From the Guiness Book of World Records (1992):
“Top songs: The most frequently sung songs in English are Happy Birthday to You (based on the original Good Morning to All) by Kentucky Sunday School teachers Mildred Hill and Patty Smith Hill of New York (written in 1893 and under copyright from 1935 to 2010).
Top-selling sheet music: Sales of three uncopyrighted pieces are known to have exceed 20 million – namely The Old Folks at Home by Stephen Foster (1855), Listen to the Mocking Bird (1855) and The Blue Danube (1867).”
Side note: the Happy Birthday copyright is now in the hands of Warner Brothers. I would say that it’s the mark of a classical composer that Strauss’s name didn’t need to be mentioned, but then I’ve never really listened to the mocking bird.
I've been listening to Albert Ketelby recently. Melodically, everything he writes is either like a national anthem or a Ding Dong song... meaning, if we had a Saturday morning cartoon called Land of the Ding Dongs, that would be the soundtrack music. Nah, I'm just being mean, it's funky, really. The national anthem stuff is pretty good, and I've studied quite a few national anthems when I was still doing a masters in linguistics (the South African one is fabulous).
I bet the percussion section luvs ketelby, if there's one thing to be said, is that he certainly looks where others don't - with percussion instruments such as the ratchet and the bird whistle. In fact, it made me look up how many other percussion instruments there are, leading me to this. Quite a list. Though some will contest the placing of the harp as a percussion instrument.