The History of The Most Widely Sung Song: ‘Happy Birthday’

The ‘Happy Birthday’ song is one of the most widely recognized and frequently sung songs in the world. Its origins can be traced back to the late 19th century. In 1893, sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, who were American educators and composers, wrote a song titled ‘Good Morning to All.’ This song was intended to be sung by children in classrooms as a daily greeting.

Image Courtesy: The New York Times

Over time, the lyrics of ‘Good Morning to All’ evolved, and it became a popular tune for birthday celebrations. The familiar ‘Happy Birthday to You’ lyrics emerged, and the song became synonymous with birthdays.

In 1924, the Hill sisters published the song in a songbook with the title ‘Happy Birthday to You.’ It gained widespread popularity and became a staple at birthday parties. However, in the early 20th century, the copyright for the song was acquired by a music publishing company, leading to legal restrictions on its public performance and commercial use.

Image Courtesy: Newsweek

After decades of copyright disputes, the song entered the public domain in 2016, allowing it to be freely used without restrictions. Today, the ‘Happy Birthday’ song is sung by people of all ages and cultures around the world, symbolizing a shared tradition of celebrating birthdays with joy and well wishes.

– Riya Sohini