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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU – Song

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Description: Song, USA

Known For: “Happy Birthday to You”, also known more simply as “Happy Birthday”

Location: United States of America

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BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Happy Birthday to You

A traditional song that is sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person’s birth.

The combination of melody and lyrics in “Happy Birthday to You” first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.

According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most recognized song in the English language, followed by “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” and “Auld Lang Syne”.

The song’s base lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages.

The melody of “Happy Birthday to You” comes from the song “Good Morning to All”, which was written and composed by American sisters Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893.

They were both kindergarten school teachers in Louisville, Kentucky, developing various teaching methods at what is now the Little Loomhouse.

The sisters created “Good Morning to All” as a song that would be easy to sing by young children.

The combination of melody and lyrics in “Happy Birthday to You” first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.

None of these early appearances included credits or copyright notices. The Summy Company registered for copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R.R. Forman.

In 1990, Warner Chappell purchased the company owning the copyright for U.S. $15 million, with the value of “Happy Birthday” estimated at U.S. $5 million.

Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claims that U.S. copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to it.

In European Union countries the copyright in the song will expire December 31, 2016.

An American law professor who heavily researched the song has expressed strong doubts that it is still under copyright.

The Hill sisters most likely copied the tune and lyrical idea from other songs from that time period.

There were a number of popular and substantially similar nineteenth-century songs that predated the Hill sisters’ composition, including Horace Waters’ “Happy Greetings to All”; “Good Night to You All”, also from 1858; “A Happy New Year to All”, from 1875; and “A Happy Greeting to All”, published 1885. The copyright for both the words and the music of “Good Morning to All” has since expired and both are now a part of the public domain.

The above readings have been mainly extracted fom the Wikipedia web site, the free encyclopedia.