Monday, 18 January 2021


Observed on the Monday nearest, US federal holiday in honour of the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. recognises his birth on the fifteenth of the month in 1929 (murdered in 1968), we had never realised that Stevie Wonder’s song “Happy Birthday” (a far better tune to sing than the traditional birthday party chant even after copyright prohibition lapsed—with even the opening lyrics taking on new dimensions, see also, with this knowledge and embarrassment that this tribute escaped our attention) released as a single from his Hotter than July album in April of 1981 was composed as a campaign to make King’s birthday a nation holiday for America. The song’s popularity compelled Ronald Reagan by November of 1983 to sign the holiday into existence with the first holiday held in 1986 and universally observed (on the state level) by 1993.