We begin with a more modern take on the original… did you know that this song is one of the three most popular songs in the English language along with For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow and Auld Lang Syne and that it brings in over $2m dollars revenue in license fees annually?
So we couldn’t have a trip down birthday song memory lane without this lovely little song by Neil Sedaka before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye and only relevant to us all sadly but once in our lifetime… more if you want to mortify your own children with embarrassment. This was released in 1961. Brush off your “tralalalalalalala” and sing along to what my daughter pointed out to me could be interpreted as a rather letchy song! Noted for having a very similar musical composition to Bobby Vee’s Rubberball (bouncy bouncy) and The Chiffons’ One Fine Day.
Next up, perhaps the third happy birthday song I recall after the traditional and that above was this one by Stevie Wonder, released in 1981 and written as part of the movement to have Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday become a national holiday in the US
Around the same time this was also in the UK charts. Happy Birthday by Altered Images was a UK hit, peaking at number 2 in the chart and the debut album of the same name did OK earning a silver disc for sales in excess of 60,000. This band was fronted by Scot Clare Grogan (now 52.. groan) who was also one of the stars of British classic youth movie Gregory’s Girl. This song just puts me back into my youth.
I think there was a period of lean for me following the above and the next popular music related birthday song which has stuck in my memory must be this one by the naughty princess of pop herself Rihanna. I overheard this playing from my daughter’s room and loved it even though the lyrics are somewhat… risque. But sometimes even I like a bit of smut and this is about cake… what better thing to think about on your birthday?
And that brings us right up to date with this amazing song by the genius Will.i.am and Cody Wise. I can’t see wrong in this guy’s stuff, it just hits me in the clubber hard core which still runs through my insides and forever will. I just love how it symbolises that birthday exuberance of youth, spending birthday money and living like a king or queen for the day, feeling on top of the world. I’m going for that feeling this year, enough feeling sad on my day, this year it’s time to shine.
There could be more out there that I’ve forgotten or never heard but these just came immediately to mind. Feel free to add any of your favourites in the comments 😀