Patty Smith Hill


Today is Patty Smith Hill’s birthday. Patty wrote “Happy Birthday To You” when she was a kindergarten teacher in Louisville, Kentucky. She was 25 when she wrote the lyrics, in 1893. It was originally meant as a welcome to start the school day and was first called “Good Morning to All.” Hill’s sister Mildred, an accomplished musician, provided the melody. Hill was 25 when she wrote the lyrics to the famous song.
It became popularized with the invention of radio and sound films. The song appeared in the Broadway musical “The Band Wagon” (1931), and was used for Western Union’s first singing telegram in 1933. A third sister, Jessica Hill, noticed the similarities between “Happy Birthday to You” and the song her sisters wrote, and she was able to prove it in a court of law. The song was copyrighted in 1935 and remains under copyright to this day. According to Forbes magazine, the song produces about $2 million in licensing revenue each year. “Happy Birthday to You” is still one of the most popular songs in the English language, along with “Auld Lang Syne” and “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

Two Million a year.



About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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11 Responses to Patty Smith Hill

  1. A lovely sharing – Thank You, Bruce


  2. bbanublog says:

    Hey nice piece of information this is for all us teachers and others who want to know about happy birthday song . Thanks Dodson

  3. Good story. Two Million a year! Wow!

    • Myrah
      Really. Twelve words and about that many notes – repeated.
      Now why can’t we think of something like that?
      More than a few dumb luck stories like this. usually it’s someone else who ends up with the money.
      I remember something about Coca-Cola fortune. But seems like this gal held onto hers.

      • Yep! I can’t remember if it was Neiman or Marcus who turned down an opportunity to buy Coca-Cola in the early days. Of course, they did alright with Neiman-Marcus.
        I’ve reached the point of just hoping someone will buy a book. No longer imagine making any real money. Of course, I could adjust quickly if it happened!!

      • Myrah,
        Yes indeed.
        But your books are very good. It will just time time for more people to find you.

      • Thanks for the good word. Stein House is slowly moving along. Last royalty was encouraging. I’d hate to have to live on it!!

  4. oh gosh… words fail me !!!!

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