Sunday, September 9, 2007

Don't Forget the Lyrics

What ever happened to the Happy Birthday song? Growing up, the Happy Birthday song pretty much stayed the same through the years. Every birthday day party would culminate with a cake, candles, and the song. Nobody would want to start the song, so a few people kind of half started until everyone could join in. Inevitably, the person who started the song would always start it either too high or too low. Then, uncomfortable screeches or gurgled rumblings would occur on the second to last stanza, causing giggles and groans until everyone finally got together at the end to shout the phrase 'too you!'. Sometimes some joker would add, 'And many more.' to the end. Or a child would start the 'How old are you" verse until Mom would give him 'The Look' that would cause his voice to sheepishly fade out.
I do like the verse about looking and smelling like a monkey though.

Then about 5 years ago I started hearing a slightly new version of the song. After our oldest started preschool, he came home with little extras added to the song.

It seems that quite a few 'cha, cha, cha's had been added after each stanza. As in, "Happy Birthday to you. Cha, Cha, Cha. Happy Birthday to you. Cha, Cha, Cha. Happy Birthday dear Whatsizname. Cha, Cha, Cha. Happy Birthday to yooooooooou. Cha, Cha, Cha.

This was pretty cute when our youngun sang this the first time, complete with the booty shake that goes with the Cha, Cha, Cha's. After a few years a 'Hi-yah' was added to the last Cha,Cha,Cha. And it wasn't just our child. I heard the Cha Cha's at multiple parties from N1S's friends. Where did this come from? How can the Birthday Song change? Are we breaking a law, singing it that way?

Now I know that time moves forward. Sometimes things change. It's fun for the kids. It's still a cute song. But now the kids have gone too far with the song. Our kids have added rhyming verses at the end of the song to prolong the torture.

The song now ends with a chant like this.
Happy Birthday, to you.
Cha, Cha, Cha!
Cut the cake!
Belly ache!
Scooby Doo!
Pizza too!
I love you! (this one they reserve for family members only)

Followed by peals of squealing giggles, then and only then, are the cake and ice cream ready to eat. By the time they are done with the song the ice cream is already melting and the cake surface is covered with a thin coat of candle wax. Those of you who know me, know that I don't wait for cake well.

I know N1S created the added chant and sinisterly brainwashed his sister and her friends to shout it after every birthday song. I'm wondering if anyone else sings alternate versions of the Birthday Song. Does anyone else say Cha, Cha, Cha, or is it a local preschool teacher scheme. Can I cut the cake without getting a belly ache?


Darren said...

That is breaking the law. The right to create derivative works is exclusive to the author under section 106 of Title 17 of the United States Code. The authorities may be looking for N1S and his friends. Unless he's sampling...then it just gets complicated.

Actually I've heard the cha cha cha too.

McBudu said...

I was thinking that the Birthday Song is a song that can get all the people around the world together, as everyone here also sings the same tune of song, in English too! And we even have that cha cha cha too here!

Whose birthday, anyway? :-))

creative-type dad said...

I have to admit, I have spent 3 birthday out of the country and they all know the song.

I wish I owned the rights, I would make billions...!!

Dad Stuff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dad Stuff said...

Darren- Maybe that Cha,Cha,Cha are pretty common.

Mcbudu- My Number One Son turned nine last month.

CTD- I could use one of those billions when they come in.

mark lawrence said...

This was a fun post to read. My son and his friends also come up with funny rhymes to modify the Birthday song, as I’ve seen at some parties that I’ve taken him to. They’ll probably be doing it again at my son’s birthday party next week, which I have arranged at a well-known event venue in the city.

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.