What is a good song for a father to sing to a baby boy?
November 8, 2008 6:22 PM   Subscribe

LullabyFilter: What songs (think along the lines of lullabies... soft and on the "sweeter" side) are good for dads to sing to their sons?

I have a daughter who will be four years old soon, and I sing You Are My Sunshine to her at bedtime and when she needs soothing. It's "our song" and I love the special bond it gives us.

My son is nine months old and when I sing to him, it's usually Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just because it was the first thing that came to mind early on. I'd love to have a song for him that with a father-and-son theme, but I'd be happy just to find something that isn't so generic. I've tried, but I can't come up with anything.

Help me hivemind... you're my only hope.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso to Grab Bag (30 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
We've been working our way through this list.

I always liked "cottonfields"
posted by bottlebrushtree at 6:38 PM on November 8, 2008

Beautiful Boy?
posted by jeanmari at 6:40 PM on November 8, 2008

My dad used to sing me and my sister "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon when he was putting us to sleep. Lennon wrote it as a lullaby for his son Sean.
posted by shaun uh at 6:40 PM on November 8, 2008

John Denver - For Baby
posted by phunniemee at 6:41 PM on November 8, 2008

Ah wait, there are more. Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra? St Judy's Comet? Return to Pooh Corner? Born at the Right Time? Morphée by Moxy Fruvous? (I'm trying to find an audio sample...it is such a lovely song.)
posted by jeanmari at 6:58 PM on November 8, 2008

Forever Young (the one by Dylan)
posted by Knappster at 6:58 PM on November 8, 2008

A few months after my niece was born, I put together some video clips my sister had sent me and set them to Wilco/Jay Bennett's 'My Darling'.

Apparently I wasn't the only person who had that idea. :)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:58 PM on November 8, 2008

I suggest the only Beatles song written in the 17th century.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:09 PM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "Beautiful Boy" is a great one.

"Sweet Baby James" is also a nice one, even if your son's name isn't James.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:53 PM on November 8, 2008

Billy Joel's "Goodnight My Angel", or "Stay Awake" from Mary Poppins?
posted by fish tick at 7:57 PM on November 8, 2008

I sing "Weather With You" by Crowded House to my little bloke.

We've been doing that once ever since he was a baby.
posted by micklaw at 8:32 PM on November 8, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I'll work my way through the lists and hopefully add some songs for occasional use.

grapefruitmoon has it with Sweet Baby James. It's a great song with the right pace and it will be easy for me to sing. Bonus points come in because while my son goes by his middle name (Caleb), his first name is James, which is a family tradition. My brothers and I are all James but go by our middle name, and my dad's name is James. To be honest, I'm feeling a little bad about not having thought of it before...

Thanks again to all of you.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 8:32 PM on November 8, 2008

I suggested these songs here for a daughter some time ago. But sex doesn't matter at this age. My approach was to stay away from traditional "children's songs". These were what I used, some 20 years ago:

The Baby Tree - Jefferson Starship
Was a Sunny Day - Paul Simon [much more response than St. Judy's Comet ever had]
Ravishin' Ruby - Tom T. Hall [she wanted to know "what's a bunk-out-back?"]
Sneaky Snake - Tom again [yeah, it's a children's song, but not a traditional one]
De Bat (Fly in Me Face) - Carly Simon and James Taylor
Mr. Bojangles - Jerry Jeff Walker
Birmingham Jail - (traditional)

My kids are pretty well-balanced now. More or less.
posted by yclipse at 8:36 PM on November 8, 2008

Absolutely Little Potato by Metamora.

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!
posted by kidsleepy at 8:37 PM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

When my daughter was born, I wasn't particularly well versed in lullabies. I selected songs based on my knowledge of them, slower cadence, notes in the deeper range (father's tend to be better at putting babies to sleep with songs/speaking because the deeper range of the male voice vibrates the baby while being rocked/sung to) My list:

Sweet Baby James - James Taylor (my daughter calls it the "cowboy song")

The Downeaster Alexa - Billy Joel (it's a sad song about the plight of an east coast fisherman, but it's slow and I knew it by heart hehe)

Didn't leave nobody but the baby - O Brother Where Out Thou Soundtrack (she loves this song and the style of the song leaves it open for improvisation if you get bored of the regular verses)

Down to the river to pray - Alison Kraus (a rather religious song for a rather unreligous guy to sing, but again it's got the perfect lilting slow cadence for putting a baby to sleep)

Your Song - Elton John (she's not an Elton John fan yet apparently, this one rarely gets requested)

Summertime - Ella Fitzgerald (I don't sing this one as often and I often mess up the lyrics, it's my daughter's favorite request from my wife however. There are a ton of versions of the song but I suggest the Ella Fitzgerald version as a template for a male singer it's got a slow jazzy feel and it's easier to emulate with a deeper male voice)

I've taken the liberty of throwing all the songs I just suggested into a GrooveShark playlist for you:

Have fun!
posted by JFitzpatrick at 12:09 AM on November 9, 2008

Oops! The HTML worked in the preview, but not in the actual post. Here is a link to the Grooveshark widget so you can listen to the songs:

posted by JFitzpatrick at 12:10 AM on November 9, 2008

Memo to my son by Randy Newman is one of the great father-to-son songs. (Link is a cover version.)

