Birthday Surprise

Irving Berlin, assuming that the song was in the public domain, used "Happy Birthday to You" in his musical As Thousands Cheer.

He was promptly sued by Warner Music. Unless the song (which brings in about $2-million each year) is sung at a gathering of immediate family and friends, users are required by law to pay a royalty.

Had Berlin simply dined at Red Lobster on his birthday, he might have saved himself some trouble. Like many restaurant chains, Red Lobster uses an alternative ditty:

"Red Lobster's got a song for you / A birthday wish from us to you. / We hope you get your birthday wish. / And come back soon to eat more fish!"

[According to the Guinness Book of Records, the 25 most popular songs in the English language are:
Auld Lang Syne,
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow,
Happy Birthday to You,
Tea for Two,
Moon River,
Over the Rainbow,
White Christmas,
As Time Goes By,
Blue Moon,
Rhapsody in Blue,
Night and Day,
Santa Claus is Coming to Town,
Raindrops Keeping Falling on My Head,
Mack the Knife,
The Christmas Song,
Unchained Melody,
Sweet Georgia Brown,
Winter Wonderland,
I Left My Heart in San Francisco,
I Only Have Eyes for You,
I Got Rhythm,
The Way We Were,
I Could Have Danced All Night and
That Old Black Magic.]

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