Happy Birthday, Sweet Andy


Kay Swift and Paul Warburg’s daughters L-R: April, Andrea, and Kay (Photo from The Kay Swift Papers, Courtesy of Katharine Weber and Nicholas Weber, Trustees, The Kay Swift Memorial Trust)

I don’t know about you, but I got cards from my parents when I turned 19. And maybe socks. Andrea Swift Warburg evidently received this song from her mother living on the other side of the continent, wishing she could be there with her daughter on her birthday.

I know of no recording of this song, and the manuscript version I have is only a melody, so I worked out/imagined the harmonies and added an intro and segue according to Kay’s instructions using Kay’s outro.

Kay Swift is less known as a lyricist than as a composer, but she shows she knows how to put a lyric together. Though this was never intended to be a Top 10 hit, or even heard outside the home, I love the self-deprecation over her singing abilities and her rhyming of “near ya” with “inferior.” If only my parents had rhymed like that!

Download the fake-book style sheet music PDF of “Happy Birthday, Sweet Andy” here: Happy Birthday, Sweet Andy

Lyrics to “Happy Birthday, Sweet Andy” by Kay Swift

Happy birthday, Sweet Andy.
How I wish it wasn’t so unhandy
for me to say Happy Day
from three thousand miles away.

How I hope to be near ya
when your next cake is eaten,
and my wishes for you couldn’t be beaten,
Tho’ my pipes are nothing if not inferior.


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