Classical Jazz '05



SOP - EPISODE 157 - Happy Birthday

The podcast is here:

Is this song horrible?  Should it go away?  Why is it popular - because of the public domain? Can you think of another song that is just known by large groups of people?  

Is the song a death song (like stated in the podcast)?  Do you like their alternatives? can you think of another one?  

Do you feel the "march-like" quality in the song. Can you think of another song that has a hidden "march-like" quality?

 What else can you add to this discussion?


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Bob Tozier Artist: Bob Tozier
School: North Allegheny

The podcast is here:

With Nate’s birthday around the corner, it’s time to admit that our go-to birthday song is actually the worst to sing to someone. There are reasons both musicological and cultural why this wooden celebratory number needs to go, ranging from funereal rhythms to Wagnerian opera to the Wizard of Oz. Tune in to uncover the horror of “Happy Birthday” and consider some of the alternatives on offer, including a recent Anne-Marie hit that takes birthday wishes and turns them around 180º.



Frédéric Chopin - Piano Sonata No 2 in B-Flat Minor, III

John Williams - The Imperial March

Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow

Richard Wagner -  Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

The Beatles - Birthday

Anne-Marie - Birthday

Fetty Wap ft. Monty - Birthday

Stevie Wonder - Happy Birthday 


Chelsea Chao from: North Allegheny - posted: April 21, 2020
Personally, I don't think the Happy Birthday song is terrible. Plus, there are lots of interesting variations of Happy Birthday you can find. For example, Happy Birthday played in the style of Chopin, Bach, etc. Another song I can think of that is generally well-known would be the ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars; both songs actually have the same melody. 

David Ban from: North Allegheny - posted: May 20, 2020
I personally think the song is ok, but probably only because of the memories related to the song. It's special because of the child-like joy we feel whenever people sing it to us - it's a celebration. Similarly, holiday songs also are strongly tied to the memories and experiences we hold in our hearts. 

David Chen from: - posted: May 26, 2020

I really like the song personally, I found interesting that the Happy Birthday Song is arguably the most frequently-sung English song in the world. 

Futen Wang from: North Allegheny - posted: May 28, 2020
I think happy birthday is a wonderful song, but I would also be happy if someone played Chopin Nocturne In E-Flat Major, Op.9 No.2 for my birthday.

Zach Brennen from: North Allegheny - posted: May 28, 2020
In my opinion the happy birthday song isn't terrible. Had you had asked me before highschool I would have said it was in fact terrible. But when you get some people that can actually sign to sing it, it can slap. I think the song is tainted by many tone deaf relatives we all have.

Reka Gotz from: North Allegheny - posted: May 29, 2020
I am not a fan of happy birthday. The song requires a pretty large vocal range, and it often sounds horrible when everyone starts singing that one high part. We should replace happy birthday with a rap! I feel like that would be easier on everybody.

Ian Rampton from: North Allegheny - posted: June 2, 2020
I definitely feel like the happy birthday song is overrated. People are uncomfortable singing this song due to the relatively large range it takes up, and this makes it awkward when they purposefully mess up the song for a laugh. At the end of the day, I think the song is too embedded into tradition for it to easily be changed by pop culture. In my opinion, the happy birthday song is here to stay for a while whether we want it to or not.

Samantha Petruccioli from: North Allegheny - posted: June 3, 2020
I don't hate the birthday song, but it isn't the best song. The wide vocal range makes it awkward for many people to sing. I think it will definitley stay though as it is an easy song to learn, remember and it is short and simple. For this reason I don't think it should go away because of it's simplisity.

Caroline Lucas from: North Allegheny - posted: June 3, 2020
I have nothing against the Happy Birthday song. Although, I always feel awkward when I am the one being sung to. It weird when a bunch of people just sing around you, but also, you can't join in. Do you just look at the cake or what?

Julia Maletta from: North Allegheny - posted: June 4, 2020
I don't hate the birthday song, but it's definetly not the best. It's very repetative and traditional.

Eric schaefer from: North Allegheny - posted: June 4, 2020
I think the birthday song is good. I think that it does what it is intended to do. It's easy to learn and it is upbeat. Fitting for a celebration of a birthday.

Noah Chadran from: North Allegheny - posted: June 4, 2020
I think the Happy Birthday song is nothing special.  I think whatever simplistic melody we would have used to annually celebrate ones birth would have caught on and we would associate feelings toward it.

Kellie Smith from: North Allegheny - posted: June 5, 2020
I personally think "Happy birthday" is overdone and has no substance to it. I think it is only popular because it is a tradition and people are taught from childhood that it should be sung on a birthday. I hate this song. 

Jake Mellinger from: North Allegheny - posted: June 5, 2020
The song happy birthday is an incredibly simple but incredibly catchy one. Personally I feel like I've heard it way too many times to ever truly enjoy the simplicity of the song. However, my dog loves the song because he thinks it means that he gets a gift. 

Anna Partridge from: North Allegheny - posted: June 5, 2020
I hate this song so much. Its awkward when you sing it to someone and its awkward when someone sings it to you. This song absolutely should not be a thing anymore and the only reason it is still a thing is because its become socially unacceptable if you don't sing it.

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