Its origin is not absolutely certain. But most believe it began as “Good Morning To All” and written in the 1890s by kindergarten teachers, Mildred and Patty Hill in Louisville, Kentucky. It was sung each morning in their classrooms. When a student had a birthday, they would change the lyrics to “Happy Birthday To You”
Although the sisters copyrighted “Good Morning To All”, they did not copyright the “Happy Birthday” song. The song’s popularity grew, and the sisters began to file suit against unlicensed users. Sister, Patty, said she “was never a money grubber”.
But their sister, Jessica, grew weary of the song being used without authorization. So, in 1935 she copyrighted and published the song with Clayton F. Summy Company. Now the sisters had rights to the song if sung for profit.
The ownership of the song has gone through many purchases and acquisitions. Currently it is owned by Warner Music Group. They collect royalties for everything from ringtones to e-cards that play “Happy Birthday To You”.
Here is some Trivia
**1. According to Guinness Book of Records, “Happy Birthday” song is the most popular song in English Language. It is more popular than any Beatle song or even Beethoven.
**2. Besides being sung to presidents and popes, it has been used in nearly 150 movies. Marilyn Monroe sang it to President Kennedy on May 19, 1962 at the celebration of his 45th birthday 10 days before the actual date.
**3. The world’s 1st singing telegram featured the sisters’ birthday song. Lucille Lipps, a Western Union operator, sang Happy Birthday via the singing telegram to Rudy Vallee on July 28, 1933.
**4. Happy Birthday was the 1st song performed in outer space. That was on March 8, 1969 during the Apollo 9 mission. The crew sang a belated Happy Birthday to the Director of Flight Operations, Christopher Kroft Jr.
**5. It is illegal to sing “Happy Birthday to you” commercially unless you pay anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 for those rights." (Which most likely explains why you hear an alternate version of the song and not the real thing.)
**6. It generates nearly 2 million dollars a year in royalties.
**7. The song has been translated into more than 20 languages,
**8. The Girl Scouts once were warned they would have to pay a fee if campers sang Happy Birthday.
As Paul Harvey would say, now you know “The Rest of the Story”.