There is one thing and one thing only that announces to
everyone it is time for cake, and it is my birthday. The
words are simple and everyone who can speak English knows
the words, from a toddler to someone who is 100 years old.
Comprised of 4 bars, 16 words each the tune is simple and
the meaning is deep.
In fact, according to the Guinness Book of World Records,
Happy Birthday is the most popular song in the English
And although it has been translated into many different
languages, it is usually sung in English, even in countries
that don’t speak English as their primary language.
The Hill sisters composed the tune, -Happy Birthday To
You-, in 1893. Originally the schoolteachers wrote the tune
to a song entitles -Good Morning To You- and was sung to
the classroom every morning.
But the version we know was copyrighted in 1935 and the
copyright is scheduled to expire in 2030. In fact,
technically it is illegal to publicly perform -Happy
Birthday To You- unless royalties are paid to the Summy
Company and its owner Warner Chappell who bought the
company in 1990.
The value of the song itself is estimated at $5 million. It
is still unclear who wrote the words to the song though.
Because of some strict copyright issues, filmmakers rarely
show the full content of the song being performed in any
movies. This is why sometimes you will see the
public-domain song -For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow- performed
instead, or the song being removed entirely.