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Entries by Free Birthday Songs

Album Description

Greg Harrison
Greg Harrison
Released:December 12th, 2012

WFMU and the Free Music Archive challenged songwriters everywhere to unseat “Happy Birthday to You” from its cultural throne by composing possible replacements.

This entire birthday song repository is licensed Creative Commons Attribution, including our winning songs.



Disc 1 of 2
Disc 2 of 2
Please check individual track pages for licensing info
So far 36 comments about this album. Add your 10 cents!


Bonsai on 12/19/12 at 08:09PM
Hi I think the contest is a great idea, I am gonna have a go!

Couple of questions, when was the last time a kid was prosecuted for singing "Happy Birthday to you"?

Also you say that the copyright on the song "is a major stumbling block hindering the creation of new works of art". How many works of art have been stopped because of the lack of a license?

You also have a show reel with already existing examples of replacements, and you are just about to create probably dozens more. Doesn't that meant that the copyright actually leads to more works being created?

Will upload my new classic birthday song soon, looking forward to hearing from you regarding the questions above.
idiotprogrammer on 12/31/12 at 06:04PM
For Mr. Bonsai:

Kids are not prosecuted for anything. But restaurants may be stuck with paying ASCAP fees.

Every year I have petitioned Warner Music for the right to have the song "Happy Birthday" sung at a party in a park. I never received a response.

You ask how many works have been stopped. Well, nothing is stopped as long as you pay! You should look at the song as an "art tax" which a moviemaker or amateur podcaster has to pay to gigantic media companies. Newsflash: artists are poor! They shouldn't need to pay Warner Music for something incidental to their project.

I'm not sure the song replacements in the video are all in the public domain (Some may be). Hitler's rise led to many great works of art being produced (Boll, Grass, Messian, etc). Does that mean that having Hitler is better for artists than not having Hitler?

This song contest is such a great idea, and I love the songs submitted so far. Older than Dirt #8 is great fun, and Best Birthday Song #21 is a great earwig.

My main complaint about birthday songs is: can people like me with terrible voices sing it?
gez on 01/01/13 at 12:05PM
Couldn't find the actual post so not sure whether it's the tune &/or the words that are copyrighted... If it's the tune then knocking that globally well known tune off it's perch will be a tough job as it's not just used for b'days but also Xmas & New Year, in English speaking countries at least. If' it's the words then no problem as "happy birthday" can be changed to "happy day ob", meaning day of birth...
alexklaeser on 01/01/13 at 05:04PM
I think the contest is such a wonderful idea! I submitted my own version of Happy Birthday. An interesting aspect of this version is that it is based on the original song with its harmonies adapted to obtain a more jazz-like feel. Still, the original melody can be sung on recomposed version. Some more information to anyone who may be interested:

Best regards from Germany and thanks again for the great contest!
Alexander Kläser
andrea on 01/01/13 at 06:50PM
@gez - I'm no lawyer or expert on these things, but from what I understand the melody is in the public domain, and thus safe to use in your entry. It's the combo of the melody AND the lyrics that requires licensing. There is some great information about the history of Happy Birthday's copyrighted status on this website:

@alexklaeser - Thanks for the entry and blog post! We approved your submission, and it should now appear in the playlist above.
06 on 01/03/13 at 02:43AM
I was always fond of Sheriff John's birthday song
but for all I know, that may also be copyrighted.
Hmmm...I'm gonna have to work on this one.
andrea on 01/04/13 at 10:03PM
hey everyone! fyi - I just flipped the order of all the entries to give our newest submissions a bit more attention. Sorry if this throws off references here in the comments section.
GroovyMichi on 01/04/13 at 11:45PM
A nice idea your Contest! :-)

I also submitted a propasal... My focus was on brevity and simplicity, so that everyone could sing and/or play along easily. The "dear sweetheart" can be replaced by names (with "dear" in front for shorter names)...


Submission: Michael Riepen - Happy Birthday
09 on 01/06/13 at 12:44AM
Can you use the tune of "we wish you a merry xmas .." but say something like "we wish you a happy birthday .." ?
10 on 01/06/13 at 01:14AM
how about some new lyrics to the tune of "twinkle twinkle little star" ?

