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Children’s Music

Author John Cech
Air Date 9/21/1999
Parakeet Album

Children’s Music Transcript

A lot of children’s music doesn’t inspire children artistically, and we all know children are the harshest critics. In addition to children’s music superstar Raffi, many popular musicians have ventured into children’s recordings, offering legitimacy to both the musicians and the genre. And like any timeless children’s book, the best of the bunch is to be enjoyed by parent and child alike. There is a variety of artistic impression, from the rap duo Salt N’ Pepa redoing the classic “This Old Man” in true bubble-gum Hip-Hop style on Disney’s Pediatric AIDS benefit CD titled “For Our Children” (which includes Bobby McFerrin, Melissa Ethridge, and Celine Dion), to Los Lobos’ travel concept album “Papa”s Dream” which mixes classic rock n’ roll with traditional Mexican folk songs. Among the more notable artists to have recorded children’s tracks, if not entire albums, are John Lennon and Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers, James Taylor, Bette Midler, Judy Collins, and this year’s back-to-school album by Jewel. Of particular interest are the bad-boys and girls of popular music, now less provocative than their bravado music videos. On Music for Little People’s “A Child’s Celebration of Song Vol.2,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers do a funky interpretive version of Dr. Seuss’s anti-totalitarian classic “Yertle the Turtle.” Though there are many versions of “Peter and the Wolf” pop icon David Bowie’s narration is probably the best. Then there is always the “Parakeet Album,” featuring children covering Jimmy Buffet classics such as “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Johnny Cash’s comrade Merle Haggard gets in on the fun with his cover of “Bingo” on the CD “Country Music for Kids.” On “Big Blues,” a blues compilation for kids, B.B. King and his guitar, Lucille, belt out “The Rainy Day Blues.” As more popular musicians create for kids, they offer us a way of connecting with our children, as we share the joys and emotions that can only be expressed through song.

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