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The History Behind the Song "Happy Birthday to You"

The melody to the song “Happy Birthday to You” (also known as "The Birthday Song") was written in the early 1890’s by an American woman by the name of Mildred Hill. Her sister Patti, who was a teacher, put the lyric “Good morning dear teacher, good morning to you” to fit the melody. The song grew in popularity over the years and was eventually sung in schools across the US.  Some forty years later, it is believed that Patti came up with the words "Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday Dear <name>, Happy Birthday to You," and fit those words to her sister’s melody. The entire song was then published in 1935. The song was popularized later in the 1930's when it was sung in the Broadway production of “As Thousands Cheer,” and has since become the mega-classic hit of all time. One final interesting tidbit: The "Happy Birthday to You" song (lyrics and melody together) are still under copyright protection, so every time you hear it sung on TV or radio, for example, royalties are being paid to the publisher (Warner Chapel, in the US).

 

Birthday Factoids

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