My Birthday Song

I greatly enjoy my birthday, but I hate the typical “happy birthday” song. It’s not that I hate singing, or that I even hate being sung to, I just do not like that song. For years I made a deal with my friends that I would buy them dinner on my birthday if they would promise not to sing it. The first year I did that, my friends all paid for dinner on the sly and then sang for me. After that, I would take them all to really expensive restaurants, in a high-cost game of restaurant-check chicken.

On my 29th birthday, however, I offered a different deal. I asked them to come up with a new birthday song and sing it to me instead of the old one. Elliot Grant wrote these words, and Aaron Gee-Clough wrote the music. Elliot played guitar while a dozen of my other friends sang it to me. On my 30th birthday, many of them sang it again, this time with better harmony since they had already sung it once before.

Spoken intro over chord progression
April 22nd is now
One official Earth Day
And April 1st is April Fools,
That prank-filled fun and mirth day
No one likes April 15th
The “find-out-what-you’re-worth” day
But we’ll celebrate on April 4th,
Because it’s Jacob’s Birthday.

Though some folk don’t like getting old,
The alternative is worse.
So on your birthday ride a limo
It’s better than a hearse.

You’ve made it though the last twelve months,
One more trip around the sun,
We’re all so glad you didn’t croak,
That would have been no fun.

So, everyone raise a glass and give a rousing cheer!
Happy Birthday Jacob, you’ve survived another year.

Somehow you lived through each new day,
Dodged death at every turn.
And now it starts up once again,
Why don’t you ever learn.

No one knows what lies ahead,
It may be a laugh or tear.
But if you survive the whole twelve months,
We’ll sing again next year.

So, everyone raise a glass and give a rousing cheer!
Happy Birthday Jacob, you’ve survived another year.
Happy Birthday Jacob, and good luck on your next year.

After a few years, Jeanne Burns found this page when she put “I hate my birthday” into Google. She asked me for the tune, and so I called her on her birthday and sang it to her, changing the first section to be more appropriate for an October 6th birthday. I decided then to change it for each person I knew and sing it, badly, to them on their birthdays. Some of them have even forgiven me for it.