I’m writing about birthday songs today because yesterday was my birthday…
Maybe I shouldn’t be talking about the fact that I just had a birthday. I turned 41 yesterday, which seems impossible. For over half my life, I couldn’t wait to be older. Once I turned 21, those years started to fly by. Suddenly, I’m 41… Should I be admitting to this? Actually, I have never been particularly ashamed of getting older. I think I look relatively decent for my age. Maybe I’d feel differently if I was working in the entertainment industry or trying to find a date. But by and large, I think being in my 40s kind of suits me. It also gives me a reason to look at the songs about birthdays done by pop artists.
Joan Jett “Too Bad On Your Birthday”
My friend Meryl posted this on my Facebook yesterday. I have to admit I hadn’t heard it until yesterday, but Meryl is very much a Joan Jett fan. This is a pretty rockin’ song, though the lyrics don’t apply to me. My husband treated me to dinner out on the town. This song is all about being dissed and ignored on your birthday. I most definitely wasn’t.
The Beatles “Birthday”
No list of birthday songs would be complete without “Birthday” by The Beatles. This song was immortalized to people of my generation when Anthony Michael Hall sang it to Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. I would be totally stoked if someone sang this to me instead of the Happy Birthday song. Actually, no one sang anything to me yesterday. I did have some cake and ice cream, though.
Stevie Wonder “Happy Birthday”
This isn’t a song you’d necessarily play for someone on their birthday because it’s directed at someone specific. Stevie Wonder wrote this upbeat number for the Reverend Martin Luther King. Back in the 80s, Stevie Wonder was among a group of activists lobbying for a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday. The lyrics are directed to those who would lament celebrating Dr. King’s birthday, given the work he did toward promoting peace and civil rights. Ultimately, the activists won. In 1983, Ronald Reagan approved the measure to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a day of official celebration and as of 1986, we now have another bank holiday in January.
The Tune Weavers “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby”
The Tune Weavers sang this song dedicated to a former lover in 1957. This song about a woman wishing her former lover a “happy birthday” was their only major hit. Though it definitely sounds like it came from the 50s, it also has sort of a timeless quality to it. It’s been covered by a number of other artists including Dolly Parton, Sandy Posey, Ronnie Milsap, and Wanda Jackson.
The Bloodhound Gang “No Hard Feelings”
This song’s title doesn’t mention the word “birthday”. It’s definitely not a “happy” song, either. Basically it’s about a guy who rudely tells his lover that it’s no longer his job to f*ck her on her birthday. My husband introduced me to this song, not because he feels this way about me… but because he feels this way about someone else. It’s sort of the anti happy birthday song. I think the melody is kind of exhilarating.
Rihanna (featuring Chris Brown) “Birthday Cake”
I will admit I don’t know the first thing about Rihanna, Chris Brown, or their “Birthday Cake” song. I listen to this and it sounds kind of sexy… like I’d like to stuff some into someone’s mouth. It’s got kind of a Middle East meets NASCAR vibe. Listeners beware, the lyrics are racy and profane. Hmm… in that case, maybe I should listen to this song more often.
Jeremih “Birthday Sex”
What can I say about “Birthday Sex”? I didn’t have any. Next.
Ardzagank “Tsnudd Shnorhavor”
This song won’t mean anything to anyone who has never been to Armenia. I lived there for two years in the 1990s and this song, translating to “Happy Birthday”, was a hit back then. This is just an excerpt of the song, since I don’t know that readers really care that much about Armenian pop music. For me, it’s a nostalgia thing.
I’m sure there are other birthday songs I’ve missed, but I’m ready to let this subject die. After all, I’m 41 years old now… and officially middle-aged. It’s time for my Geritol.