Friends don’t let friends sing Happy Birthday

It’s an awful song. I mean, it starts off well enough.

Happy birthday to you.

It gets straight to the point and you know what the song is going to be about right there in the first couple of words. It lacks a certain imagination and creativity but it could be worse. I’ll give it a B-.

But then it kind of goes down hill from there.

Happy birthday to you.

What the fuck! That’s exactly the same as the first line!

What? Couldn’t they find anything to rhyme with you? Like, maybe shoe, loo, cue, poo, dew, do, stew? To a first approximation, most words in the English language rhyme with you. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of many words that don’t rhyme with you. C-.

How about the next line? It can’t be worse than the previous one, right?

Happy birthday dear <name-that-doesn’t-quite-fit-the-metre>

Now they’re just messing with me. To start with, I’m getting fed up with every line starting with the same two words. It’s stupid but the last bit is just inane. Although most words rhyme with you, most names don’t. Let me think for a minute. I’ve got Sue, Lou and Mister McGoo. There aren’t any more. Most names are like Chester or Meredith.

But that’s not the worse part of it. Most names don’t fit the metre so you have to torture them until they do. There is a handful of names that you could ram in there without damaging your eardrums but if you are unfortunate enough to only have one syllable get ready to put your name on the rack of tuneless stretching. Let’s try it…

Joooooooo-ooooohhn!

Can you imagine if people always massacred your name like that? But this is your birthday and people are supposed to be nice to you on your birthday.

Now imagine the fate that awaits people with more than two syllables like, Ragged Clown or Barnaby S. Winthorpe the Third (as most Americans are named). There is no way that you are going to cram Barnaby S. Winthorpe the Third in there without someone getting hurt. But that’s not going to stop our intrepid songsters. Take a look at how they deal with this lyrical conundrum…

BarnabyS.Winthorpethe Thuuuuuurrrr-eeerrd

They crammed like 18 syllables into a space meant for one but then they took that last syllable and chopped it in two!! That’s crazy! Why would they do that! It makes no sense at all. F.

I’m not even going to touch the word dear which has all the fondness and affection of an overdraft letter from your bank manager. It’s too depressing by far.

Maybe they’ll find a way to redeem themselves in the last line.

Happy birthday to you.

Aaargh! THEY USED THE SAME LINE AGAIN!! My head just exploded!

With lyrics that bad, the song is already in the running for Worst Song Ever but we haven’t even started on the melody yet.

happy-birthday-to-you

The melody is basically the dirge section from the national anthem of some third-world dictatorship played at the wrong speed on out-of-tune instruments. You don’t need to know any more. Chopin’s Funeral March is more uplifting. F.

So here’s my recommendation.

If you place any value on good taste and if you don’t completely hate your friends or your children, you will never ever sing this abysmal song ever again. They’ll thank you for it. I know I will.

Published by

Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

3 thoughts on “Friends don’t let friends sing Happy Birthday”

  1. Huh. This post shows up as the top hit on google images when you search for “happy birthday music”. I wonder why.

    I hope those two old ladies don’t come after me with lawyers and a take down notice or I will counter-sue for mental cruelty.

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