You could also try Queen's Father to Son... if your son is man enough to handle it.
posted by No-sword at 12:36 AM on November 9, 2008

Has to be Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
posted by hmca at 5:37 AM on November 9, 2008

Put It There by Paul McCartney

Give Me Your Hand I'd Like To Shake It
I Want To Show You I'm Your Friend.
You'll Understand If I Can Make It Clear
Its All That Matters In The End.

Put It There If It Weighs A Ton,
That's What The Father Said To His Younger Son.
I Don't Care If It Weighs A Ton,
As Long As You And I Are Here, Put It There.
Long As You And I Are Here, Put It There.

If There's A Fight I'd Like To Fix It,
I Hate To See Things Go So Wrong.
The Darkest Night And All It's Mixed Emotions,
Is Getting Lighter Sing A Song.

posted by NoraCharles at 5:48 AM on November 9, 2008

Tom Waits-- On the Nickel (lyrics) (video)
posted by The White Hat at 6:14 AM on November 9, 2008

Swingin' on a Star (best recording is by Bing Crosby)
Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a mule

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
He kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny - and his brain is weak
Hes just plain stupid with a - stubborn streak

And by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule

Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a pig

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
His shoes are a terrible disgrace
He aint got no manners when he eats his food
Hes fat and lazy - and extremely rude

But if you dont care a feather or a fig
You may grow up to be a pig

Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a fish

A fish wont do anything but swim in a brook
He cant write his name or read a book
And to fool the people is his only thought
Though he slippery - he still gets caught
But then if that sort of life is what you wish
You may grow up to be a fish

And all the monkeys arent in a zoo
Every day you meet quite a few
So you see its all up to you
You can be better than you are
You could be swinging on a star
posted by cachondeo45 at 6:18 AM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

In Australia one's football club's song is surprisingly popular.

I'm not being particularly facetious: at nine months what you sing doesn't really matter - it's just the way you sing it. I stopped myself going ga-ga by singing all manner of sons from the likes of Jane's Addiction, Soundgarden, etc in nursery rhyme-style.

Of course my son's one claim to fame was the ability to hum a recognisable version of The Simpson's theme long before he could talk or any of the other kids in his playgroup were singing, so I'm probably not going to win any Father of the Year awards...
posted by puffmoike at 6:31 AM on November 9, 2008

My dad always sang Summertime, and I still love it to this day. It's sweet and slow and easy enough to sing.
posted by ohio at 8:26 AM on November 9, 2008

Cat's in the cradle...i know, i know...how cliche.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:49 AM on November 9, 2008

I always sang Future 40s (String of Pearls)
It's an easy a capella for a guy with a low voice.
It's short and easily repeated and remembered.
He never seemed to mind the odd meaning of the lyrics.
posted by Seamus at 10:46 AM on November 9, 2008

Indeed puffmoike, my dad (in the UK) used to sing my brother and I football club songs - I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles (West Ham) and The Red Red Robin (Charlton Athletic), being the two that I remember most clearly. Oh, and You'll Never Walk Alone (Liverpool), obvs.
posted by featherboa at 3:49 AM on November 10, 2008

For the longest time, we sang Will Kimbrough's 'Goodnight Moon' to our son. It had special significance to us as he was born premature and the nights when we couldn't bring him home were very hard.

He's now two and requests Billy Joel's Piano Man. So, it may change as time goes by :)
posted by Twicketface at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2008

Both of my daughters have names that can be rendered in two syllables ending with an eee sound and I regularly sing personalized versions of A Message to You, Rudy to them.
posted by turbodog at 12:58 PM on November 10, 2008

I would be totally remiss if I didn't throw this one in. I used to sing it to my son constantly (just the chorus), and he LOVED it. As he gets older, I'm sure he'll love it even more. I give you:

Goodnight Demon Slayer by Voltaire
posted by Spyder's Game at 2:14 PM on November 10, 2008

Here's a list of the Top 10 songs I sing to my son...

1. "Beautiful Boy" - John Lennon
2. "Golden Slumbers" - The Beatles
3. "Tell Me Your Dream" - Blue Rodeo
4. "St. Judy's Comet" - Paul Simon
5. "Goodnight" - The Beatles
6. "Looking For An Echo" - Persuasions
7. "Be My Baby" - Ronettes
8. "Don't Worry Baby" - Beach Boys
9. "Dark Angel" - Blue Rodeo
10. "Train in the Distance" - Paul Simon
posted by Jaybo at 8:32 PM on February 3, 2009

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