A birthday is a wonderful occasion that only comes around once a year. When we celebrate our birthdays, we acknowledge that we’ve survived another year. But, also that we’ve acquired new experiences and friends.
Birthday celebrations are filled with good friends, good food, and in most cases, great tunes. Over the years, many artists have created pieces of music to celebrate someone’s special day. So, I decided to take a look at some of the best birthday songs to play at your next bash. These songs are in no particular order or ranking, so let’s get started.
- Top 40 Best Birthday Songs
- Birthday Song by Frankie Cosmos
- Happy Birthday, Mr. President by Marilyn Monroe
- Birthday by The Sugarcubes
- Happy Birthday by New Kids On The Block
- Birthday-Dethday by Dethklok
- Death For My Birthday by Say Anything
- The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep
- Happy Birthday by “Weird Al” Yankovic
- Birthday Boy by Ween
- Happy Birthday Johnny by St. Vincent
- It’s My Birthday by Will.I.Am And Cody Wise
- Birthday Cake by Rihanna
- B-Day Song by Madonna (feat. M.I.A.)
- Birthday by Selena Gomez
- Birthday by Twista
- Birthday Sex by Jeremih
- Happy Birthday by Tiny Moving Parts
- Birthday Song by Jon Lajoie
- Birthday by Blur
- Unhappy Birthday by The Smiths
- Birthday Song by Don Mclean
- Birthday Song by 2Chainz
- Happy Birthday by Loretta Lynn
- Birthday Morning by The Association
- Birthday by Katy Perry
- Happy Birthday Darlin’ by Conway Twitty
- Happy Birthday by Sufjan Stevens
- Older by They Might Be Giants
- Trip Around The Sun by Jimmy Buffet and Martina McBride
- Birthday by Migos
- Birthday by Destiny’s Child
- Happy Birthday by Altered Images
- It’s My Party by Lesley Gore
- In Da Club by 50 Cent
- Happy, Happy Birthday Baby by The Tune Weavers
- Happy Birthday by Stevie Wonder
- Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift
- Birthday by The Beatles
- Ratchet Happy Birthday by Drake
- 16 Candles by The Crest
- Looking for More Great Music?
- Best Birthday Songs – Final Thoughts
Top 40 Best Birthday Songs
Birthday Song by Frankie Cosmos
As you get older, your birthday can change from something you look forward to, to something you wish you could push back. For some reason, folks around you believe that our behavior needs to change when we hit a certain age.
“Just because I am a certain age – Doesn’t mean that I am any older – Than I was yesterday.” Here’s to being on the outside, and what you feel like on the inside.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President by Marilyn Monroe
Album: Marilyn Monroe With Love
Monroe sang this wonderful rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the president at his 45th birthday celebration. She also inserted an interpolation of the 1938 classic “Thanks for the Memory,” which featured lyrics just for the president.
If that doesn’t make you feel special, I don’t know what will. The beauty wasn’t lost on the Commander-in-Chief, who said, “I can now retire from politics after having Happy Birthday sung for me in such a sweet, wholesome way.”
Fifteen thousand people attended the event at Maddison Square Garden. It was one of the last public performances Monroe ever gave.
Birthday by The Sugarcubes
Album: Life’s Too Good
Threading worms on a string and carrying spiders in your pocket may not be your idea of a happy birthday celebration, but look past that and just feel the vibe.
This wonderfully buoyant song captures the innocence and spontaneity of childhood. And it’s always good to have some of that on your birthday. No matter what age you’re turning.
The track gained popularity when it was included in John Peels’ Festive Fifty; it was the group’s first charting single and propelled them into worldwide fame. The Sugarcubes would eventually get to perform the song on Saturday Night Live.
Happy Birthday by New Kids On The Block
Album: Step By Step
I don’t care how mad it makes them; I make sure to play this track for my Metalhead friends on their birthdays. Yes, it’s cheesy; yes, it’s an early incarnation of the boy band. But, it’s heartfelt and beautiful at its core, so soak it up and celebrate.
Birthday-Dethday by Dethklok
Album: The Dethalbum
It says “Birthday Songs” at the top of the page, but there’s nothing about normal anywhere. For Metalheads all over the world, this has become a long-awaited birthday anthem to gloomify your friend’s B-day party with.
