Happy, Happy Birthday Baby

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"Happy, Happy Birthday Baby"
Single by Ronnie Milsap
from the album Lost in the Fifties Tonight
Released 1986
Genre Country
Length 3:39
Label RCA
Writer(s) Margo Sylvia, Gilbert Lopez
Producer(s) Ronnie Milsap, Rob Galbraith, Tom Collins
Ronnie Milsap singles chronology
"Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)"
(1985)
"Happy, Happy Birthday Baby"
(1986)
"In Love"
(1986)

"Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" is a 1957 song written by Margo Sylvia & Gilbert Lopez. "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" was originally performed by The Tune Weavers, who had their only hit with this song. Both Margo Sylvia and Gilbert Lopez were members of The Tune Weavers. The single went to number four on the R&B chart and went to number five on the Hot 100.[1] The B-side of "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby, was The Tune Weavers version of "Ol' Man River"

The inspiration for the song came from Margo's then-boyfriend, Donald Clements, who was a member of a group called the Sophomores. When he broke up with her, Margo came up with the lyrics to express how she wanted to stay with him. "The words came so easily. It was real," she recounted to Wayne Jancik in The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders. Margo and the rest of the Tune Weavers recorded it and "Ol' Man River" in an 18-hour session on March 7, 1957, in Boston, with Margo eight months pregnant. Seven months later, the song reached its peak of popularity in the United States.[2]

Based on the similarities in melody, "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" appears to have inspired two future Top 20 hits. I'm On The Outside (Looking In) by Little Anthony and the Imperials (#15 1964) appears inspired by the main tune of this song, and Wasted Days and Wasted Nights by Freddy Fender (#8 1975) appears inspired by the chorus of this song.

The track was originally released on the Casa Grande label. It was later re-released on the Checker label, but this later version omitted the final four saxophone notes (at the coda) which were part of the song's signature.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Dolly Parton covered the song in 1966, and it became her first charting single, though it peaked at only #8 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
  • Sandy Posey hit #36 on the country charts with a remake in 1971.
  • In 1986, Ronnie Milsap had his twenty-eighth number one on the country chart with his version of the song.[3]
  • Wanda Jackson performed the song for her 1958 eponymous debut album. In 1960, it was released as a single but did not chart.

The song in pop culture[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 592. 
  2. ^ Wayne Jancik, The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders, expanded first edition (Billboard Books, 1998) ISBN 0-8230-7622-9, pp. 40.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 233. 
Preceded by
"Whoever's in New England"
by Reba McEntire
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

June 7, 1986
Succeeded by
"Life's Highway"
by Steve Wariner
Preceded by
"Tomb of the Unknown Love"
by Kenny Rogers
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

June 14, 1986
Succeeded by
"One Love at a Time"
by Tanya Tucker