"Happy Birthday" as written by Nicholas Edward Cave, Rowland Stuart Howard and Michael John Harvey....
it's a very happy day

we are at lots of fun fun fun

and it's ice-cream and jelly

and a punch in the belly

how much can you throw over the walls?

and see how his face glows

it's a bike! what a surprise.

it's a big bike. what a big surprise.

it's a red bike. what a red surprise.

oh, what a surprise.



but the best thing there

but the best thing there

was the wonderful dog chair

was the beautiful dog chair

that could count right up to ten

it could count right up to ten

it went woof, woof, woof, woof, woof,

woof, woof, woof, woof, woof.



and it's another happy day

he was born eleven years ago

and this year it's long trousers

and a very smart tie.

just think in five years he'll be shaving.



and see how his face glows

it's an ninja sword. what a surprise!

it's a samurai sword. what a metal surprise.

he'll remember this day for the rest of his life.



but the best thing there

but the best thing there

is that sensuous dog chair

the immaculate dog chair

that could count right up to eleven



it could count right up to eleven

it went woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof,

woof, woof, woof.



but the best thing there

but the best thing there

was my darling the dog chair

but the rampaging dog chair

that could count right up to eleven

it could count right up to eleven.



and it went round and round the house.


Lyrics submitted by Girgo

"Happy Birthday" as written by Nicholas Edward Cave Michael John Harvey

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Happy Birthday song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentare you serious? i've never seen such a thing, and I've been to many birthdays. Can you point to a picture of one? i've looked all over the internet and have not found one.
    elmedioon April 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe first three comments on this song are absolutely hilarious
    wireless89on April 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat's a dog chair?
    elmedioon July 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOMG! elmedio dosen't know what a dog chair is, its one of thoes magical chairs made out of dogs....This is usually how my birthdays go!
    Daniel_08on March 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentaww. . .he left out "the fru fru dog chair"
    kijimaon July 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentaw come on. someone surely knows what the deal with this song is. ITS MADDENING!!!
    STUDLYCUDDLYBUDDYon May 25, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti get a seriously traumatised picture of someone who was taken aside in private on his birthday and given a present that nobody would want... there is so much violent phallic imagery and beast noises plus the idea of sitting on a living body (dog chair) that makes me think nick cave had a seriously tormented youth...
    pedroagnoon October 20, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think the song is about the time just before the onset of puberty. And like most of what Nick Cave writes it has references to sex and violence.

    The initial lines contrast the image of childhood "ice-cream and jelly" with violent imagery "a punch in the belly", it then comes together with "how much can we throw over the walls?". Something that could be childhood competiveness, adolescent vandalism or adult machismo.

    The child at first receives a bike which is objectified and simplified to being "big" and "red". It is the scale and colour that stimulates the child, it is no longer the bike its self which surprises the child and makes them happy. Treating a mode of transport this way is something that is often associated with adult's who are interested in cars. It is simplified because the narrator is taking the perspective of the child, the stimuli it is interested in is the same as an adult's would be but as they are a child they lack the terminology and knowledge to elaborate.

    One year on the child is getting closer to puberty - "in 5 years he'll be shaving", this is something that sounds like the child's parents would say. Proud and happy of their innocent child who is yet to hit adolescence. The child receives a sword, this is both violent and phallic imagery and so follows several contradictions in the child's head. A "ninja sword" would put him in the position of assassin, a "samurai sword" would make him an honourable hero. What role will he play? The clearly set out attitudes to evil and good are becoming blurred to the child, they are beginning to subconsciously question defined roles which will come to the forefront in several years time. For the time being the sword is just "metal".

    And the dog chair? Sexuality. I didn't understand this one till I learnt "fufu" was Australian slang for a vagina. The child is sitting on its sexuality. Sensuous and rampaging, the primal hormones are there but "immaculate" - the realisation of them won't happen for several more years.

    Until then the child the child will just use its energy running "round and round the house".

    And here I was thinking it was just a bit silly for ages.
    G, F#, Eon September 18, 2013   Link

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