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Help my sing to my baby!
March 30, 2012 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Our son (6 months) loves it when I sing to him, and I love singing to him too! I'm looking for great songs to sing to my baby. Bonus points for songs which have the word "baby" in them or ones which are fun but subversive.

I'm very genre agnostic here. They just have to be beautiful, singable songs that are easy to remember. Ideally ones that are easy to find lyrics and melody for (probably YouTube?).

Also, I realize that as a child I knew a lot of songs by heart and I'd like to learn again...any tips for assembling an in-my-head repository of music as a grownup?

Examples of songs I already love singing to my son: Dixie Chicks Lullabye, Banks of Marble by Pete Singer, Go to sleep you little baby.
posted by Deathalicious to Grab Bag (76 answers total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm very fond of Woody Guthrie's Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child, and its spiritual successor, Dan Bern's Two Feet Tall
posted by elsietheeel at 12:15 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Baby, by Os Mutatantes? Great song.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:17 PM on March 30, 2012


Goodnight Boy - Arcade Fire
Lullabye - Billy Joel
Rainbow Connection - the Muppets
posted by mattbucher at 12:18 PM on March 30, 2012


Crow in the Cradle is a favorite of mine, but I like minor keys.

The Asylum Street Spankers' children's album "Mommy Says No!" has some great songs on it, and you can later give your son the CD and he can listen to it obsessively like children do without impacting your sanity...
posted by Mad_Carew at 12:18 PM on March 30, 2012


Related AskMes that have lots of good suggestions:

The next booming market, music for NICU wards...

Tune list for the Perplexed
posted by SuperSquirrel at 12:19 PM on March 30, 2012


My son likes it when I sing If I Had a Hammer - it's pretty, easy to learn, and subversive in a positive way.
posted by lodie6 at 12:25 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Linda Ronstadt turned Queen's "We Will Rock You" into a lullaby years ago. Can't imagine a more perfect subversive lullaby. If I were comfortable holding babies (I'm not, so I don't), that's certainly what I'd sing to them.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:27 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bonus points for songs which . . . are fun but subversive.

Rise Up Singing is a great resource for subversive, easy-to-learn songs, and includes simple notation for each song intended for non-musicians. I sang Joe Hill's "The Rebel Girl" and "This Land is Your Land" to my son when he was a newborn with good results :)

Elizabeth Mitchell's CD "Sunny Day" is also full of favorites, esp. "Shoo Lie Loo", bits of which are sung regularly around our house.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:31 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


When my daughter was a baby, I was on a Cat Stevens kick.

You may enjoy, "father and sun", "Wild World" (includes word baby, although it's implied that he's singing to a woman), "Moonshadow", "Morning has broken". She loved all of these and I found them easy to sing and pretty.
posted by sunshinesky at 12:31 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


er, "son", not "sun"
posted by sunshinesky at 12:32 PM on March 30, 2012


Stay Awake from Mary Poppins is lovely, and I love a lullaby with words encouraging the opposite of what you really want.

Sarah Maria by James Taylor is fun because you can almost always substitute your kid's name in the song. I remember a little boy I babysat being quite offended when he heard the original version because it wasn't to "joshua" :) Actually, as a huge James Taylor fan, he has quite a few songs that are good to sing, both as lullabyes and just regular singing songs. Close Your Eyes, Blossom, Sweet Baby James, there are just very many.
posted by lemniskate at 12:35 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think Sweet Child O' Mine makes an excellent lullaby.
posted by juliplease at 12:40 PM on March 30, 2012


Talking Heads Up All Night was a favorite of my kids for me to sing. Funny sounds, the word baby, and it's about a baby and staying up. Meta FTW!
posted by punocchio at 12:53 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I particularly liked Shenandoah and Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.
posted by Liesl at 12:56 PM on March 30, 2012


Rise Up Singing is also a great resource for remembering what songs you already know - it has (maybe there's a deluxe edition with sheet music?) just the words to a TON of songs, and if you grew up in the States it probably has most of the camp songs, school songs, lullabies, etc. you learned growing up. Conversely, it's not so great for learning new songs, though that's better now that there's youtube etc.
posted by heyforfour at 12:56 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


My mom would often sing Eight Days a Week to me as a baby. Very simple tune and sweet lyrics to sing to a baby.
posted by castlebravo at 12:58 PM on March 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


On not-preview - hey look at that, I had no idea there were CDs for Rise Up Singing, and sounds like ryanshepherd had something more that the words-only edition I grew up on!
posted by heyforfour at 12:59 PM on March 30, 2012


The Baby Tree
posted by Daily Alice at 12:59 PM on March 30, 2012


When I was a baby, my parents had an album by a band called Voice of the Beehive, which had a song called Don't Call Me Baby on it. It's catchy, it's bouncy, it's upbeat but not too loud and crazy, and it has the word 'baby' in it about five million times.

