A few weeks ago, my family took a road trip – about two hours, but long enough that I knew I couldn’t take The Wiggles and Kidz Bop! for an extended period of time. So I decided to put my iPod into action and created a playlist designed to entertain, enlighten and educate my kids on good music.
When my first daughter was born, I had visions of playing U2, the Beatles and Radiohead to her, wanting to fill her mind only with high-quality music, thereby shaping her musical evolution. In reality, though, I discovered that kids like simple, bouncy music that makes them happy. (The fact that most of my music falls into this category was not lost on me – slightly worrisome, IMO) Shoegaze, goth, punk – they don’t really get it.
Going through my collection, I noticed four trends emerging from the choices I picked:
- Show tunes. Children gravitate toward soundtracks and show tunes from kid-friendly musicals. As a result, I have choices from Annie, The Sound of Music and Singin’ in the Rain.
- The 50s and 60s. I’ve always thought that most 50s and early 60s music were like prehistoric times – the same bass line, same harmonies and simplistic lyrics. That formula, though, seems ideal for young kids. “Da Doo Ron Ron,” The Supremes, and other girl groups are all on the playlist. If it wouldn’t have driven me crazy, I’m sure they would have loved “Yakety Yak” and “Purple People Eater.”
- 80s songs. More my influence than any of the others. I did notice some simplicity and melody among some of the more novel songs of that decade – “Mickey,” “Come on Eileen” and “Our House” made the cut.
- Ringo. The Beatles tried to find simple songs for him to sing – he didn’t have the most melodic voice – and it showed on my playlist.
Here’s the playlist for kids that I came up with:
- “Maybe” (Annie)
- “The Hard-Knock Life” (Annie)
- “Tomorrow” (Annie)
- “Come On Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners
- “Where Did Our Love Go” – The Supremes
- “Stop! In The Name of Love” – The Supremes
- “ABC” – The Jackson Five
- “Yellow Submarine” – The Beatles
- “Octopus’ Garden” – The Beatles
- “You’re Sixteen” – Ringo Starr
- “Breakout” – Swing Out Sister
- “Friday I’m in Love” – The Cure (I’m starting them on Goth light)
- “Got My Mind Set on You” – George Harrison
- “I Found Love” – The Free Design
- “Singin’ in the Rain”
- “Good Morning” (Singin’ in the Rain)
- “Do-Re-Mi” (The Sound of Music)
- “The Sound of Music” (The Sound of Music)
- “My Favorite Things” (The Sound of Music)
- “That Thing You Do!” – The Wonders
- “Mickey” – Toni Basil
- “Our House” – Madness
- “Da Doo Ron Ron” – The Crystals
- “Lollipop” – The Chordettes
- “Dancing Queen” – ABBA
- “Our Lips Are Sealed” – The Go-Gos