Musically, the piece is a technical monster of a tune. Like many of the fictional group’s music, the sheer skill of the players is enough to melt faces. Remember your neck braces for when the headbanging starts because this is a great Heavy Metal birthday song.
Death For My Birthday by Say Anything
Album: Say Anything
Many folks believe that life is just the first phase in a long series of experiences that we cannot comprehend. These thoughts tend to get more and more regular the older you become.
The problem is that sometimes you tend to get a bit too infatuated with the notion that death is not your end but the beginning of something else. This may be true, but it mustn’t distract you from living the life you have now.
This track is all about someone so obsessed with the ending of their story that they forget to enjoy the beginning and middle. Not the happiest birthday song, but certainly a reflective one for those of us not so wet behind the ears.
The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep
Album: The Magician’s Birthday
Originally, this track was meant to be the foundation of an entire concept album, but it got cut short. That being said, it’s an epic in and of itself and a real treat if you’re a fan of great instrumentation.
The song revolves around a wizard who is challenged to a duel by another wizard at his birthday celebration. The epic instrumental sections of the song represent the fierce magical duel that ensues.
Happy Birthday by “Weird Al” Yankovic
Album: “Weird Al” Yankovic
Looking for some advice on how to go about your Birthday? Well, then Weird Al has got it all rolled up in this two-and-a-half-minute corker from his debut album.
This track explores the unpredictability of life. Re-enforcing the idea that since any moment might be your last, then you might as well go all out.
The same applies to your birthday; stop putting off that spontaneous trip to Vegas and have some fun. Make sure this tune is blasting while you’re at it cause it’ll provide some great laughs as well.
Birthday Boy by Ween
Album: God Ween Satan Oneness
In keeping with unusual birthday songs, here’s a nice Pop/Punk mash-up that has some great energy. There’s a bittersweet flavor to the song hidden beneath all those compressed drum sounds and navel-gazing guitar chords.
A nice piece of trivia is that you can hear a little bit of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” from the album, Meddle, playing at the end of “Birthday Boy.” This is because the group recorded some tracks over old tapes to save money.
Happy Birthday Johnny by St. Vincent
A good story is always a surefire way to write a great song. This track is the third installment in what is so far a three-song story.
Here’s a birthday track about a character that should be no stranger to fans of St. Vincent. Johnny first appeared on her debut album, where she begged the handsome devil to be her one and only in the track, “Marry Me.”
When St. Vincent ran into Johnny once more on her eponymous fourth record, he had become a very tragic sight indeed. In the song “Prince Johnny,” we find him desperate and disillusioned, hanging out with the wrong crowd and practicing some bad habits.
Only one album later…
We find Johnny broken and strung out on heaven knows what. St. Vincent drops by to wish him a happy birthday, and he calls her a sellout and says that she walked out on him. Let’s hope Johnny will be in a better place the next time she stops by; no one ever said all birthdays are happy.
It’s My Birthday by Will.I.Am And Cody Wise
Album: It’s My Birthday (Single)
Here’s a chart-topping hit about living every day of your life as if it is your birthday. According to Will.I.Am, this philosophy is central to how he goes about his everyday life.
This is a great song for a birthday party or if you just want a soundtrack that will make you believe that it’s your birthday.
This multi-platinum track was Will.I.Am’s tenth #1 song. It was #1 on the UK Singles and Hip/R&B charts. The music video is a fun-filled extravaganza filled with inspirational ideas for your next night out.
Birthday Cake by Rihanna
Album: Talk That Talk
If you look past the somewhat sultry meaning of the lyrics, this small interlude from Rihanna’s sixth album can be a fantastic birthday dance song. The track was originally going to be left off the album but was later included after a leaked version generated too much noise from fans.
It’s a good thing it ended up on the record, too, since it became a great success. “Birthday Cake” peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot R&B and Hip-Hop Songs chart while managing to climb to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been certified double-platinum.
B-Day Song by Madonna (feat. M.I.A.)
“B-Day Song” is a fantastic feel-good tune included as a bonus track on Madonna’s multi-Platinum twelfth album.
