Another Birthday Song right click to download mp3
Well, we all love to sing “Happy Birthday to You,” don’t we? (Don’t we?) I know I’ve sung more “Happy Birthdays” at the drop of a hat than you can shake a stick at, if that’s your idea of good time (and if your hat can take it).
But Warner/Chappell Music doesn’t like it so much when we sing along, less’n they can get a cut of that copyright cake. The music publishing company is famously aggressive in seeking royalties anytime that the song is used in a movie, a TV show, on the radio, on record, or in public performance among strangers — think restaurants. (If you’re looking for something to do this evening, you could do worse than to make a quick read of Robert Brauneis’s 69-page law review article on the subject, “Copyright and the World’s Most Popular Song,” published on October 14, 2010 as GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 392, 56 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 335 (2009). You can download it for free!)
A lawsuit currently in progress is challenging the publishing company’s ownership claims to the song. In fact, the plaintiffs are seeking to have the suit certified as a class action, arguing that millions of dollars over the years have wrongfully been lining the pockets of those claiming rights to a piece of music/lyrics that is “neither copyrighted nor copyrightable.”
But while we wait, you can listen above to another birthday song, titled: “Another Birthday Song.” It’s a freshly-minted concoction of pure Viperific confection, best listened to in the wee small hours of the morning. And it’s available to learn and sing — sez me — to anyone, at anytime, for any purpose, royalty-free and with no expectation of compensation other than the knowing that I’ve played a part in burning someone’s midnight birthday candles just a little brighter.
If you’re having trouble learning it by ear from the mp3 scratch track above, you can also find a PDF of the lyrics/chord sheet right here: Another Birthday Song (PDF)
In the spirit of the season, The Viper presents a new music video for a song I wrote this same time last year, “Save Me a Krampus (For the Holiday).” Like to know what The Viper hopes he’ll find tucked into his shoes on the morn of December 5, St. Nicholas Day? Well listen up, my friends, and the tale will be told.
This was recorded/filmed on November 29 & 30, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My daughter, Irene, and I did the camerawork, with Irene Jerving starring as the eponymous Krampus. Play along, with chords & lyrics available here.
If you are unfamiliar with Krampus (and in the age of Wikipedia, that’s really unforgiveable, you know), you should know that Krampus is the troll-like creature who accompanies St. Nicholas in the holiday traditions of parts of Austria, Bavaria, and such, playing bad-cop-good-cop on their house-to-house rounds. Especially bad kids get stuffed in a sack and dragged away to the Krampus’s lair. Somewhat bad kids just get their oranges taken away. Happy holidays!
More Beasties and now also some Davy Jones memorial material from The Viper, this one from 2008 when I was testing out Audacity sound editing software for the first time.
As I wrote when I posted this the first time,
It’s the Monkees meets The Music Man meets “Revolution #9” meets Licensed to Ill. Which, all told, just may be the Viper’s Rosetta Stone.
More from The Viper plays the Peanuts songbook, here’s Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy” played on a very small thumb piano.
If you’re keeping score at home, the instrument is tuned to C, but I’ve flattened the 7th to a Bb. This is the only song I’m capable of playing on this instrument so far (and as you’ll see, my rhythm is pretty wobbly), though I’m also working on a rendition of “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Should be ready by Christmas 2013.