Birthday (The Sugarcubes song)

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The Sugarcubes Birthday Single Cover.jpg
Single by The Sugarcubes
from the album Life's Too Good
B-side"Birthday (Icelandic)"
ReleasedAugust 1987 (1987-08)
LabelOne Little Indian
Songwriter(s)The Sugarcubes
The Sugarcubes singles chronology
"Einn Moli' Á Mann" "Birthday" "Coldsweat"

"Birthday" is a song written and recorded by Icelandic band the Sugarcubes. It was released as a single in 1987, and included in their 1988 debut album Life's Too Good. It was their first international single and the first single released from the album. The Icelandic version, "Ammæli", was released on the Iceland-only single "Einn Moli' Á Mann (One Cube Per Head)" the previous year and was included as the B-side on the international single.

After "Birthday" became the single of the week in Melody Maker magazine and NME in August 1987, and was selected as number one in John Peel's Festive Fifty list, the band attained worldwide recognition and success. In the United Kingdom, the song was the group's first chart entry at number 65 and also reached number two on the country's indie charts. "Birthday" was ranked at number 15 on The Village Voice's "Pazz & Jop" critics' annual year-end poll to find the best music of 1988.[1] The Sugarcubes performed the song, along with "Motorcrash" on Saturday Night Live during the October 15, 1988 episode, which was hosted by Matthew Broderick.


The information regarding accolades attributed to Birthday is adapted from Acclaimed Music.[2]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
NME United Kingdom NME Rock Years, Single of the Year 1963-99 2000 *
The 100 Best Songs of the 1980s 2012 28
The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time 2014 224
The Top 100 Singles of All Time 2002 89
Mojo 80 from the 80s: Our Fave 45s for Each Year, 1980-1989 2007 2
Q The 1010 Songs You Must Own 2004 *
Q The Ultimate Music Collection 2005 *
Uncut The 100 Greatest Singles from the Post-Punk Era 2001 80
Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé France 3000 Rock Classics 2013 *
Hervé Bourhis The Juke Box Singles 1950-2012 *
Les Inrockuptibles 1000 Indispensable Songs 2006 *
1000 Necessary Songs 2015 *
Rolling Stone United States Singles of the Year 1988 9
Village Voice 15
Melody Maker United Kingdom 1
Record Mirror 4
Rock de Lux Spain 9
Panorama Norway The 30 Best Singles of the Year 1970-98 1999 98
Rock de Lux Spain The Top 100 Songs from 1984-1993 1993 18
Bruce Pollock United States The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 2005 *
Pitchfork The Pitchfork 500 2008 *
Shredding Paper The 50 Greatest Singles Ever 2002 40 Modern Rock 500 Songs of All Time 2009 135
Treble The Top 200 Songs of the 80s 2011 185
(*) designates lists that are unordered.

Track listing[edit]

UK 7" vinyl[3]

Side A

  1. "Birthday" – 03:58

Side B

  1. "Birthday" (Icelandic) 03:57

UK 12" vinyl[3]

Side A

  1. "Birthday" 03:58
  2. "Birthday" (Icelandic) 03:57

Side B

  1. "Cat" (Icelandic) – 02:56

UK CD[4]

  1. "Birthday" 3:58
  2. "Motorcrash" 02:23
  3. "Cat" (Icelandic) – 02:56
  4. "Birthday" (Icelandic) – 03:57


The song was remixed in 1988 by Jim and William Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain and reissued as "Birthday (The Christmas Mixes)".

Remixes by Justin Robertson and Tommy D were produced in 1992 for the compilation It's-It, and were also released as a single.


A cover of this song has been recorded by Chitose Hajime in 2001. It has also been covered by The Mars Volta in 2008. Jackie Oates also recorded this song on her 2009 album Hyperboreans (One Little Indian).


Chart Peak
New Zealand (Official New Zealand Music Chart)[5] 41
UK Independent Singles Chart[6] 1
UK Singles Chart (OCC)[7] 65


  1. ^ "Pazz & Jop critics' poll of 1988".
  2. ^ [1].
  3. ^ a b "77ísland • official Björk discography". Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  4. ^ "The Sugarcubes - Birthday". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  5. ^ "Discography The Sugarcubes".
  6. ^ "Indie Hits "S"". 2009-07-20. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2017-03-15.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ "SUGARCUBES | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2017-03-15.

External links[edit]