I was obsessed with this song. OBSESSED. My dad actually made me a cassette tape with nothing but Don't Call Me Baby on it (oh, the 80s). I called it the Baby Song and had absolutely no idea that it wasn't literally about babies JUST LIKE ME. To this day I still love that song.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:01 PM on March 30, 2012


My 6 month old's favorite song was Justin Beiber "Baby, Baby, Baby" Embarrassing I know, but it's got a great melody and easy lyrics to remember and it repeats baby!

Also Britney Spears' "Baby one more time"

Basically any stupid pop song that has the word "baby" in it was in my rotation. Also, for some reason, the America The Beautiful type songs that I guess have been stuck in my head since Elementary school.

I also make up songs a lot! They don't even have to rhyme and they are usually about things that are going on right now.
posted by katypickle at 1:04 PM on March 30, 2012


Not subversive, but a favorite in our house -- Waltzing with Bears (At work, so can't find a video version). And, it's fun to sing as a lullaby.
posted by liquado at 1:05 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would totally sing Justin Bieber's Baby to my baby pretty much all the time. Possibly including the Ludacris bridge. (On preview: I am relieved someone beat me to it.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:07 PM on March 30, 2012


My parents played a lot of Kate Wolf and sea chanties in the car to put us to sleep, and to this day I love Stan Rodgers. (Okay, maybe skip "What Can We Do With a Drunken Sailor" until he's older!)
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:11 PM on March 30, 2012


Not necessarily what you're after, but I'll throw it out there...

I'd think about taking the opportunity to try out your creative side and write your own song just for your kid. When I was young my dad wrote a song for me and another for my brother. He's not that musically inclined (they were just short little rhymes), but it was great to have that one special song just for me. I still remember it clearly many years later.
posted by fishmasta at 1:13 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't discount the value of singing non-songs in gibberish.
posted by rhizome at 1:13 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bonnie Raitt and Was (Not Was), "Baby Mine" (from Dumbo; lyrics).
It's from Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:15 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Summertime
(I especially liked singing the part, "... and your ma is good-lookin.")
posted by evilmomlady at 1:16 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Baby Beluga! Raffi is generally great for baby/kid songs.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:18 PM on March 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Aha! A new parent question I can answer despite some years out of practice! The absolute perfect song for babies is Barbara Ann. Not only can the most tone deaf parent sing it with verve, your baby will love it AND - this is the most important thing - they can learn to sing it themselves at about 8 months. Babies say ba all the time anyway and stretching to ba ba ba, ba ba ba ba ba is totally within their capabilities. Both mine could sing Barbara Ann almost recognizably by the time they were 11 months old, which is a big hit both at parties and when alone in the kitchen. The other fun baby game I encourage in new parents is Baby Guitar, which is exactly the same as Air Guitar except with, well, a baby. Hold the baby roughly like a guitar and strum her middle exactly as you would a guitar. Joy ensues.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:29 PM on March 30, 2012 [12 favorites]


My mom used to sing "Three Little Fishes" (lyrics) to me when I was a baby.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:31 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


My boss sings the chorus of It ain't gonna rain no more to her little guy. He's four months old and loves it.

Don't know about the rest of those lyrics though.

Really, the little lamb on a slice of bread?
posted by bilabial at 1:34 PM on March 30, 2012


Those Good Old Dreams by the Carpenters. Fun, happy and catchy. Good message too.

For bedtime, I like Art Garfunkel's Dreamland and Lasso the Moon
posted by luvmywife at 1:47 PM on March 30, 2012


I've always sang Beautiful Dreamer to my two and they still love it.

My other all time fave song was sang by Solange Knowles on Yo Gabba Gabba: Momma Loves Baby. I'm on my phone and can't link, but look it up on YouTube! It's awesome! You could even say daddy instead of mommy if ya wanted.

My daughter's goodnight lullaby sang to her by her father is Jimmy Hendrix's Angel.
posted by Sweetmag at 2:20 PM on March 30, 2012


By Way of Sorrow by Cry Cry Cry is lovely.

