Friday, February 26, 2021
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
|Joseph B. Stearns|
|Prototype of duplex telegraph|
|Norumbega estate and grounds, Camden, ME|
Designed by NYC architect Arthur Bates, the home featured a stone and wood facade. It's no surprise that the house (like all good castles) had a turret. The center section rises three stories, and is topped by a stepped gable. The right section has a projecting section topped by a turret.
|Oak woodwork in Norumbega|
|Main sitting room at Norumbega|
|Staircase, sitting area, basement game, sun room|
|Norumbega Inn bedrooms|
|Sunrise views during our stay|
|Early New England map (Internet)|
After Stearns' death, Norumbega remained a private residence for nearly 100 years with several owners in that time. In 1984, it was sold and converted to a B&B. In 1987, it was sold again and run as an inn through the 1990s. After the death of an owner, ownership transferred to the estate's trustees. It continued as an inn until 2005, then was vacant for several years. The current owners renovated and reopened on Memorial Day weekend 2013.
|Sagamore Farms, image from collection of Camden, ME, Public Library|
|Us at Norumbega Inn, Jeep on flatbed, & our rental car|
Friday, February 19, 2021
While I was familiar with the song, it wasn't a favorite. Admittedly I didn't know what group had recorded it, so here it is. Sorry, if you later an earwig of Signs playing in your head.
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Friday, February 5, 2021
There's was s-no-w time for sitting by the Nashua River side this week despite seating there.The snow started falling in Nashua, NH, late Monday afternoon and ended on Tuesday morning. It wasn't the heaviest snowfall and estimates were about 12 inches here in the city.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Happy Birthday to You, also known simply as Happy Birthday is a tune traditionally sung to celebrate a birthday, like my own, which is today.
This post is not all about me, instead it's about the Happy Birthday song. But, since it is my birthday, I've included photos of my much younger days, and my question is: When did I become grown up and how can I make it stop?
Did you know that Happy Birthday to You is the most recognized song in the English language guaranteed to make people of all ages smile and sing along? (The second most popular is For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.)
The tune has been sung annually hundreds of times for over a century — in outer space, in baseball stadiums, homes, parties, including famously by a movie star to a U.S. President (Marilyn Monroe to JFK at Madison Square Garden in 1962). It’s been included in all types of tune-playing products, cards, music boxes, toys, games and more.
These rankings from the Guinness Book of World Records do not mean that either tune is the most popular worldwide, but the most known by the most people. It's been estimated that the birthday song's lyrics have been translated into at least 20 languages.
Where It StartedThe most popularly recognized four-line melody dates to the 1890s, but not as the birthday song. It was originally titled, Good Morning to All, and written by two Kentucky sisters, Patty and Mildred Hall, to be used as a classroom greeting from teachers to kindergarten students: Good morning to you/Good morning to you/Good morning, dear children/Good morning to all.
Patty was a nursery school and kindergarten teacher, and later principal at the Louisville Experimental Kindergarten School. Her oldest sister, Mildred, was a composer, organist and music scholar with a specialty in Negro spirituals. Mildred created the melody for Good Morning to All and Patty added the lyrics.
There are various accounts of how Good Morning to All became Happy Birthday to You. In 1924, according to one, the Hill sisters' song appeared without authorization in a songbook edited by Robert H. Coleman. In the book, Coleman used the original title and first stanza lyrics but changed the second stanza's opening line to “Happy Birthday to You.” Thus, the sisters’ line of“Good morning dear children” became “Happy birthday dear (name).” This new stanza became hugely popular and soon overshadowed the original lyric.
By the mid-1930s, the tune had appeared in several films, a Broadway musical, and had been used for Western Union’s first singing telegram. It was so widely heard and sung that many assumed it was already in the public domain, but that was not the case.
Copyright and Royalties
When it was used, uncredited and uncompensated, in a 1933 Irving Berlin musical revue, a third Hill sister, Jessica, filed a court suit showing the link between Happy Birthday to You and Good Morning to All, and secured a copyright for her sisters.
Jessica Hill took her sisters’ tune to a Chicago-based publisher, Clayton F. Summy Co., which published and copyrighted it in 1935. Years later, the company was bought and renamed Birch Tree Ltd which retained the publishing rights for Happy Birthday until 1988. That’s when Warner Chappell Music, the largest worldwide music publisher, purchased Birch Tree and claimed copyright for every use (film, TV shows, stage, radio, greeting cards) insisting the lyrics could not be sung for profit without a royalty payment. In 2008, Warner collected some $2 million annually in royalties. Much of it went to the Hill Foundation charity founded in the name of the Hill sisters. The company said that it held the song’s copyright until 2030, which would give it decades to claim royalties on what was considered as the single highest-earning song in history.
Even the claim that the Hill sisters composed the tune has been argued by those who have stated that the sisters could have copied the tune and lyrical idea from other popular and similar 19th-century songs of the time as Mildred was a musicologist.
The journey of Happy Birthday to You is unique in the history of popular songs. What started as a simple teaching aid tune has now become a worldwide popular standard.
Thanks to the Corona-19 virus pandemic, the song recently has gained another identity. It's become the accompaniment to a hand-washing ritual. That current popularity is due to the fact that (1) nearly everyone knows it by heart and (2) it takes about 10 seconds to sing. If someone sings it twice, that's the time experts have recommended for a thorough hand-washing.
And, now you (and I) know the rest of the story.
If any other fellow blogger has a birthday this month, here's my choice for a birthday song, this 1968 Beatles birthday tune included on The Beatles, also known as the White Album.