Best children *non-children* songs?
March 10, 2011 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend great children *non-children* songs?

I'd like to collect some great, fun songs that children love, but not necessarily for children.

I dont want songs that have underlying adult messages or themes necessarily that the adults can chuckle at while the kids are singing them, but good songs that have a beat and kids can't get out of their head.

Older seem better to me, but I am open to anything.

Some songs that I think are pretty great:

Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
Birdhouse in Your Soul - TMBG
Senses Working Overtime - XTC
Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
Land Down Under - Men At Work

posted by gnash to Media & Arts (76 answers total) 93 users marked this as a favorite
My young children love pretty much anything by Black Sabbath, Daft Punk, or (ugh) most really embarassing '80s metal.
posted by The World Famous at 9:29 AM on March 10, 2011

So the album "Snacktime" by the Barenaked Ladies is explicitly a kids' album, but I 've never met an adult who doesn't love it. There's tons of funny clever stuff in there. A collection of hits for all ages.

To show how much I liked it, on a 2-week cross-country car drive I gladly listened to it each and every day. Once. Maybe twice.
posted by GuyZero at 9:30 AM on March 10, 2011

Band of Bees - Chicken Payback
posted by bobafet at 9:31 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ooh, also, Kraftwerk! Pocket Calculator, for example. I love this question.
posted by bobafet at 9:33 AM on March 10, 2011

Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show. You also have the dance to go with it which my niece and nephew love doing including the falling to the ground at the end.
posted by wwax at 9:38 AM on March 10, 2011

Geggy Tah - Whoever you are
Presidents of the United States of America - Kitty
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:39 AM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

My nephews are country boys and love M. Ward's cover of CCR's Green River.
posted by Majorita at 9:39 AM on March 10, 2011

The Washington Post did a article on kids music adults will love and adult music kids will love that I've had in my email folder for more than 5 years now. This is just the list of songs from the second half (if anyone wants the full article, memail me):

Sunday, September 11, 2005; M07

Adult Music Kids Will Love

Some singles on one cool daddy's playtime playlist:

The Knitters: "Poor Little Critter on the Road" (from "Poor Little Critter on the Road")

Los Lobos: "I Wan'na Be Like You" (from the box set "Just Another Band from East L.A.")

Bob Marley (left): "Three Little Birds" (from "Exodus")

Pixies: "La La Love You" (from "Doolittle")

John Prine: "Daddy's Little Pumpkin" (from "The Missing Years")

Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers: "Abominable Snowman in the Market" (from the self-titled album)

The Specials: "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)" (from "More Specials")

Richard Thompson: "Don't Sit on My Jimmy Shands" (from "Rumor and Sigh")

Velvet Underground: "I'm Sticking With You" (from "VU")

Victoria Williams: "What a Wonderful World" (from "Loose")

Yo La Tengo: "My Little Corner of the World" (from "I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One")

-- Jeff Turrentine
posted by amarynth at 9:45 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

White Stripes--I'm Thinking About My Doorbell
posted by rumposinc at 9:46 AM on March 10, 2011

My almost 3-year-old niece apparently loves Crystal Castles (particularly their remix of Atlantis to Interzone), mainly because she loves to dance like a maniac. YMMV
posted by King Bee at 9:47 AM on March 10, 2011

Cracker - Happy Birthday to Me
Dave Matthews - Ants Go Marching
Beatles - Yellow Submarine
Ella Fitzgerald - Don't Fence Me In
Melanie - Brand New Rollerskate
Journey - Don't Stop Believing
The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

My kids also love Talking Heads, Weezer, Neko Case, etc.

Any Black Eyed Peas or Lady Gaga, if you can stand that sort of thing.

Also, my son LOVED Welcome to the Jungle the first time he heard it on the radio. Also all Beastie Boys. You judge how inappropriate you think that is. They also love a lot of Michael Jackson songs.
posted by artychoke at 9:47 AM on March 10, 2011

My son loved Warren Zevon - particularly "Werewolves of London" and "Nightime in the Switching Yard."
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:47 AM on March 10, 2011

Snoopy versus the Red Baron. The Sequel wasn't as good.