The song has a sound reminiscent of 60 or 70s girl groups. There’s a lightheartedness that endears it to even the most grumpy of listeners. The track features British artist M.I.A., which means that it ranks off the charts when it comes to girl power.
Birthday by Selena Gomez
Album: Stars Dance
Here’s another song about partying like it’s your birthday. The biggest stand-out for this strong opener from Gomez’s debut album is the incredible production and unique mixture of sounds.
There are elements of Trap, Electro, Dubstep, and even some Punk in this song. All of which makes it fantastic for the dancefloor. If you need some motivation for a crazy night out, then check out the music video for “Birthday,” and you’ll be good to go.
Birthday by Twista
Album: Category F5
For the Hip-Hoppers out there, this one might be familiar. It’s a simple, upbeat tune about letting it all go and just livin’ it up.
The track encourages you to surround yourself with all the things that make a good celebration. Friends, drinks, music, and dancing. There’s some clever use of astrological images in the lyrics as well.
Birthday Sex by Jeremih
No doubt the lyrical concept of this massive hit from Jeremih’s debut album helped its success a lot. This one is a bit niche, so you’re not going to break it out on just any occasion.
However, when played under the right set of circumstances, this track can make sparks fly. It’s a proper saucy R&B number that is dripping with soul.
“Birthday Sex” did more than just make Jeremih very popular with the ladies; it helped launch his singing career. This quadruple-platinum single topped the Billboard Hot R&B and Hip-Hop tracks chart and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Happy Birthday by Tiny Moving Parts
Here’s one for all the Emos out there. It comes from TMP’s fifth studio offering and has a surprisingly pleasant energy to it.
There’s enough angst and uncertainty to make it relatable. Yet, it doesn’t give the impression of trying too hard to darken the horizon for the listener. This is the perfect track to play for a friend who says they “don’t do birthdays.”
Birthday Song by Jon Lajoie
Album: I Kill People
This track is for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to have parents that filmed your birth. In this graphic little number, Jon weaves into his lyrics the story of your parents meeting and conceiving you in painstakingly visceral detail.
Most importantly, though, he gives some very heartfelt best wishes for the birthday boy/girl. It might seem like a strange choice for one of the best birthday songs, but give it a listen. You might just change your tune.
Birthday by Blur
It’s difficult to think that the same guys who brought you an anthem like “Song 2” are capable of writing a super somber birthday song like this.
Whether this song is inspired by a real person or not, it makes you wonder about people who spend their birthdays alone as the main character does. Believe it or not, they are out there.
Unhappy Birthday by The Smiths
Album: Strange Ways Here, We Come
Either Steve Morrisey isn’t big on birthdays, or he had it in bad for a particular individual when he penned this off-beat slander track for the Smiths’ fourth and final record.
The song describes a quite profound dislike for someone and proceeds to lay several unfortunate wishes upon their head. Again, the title of this article is about Birthday Songs, not the “Best Happy Birthday Songs.”
Birthday Song by Don Mclean
Album: Don Mclean
The anonymous nature of the person who is being celebrated in this gorgeous track makes it that much more universal.
The track comes from his third studio offering, which was the follow-up to the legendary album American Pie. This is easily one of the most sincere and beautiful birthday songs ever written.
Birthday Song by 2Chainz
Album: Based On A T.R.U. Story
This is a hardcore Hip-Hop vanity track that is perfect for getting yourself into the “go big or go home” mentality. Your birthday wish might not be the same as 2Chainz, but it’s the vibe that counts. The track features a killer verse by Kanye West and has one of the sauciest music videos around.
“Birthday Song” was a hit, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot Rap songs chart and #10 on the Hot Hip Hop and R&B songs chart. It also became a Top 50 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #47. “Birthday Song” has been certified double-platinum.
Happy Birthday by Loretta Lynn
Album: Songs From My Heart
This wonderfully expressive country track was written by Ron Kitson. He sang it for Loretta backstage at a show in Ontario, and she immediately went to Nashville to record it.
The track is elegantly simple, like many great Country songs are. Loretta’s voice and those wishing you well while bidding farewell lyrics are just a perfect match.
The track was an instant hit on Country stations, where it peaked at #3. Very soon thereafter, it crossed over to Contemporary and Pop stations. “Happy Birthday” went on to earn a BMI award.