I'm thinking that an easy little tune that every one already knows is an easier place to start for new lyrics. As long as the melody is already out of all copyright as this one is.
headphonica on 01/06/13 at 04:24PM
i uploaded the song, but i can not find the birthday song entry form, where i have to name adress and all that???

warm greetings.
andrea on 01/07/13 at 02:15PM
@headphonica - Glad you asked! As long as you create an account with the Free Music Archive when you sign up (and in that process gives us your current e-mail address), that will be fine.

Also, everyone should note that we have to approve your entries in our system before they appear up top. It won't take more than a day for this to happen.
mister.pointer.outer on 01/12/13 at 06:37AM
Oh my. So many of these are not singable by untrained singers a cappella. And so many of them are telling the birthday person something they already know. (where did this apparent need to tell someone "it's your birthday" come from? the original song is not limited to being sung on the specific day of birth.) And even more of them are telling the birthday person what to do (_HAVE_ a happy day, do this, feel that way.) rather than the original which simply expresses a wish. And so many of them have not-easily-overcome problems with pronoun number.
idiotprogrammer on 01/15/13 at 07:59AM
Great job everybody! Here's a blog post I wrote about the contest -- plus my predictions.

Now I have the phrase "super-psyched" etched permanently in my vocabulary now...
Black Lake on 01/31/13 at 01:09PM
And the winners are...?
Marcel Pequel on 02/07/13 at 07:10AM
No winners?
alexklaeser on 02/14/13 at 10:47PM
Any updates for the contest results?
best regards :)
headphonica on 02/16/13 at 10:29AM
any news?

warm greetings.
soundtracks4life on 02/24/13 at 07:05AM
Foul Mouthed Birthday Robot by A-1 Mr. Son takes the cake! :'D
StrawberryPopcorn on 03/08/13 at 08:14PM
It is truly disgusting that the song Happy Birthday To You is copyrighted. I am all for copyright protection, but this s one instance where it is complete and utter horse crap. That song is an institution. The fact that Time Warner owns it ad makes that $2million is just disgusting greed. I will continue to sing that song, whenever and however I want. I have 5 lawyers in my immediate family, have fun trying to sue me.

I am off now to copyright the word "the". Oh, what is that, common words and things like that cannot be copyrighted? Happy Birthday To You is more common and publicly known than than the word "the". And even if our stupid in this case, laws technically say it is okay copyright an institution, that is not the point. Anyone who isn't a complete scumbag and greedy demon, would instantly give the extremely questionable, and evil copyright to this song, or not be demented enough to charge people for it.

There is a special place in Hell for Time Warner's employees who hold this disgusting copyright. Having something like this song getting copywritten, is just the slippery slope that feeds our disgusting litigious society, and it will only get way worse from there.
Philo Gristle on 03/19/13 at 10:51PM
My wife and I have been wondering why it sounded so familiar, but that Blank Tapes entry takes the tempo and the opening notes of Malvina Reynolds' "Little Boxes." Check the more famous Pete Seeger version:
milanamarty on 06/21/13 at 05:09PM
Cool playlist!
jamesbrunner on 06/25/13 at 11:57AM
Great Songs !!!
Hoya on 03/22/14 at 11:16AM
Good idea! and thanks to all!!
gamejsoft on 04/01/14 at 08:06AM
Wow Great
HappyGorillas on 08/26/14 at 06:30PM
Thats what's i am looking for, i am surprising my made my day thanks
Smartmil8 on 10/15/14 at 07:58PM
this song really very good
thanks to authors
Kidkraft Kitchen on 10/17/14 at 08:04AM
My best holiday - Birthday!
Thanks for this songs!
I use it every year.
nazianizar on 11/03/14 at 08:13AM
How can I give name or edit in the place of name in the song
engmahmoud on 08/24/15 at 03:14PM
song really very good , thank y
creativity blogger on 03/02/16 at 11:29PM
woooowwww.really amazing playlist .i liked Rylie Adams -i hope i be like him some day
ahmed net on 05/18/16 at 04:39AM
song really very good
3eshat7mel on 12/26/16 at 11:46PM
can i use your music to put it on my video on youtube ?
na1pro on 10/04/17 at 02:18AM
Mahaer_Mahmud on 06/02/18 at 10:54PM
The copyright for Happy Birthday is has expired in lots and lots and lots and lots of countries. Are you still keeping this list up for the few countries that still have copyrights on this song?
wishessharing on 03/28/19 at 02:49AM
Great.really amazing playlist .i liked Rylie Adams -i hope i be like him some day Happy Birthday Images Free
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