Also other silly novelty songs, such as have appeared on the k-tel classic, Goofy Greats, like "Purple People Eater" and "Gitarzan" and "Rocking Robin" -- it looks like they kept changing what was each each addition of the collection (probably a rights issue) - so that cover has a picture of Snoopy, but not the song. My dad had the 2-album version with the same songs as the first list in this comment, but all the versions on Amazon, etc, seem to have new songs. But I adored my dad's album when I was a kid -- it also had "The Name Game" ("Tony, Tony bo-bam-bony! Fanna Fana fo-fony!"), and "Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop".

My husband was a huge ABBA fan as a kid.
posted by jb at 9:49 AM on March 10, 2011

Oh, and when I was a young lad, my dad would spin Creedence records for us all the time. I adored them.
posted by King Bee at 9:51 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, also - my kids, although they are a bit older now - both love "The Best of Talking Heads" probably because the Talking Heads are awesome.

Maybe Psycho Killer is a bit weird (but maybe not) but Wild Wild Life & Burning Down The House are great.
posted by GuyZero at 9:53 AM on March 10, 2011

Funky Town by Lipps, Inc.

This was my favorite song as a kid; it drove my parents insane.
posted by gyusan at 9:54 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Rag Mop by Lionel Hampton.
posted by alms at 9:54 AM on March 10, 2011

My 19 month old *loves* Harry Belafonte.
posted by gnutron at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I loved Don't Worry, Be Happy. Although that song might possibly drive you insane if you know a kid who really loves it and plays it over...and over...and over.... (sorry, mom and dad).
posted by zoetrope at 9:58 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

My brother and I used to have a lot of fun belting out Summertime Blues. Any cover will do.
posted by phunniemee at 10:00 AM on March 10, 2011

Seconding Birdhouse in Your Soul and a lot of other TMBG songs as well as almost anything by the Beatles.

Here is a list based on what appealed to my kids:

Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

American Pie by Don McLean - my kids love love LOVE this one. Although around about age 12 or so, it became "that song they liked when they were little".

Gettin' Jiggy Wit it - Will Smith - Yeah, don't laugh. They also loved this one.

Lowrider - War - All three of my sons danced to this like mad as toddlers. I know. Kind of odd and almost not appropriate. But the tune is catchy.
posted by routergirl at 10:01 AM on March 10, 2011

I was rocking out with my 20-month old this morning.

Some of her favorites:

Dearest Darling - Bo Diddley
Good Old Funky Music - The Meters
Armagideon Time - Willi Williams

anything Zydeco, too. I blame ColdChef.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:02 AM on March 10, 2011

I just introduced all my storytime minions to The Tokens' The Lion Sleeps Tonight. A huge hit with ages 2-5, and many of them were singing it to me again a week later.
posted by Knicke at 10:04 AM on March 10, 2011

After looking through my itunes for stuff I grabbed just for the kids:
C'est La Vie by Chuck Berry
Dondes Estas Yolanda by Pink Martini (I had this one for me originally)
Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel
Ding a Ling by Chuck Berry - maybe not appropriate, but I had three boys, and when they heard this they dissolved into giggles.
posted by routergirl at 10:11 AM on March 10, 2011

If we're talking War (the band, not...well....war), then Why Can't We Be Friends and Cisco Kid are pretty snappy.

And the Blue Suede version of Hooked on a Feeling (not BJ Thomas or the Hoff, please) got me going in my yute. (excuse me...did you say "yute"?)

And Earth Wind and Fire Shining Star please.
posted by Billiken at 10:12 AM on March 10, 2011

My kids (especially the three year old) love Queen. Having the Muppets cover Bohemian Rhapsody didn't hurt.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:13 AM on March 10, 2011

We taught the kids Sugar Sugar by The Archies at a summer camp for little ones, many moons ago. They loved it--but what kid doesn't love singing about sugar??

As an adult, "sugar" obviously sounds like a euphemism in my dirty mind. Chuckle, but let the kids enthusiastically sing about their granulated or confectioners.
posted by raztaj at 10:13 AM on March 10, 2011

Syd Barrett - Effervescing Elephant
Shirley Ellis - The Clapping Song
posted by Afroblanco at 10:14 AM on March 10, 2011

My kids love 'Ghostbusters'
posted by MiG at 10:14 AM on March 10, 2011

I am pleased to no end that my young children (4 and 7) sing Europe's "The Final Countdown".

