SAN FRANCISCO — Local deadhead Conrad Heath announced that, while he certainly appreciates his loved ones singing “Happy Birthday” to him every year, no performance can surpass the live version he recorded in 1992, confirmed disappointed relatives.
“Not only is the audio quality better on my tape than most of the early ‘90s shows my dad pulled from VHS, this was the final performance featuring Grandpa, whose creative anti-harmonies were integral to that era’s storied sound,” said Heath. “Further, the remastered 10/28/92 performance shows that my family did an incredibly rare ‘Happy Birthday’>’How Old Are You Now’>’For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ medley that blew me the fuck away. And who could forget the absolutely sizzling thirteen minute solo by Crackers, my dog who barked nonstop for the entirety of his life. That whole day, sunny and warm, was a vibe I’ll never forget. I think I got a Super Nintendo, too.”
Other guests have differing memories of the day, however.
“I was at that birthday party and I know it’s Conrad’s favorite,” said one of his cousins, granted anonymity in order to disagree with a family member they still buy weed from. “I gotta say, though, nothing for me will top the ‘98 version. There’s been a lot of speculation about changes in the family’s sound after Aunt Edna overdosed, but I still rank the ‘98 ‘Happy Birthday’ as the best. Maybe it’s just where I was standing. In ‘92, my view was blocked by Grandpa, and that fucking dog was barking in my ear the whole time.”
John Mayer, who has toured with Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann for several years as Dead & Company, offered several hundred thoughts in an attempt to reconcile fans divergent views.
“You know, I’ve listened to both [the ‘92 and ‘98] recordings endlessly and I honestly don’t know what is better,” said Mayer in between DMing Instagram models 25 years younger than him. “I think ‘92 had a magic and ephemeral breath to it that was necessary to create the ‘98 take, but I also think the ‘98 version was a real repudiation of an earlier era of ‘Happy Birthday’ performances that were understandably more playful. Put simply, one is a scorcher you kind of ride like a dragon and the other is the cool vapor from rain after the dragon burns down the village. I mean, I’m the village and the dragon, in a sense. Are we still recording?”
As of press time, Heath was arguing with fans online regarding the legitimacy of the Zoom birthday song of 2020.