happy birthday to you” 🙂
Do you ever wonder, which is the most frequently sung song in the world? Yea..It is birthday song. The very popular ‘Happy Birthday to You’ song has been sung on land, water and even space and become an indispensable part of birthday celebrations across the world. In fact, the Guinness Book Of World Records has it that the “Happy Birthday to You” song is the most popular song ever in the English speaking world, and perhaps the whole world, too.
The melody to the song “Happy Birthday to You” was composed by the two sister from Kentucky, Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill. Patty was a kindergarten principal in Louisville, Kentucky, developing various teaching methods and Mildred was a pianist and composer.
It credited Patty Hill for the lyrics and Mildred Hill for the melody but it was originally for a classroom greeting song titled “Good Morning to All.” They wrote the song “Good Morning to All,” with the hope that it would get every child positively involved as they begin a new day and soon after “Good Morning to All” s became the official morning greeting song in classrooms across America.
From then on the lyrics were changed from its original form to “Happy Birthday to You.” It is still a doubt who changed the lyrics that turned it into a birthday song, maybe the person was just too afraid to be charged due to copyright infringement. The actual lyrics ‘Happy Birthday to You’ appeared for the first time in a book edited by Robert H. Coleman in 1924, and the entire song was then published in 1935.
Afterward, radio and television started picking up the song, and it was sung in the Broadway production of “As Thousands Cheer,” and has since become the mega-classic hit of all time.
In 1934, the Hill’s family filed a lawsuit because of the unauthorized use of the “Happy Birthday to You” melody which clearly resembles the melody of “Good Morning to All,” the song the two sisters originally wrote and eventually won the lawsuit for infringement. From the time onward, the song is copyrighted and went through different ownership and finally bought by Warner Chappell for $25 million. The company is now known as Summy-Birchard Music and now is part of the giant AOL Time Warner media conglomerate.
According to the president of Summy-Birchard, the song brings in about $5000 per day ($2 million per annum) in royalties annually, with half going to Summy-Birchard and the other half to the Hill Foundation. However, both sisters died unmarried and childless, so the Hill foundation share’s of the royalties have presumably been going to charity or to the nephew since Patty Hill passed away in 1946.
Do we infringe upon the copyright law when we sing “Birthday Song” in public?
According to United States copyright law, authors of works such as musical compositions have the exclusive right to “perform the copyrighted work publicly” and the law defines publicly performing a work as “to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.”
In a nutshell, this means that if you sing Happy Birthday to your family at home, you’re probably not committing copyright infringement. However, if you do it in a restaurant, or in public you may be engaging in copyright infringement. For this reason, most restaurants or other public party venues will not allow their employees to perform the song in public, instead opting for other original songs or cheers in honor of the birthday celebrant.
Notwithstanding, the copyright will expire in December 31 2016 in European Union (EU) countries,while in the United States, the song is currently set to pass to the public domain in 2030.
“Good Morning To All” Original Song” GoodMorningToAll_1893
Now that you know some interesting facts about the birthday song, so you can share them with your friends or your children at their next birthday party.