With gusto.
posted by mazola at 10:15 AM on March 10, 2011

Anything by They Might Be Giants--there's really not all that much difference between their "children's music" labeled as such and the rest of their catalogue.
posted by staggernation at 10:25 AM on March 10, 2011

Another - Creedence with Lookin Out my Back Door. My 13 yr old still loves it.
posted by routergirl at 10:28 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

You absolutely have to include Al Stewart's "Hippo Song." The tuba kept my brother and me giggling for hours when we were little. He also had a song called "Red Toupee" that we always enjoyed to (though I can't find a video of that one just now).

They're more recent, but Tally Hall's "Banana Man" has a lot of the silliness and weird music sounds that I enjoyed as a kid. "The Whole World and You" also has a great melody that I would have completely latched onto as a kid.

Also, I can't believe nobody has mentioned "Shiny Happy People" yet.
posted by lilac girl at 10:32 AM on March 10, 2011

"The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers. It's very catchy.
posted by amtho at 10:40 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

You've probably already figured this out, but depending upon the age of the kid, some kids will want to listen to a single song over and over again, so bear that in mind in your selection.

My son loves the Flaming Lips (Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi), Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, and Radio Gaga), Air (I listened to Cherry Blossom Girl ad nauseum at his request), Portishead, Polyphonic Spree, They Might Be Giants, and the Police.

When he was about four, he went through a phase where he would want to listen to Synchronicity II over and over again and try to sing along. Unfortunately, all he could ever seem to get out was "Shiny Me-tal Box-es." He'd sing that part extra loud, Natch.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:47 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

R.E.M. - "Stand"
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:48 AM on March 10, 2011

I flat-out loved the Taj Mahal album my father played to death when I was a kid -- particularly because he mainly played the more rootsy second side. I remember especially liking his cover of "Linin' Track" and his original "A Little Soulful Tune" (particularly since he stops in the middle to talk about when he was a little kid making up songs with his brothers and sisters). Another Taj Mahal cut that may be good is "Cakewalk Into Town," more so for the goofy-sounding nature of the music than for the lyrics.

I used to have a "silly songs" mix tape, and some of the ones off that that may also serve for this are:

"Bang The Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren
"Your Feets Too Big" by Fats Waller
"Volcano" by Jimmy Buffett
"Happy Boy" by The Beat Farmers
"Happy Happy Joy Joy" from Ren and Stimpy
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on March 10, 2011

*smacks head* Oh, and the B-52's were MADE for this stuff! You've got "Rock Lobster", "Quiche Lorraine," "Wig", "Love Shack", "Roam"...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:52 AM on March 10, 2011

I looooved Paul Simon's "Graceland" when I was wee. Still do! Lots of catchy tunes, lots of sweet South African and Zydeco influence. 1986: a good year.
posted by sucre at 10:55 AM on March 10, 2011

Meaning the whole album, not just the title track!
posted by sucre at 10:56 AM on March 10, 2011

Awww, it makes me so happy to see that other people are resisting the allure of cheap shoddy kids' music, too!

Our kids love love love LOVE The Postal Service's "Brand New Colony" (they call it "the beep-beep song"). They also love Operation Ivy's "Bad Town" (good for singalongs) and The Thermals' "Returning to the Fold".

Kids also seem to ADORE anything Davey von Bohlen (The Promise Ring/Maritime) does, too... he does have a sort of sweet, gentle voice, I guess? In any event, both of the kids independently, sans prompting, freaked out over Maritime's "We, the Vehicles". In particular, I'd recommend the track "Is This Thing On?"

