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What do you think is the most famous song in the English language?

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"Happy Birthday".

Though a Beatles song or 2 will be in the top ten.

16 ( +14 / -0 )

Interestingly all the suggestions so far are mostly from an English speaking audience and background. Considering they are a minority globally I would expect other answers.

Did you miss the title of the post?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Wouldn't it be the alphabet song sung to the same tune as 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"? I mean, chances are anyone who learned English, native or otherwise, learned this song when learning the alphabet...

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Happy Birthday or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star probably. sfjp330. Ah. The English language does extend outside the U.S. I hope you know.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the best-selling single record of all time (over 50 million copies sold) is Bing Crosby's 1942 recording of "White Christmas."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

ABCDEFG etc

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Cos: But your song of death, more... you call it "Taps" ?

I doubt most people know the words to Taps or at least not beyond the first few lines. But the "song of death" as you put it, is also played, though not always sung, at dusk and at Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Girl Guide meetings and camps.

The Alphabet Song Honestly : Never heard.

As for the ABC song, there is a French version too and the rhythm is quite similar to the English one people are talking about. It's simply what most kids learn at a young age when they're getting acquainted with the alphabet and basic reading. I've had more than one Japanese kid spontaneously burst out with the ABC song when encountering me on a train or on the street. It always very cute!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWNWobUPAtM

3 ( +3 / -0 )

English is the third-most-common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and spoken in 124 countries by 900,000,000 people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Cos:

But your song of death, more... you call it "Taps" ?

For this line, I salute you! (and I don't mean the saxon salute)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Happy Birthday" seems like the right choice if considering just the melody, but most countries have replaced the English with local languages.

I tried to take the tack of an English-speaking artist whose songs would be very popular among the masses in Latin America, Africa, as well as in large parts of Asia. That artist just might be Bob Marley. The song might be a toss-up between One Love and Three Little Birds. (Of course, his songs are very popular in Europe, Australia and North America too.)

Fifty years ago, it might have been a Stephen Foster song, like Oh Susannah.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Alphabet Song (sung to the same tune as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, not like it is here, though still probably the best known English song here as well all the same).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Yabits Nice idea. I heard that many Iraqis and others in middle-eastern countries may not be fluent in English but can sing Lionel Ritchie's songs perfectly. I also heard 'O-bla-di-o-bla-da' and 'Don't Pass Me By' are the favourites from the Beatles songbook in that part of the world. I can't imagine Lennon's lyric 'Imagine there's no heaven' would go down well in certain countries.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yeah, I guess Happy Birthday, too. Here's a bit of trivia from Wikipedia about it:

The melody of "Happy Birthday to You" comes from the song "Good Morning to All", which was written and composed by American siblings Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Head, shoulders, knees and toes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interestingly all the suggestions so far are mostly from an English speaking audience and background. Considering they are a minority globally I would expect other answers.

It''s ME - considering everyone here knows English is the planet's universal language, "they" are correct to suggest English songs. Stop pontificating and admit "sukiyaki" and Edith Piaf just don't compete.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Anything from Frank Sinatra even though I've never been a fan or Elvis... so I'd say "Fly me to the moon" or "Can't help falling in love"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I lost heart in San Francisco♪

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What English-language song, in all its parts, should be made compulsory learning in all places of education, and part of the British citizenship test?

Bohemian Rhapsody.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Happy Birthday maybe. Or some Disney Xmas number (Rudolf?)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

La Bamba.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Probably 'Happy Birthday' followed by 'yesterday'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yesterday ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Alphabet song. "A, B, C, D..." you know the rest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

99 bottles of beer on the wall?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It'SMe: Interestingly all the suggestions so far are mostly from an English speaking audience and background. Considering they are a minority globally I would expect other answers. .....Aaah that old that English is the international language myth. Surprise for the majority of people on the globe don't speak or understand it.

1) This is an English-language website so presumably the people reading and posting on it know English.

2) The question is: What do you think is the most famous song in the English language?

3) If the question offends you that much go to a French, Spanish, Swahili, Cantonese, Navaho, Tagalog, etc. site and answer it there as regards one of those languages.