Randy Newman has a lot of songs that could fit your subversive lullaby criteria. Look up "Jolly Coppers on Parade," "Burn On," "Memo to my Son," "Political Science" (link starts at a loud part, but you don't have to sing it that loud).

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman might also work.
posted by colfax at 2:21 PM on March 30, 2012


"This Old Car" by Pete Seeger is a favorite at my place. The melody is catchy as hell, babies like songs about cars, and the lyrics are a little suggestive which entertains older listeners. It's on his album "Young vs Old" but I couldn't find a recording online for you. Anyone who wants to learn the song is welcome to memail me your phone number and I will call you up and sing it to you. It's that great.

I been many a mile in this old car, and I hope I go many more
Ooo, because little Molly sees that it's well cared for
The spark plugs spark
The carburetor carbs
The pistons do what they're supposed to do
Ooo, little Molly keeps it lubricated all the time

If anything gets a little out of kilter, here's how to fix it right away
Reach down, give a little jiggle, everything will be okay
The spark plugs spark
The carburetor carbs
The pistons do what they're supposed to do
Ooo, little Molly keeps it lubricated all the time

posted by milk white peacock at 2:33 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


My five month old loves it when I sing Neil Young to him. Especially if I do it in a Neil Young voice. YMMV.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 2:33 PM on March 30, 2012


Call me crazy, but my older kid loved Superstar by the Carpenters in my own stylized version.

She also liked my own version of Sheila Take a Bow by the Smiths. As a baby she loved the "la la la" part but now she loves the lyrics too.

I second Raffi big time! I grew up listening to him in Toronto and both of my kids love him.
posted by mamabear at 2:42 PM on March 30, 2012


The Fox.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:54 PM on March 30, 2012


My baby loves Blackbird, 8 days a week, and Honey Pie by the Beatles. He also likes "Train in Vain", I sing him the Annie Lennox version.

I also sing "Summertime" a lot although I switch the lyrics to "your momma's rich, and your daddy's good looking" to up the subversion factor!
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:55 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, something you may want to try along these lines. When my cousins were born, it sort of happened by accident that everyone in the family had "their song" for the babies and it got to be part of the night time routine. "Sing mama's song" = the chorus from the book "Love You Forever" to the tune they'd come up with. Daddy's song was Summertime, Auntie's song was zippedy doo dah, my song was You Are My Sunshine. So it sort of brought up the people who loved them and gave different songs.

and the little brother to those cousins who came along a couple years and I used to do KILLER duets on Werewolf of London; he could howl his ahwoo's before he could talk :)
posted by lemniskate at 4:04 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Cthulhu Hymnal?

you DID say subversive.
posted by Heretical at 4:39 PM on March 30, 2012


My mom sang "A, You're Adorable" (many versions; here's one with Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae; here's Sesame Street's) and "You are the Sunshine of My Life."
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:41 PM on March 30, 2012


Linda Ronstadt has an entire album of songs for babies. Not lullabies, but pop songs arranged more baby-friendly. It's titled "This Is Dedicated to the One I Love" and it rocks! In a soothing way. Here's the song list:

Dedicated to the One I Love
Be My Baby
In My Room
Devoted to You
Baby I Love You
Devoted to You [Instrumental]
Angel Baby
We Will Rock You
Winter Light
Brahms' Lullaby
Good Night

I sang all the time, everything, and my kids loved it. (At least until the one who is very talented musically got old enough to hear how badly I actually sing..... sigh) But if you're looking for a lullaby, the absolute best song I've ever sung, not only for my kids but for dozens of kids I babysat for as a teenager, is a folk song titled "South Coast." I first heard it on a Kingston Trio album, and I swear, for some reason every kid LOVED to hear it. It's all about a guy who wins his wife in a card game, and then he's trapped in a landslide and she's killed by a cougar trying to go for help. With the refrain
"South Coast, the wild coast, is lonely.
You may win at a game at Cholon.
But the lion still rules the barranca,
And a man there is always alone."

(apologies to those of you who could hear me warbling this to get the words right)
posted by kestralwing at 5:08 PM on March 30, 2012


We sang "I Can Hear You" by TMBG to my daughter while she was in the womb and it's still handy more than a year later for calming her down when she's really upset.

I also sang "Way Down in the Hole" by Tom Waits (a.k.a. the theme to the Wire) to her during her first 9 months.

I admit that these are unlikely lullaby candidates, but they are easy for anyone to sing and sound nice a cappella. It worked for my sample size of one and I am a novice singer at best.
posted by Alison at 5:37 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is the song you asked for.
posted by troywestfield at 5:53 PM on March 30, 2012


Young At Heart by Frank Sinatra
posted by eralclare at 6:13 PM on March 30, 2012


Ines' Lullaby
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:33 PM on March 30, 2012


"Don't Worry Baby" by The Beach Boys!

