Birthday Show 1
"Birthday" (Beatles)

Birthday Show 2
"Happy Birthday Medley" (Parodies of Sixteen Candles, Mr. Postman, Having a Party)

Birthday Show 3
"Sal's Birthday"

This trio of Birthday songs was used extensively from the early 1980s through 1988. If you had a birthday part at ShowBiz, odds are you were played of these shows. It should be noted that (because of its many years in use) this tape was released several times and with many programming variations. So rather than do a review on every different variety of this tape, the variations we're aware of are simply listed below. The birthday reel was operated on a secondary reel deck, as it would be necessary to interrupt the regular showtape to cue one of the birthday shows on command.

Birthday Show Origins / Merchandising - The two original birthday shows were "Birthday" and "Happy Birthday Medley". These were both released on vinyl in July of 1981. Because the two birthday records were given free to the birthday child at their party (they were allowed to choose which one they wanted) ten times as many birthday records were shipped out to stores compared to the other records - 400 of each birthday record and 40 each of the others. "Sal's Birthday" came out about a year later and was featured on "Gee, Our 1st Album".

Sal's Birthday - This song was written by Burt "Sal" Wilson, the voice of Fatz (which is where the "Sal" in the title comes from). The little girl who tells the story at the beginning about the little monkies, and also says "I Love You Billy Bob" during the song is Sadie Dingfelder, Aaron Fechter's niece.

Different Programming - Originally, these Birthday Shows were programmed for all 3 stages. When Klunk and other guests were installed, it became necessary for these shows to run only on the two stages that could be used. An updated version of the Birthday reel was released in 1983 to coincide with the Crazy Colander Head Night promotion. This special birthday reel also included the special colander shows "History of the Colander" and the "Indoctrination".

ShowBiz's Version - This tape was again released in May of 1986 featuring all new programming done by corporate ShowBiz and not Creative Engineering.

Additional Alterations - In more modern years these birthday tracks have been recycled. In 1990 Creative Engineering released an updated and reprogrammed version of "Birthday" and "Happy Birthday Medley" which had the segments which mentioned ShowBiz Pizza Place edited out of them. More recently in 2007, "Sal's Birthday" was remastered for use at Hannah Banana's in the UK (the updated track features Hannah singing with Billy Bob).

-5 out of 5 Tokens-

I don't care who you are, these songs are simply classics. Most people remember these songs - especially "Birthday" and "Happy Birthday Medley". People I've spoken with who remember ShowBiz Pizza but wouldn't consider themselves to be fans by any stretch still know these tracks. It might also be interesting to note that I also get mp3 requests for these birthday songs over any other shows - Rock-afire OR Chuck E. Cheese.

Yeah, it's weird that they continued to use these songs so long after the voice-changeovers occured in late 1982, but you know as a child I never noticed. I personally think that the Rock-afire's cover of the Beatles' "Birthday" trumps their original version (not to take anything away from the Beatles of course), and Fatz's opening to the "Happy Birthday Medley" is still one of the most awesomely chilling moments ever performed by the Rock-afire Explosion.

Sal's Birthday however is one of my personal favorites. It somehow captures the lighthearted nature of Billy Bob perfectly. To be completely honest, I don't think that the song could have been written any better or have been sung by any other character without losing some of its magic and charm. As a child I only remember seeing this performed once (I took special notice of it because I knew the song from "Gee, Our 1st Album"). Over more recent years I've really started to appreciate this song for what it is - one of the greatest original masterpieces that exists in the Rock-afire Explosion's catalogue of shows.