Birthday Morning by The Association
If I had to pick one track on this list of the best birthday songs to start a birthday with, then it would undoubtedly be this one.
Yes, I know it’s from the late 60s. But, all that psychedelic energy does wonders for your spirit when you wake up. “Birthday Morning” makes it very hard not to have an open mind and a skip in your step as you start the day.
Birthday by Katy Perry
The queen of flirty pop tunes outdid herself with this one, from the double entendres in the lyrics to the super saucy beat that the track rests on. And, of course, that crazy music video featuring her five alter egos. It may be one of the most fun songs that Katy Perry has ever done.
“Birthday” was one of the album’s most successful singles, reaching the Top 10 in South Africa, Belgium, and France. In the US, it topped the Dance chart and climbed to #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Birthday” has been certified platinum in three countries.
Happy Birthday Darlin’ by Conway Twitty
Album: Cross Winds
Here’s another birthday song that will warm the hearts of Country fans. It was released as the final single from the album and has an incredibly romantic sentiment to it.
The narrator chooses not to give his wife more things for her birthday but rather to take some away. Things like mistrust and guilt and a bunch of other stuff that healthy relationships can do without.
This song became Twitty’s twenty-third #1 song on the Country Music charts, where it stayed for three weeks.
Happy Birthday by Sufjan Stevens
Album: A Sun Came
Sufjan’s themes of spirituality have a strong presence in all his material. This track is no exception, and it offers some very stimulating food for thought. Imagine the idea of a birthday not as an opportunity to receive but to give.
Perhaps this is meant to teach us that the best gift you can get in life is the opportunity to give to others. These are all things you can contemplate as you listen to the softly picked acoustic guitar.
Older by They Might Be Giants
Album: Long Tall Weekend
Even if the pessimistic lyrics and funny instrumentation don’t sit with you, the catchiness of this song’s vocal line will make it stick in your head in seconds flat.
Don’t take this song the wrong way, though. It’s a very healthy examination of our mortality as humans through the lens of music. The music video is a real delight and features one of the weirdest-looking guitars you will ever see.
Trip Around The Sun by Jimmy Buffet and Martina McBride
Album: License To Chill
Sometimes, you might feel like the previous year has given you very few causes for celebration. Yet, it is in those times that the ability to find a silver lining will be most available to you.
This track can help you gain some much-needed perspective if you’re having a birthday that feels a bit like a tire with a slow puncture.
“A Trip Around The Sun” was a hit on Country Music stations in the US. The track peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Birthday by Migos
Album: Culture III
I know that this track is about someone pretending that it’s their birthday. But you’re not in trouble until someone finds out, right? This trap-influenced club banger is great for an extravagant celebration. The lyrics were written to be shouted out when on dancefloors the world over.
Birthday by Destiny’s Child
Album: Density’s Child
A sweet and soulful one for the boys from Destiny’s platinum-selling debut album. The track is dripping with 90s-sounding synths and background chimes. But, in this context and sung by the voices, it works.
This is the one you start playing when the guests have gone home, and the cake and ice cream are all finished.
Happy Birthday by Altered Images
Album: Happy Birthday
The meaning of this 80s Pop/Punk/Rock hybrid hit is anyone’s guess. Most of the best lyrics are usually nice and vague, so you’re free to let your imagination do the interpreting.
The group still has a very strong Punk and New Wave-influenced sound on “Happy Birthday”. But, Clare’s sweet voice and vocal delivery hint at the Pop sensibilities that would later come to drive the band.
“Happy Birthday” is one of the group’s biggest hits and one of the songs that helped launch their career. The track entered the charts in not only the UK, where it peaked at #2 on the singles chart. But, also in Australia, Ireland, Sweden, and South Africa, where it climbed to #2 as well.
It’s My Party by Lesley Gore
Album: I’ll Cry If I Want To
This somber little song is about a teenage girl whose birthday gets ruined by a boyfriend who decides to pick a new girl. It’s a classic sad birthday song that endures to this day.
“It’s My Party” was production legend Quincy Jones’s first big single. And he knocked it out of the park with Latin rhythms, layered vocals, and some great horn parts as ear candy. The track became a huge hit, peaking at #1 in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and various charts in the US.
