Glynsky’s quizzical music quiz

Dear Reader,

In his last post, Glynsky asked the following music related question:

To close, the inimitable, wonderful, uplifting 3rd biggest grossing published song ever written (second was ‘White Christmas’ – can any commentator tell me the title of No.1, grossing £32,000,000!) – ‘ Pretty Woman’

If you are having a hard time understanding the question, don’t worry. You are in good company. Neither Pete, nor I got it. I went with record sales and you can see here, which songs supposedly sold how many. Yet all those numbers are guesstimates. Nobody has accurate sales numbers, certainly not worldwide.

Of course, our English word smith, pardon my coughing, then went on to defend his wording and insulted his fellow diabloggers. Is diablogger a word, or did I make that up and have copyright now?

Anyway. What Glynsky wanted to lead us to, – praise his great leadership -, is the song:

Happy Birthday
I was supposed to find out through Glynsky’s comment here. But stupid me did not. Partially, because the idea of happy birthday being under copyright is mind-boggling.
But according to many sources, like Snopes here and Mentalfloss here, the song produces over two million US Dollars (US$2,000,000) in royalties annually since the 90s.
Side note to Glynsky, Led Zeppelin made over five hundred sixty million Dollars (US$560,000,000) from Stairway to Heaven so far, and counting. You do the math.
And the story gets better.
According to legal research here and here by Robert Brauneis, George Washington University – Law School, Happy Birthday isn’t protected by copyright.
So why does someone collect royalties? Because nobody challenged that humbug yet.
And here comes the next funny thing.
There is a troll out there, who encourages you to call the authorities, whenever you hear someone singing happy birthday. No, really. Have a look:
What a nice prank.
Just imagine all of us bombarding ASCAP and Time Warner with copyright infringement notices after every birthday party. That would keep them busy. Kudos to the creator, Benjamin Mako Hill.
We could start by singing Happy 90th Birthday to Carrol Shelby, who died last year. He is the creator of the AC Cobra,
my all time favorite classic racing car.
If you happen to own one, you can invite me anytime.
Waiting for Glynsky to tell me how the AC Cobra is all English.
Stay tuned,
Engine Room

One thought on “Glynsky’s quizzical music quiz

  1. It is – mostly! The main English connection that comes to mind immediately is that Mme’s best friend married Shelby in mid ’60’s and it is a long story!
    The music royalty question intrigues me. My observations were based on a BBC research programme so I treat this as accurate. Extraordinarily ‘Father Christmas is coming to town’ e.g. by Springstein is about 4th or 5th!
    The BBC excercise was based on total gross in come which is apparently boosted to astronomic when ‘tied’ to other media. For Pretty Woman for example, the film and DVD sales etc over doubled it. Any song tied in this way (including adverts, promotions etc) pushes the evelope in the extreme. As for Lead Zepplin, I have my doubts but as no one really knows it could be, but unlikely to beat the others.
    I have a friend who owns the copyright to ‘Going to Barbados’ and has made a small fortune from this silly but happy song.
    Finally – math? We have already discussed this ridiculous Americanism and you have no idea how much it grates on English speakers wot use the real tongue.
    FFS stop using it or I will censor every reference. Mathematics has a variety of strands – algebra, geometry, pure, applied and god knows what. It is therefore plural and so should be the shortened form.

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