Your crusty chronicler becomes one year crustier on February 4th. Because of this it seemed like a good time to share with you a list of songs y’all could burn onto a birthday CD for friends, relatives and/or co-workers. After all, we all have birthdays and we’re supposed to celebrate them whether we want to or not!
On the day of your birth, you’re supposed to be given a party by family and friends who give you gifts in celebration of the event. It’s also customary for people to treat you special on that day. Oddly enough though, celebrating one’s birthday is not universal. Some people prefer “name day” celebrations.
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate this day. (Personally, your favorite music maven can’t be Jehovah’s Witness ’cause he didn’t see the accident!) They consider their origins to be pagan festivals like Christmas and Easter.
Some adults hate celebrating their birthday because it reminds them that they’re getting older. For those of us who are not afraid of the truth and are not religious extremists, however, there are a lot of good songs for the event. Here then is a birthday playlist. In no particular order the songs are:
1. “Birthday”—The Beatles: This is always appropriate for birthdays and a classic rock tune to boot. Plus, as my regulars already know, a music mix is not truly complete without a Beatles-related track. It’s just a rule, folks.
2. “Happy Birthday, Old Folks”—Walter Brennan: This is one of those talk-sing songs done by celebrities who really can’t sing. Go into any good independent record store and they can tell you all about a time when anyone on TV could and DID get a record deal. If the subject of the person celebrating the birthday actually KNOWS who Walter Brennan is from their own experience then this is perfect. They are even older than yours truly!
3. “Happy Birthday”—Stevie Wonder: Yes! We know that this tune was really written for Martin Luther King Jr. After all, your favorite music man wrote an edition of holiday hits just for that specific day. It’s a good dance tune and adds some color to the mix. Still, there is no reason this song cannot be shared. (Can’t we all just get along?)
4. “Happy Birthday”—Elvis Presley: This is just a short, live piece of The King singing the traditional tune. If the birthday boy or girl likes Elvis then you have to include this. It also serves as a nice little break between the longer tracks as well or appropriate “filler” if you will to help flesh out your full 80 minute CD.
5. “Happy Birthday Darlin’”—Conway Twitty: This adds a new genre to the mix. If your guests enjoy country music then all the better! Besides, a Conway Twitty song is almost a traditional way of entertaining people why you think of what to say; just ask Peter Griffen. (If you missed that joke then you need to watch more Family Guy!)
6. “Happy Birthday”—Marilyn Monroe: This is included for reasons similar to including the Elvis cut. This is another dead celeb crooning the traditional tune (this time to JFK) live. It’s historic and even adds a bit of sex appeal to the mix. (Talk about “fleshing” out your CD!)
7. “Happy Birthday”—Altered Images: This tune was discovered thanks to someone who still writes for a site where yours truly is no longer welcomed. It seems they don’t care if you make them a lot of money (and don’t even take your cut of it). They still want you to follow their very vague, ever-changing rules and if one person who monitors material feels it’s too much work to edit your material and bans you then who cares?
Having already made it into their top ten percent writer margin under a couple different names, your screwy scribe has more or less moved on and only appears there occasionally just to prove he can get past all their people and safeguards. But, I digress . . . Include this tune on your birthday mixes. It is surely a track that not everyone has heard of, okay?
8. “Happy Birthday”—The Chipmunks: If you allowed your friends, family and co-workers to “escape” the annual Christmas exposure to The Chipmunks then you surely need to get them on their birthdays. Besides, some people find them to be a lot of fun . . . especially since the major motion pictures have been out now. It certainly adds some variety to the compilation.
9. “Birthday ‘Party’ Song”—Eric Sage: Here is a rockin’ number that’s perfect for a real birthday “party”. It’s funny and perhaps a bit too honest in some cases. A sense of humor is important here, folks, since we’ve all been literally dying since we were squeezed or sliced out of our mommas. Check it out!
10. “Happy Birthday”—Frank Sinatra: Yet another dead celeb singing the song. If your birthday boy or girl is Italian or from Jersey this is a requirement. It’s also perfect if he/she is actually older than yours truly.
11. “Happy Birthday, Mr. Christian”–Apollonia 6: This one is by some of Prince’s old girlfriends. It adds a bit of variety not only regarding musical genre but also because this is a girl group tune. Mind you, if your guest of honor is not male then it might not work quite as well.
12. “Happy Birthday Kid”—Geoff Hughes: This works for more than the most obvious reason. It also works here because not everyone has heard this song. In fact, you will probably have guests who don’t even know who Geoff Hughes is. Additionally, if you happen to want to break up with the guest of honor–all the better.
13. “Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary”–Master Shake, Zakk Wylde, and Geddy Lee: This is a heavy metal number for the holiday. It’s also from the animated TV series Aqua Teen Hunger Force. If the guest of honor enjoys Adult Swim programming then this is especially good.
14. “Happy Birthday”—DJ Bobo: Every good birthday party needs a DJ. So this is a nice way to work some dance music into the day (or night). Even if your birthday boy/girl doesn’t dance, someone surely will enjoy moving to the music. (This might be hard to find now that the recording industry has taken an attitude toward sharing music.)
15. “Happy Birthday To You”—New Kids On The Block: They’re back. Accept it. Consider this track an aural pallet cleanser, if you will. If the guest of honor likes aging boy bands, all the better.
16. “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen”—Neil Sedaka: When was the last time you listened to anything by Sedaka? If your guest isn’t turning sixteen, who cares? (Did ya know this thing is as old as yours truly?) Most women reach a point where they WISH they were sixteen again so why not throw this one on, mmmkay?
17. “The Happy Birthday Song”–The Arrogant Worms: Come on! Do you even know who these guys are? Your guests won’t either! Remember, variety is the spice of life! Throw this puppy on and show how unique you are!
18. “Happy Birthday”—Weird Al Yankovich: Again, it’s nice to have a bit of humor included here. After all, to a lot of people birthdays are a bit depressing. We all need to laugh before we die, right?
19. “Happy Happy Birthday Baby”—Tune Weavers: This might be difficult to find. Still, it’s a birthday tune and it is very fitting. Use it if you can find it.
20. “Happy Birthday To You”—Barney: Anyone who has had kids will react to this. Again though, you need to make sure your guest has a sense of humor about it. Barney has been known to drive some parents to insanity, suicide and even murder.
21. “Happy Birthday”—Jimi Hendrix: Do I really need to say much here? It’s Hendrix. It’s cool and urban and psychedelic. (Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.)
22. “Happy Happy Birthday, Baby”—Wanda Jackson: This adds a bit of music from way back before even your crusty chronicler’s time as well as another female vocalist. Again, if the birthday boy/girl already has music by this artist then it is especially appropriate because he/she is OLD! To the younger set, this will help you prove that there was music before Lady Gaga, et al. besides, this chick slept with Elvis in his prime, right?!
23. “Happy Birthday To Me”—Vandals: Note: this one does contain a “naughty” word, okay? This is another example of a less traditional birthday number. It will also add a bit of variety to your mix as well. Wake up! You’re another year older but you’re not dead . . . yet!
24. “In Da Club”—50 Cent: Another genre is represented here. It’s not too old and it’s hip and urban. “We’re gonna party like it’s your birfday!”
25. “New Happy Birthday Song”—No FX: (Again, this one does contain one “naughty” word.) Don’t be scared! A bit of newer rock is good for everyone. This one is even funny and just a bit too truthful.
26. “Zhu ni shengri kuaile”—Various Artists: If you know anyone who was born in China or even simply born around Chinese New Year this would be great to throw on your compilation. It is basically a Chinese version of the traditional tune. If you really want to be original—and don’t mind explaining—you could throw it on regardless of the nationality of your guest of honor.
27. “Happy Birthday, Mr. Burns”—the Ramones: This is from The Simpsons. They have a few good birthday bits . . . if you can find them. If your guests enjoy the TV show then it most certainly is worth the effort looking for it online.
28. “Happy Birthday 2 U”—Techno Remix: Again, this one might be hard to find. Still, it would be cool to throw a little bit of techno into the mix. If you can find it these days, by all means use it.
29. “Cumpleaños Feliz”—Various Artists: This is the Spanish version of the traditional song. Do you have any friends who speak Spanish? Are you the type of person to pander to people who live in an English-speaking country but still have not/nor may they ever speak English? Then this one is for you, too!
30. “Happy Brithday/In Da Club”—Stevie Wonder and 50 Cent: This is an excellent mash-up perfect for the occasion. It might be hard to find but would work quite well as perhaps the center point of your mix. Place the individual cuts on your CD parenthetically and you are good to go!
As per usual, you can always drop some of these selections in favor of your own favorites. This is just a list of songs that you may not have thought of otherwise. You could even be really smart—like this reporter—and burn all these tunes onto a master CD and save them for future use/inclusion on several birthday mixes.
In fact, you can even take some of these birthday cuts and intersperse them with the favorite music of each individual birthday recipient. Use your imagination! Be creative!
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.