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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

history of Happy Birthday

"Happy Birthday" was written by Mildred J Hill and Patty Smith Hill, two sisters from Kentucky. Patty, born in 1868 was a nursery school teacher, and Mildred, born in 1859, started as a teacher but became a composer, organist and concert pianist.

One day in 1893, while Mildred was teaching at the Louisville Kindergarten School where her sister served as principal, she came up with the melody we now know as "Happy Birthday". Patty added some lyrics and the song "Good Morning To All" was born - this was used by teachers to welcome students to class each day:

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.

The tune was unleashed on the world in 1893, when it was published in "Song Stories for the Kindergarten". Over time it evolved using the word "Teacher" instead of "Children", and the last line was changed to match the first.

However, here the trail becomes murky - nobody knows who wrote the "Happy Birthday" words. They first appeared in a songbook edited by Robert Coleman in 1924. It started to appear on the radio and in films and the original lyrics were gradually phased out in favour of the new ones.

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