A Catchy Little Tune 

Read the story and then answer the questions.

This simple four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two sisters. Mildred Hill, a teacher at the Louisville, Kentucky Experimental Kindergarten, and Dr. Patty Hill, the principal of the same school, together wrote the song for their five year-old pupils.

The melody of the song was composed by Mildred, who was born in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A, on June 27th, 1859. The song was first published in 1893, with the lyrics written by her sister, Patty, as Good Morning To All.

Mildred was an expert on spiritual songs and played the organ in her local church, while Patty, who later became a professor at Columbia University, specialized in kindergarten education. Although the song was published in 1893, it wasn’t copyrighted until 1935. The copyright was taken out under a different name and it wasn’t renewed until 1963.
The song was popularised in the late 1930’s when it was sung in the Broadway production of As Thousands Cheer, and has since become the mega-classic hit of all time.
In 1988, Birch Tree Group Ltd, the original publishers, sold the rights of the song, and all their other assets, to Warner Communications for an estimated $25 million.
During the 1980s, the song was believed to generate about $1 million in royalties annually. Along with Auld Lang Syne (sung at midnight on New Year’s Eve) and For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow (sung to celebrate someone’s achievement), it is among the three most popular songs in the English language.
It continues to bring in around $2 million in licensing revenue each year, according to current publisher Warner Chappell.

Answer the questions:
1. In which city was Mildred born?
2. The song was originally titled Good ______ To All.
3. What’s the word for a short, simple song or poem?
4. Which musical instrument did Mildred play?
5. Which US state were the sisters from?
6. Which sister wrote the words of the song?
7. What do Americans call a school for 5 to 6 year-olds?
8. Which sister wrote the music for the song?
9. The Broadway show which made the song famous was called As ______ Cheer.
10. Money or property that a person or company owns.
11. You get paid this if someone uses your work.
12. What was Patty’s position at her school?
13. What was the name of the university where she later worked?
14. On New Year’s Eve, people sing Auld Lang ______.
15. If something is your intellectual property, it means you own the ______.
16. What kind of songs was Mildred an expert on?
17. The publishers who now own the song are called ______ Chappell.
18. The publishers who first owned the rights were called __________ Tree Group.


1. Louisville                    7. kindergarten                         13. Columbia
2. Morning                      8. Mildred                                    14. Syne
3. ditty                              9. Thousands                              15. copyright
4. organ                           10. assets                                      16. spiritual
5. Kentucky                   11. royalty                                    17. Warner
6. Patty                            12. Principal                                18. Birch

Related Websites

Take a look yourself:


Scroll down to see Happy Birthday in every language


The current owners of the copyright


Who else was born on your birthday? Anyone famous?


Send your friends a birthday card



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: