Wednesday, April 20, 2011


There is something wonderful and is a happy thing that is shared by everyone all over the world. It is old and created by an American woman. March 27th 1868, 143 years ago is the day Patty Smith Hill was born in Anchorage, Kentucky. She wrote the Happy Birthday song that celebrates everyone’s birthday in a special way in many countries and in many languages. It makes you feel good to be an American. I’d rather be known for this silly song from my country than being known as the most powerful military force in the world possibly selling weapons all over the world killing people. I like Happy Birthdays.
She was a distinguished educator working as a young school principal. The song was originally called Good-Morning To All, later an extra beat an eight-note was added to the melody to accommodate the extra syllable to sing in the word Ha-ppy; otherwise, the song was the same but now called Happy Birthday Song. Over the years it has become a tradition. Sung not only at children’s party’s but at some of the most powerful leaders occasions.
Of course what would a birthday be without a picture of you blowing out just the right number of candles to seal the event. So, we have video of you, your children, the Pope, Ronald Regan, President George Bush, an episode of The Office, in the Stanley Kruebic movie Full Metal Jacket, the Disney movie Dumbo, etc, just Utube it, you’ll find many others. People still talk about Marilyn Monroe’s sexy version to President Kennedy at the time rumors went around that they were having a secret affair. That was way back in 1962.
Patty Smith Hill died at the age of 78 in 1946. That little song that she created lives on. It would have been nice to give her a big video celebration for her. Instead she had to live through 2 World Wars. I hope she knew the happiness her little song brought to so many in the world. I don’t know, but I hope she was wealthy from the royalties her little song paid her every time the song was performed in a place that was profiting from its use.
I know there was a Casino owner, the owner of Casers Palace in Las Vegas whose name is Merv Griffin. He made some of his millions from a smaller song with no lyrics called the Jeopardy Theme. Yes, the song they play on the game show Jeopardy that every time the contestants have time allotted to them to write down their answers, they play the song. If any other venue plays 8 bars of the song, he gets paid! He died but he died a millionaire.
The song has nothing to do with money or courage or valor. It is a simple thing with an interesting melody that simply says in a non-judgmental way that we are happy that you are here. It’s just:
Happy Birthday to you, (if you didn’t hear it clearly, we’ll say it again)
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to (the name of someone you care for on the day they were born)
Happy Birthday to you !

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