(I think the song "If You Can't Sleep" by She & Him is a really sweet, simple lullaby and easy to sing. (No baby in the song, though)
posted by shortyJBot at 6:49 PM on March 30, 2012


fishmasta: "Not necessarily what you're after, but I'll throw it out there...

I'd think about taking the opportunity to try out your creative side and write your own song just for your kid. When I was young my dad wrote a song for me and another for my brother. He's not that musically inclined (they were just short little rhymes), but it was great to have that one special song just for me. I still remember it clearly many years later.
"

Already have it covered!

Waltzing Nissim
to the tune of Waltzing Matlida
Waltzing Nissim
Waltzing Nissim
You'll go waltzing Nissim with me
You're a beatiful baby
And I think that maybe
You're the baby for me.
You're suvh a cutie
that I'll do my dutie
And wipe up your doodie
Wherever it be.

Waltzing Nissim, waltzing Nissim
You'll go waltzing Nissim with me
You were born in September and
I'll always remember
How little and helpess you were
Now you're growing stronger
It won't be much longer
Until you're waltzing everywhere...

and also

Untitled
i have a son his name is Nissim
He's the cutest baby you've ever seen
Everyone who sees him stops by to say
Oh my gosh what a beautiful bay-bay.
Oh baby baby baby x4.

rhizome: "Don't discount the value of singing non-songs in gibberish."

I do this all the time noxw and I he loves it, but I actually like the idea of singing some real songs too, so that one time in the future he can sing along.

I'm still reading through all the answers but this is thrilling and so far the selection looks great! I have a lot of wonderful singing ahead of me.

Apologies for the typos; ever since the baby I have to type with just my left hand half the time.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:52 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


katypickle: "My 6 month old's favorite song was Justin Beiber "Baby, Baby, Baby" Embarrassing I know, but it's got a great melody and easy lyrics to remember and it repeats baby!

Also Britney Spears' "Baby one more time"
"

You know, I thought about but dismissed the idea of explicitly listing songs I didn't think would be a good idea and I must admit that "Hit me baby one more time" was way up at the top of that list. Although super catchy and a definite earworm, I've never liked the idea of that song.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:20 PM on March 30, 2012


My kids liked Mary Chapin Carpenter's Halley Came to Jackson

Ella Fitzgerald singing "Don't Fence Me In" was a favorite, but I can't find a good link.

The Beatles "I Will"
posted by artychoke at 7:46 PM on March 30, 2012


If you aren't opposed to kids music, Caspar Babypants (lead singer from Presidents of the USA) has 4 or 5 CD's out, and it is all music geared towards older babies and young toddlers. Most of it is very catchy, and easy melodies. A lot of it is upbeat, with some slower songs as well, but the most important thing is that the music is also enjoyable for the parents. If you start with that music now, the baby will start singing along with it in about a year.
posted by markblasco at 8:08 PM on March 30, 2012


I was way into "Baby Face" from the Thoroughly Modern Millie record I had when I was little.

(I also grew up listening to my Mom sing (badly) The 59th Street Bridge Song, Who Shot the Sheriff, and various Carole King. )
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:23 PM on March 30, 2012


I just found my new favorite:
http://toddburge.bandcamp.com/track/lily-and-the-bee
Actually written by a friend of mine for her own wedding, then picked up and sung by Burge. I adore the sweet lyrics.
posted by GardenGal at 8:40 PM on March 30, 2012


Our daughter's favorites were:

Puff The Magic Dragon
The Riddle Song

No "baby" reference in Puff, but I will say that the song has staying power. Our daughter is now 4, and she still asks me to sing it to her as she's going to sleep!
posted by neurodoc at 9:23 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


My Baby Just Cares For Me has got a cute quality that defies its romantic origins. Lots of repetition of 'My baby" and a nice croon-y melody.
posted by honey-barbara at 9:27 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"When I Was a Baby" by Donner Party. (New Pornographers version.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 10:06 PM on March 30, 2012


My mom used to sing Alligators All Around to me as a kid.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:48 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh and I sing "I Got A Woman" but I change it to "I Got A Baby"
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:08 AM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you like to dance with your baby, you can get extra goofy. For instance:
When my baby,
When my baby smiles at me,
I go to Rio
De Janeiro.
My-o me-o...
I go wild and then
I have to do the samba,
And la bamba.
etc.
Now you're dancing around doing the samba to a bloody Peter Allen song with your smiling baby.
posted by pracowity at 5:29 AM on March 31, 2012


You're My Little Potato by Malcolm Daglish.

