Top 10 Pop Birthday Songs

These are alternatives to the traditional 'Happy Birthday to You'

Birthday Cake

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Traditionally, of course, the list of birthday songs is led by "Happy Birthday to You," sung just before you blow out the candles on your cake, but there are options. Here are 10 pop versions to help you celebrate your special day:

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'Birthday,' The Beatles (1968)

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"Birthday" marked a return to more traditional rock 'n' roll for the Beatles. It first appeared on the album "The Beatles," known widely as "The White Album." John Lennon and Paul McCartney said it originated in the studio with 50/50 contributions from each. "Birthday" is played by countless radio stations to celebrate famous birthdays or listeners' birthdays. McCartney and Ringo Starr performed the song together at New York's Radio City Music Hall to celebrate Starr's 70th birthday on July 7, 2010. 

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'Happy Birthday,' Stevie Wonder (1981)

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Stevie Wonder recorded "Happy Birthday" as part of the campaign to have Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday celebrated as a national holiday. That campaign succeeded, and now the song is used much more widely for other birthday celebrations. While the song's success was limited in the U.S., reaching only No. 70 on the R&B chart and missing the pop chart, it was a No. 2 pop hit single in the UK and was performed by Wonder at the Diamond Jubilee Concert to honor Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The first official Martin Luther King Jr. Day took place on Jan. 20, 1986. Wonder headlined a large concert in celebration.

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'Happy Birthday,' Altered Images (1981)

Altered Images
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Altered Images was one of the most promising new wave acts in the UK in the early 1980s. The group broke onto the U.S. dance chart with the song "I Could Be Happy" but broke up in 1983. Produced by Martin Rushent, best known for his work with the Human League, "Happy Birthday" became the group's biggest hit in the UK, peaking at No. 2 on the pop singles chart. The song appears on the soundtrack to the film "Sixteen Candles" and was covered by the Ting Tings in 2008 on the hit children's TV show Yo Gabba Gabba!

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'16 Candles,' The Crests (1958)

The Crests 16 Candles

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This doo-wop classic is best known as the title song from the 1984 film "16 Candles," one of the most popular John Hughes movies. It is the quintessential slow dance track for any 16th birthday celebration. The Crests took the original version of the song to No. 2 on the pop singles chart. The Stray Cats recorded the cover of "16 Candles" on the movie soundtrack.

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'Unhappy Birthday,' The Smiths (1987)

The Smiths
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In case you need to wish an unhappy birthday to a mortal enemy, the Smiths have your song. "Unhappy Birthday" was included on the band's final studio album, "Strangeways, Here We Come." The vocalist sings that he is wishing an unhappy birthday " 'cause you're evil and you lie."

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'Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,' Neil Sedaka (1961)

Neil Sedaka
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Neil Sedaka's classic "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" is an uptempo choice for a 16th birthday celebration. The song was a top 10 pop hit for Sedaka, his fourth song to reach the top 10. He followed that success by releasing "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," his first No. 1 pop hit, the following year.

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'Birthday Sex,' Jeremih (2009)

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It's a wonder no one thought of this type of birthday song before Jeremih had a breakthrough pop smash about sexual birthday celebrations. It topped the R&B singles chart in 2009, went all the way to No. 4 pop, and was certified platinum for sales. Jeremih says the song is based on personal experience. 

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'Happy Birthday Blues,' Kathy Young with The Innocents (1961)

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Kathy Young was a promising teen pop singer of the early 1960s. This is one of her four top 40 pop hits with The Innocents, the theme song for the sad birthday we all occasionally live through. Young performed numerous times as part of oldies rock 'n' roll shows and in 2014 was inducted into the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame.

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'Birthday,' Destiny's Child (1998)

Destiny's Child
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Destiny's Child lets you know it's your birthday and you don't have to do anything but lie back and enjoy it. This track is on the group's self-titled first album, which also included the No. 3 hit pop single "No, No, No" featuring Wyclef Jean.

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'Happy Birthday,' The Click Five (2007)

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This single from "Modern Minds and Pastimes," the second album by power pop group The Click Five, was a major pop hit in Asia, going all the way to No. 1 on the pop singles chart in the Philippines. The group is best known for the hit single "Just the Girl."