phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Most oft-sung song (admittedly a little off-topic)

Posted by Woodchuck on August 28, 2002

In Reply to: Happy birthday song posted by Bob on August 28, 2002

: : Parking lot will honor composers of 'Happy Birthday' song
: : Armstrong names site as tribute to Louisville sisters
: :
: : By Sheldon S. Shafer
: :
: : The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.

: : Aug. 28, 2002
: :
: : How do you duly honor the Louisville sisters who penned perhaps the world's
: : most oftsung song?

: : Name a city parking lot after them.

: : More than a century after Mildred and Patty Hill published the tune later dubbed
: : ''Happy Birthday To You,'' Mayor Dave Armstrong has disclosed that a small
: : parking lot just southwest of Main and Ninth streets will be called ''The Happy
: : Birthday Lot.''

: : It's no ''insignificant'' honor to name the 17-space lot in the city's burgeoning
: : West Main cultural district after the Hill sisters, Armstrong said.

: : The ''Birthday Lot,'' which already is open to parkers, is expected to be dedicated
: : late next month, Armstrong said. The site will be landscaped, and a marker
: : telling the sisters' story will be erected, Armstrong said.

: : The city is asking the sisters' descendants to contact officials at 574-3333.

: : In 1893, the sisters published a short song called ''Good Morning to All.'' Without
: : their permission, a man named Robert Coleman republished their song in 1924
: : and added a second verse, the famous ''Happy Birthday to You.''

: : The Hill family went to court and eventually won the rights to what became the
: : traditional birthday song.

: : Mildred Hill, who died in 1916, and Patty, who died in 1946, taught kindergarten
: : and music in Louisville.

: : Yesterday, Armstrong announced that a new 125-space city parking lot near
: : Ninth and Washington streets has been named the ''Lifesavers Lot'' in honor of
: : three life guards -- William Devan, John Tully and John Gillooly -- who staffed a
: : rescue station at the Falls of the Ohio starting in the 1880s.

: : The three men are credited with saving more than 50 lives in the 1880s alone.

: :

: Younger people in the advertising or entertainment business are often shocked to find that "Happy Birthday to You" is NOT in the public domain, and that they have to pay some hefty fees to include it in their commercial, tv show or film. The sisters' estate is very healthy.
: As for it being the "world's most oftsung song" I have my doubts. Many countries and cultures have different Birthday songs (and hey, there's the Beatles "They say it's your birthday...") so we may need to look for a more international song. Amazing Grace? Twinkle, twinkle little star? Hound Dog? My own preference (in a better world) would be Billie Holliday's version of "Mean to Me."

"Twinkle, twinkle, Little Star" is an excellent guess! Common sense tells me the most oft-sung song in the western world would have to be a very old song which has survived. Mozart wrote variations on the Twinkle melody ("Ah, vous dirais-je Maman") as did Bach.
Another possibility is "The Derry Aire", aka "Danny Boy; sung indiscriminately at both weddings and funerals, and beloved by maudlin drunks the world over.

I think "Happy Birthday" has some catching up to do!

© 1997 – 2024 All rights reserved.