Birthday Songs Just for You

My birthday doppelgänger?

Is Cleopatra Stratan my birthday doppelgänger? Image source

How about this for an audio adventure? See who was born on your birthday to determine what you might want to tune into next on Spotify, Pandora or iTunes.

Credit a librarian in Santa Clara County for this idea: Pat Oey posted on that county’s library blog about singers and band members with birthdays on June 3. Oey suggested that the June 3 birthday celebrant then, should be listening to Curtis Mayfield, The Birds, Phish, Suzie Quatro and No Mercy. In fact, by the blog’s logic, June 3 birthday peeps ought to listen to No Mercy twice as twin band members Ariel and Gabriel Hernandez were both born June 3.

In turning to to see who was born on my special day, I inadvertently typed in October 3. I was excited to see Gwen Stefani pop up – she has many a party tune. But, I had the wrong date.

So, what did that leave me for my beloved October 6?

  • Rappers Leondre Devries ad Lil Wyte
  • Pop singers Cleopatra Stratan, Aaron Pierce, Tae Brooks, Joey Diamond, and Joe Woolford
  • World music singer Millie Small
  • Neck Deep guitarist Lloyd Roberts
  • R&B singer Devvon Terrell

Not one of these artists had I actually heard of; and the fact that the majority of them are under the age of 20 was a bit depressing for middle-aged me. Turns out that Cleopatra is a Moldovian child with her own video channel. Joe was part of the UK’s Joe and Jake who competed in Eurovision 2016 (and the song wasn’t too bad). Devon Terrell is not what I would think you’d describe as “R&B” unless his rapped “Keep It Pushin’” is a marked detour from the norm.

Still, the real surprise was that I recognized Millie Small’s My Boy Lollipop from 1965.

You too can enjoy my new birthday theme song:


There is a dearth of good birthday music out there. As someone who on a probably too regular basis makes a mix tape, later a mix CD, and now an MP3 playlist to mark her own birthday, I am particularly happy to have this new idea of how to create a celebratory soundtrack.

Plus, with the Happy Birthday song finally going public we can look forward to some great new versions of the tune, don’t you think? After all if Google has AI that makes music now, can’t someone bring new life to this familiar ditty we all know and love. I vote for a Bruno Mars mashup or maybe a raucous rendition by Pink or a more moving adaptation by Iron and Wine.

Who would you like to hear singing the birthday song?

The Happy Birthday Song Goes Public

Birthday Song

Photo credit: Shawn Hoke via / CC BY-NC-ND

A longstanding copyright dispute over public access to the birthday song was resolved late last year in favor of the song entering public domain.

A Los Angeles judge ruled invalid the copyright claim of the companies collecting royalties on the “Happy Birthday” song for the past 80 years. The LA Times reported, Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the song’s use, as it had been doing since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright.

The paper also offered a thorough history of the controversy surrounding the song that “evolved into the well-known birthday song, with lyrics by Patty Smith Hill, and became what the Guinness World Records book has said is the most widely sung song in the English language.”

I am, of course, happy to think nothing untoward will happen to me for singing happy birthday in public. Well, not legally anyway, I cannot blame anyone who questions my enthusiastic yet often dischordant efforts.

Nevertheless, this may lead to a loss in the world of eateries. After all, the way in which all assembled waitstaff serenade a dining guest is part of a restaurant’s character.

I am clearly not alone in this theory, as I found a blog about birthday song experiences by an If You’re Wondering author, Connor, who decided Chuck E. Cheese has the best version with these lyrics:

Clap your hands!
Now stomp your feet!
You’re a Birthday Star at Chuck E. Cheese!
You’re our special guest,
We all aims to please
You’re big time, big stuff, going far
Here’s to you our Birthday Star!

Connor also checked out Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Chili’s, Texas Roadhouse and more.

Despite the silliness he finds in the derivations, I still believe that if everyone turns to the same familiar song, it will take away the flair! I am all for public access to the song, but I hope to see restaurant owners continue to strive for creativity in the ways in which they celebrate their celebrant diners.

Birthday celebration

Photo credit: Peter E. Lee via / CC BY-NC


“We Love You Every Day” — Mr. Rogers

North America’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, would have celebrated his birthday March 20th. Just seeing his picture again made me smile. Especially this one with the make believe trolley.

The pics made me do a little digging. Now, I didn’t remember this from my own avid watching of the show as a child, but check out the lyrics to his birthday song:

“Happy birthday, happy birthday
Dear friend, we sing to you
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday to you

We thought we’d try to tell you how we love you on your birthday
We thought we’d try to sing and dance and play today
We wanted to surprise you on your birthday and say
We love you every day, not just today…”

How lovely is that? We love you every day, not just today. What a fantabulous idea. It’s even better to hear him sing it.

Thanks Mr. Rogers for still teaching me how to be a better person decades after your show went off the air.

Hurting your ears with birthday fervor.

I recently mortified an undergraduate by having the entire class sing her “Happy Birthday.” The reward? They all could leave class early. I didn’t anticipate, however, how horrific we would all sound. The guy with the lowest voice starting us off didn’t help any. Really. It was awful.

It’s pretty hilarious how poor it can sound when a bunch of us try and sing Happy Birthday to one another. The more the merrier at the party, but don’t count on the serenade to sound so hot.

Have you seen, though, the American Cancer Society’s campaign built around the idea of giving people more birthdays? Their tagline right now is, “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays.” There are several videos available with famous folks singing the Happy Birthday song (ranging from Deborah Harry to Justin Bieber or Weezer to Incubus).

Here’s a particularly soulful version from Jennifer Hudson. Yeah, when I sing in someone’s voicemail, I sound just like this!

A Bolton Birthday for You.

American Greetings has announced a new “chart-topping birthday experience” featuring Grammy Award winning crooner Michael Bolton. Yes, you can order a video ecard featuring the singer of such hits as “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?”

The greeting card company has created a customized birthday song where Bolton sings personalized lyrics drawing “over 1,000 pre-recorded names, including endearments and titles like ‘Honey’ and ‘Buddy,’” plus you select from one of 17 messages.

How are we supposed to live without Bolton making a birthday cake, singing with a helium voice and crooning to a cow and chicken. Bolton is clearly willing to be silly (for quite a pay check one can bet).

The company’s creative director is quoted in the release stating, “we thought ‘what could be bigger and more epic than Michael Bolton singing a song just for you?’”

Uhm, I can think of a few things. Bet you can too.

Sexing Up Birthdays

I have nothing against Katy Perry. Really. Every time I hear her song “Firework” I have happy memories of roller skating with a dear near-niece and participating in a flash mob.

As a birthday enthusiast I was thrilled to hear a new birthday song on the radio. Making it like my birthday every day? Sign me up!

The lyrics video is clever, too.


There’s a nod in the song to the breathless Marilyn Monroe wishing a Happy Birthday to JFK.  That’s the kind of sensuality I can appreciate.  But, seeing how she incorporates the song into her live concerts just makes me feel like a prude.  There’s bumping and grinding around stripper pole-like birthday candles.  Plus, she strips down from a raincoat into a bedazzled bodysuit and invites an audience member onstage to cozy up to.  This takes girl jumping out of birthday cake to a whole new level.

I’d rather a rousing birthday song like this one from the Beatles that gets up every one up and happy (and I mean up & dancing, not the kind of “up” Perry’s going for in concert).

Bring on more of these!