Best line is "I'd go and play in the mud to be with you, my spud."

Also, Sweet Baby James.
posted by bunderful at 5:50 AM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, you need "John Henry"! I've been on a Springsteen kick lately, and just love the wildness and joy he brings to this version (performance starts at :50). Easy to sing, classic, baby-danceable.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:59 AM on March 31, 2012


Lydia the Tattooed Baby
posted by IndigoJones at 11:24 AM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sylvia Long transformed Hush, Little Baby from a song about buying your kid something into a song about sharing a night time ritual (and her illustrations of the Southwest (USA) and rabbits are great). You can usually get this book at the library or the internet will supply the words.

Talking Heads has a great baby song that will make you and the baby smile.

And second, Caspar Baby Pants - their featured baby song.

I have been there - right around 6 months I started thinking I only know a couple songs that I sing every night and they are starting to get to me. I kept a little notebook around for writing down songs (and lists, and other ideas, and lyrics that only seemed to come in the middle of the night (Senior Don Gato was a Cat - 3 whole verses came out spontaneously in the middle of the night)) near the baby's bed and near the rocker. And if your baby loves music and if you love music, think about doing a music class together (we loved Music Together).
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2012


+1 for the volume of songs and chords that is "Rise Up Singing." I have my mom's copy that is battered and falling apart, and I treasure it greatly.

Pete Seeger's Little Boxes is a pretty fun gently subversive song for wee subversive babies in training.
posted by mostly vowels at 3:04 PM on March 31, 2012


My son loved Hush, Little Baby and my pitiful version of Tina Turner's "The Best."
posted by maggieb at 6:49 PM on March 31, 2012


Beatles! Baby, you can drive my car; baby's in black; good day sunshine; on and on and on!
posted by Sublimity at 11:29 AM on April 1, 2012


I don't know how you'd do it with your baby's name, but I found myself singing Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys as "Baby Sam". It was received with lots of giggling.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:14 PM on April 1, 2012


My mom and grandma used to sing Geordie songs to me (they lived in Newcastle for a few years, despite originating in Sri Lanka). One of my favorites is "Dance to Yer Daddy" (turns out it's actually thy); as I remember it, Mom sang,

Dance to yer daddy, my bonnie laddie
Dance to yer daddy, bid yer mammy sing
Thou shalt have a fishie in a little dishie
Thou shalt have a fishie when the boat comes in


Apparently, the proper beginning to "Dance to Thy Daddy" is

Come here, maw little Jacky, now aw've smok'd mi backy,
Let's hev a bit o' cracky (note: crackers, not crack, as my younger brother thought), till the boat comes in.

Dance ti' thy daddy, sing ti' thy mammy,
Dance ti' thy daddy, ti' thy mammy sing;
Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy,
Thou shall hev a fishy when the boat comes in.
Here's thy mother humming, like a canny woman;
Yonder comes thy father, drunk---he cannot stand.


The song continues on in a charming way about various types of fishies the laddie will have (haddock, mackerel, etc). Here's the top hit on YouTube, from whence I pinched the lyrics.

Additional side note - my English boyfriend from slightly south of London (Liphook, East Hampshire, near Guildford) was well shocked to hear such a thoroughly North English song (with such an odd approximation of the accent) from the lips of his first-generation Singhalese-American girlfriend.
posted by Devika at 10:48 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, also! No idea how they got this one, but my grandpa would sing it from time to time when he was in the cups:

(chorus) In Dublin's fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"
"Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh",
Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

She was a fishmonger,
But sure 'twas no wonder,
For so were her father and mother before,
And they each wheeled their barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

(chorus)

She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
Now her ghost wheels her barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

(chorus)


God, love all the slightly sozzled (or at least very, very happy) audience singing along in this version.

There seem to be conflicting stories on the titular Molly herself, one saying that she was "one of the few chaste street-hawkers of her day" (choice wording, Wikipedia), the other that she was a fishmonger by day and a prostitute by night. The statue in Grafton Street certainly seems to suggest the latter.
posted by Devika at 10:55 PM on April 1, 2012


I sing to my baby a lot, so I wanted to come back when I had a minute to share a long list of my favorites, in no particular order. These are the ones I sing over and over that my kid likes the best. Some of them are sweet and old-fashioned, a few of them are kind of gnarly, and most of them are sad, so YMMV. But I guarantee they are all fun to sing.