4) Seriously, learn to read more carefully and pick your battles better.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Definitely http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

The internet has made sure of that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Happy Birthday to You", hands down.

Even with translations, most people know the Engish lyrics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, Happy B-day, Jingle Bells, White Xmas... I've heard them in some Asian mountains where they speak dialects only understood in that valley. Usually that's all that they know from the outside world. The kids came to sing these tunes in some adapted version. I sing them back a bit of the Marseillaise as I'm so nationalist...or not at all. It's convenient as they often know it too (and many imagine it's lovely love song), but it's not an English song. Apparently the "famous ones" are very catchy. There was a woman that went to live in remote a Amazonian tribe, married a guy there, and they had lived isolated. One day, she got a radio, not long before Christmas, so she could make them listen for the first time in their lives. They were fascinated by the device. After a few days, that was getting old as they didn't understand and the music was not their genre, so she was listening on her own, but whenever they'd hear the first notes of "Happy Birthday..." or certain Christmas carols, they'd all make a pause in their activities to sing and dance. Over the not so isolated tribes, I'm sure they all know irritating pop songs that pass on radios forever, like the biggest hits from Abba, Queen, Michael Jackson, even Elvis...

many Iraqis and others in middle-eastern countries may not be fluent in English

They probably know the totality of the hits of the 70's to 90's as their own pop singers did versions in various languages.

The Alphabet Song

Honestly : Never heard.

"The Stars Spangled Banner"

No. But your song of death, more... you call it "Taps" ?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In Japan, 'The Carpenters' still seem pretty popular. "Aimu on za toppo ob za warudo, rooking, down on kleashun...."

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Hotel California

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Surprise for the majority of people on the globe don't speak or understand it.

They don't need to understand anything. Lyrics can be translated or just omitted. The question is about English songs.

As for the ABC song, there is a French version too

That sounds translated, not really the style of French comptines. As a kid, I learned the gestures matching Alpha Bravo Charly ... Yes, that was Charly for us. There was no song. But that can very popular in one region, even one country or two, unknown in another place. My cousins from the South don't know the song of Saint-Nicolas, but in my town, you'd hear it non-stop during a whole month every year. So sometimes you think the whole world knows it... Like that ice skater that though they all knew 'Lucky Luke' over the world.

I doubt most people know the words to Taps or at least not beyond the first few lines.

Just the tune. It's identified, well maybe not by younger generations. Like "Auld lang syne".

Edith Piaf just don't compete.

But you know her, weirdly. You must be a scholar of French culture. And most people recognize : ",,,,,my way... my way...", which is just a version of "Comme d'habitude". Or "the girl from Ipanema" that was a "garota" originally.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

gangam style

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Jump!

I get up, and nothing gets me down

You got it tough... I've seen the toughest around

And I know, baby, just how you feel

You've got to roll, ol' ol' with punches to get to what's real

Oh can't you see me standing here, I've got my back to the record machine

I ain't the worst that you've seen

Oh can't you see what I meannnnnnnn?

I might as well jump. Jump!

Go ahead, 'n jump. Jump!

I might as well jump. Jump!

Go ahead, 'n jump. Jump!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

American Pie, Let It Be if we're talking "recent"

Ue wo muite arukou (Sukiyaki Song) for Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Girls just want to have fun"

Oh girls just want to have...

That's all they really waaaaaaaaant

Some funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

When the working day is done

Girls - they want to have fun

Oh girls just want to have fun

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"Like a Rolling Stone" Dylan " or "Imagine" Lennon

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Some Chinese song or "Happy Birthday".

I heard that "Amazing Grace" is the most played song in the world, though not sure whether it's also the most famous.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Merry Christmas - Slade

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"God Save the Queen."

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Interestingly all the suggestions so far are mostly from an English speaking audience and background. Considering they are a minority globally I would expect other answers.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

In the U.S. "The Stars Spangled Banner" is performed in most of the major sporting events or political events. Also, Olympics or international competiton when U.S. athletes are involved.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

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