The Artists Who've Covered the Most-Covered Songs the Most

The most-covered song on is also the most recognizable song in history which is quite a feat since it's only 130 years old, American, and written by two sisters.

Mildred and Patti Hill lived and worked in Kentucky in the late 1800s. Mildred was pianist and her sister Patti worked with kindergartners.

Together they wrote "Happy Birthday To You," and first performed it in a two-room wooden cabin that's now in the National Registry due to their ditty but also because decades later then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt broke the brittle floor and autographed a chunk as an apology.

Is it rock n roll to play the Happy Birthday song in concert? The Flaming Lips, Los Lobos, and Pearl Jam seem to think so.

Harry Styles sure seems to. The former boy bander has sung the song 50 times over 269 shows. That means about one in every five show contains Harry celebrating someone's live debut.

Harry Styles in Chicago, Oct. 13, 2022

The Flaming Lips have done it 81 times, but not so frequently. In 2003 they sung it 36 times, in 2002 it happened 10 times, but since then most years will only hear it once or twice. Here we are halfway through 2023 and it's been performed twice by the Oklahomans.

Patti Smith has only sung it 55 times, but one of them was a very rock moment. Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist, Flea bounces from group to group when the Peppers are on hiatus, and on his birthday in 2006 he just happened to be playing in Smith's band. So they sang the happy song on a sad night: it was the last show that would be held at New York's CBGB.

U2 also performed it on a special night. In 1981 the Irish quartet were opening for Thin Lizzy at Slane Castle. The night was the live debuts of a pair of songs that would stay with the band through their long career including "October," and "Gloria."

Guns n Roses wished Slash a happy birthday just a few weeks ago in Greece. They've done it 18 other times in concert.

Elvis may have sung it the worst. He did it 17 times in the 1970s, but this was the only recording we could find.

Beyonce's appear to be the most heartfelt. She's sung it 17 times.

Bob Dylan sang it to Brian Wilson last year. The Bard has done it just 8 times over his long career.

Depeche Mode sang it to Martin Gore in Zagreb last month. It was their 19th time singing it.

Psychostick, the comedy metal band from Arizona has performed it the most at an impressive 97 times. Like Stevie Wonder, they've rearranged it a tad.

But what's most curious about when they played it the most: 2020 and 2021. While much of the country was holed up sheltering in place.

Psychostick is on tour for a little bit playing festivals and gaming expos. Tickets are available on their website.

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Last updated: 30 Nov 2023, 22:58 Etc/UTC