Happy Birthday (On Channel 4)

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant and the interviewer.

Interviewer: So how did you sing the Happy Birthday song growing up?

Informant: Umm most of the time it was pretty normal with your average happy birthday to whomever and all that, but I remember this thing kids used to do where they would finish singing the normal song and then be like, “On channel four, theres something more, on channel five, you’re still alive, on channel six…” and so on but yeah I’m honestly glad no one does that anymore haha 


My informant is in his early 20’s and was born and raised in Agoura Hills, CA. He’s lived in the same neighborhood throughout his entire life, other than when he was in college at Virginia Tech. 


I talked to my informant over a zoom video call during the 2020 Coronavirus quarantine


It’s incredible how many different versions of Happy Birthday there are. It seems like every other family has their own idea of what it should be. My own hometown did the “On Channel,” whatever thing, but with different rhymes. I’ve also heard a ton of completely different joke-endings to the song, all with different lyrics and melodies.