Want to know if Johhny ever leaves the wicked Judy and comes back to his first true love? Well, then you can check out the sequel to the song, “Judy’s Turn To Cry.” It was released two months later and was included on the same album.
In Da Club by 50 Cent
Album: Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
This was coming, and you know it. The iconic “Go Shorty” line from “In Da Club” is arguably the best-known hip-hop lyric of all time. It’s without question one of the best birthday songs.
Even if it’s not your birthday, you can groove to this monster hit because, just like Fifty says, it’s someone’s birthday every day. If it happens to be your birthday, then all the better.
“In Da Club” is Fifty’s biggest hit. The track dominated the US, where it went #1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs, Mainstream Top 40, R&B and Hip-Hop, and the Hot 100 charts. It was a Top 10 hit in most of Europe and has been certified platinum and multi-platinum in seven countries.
Happy, Happy Birthday Baby by The Tune Weavers
Album: Doo Wop’s Greatest Hits Vol.1
This somber breakup track was penned by The Tune Weavers member Margo Sylvia after her boyfriend at the time broke up with her. She would later record the single and its accompanying B-Side in 18 hours while being eight months pregnant.
The lyrics are a true and real expression of the longing to keep someone whom you feel strongly about. The track was #1 on the Country Music charts in both the US and Canada.
Happy Birthday by Stevie Wonder
Album: Hotter Than July
“Happy Birthday” is the fourth single from Wonder’s nineteenth studio album. The track is not only a beautiful song for celebration and merrymaking but also holds some historical significance, especially for African-Americans.
Stevie was a large supporter of the campaign to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday in the states. He composed and performed this song to spread awareness of the movement.
While never officially released in the US as a single, the track has become a monster hit and is played at almost every African-American birthday party. The song charted well in the UK and Israel, where it became a #1 hit.
Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift
Album: Speak Now
Miss Americana penned this wonderful tune right after she moved out of her family home into a $2 million luxury condo. The track was spawned from not knowing how she felt about growing up. Hopefully, all the eight and nine-year-old girls at her shows are listening to this sage advice.
“Every once in a while, I look down and see a little girl who is seven or eight, and wish I could tell her all of this. I wrote this song for those little girls.”
Birthday by The Beatles
Album: The White Album
This fun little tune was a made-up track that McCartney and Lennon hammered out right there in the studio while they were busy with The White Album.
The track wasn’t thought of as much at the time. But, it has since become a great enduring Beatles track, a sentiment proven by the fact that McCartney released a solo live version in the 90s.
“Birthday” was a Top 10 hit in Italy, peaking at #3, as well as a Top 30 hit in the UK, where it peaked at #29 on the Singles chart.
Ratchet Happy Birthday by Drake
The lyrics on this one may be somewhat erratic and not as focused as you’d expect from Drake. However, the mellow backtrack and sultry tone of his vocal delivery will make all your confusion melt away. If you ask me, all he wants you to do is have a good time because it only happens once a year.
16 Candles by The Crest
Album: American Doo Wop Ballads
Back in the 50s and 60s, a sweet 16 party was a pretty big deal. This soulful tune, wishing a mystery teen a happy sixteenth, is one of the best sonic glimpses into the vastly different world of our past. The song also takes you back to the innocence of those years.
“16 Candles” was a radio sensation peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying on the R&B chart for 21 weeks. Today, it remains an iconic birthday song for teenage girls.
Looking for More Great Music?
Well, then take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs about Friday, the Best Songs About Ice Cream, the Best Songs About Magic, the Best Songs About Dreams, as well as the Best Songs About Friendship for more superb song selections.
Of course, you need to hear those tunes, so check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Party Speakers, the Best Wireless Outdoor Speakers, the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Waterproof Speakers, and the best Tailgate Speakers you can buy in 2023.
Best Birthday Songs – Final Thoughts
Well, there you have it, folks. Forty great songs to help you celebrate a birthday, get through a bad birthday, or in my case, use as an excuse to party like it’s my birthday.
These tracks can help you gain perspective on the present, remind you of fond times from your past, and get you in a good mood for the future.
Until next time, happy listening, and happy birthday.