Monk Turner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Monk Turner is an American musician, songwriter, and producer. Known as the “galactic defender of the concept album”,[1] Turner has created a number of multi-genre concept albums. He is known for winning the Free Music Archive's competition to create a copyright-free replacement for the song "Happy Birthday to You" whose rights were once owned by Time Warner.

Musical career[edit]

He often collaborates with other musicians: Kaleidoscope (2012) incorporated more than 40 artists internationally,[2] and his narrative album Emergency Songs (2011)[3] is a co-creation with singer and lyricist Alanna Lin (a.k.a. Fascinoma). It imagines post-earthquake scenarios in Los Angeles, self-styled as “public safety through music and storytelling”.[4] The track “Judicious Jason” from Instrumental Friends (Part 3) was the chosen soundtrack at the 2015 Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, when 2,231 students made a Guinness World Record with history’s largest choreographed ribbon dance.[5][6]

Over the years Turner has released all of his albums via Creative Commons licenses “as a means to escape the constraints of traditional music composition / distribution”.[7] He is a former Featured Commoner and has spoken alongside artists such as Curt Smith about the benefits of CC licenses for musicians and other content makers.[8]

The Birthday Song[edit]

In 2013, WFMU and the Free Music Archive held a competition[9] to create a copyright-free version of the ubiquitous “Happy Birthday to You”.[10] Monk Turner's composition with musician Fascinoma entitled “It’s Your Birthday!”[11][12] won the contest.


  1. ^ Frostclick, Hello! Mr. Galactic Defender of the Concept Album. Retrieved 11 May 2015
  2. ^ Bronwyn Bishop, Eclectic Composer Monk Turner's New Album..., Free Music Archive. Retrieved 11 May 2015
  3. ^ L.A. Record, Monk Turner + Fascinoma "Emergency Songs". Retrieved 11 May 2015
  4. ^ Retrieved 11 May 2015
  5. ^ Los Angeles County Annual Report, Blue Ribbon Festival. Retrieved 11 May 2015
  6. ^, Ribbon-dancing 5th graders set World Record. Retrieved 11 May 2015
  7. ^ Case Studies / Monk Turner, Creative Commons. Retrieved 11 May 2015
  8. ^ Parkins, Cameron (26 June 2008). "Curt Smith and Monk Turner discuss CC/Music". Creative Commons. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  9. ^ Free Music Archive - "Happy Birthday". Retrieved 11 May 2015
  10. ^ Why we need a new 'Happy Birthday' song, Take Two (KPCC). Retrieved 11 May 2015
  11. ^ David Haglund, Here's the New Birthday Song, Browbeat (Slate). Retrieved 11 May 2015
  12. ^ Jamie Condliffe, This is Officially the Best Copyright-Free Way to Sing Happy Birthday, Gizmodo. Retrieved 11 May 2015