Is there anything that can bring you right back to childhood like some of your favorite songs? We’ve already talked about the Summer Bops for The Whole Family which, I am happy to report my family and I have been bopping to all summer. But there’s something about revisiting the first songs you memorized every word to and sang in the car with your family, or played on your Fisher Price Record Player (yes, I was totally that kid). Here’s just a few that we grew up with and wanted to share.
Oof. I could not get enough of this live album. Specifically that wonderful tune Baby Baluga. Known usually just by his first name, Raffi was to children’s music what Mr. Rogers was to children’s television. Prolific and unfailingly kind, while still taking on big subjects in a way that kids could understand (did you know Baby Beluga is about environmentalism?). Using simple guitar and a classic folk music style, he also incorporated different types of world music into his albums making for more complex and diverse accompaniments.
The Laurie Berkner Band hit it big when they were all over Nickelodeon around the new Millenium. Her sweet, upbeat easy-to-sing songs were catchy and loved by kids everywhere. My favorite is “Under a Shady Tree” partly because my daughter and I would hide under shady trees in the summer to avoid sunburn. But there’s something that promises a carefree day on a hammock, an ant-free picnic or other soothing experiences that happen when you’re out in nature in a comfortable temperature.
Okay, so it’s not technically a children’s album but, oh man, “Iko Iko” by The Dixie Cups was one of my favorite songs, still is. The steady beat, and repetitive verses, it was the best song to dance around to, do the hand jive from Grease, or just throw on in the background to get everyone in the party mood. The song came out in the 1960s but had a resurgence of popularity in the 1980s after it was featured in two blockbuster movies “Rain Man” and “The Big Easy”, the latter featuring a number of famous New Orleans songs. Talk about hey now!
Around the new millennium, many Gen X parents found new ways to project their own nostalgia onto their newborns. There was a rash of albums from popular bands of the 80s and 90s but my favorite is the album “No!” by They Might Be Giants. Each song is an entity onto its own. From a title track sort of making fun of the parent who is always saying “no” to one called “Grocery Bag” with lyrics just calling out items on a grocery list. “I Am Not Your Broom,” is an acapella ditty about a broom’s uprising and there is an upbeat song called “Clap Your Hands” with a wild organ leading the excitement. Last, but not least, is a song called “Lazyhead and Lazybones” who always disagree but saying the same thing but using different words. A great lesson for adults who don’t see eye to eye.
One of the absolute best VHS tapes we owned was a musical collection from Sesame Street called “Sing Yourself Silly”. It featured so many of the stars who would guest on the PBS sensation, but no more than the song at the link above “Put Down The Duckie”. A jazz tune that follows Eernie’s inability to play the saxophone because he’s is always hanging onto his rubber duckie. Were you in the mood for a song that features Jeremy Irons, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Gladys Knight and The Pips? Does this sound like everything you never knew you always wanted? Because it is.