"Hallelujah" (the Jeff Buckley version)
"Saint James Infirmary" (the Cab Calloway version)
"Queen of the Savages" by the Magnetic Fields (I sing "my [baby's name] is the king of the savages...")
"You Like Me Too Much" by the Beatles
"Lullaby of Birdland"
"Black is the Color"
"The Riddle Song" ("I gave my [baby's name] a cherry that had no stone..."]
"Baby, It's You"
"Love Me or Leave Me" (the Nina Simone version)
"My Funny Valentine"
"God Bless the Child"
"Summertime"
"This Old Car" by Pete Seeger (lyrics above)
the Be-Bop-a-Ree-Bop Rhubarb Pie song from A Prairie Home Companion
"Oh How Lovely Is the Evening"
"Don't Fence Me In"
"Pistol Packin' Mama"
"I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande"
"Spanish Harlem Incident" by Bob Dylan
"Tell Me That It Isn't True" by Bob Dylan
"Tonight I'm Staying Here With You" by Bob Dylan
"Here Today" by the Beach Boys
"Mother Nature's Son" by the Beatles
"To Each His Dulcinea" from Man of La Mancha
"Palmcorder Yajna" by the Mountain Goats
"Blow Out" by Radiohead
"High and Dry" by Radiohead
"More Love" (lyrics are here)
"Song About a Rose" by Pearls Before Swine
"Every Shining Time You Arrive" by Sunny Day Real Estate
"Christmas Island" by Leon Redbone
"Chicken Soup With Rice" by Carole King (lyrics by Maurice Sendak)
"Steak for Chicken" by the Moldy Peaches
"Anna (Go to Him)" by Arthur Alexander
"You Can't Do That" by the Beatles

My offer to sing for you applies to any of these, BTW.
posted by milk white peacock at 3:48 PM on April 3, 2012


Beautiful Boy, John Lennon

St. Judy's Comet, Paul Simon

I Can't Give you Anything But Love, Ella Fitzgerald (bonus points for Louis Armstrong impression)

I am reverting to my childhood here.

For subversive:

For What it's Worth, Buffalo Springfield

Tupelo Honey (sort of? "you can't stop us on the road to freedom?"), Van Morrison

RE: memorizing songs... my favorite thing when I had a long commute (and the only thing I miss about it) was putting on a song I wanted to learn, and just pausing & rewinding to repeat tricky parts. I'd listen to the same song on repeat for 20 minutes, then try it on my own. Two years later I still have these memorized.

If I tried to do this now, in my kitchen while I'm making dinner, it would drive my husband & upstairs neighbor bananas (ahem, Adele & Ani DiFranco, ahem)! But your son probably won't mind!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 1:57 PM on April 4, 2012


Absolutely Little Potato by Metamora. I'm years from having kids and I already know this will be a lullaby classic in my house.

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
You're my little potato, they dug you up,
You come from underground,

The world is big, so big, so very big
To you, it's new, it's new to you.

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
You're my little potato, they dug you up,
You come from underground.

Let's talk about root crops (they dug you up),
And lamb chops (they chew on you),
And things to eat...like apples
and cheese and 'nanas and cream,
Jellies and butter,
it's late at night, I hope this little bottle helps you go to sleep.

They must have grown you wild,
you make a grown man a child,
I’ll go and play in the mud
to be with you my spud (potato).
When you came out looking red as a beet,
You had wrinkles on the bottoms of your feet!

Oh, you are so sweet potato!
You're my sweet potato,
you're my sweet potato, dug you up
You come from underground.

You smile, a smile, a little smile
The world is small, so small, it's very small

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
you're my little potato, they dug you up,
You come from underground

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
you're my little potato!
posted by kidsleepy at 6:39 AM on April 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, Joni Mitchell. Or maybe that was just my mom.
posted by kidsleepy at 6:43 AM on April 5, 2012


You might be interested in some hostile baby rocking songs. I can't find an online recording, but my favourite is Rosalie Sorrels Baby Rocking Medley.
posted by mosessis at 9:49 PM on May 11, 2012


Okay, these were all great suggestions. Turns out my kid is a huge TMBG fan and this lovely song about conifers is one of his absolute favorites. I've been singing it regularly to him since August or so and it always calms him down. Also loves the Meet the Elements song which I sing to him with varying degrees of success.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:08 AM on December 31, 2012


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