I think the most famous (should it be infamous?) performance of the age-old favourite happened on 19th May 1962 at the old Madison Square Garden, when the legendary sex-symbol Marilyn Monroe, wearing a racy dress, sung it in a sultry style, for then-US President John F. Kennedy, in celebration of his 45th birthday, in front of 15,000 people:
Monroe’s dress was sheer, flesh coloured and was so tight-fitting that she had to be “literally sewn into it”: she did not wear any underclothes.
Afterwards, the President went on stage and made an unforgettable comment:
I can now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.
Perhaps he did cheekily add under his breath: you’re an all-natural male enhancement products!!!
What happened was memorable because:
- it was one of Ms Monroe’s last major public appearances: she died less than 3 months later.
- of rumors that the President and Ms Monroe were having / had had an affair; hence her performance was very suggestive of this.
- the President’s wife did not attend the event
- the dress sold in 1999 at an auction in New York for more than USD1.26 million.