Wee Thumbscrew (nearly six) is a crazy music lover (give him his own iPod, and he'll happily curl up and warble atonally for several hours). Some of his perennial favorites are:

- The Hold Steady's cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City"
- Florence and the Machine - "The Dog Days are Over"
- Sugar - "Gee Angel" (he calls it "the song that rocks my face off!")
- Empire of the Sun - "Walking on a Dream"
- A Tribe Called Quest - "Scenario" (he can rap the first two minutes of it!)
- Passion Pit - "Little Secrets"
- MGMT - "Kids"
- The World/Inferno Friendship Society - "Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater"
- Fugazi - "Cassavetes" (he calls it "the SHUT UP! song")
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:58 AM on March 10, 2011

Oh, more -- Sly and the Family Stone's "Dance To The Music" and "Everyday People".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2011

My young kid loves everything by Flight of the Conchords.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:13 AM on March 10, 2011

Chris Bellow (of The Presidents of the United States of America fame) has a new project, Casper Babypants that is pretty great.
posted by Twicketface at 11:13 AM on March 10, 2011

What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
posted by rouftop at 11:16 AM on March 10, 2011

So I live in a conservative place, where children are seen and not heard. On Sundays, the grocery store fills up when church lets out--a fact that I recently forgot when I decided to run over to the store for something I needed. I took the baby with me, figuring it would be a quick trip.

I did not count on standing in the deli line with my 3.5-y.o. as she sang R.E.M.'s "Superman" at the top of her lungs. The good Mennonite families around us were treated to her singing lines such as "You don't really love that guy you make it with, now do you? I know you don't love that guy 'cause I can see right through you!"


Anyhow, this is her favorite YouTube version of it.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Tons of great answers. In addition to the above, look to New Orleans music for lots of fun:

Many of The Meters' songs are appropriate, including:
They All Ask'd For You (which every kid in New Orleans knows)
Hey Pocky-A-Way
Just Kissed My Baby
Fire on the Bayou

Fats Domino:
Whole Lotta Lovin

Anyway, the list goes on and on...
posted by griseus at 11:32 AM on March 10, 2011

Well, it IS kids music, but on a higher level... Peter Paul and Mary's "Peter Paul and Mommy" album. We're talking classics, like "Puff The Magic Dragon" and "The Marvelous Toy" and "All Through The Night," loved as much by me as by them (even though their teens or older and have moved on to heavy metal).

Also, almost anything you can get on a true "oldies" station, sixties stuff especially. My boys listened to oldies to put themselves to sleep well into their teen years, even after the conversion to metal. Their love of the Beatles started off very young and hasn't let go.
posted by lhauser at 11:53 AM on March 10, 2011

This previous similar question might yield helpful answers
posted by twoporedomain at 12:00 PM on March 10, 2011

I'd say "Bust A Move," but your kids probably don't need to go running around telling people how they're "feelin' kinda firm 'cause the girl is stacked." So I'd direct you to Principal's Office, or something from the early DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince oeuvre, such as Parents Just Don't Understand.

Also, License to Ill probably falls in the same category (although again, choose judiciously about things like "your mom threw away your best porno mag.")

I loves Paul Simon's whole Graceland album, especially "You Can Call Me Al," "Boy in the Bubble" and "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes." The combination of good beats and the awesome, soothing harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo is just awesome.

A lot of the Rock Band/Guitar Hero (III: Legends, World Tour, 5, Warriors of Rock)/similar (Encore: Rocks the '80s et. al.), songs are incredibly classic and catchy. Now, the subject matter isn't always the best (hello, "Run to the Hills"!), but they'd probably have a lot of fun getting to know songs that everyone else loves so much.

When I was growing up in the '80s, I loved the oldies that my mom listened to (from her own golden age of teenager-dom in the early '60s). The majority that are still well-known today are pretty great because they tend to have clear (and clean!) lyrics, often with some sort of story or easy-to-understand metaphor, and good solid structure that's easy to follow -- in your head, out loud, or even playing it on some sort of instrument. They're great intros to the structure of pop songs.

STEVIE WONDER -- oh, how I have always loved Stevie Wonder. This video of Superstition from Sesame Street is pretty much the best ever; check out the kid on the fire escape who is, to use the technical term, rocking the f*ck out.

Several members of the Blues Brothers Band are backing Stevie up in that one, and I'd say the Blues Brothers soundtrack is pretty good, too. Lots of Chicago-style blues, heavy on the horns, would be good.

--Other Motown, especially girl groups: Supremes, Shirelles, Martha and the Vandellas

--Any early/"standard" Beatles, as mentioned above -- probably not the White Album, but the red and blue best-of albums are good, and anything through Sgt. Pepper is pretty safe/not overly complex.

--Jazz standards, especially classics like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. They make awesomely wacky noises that still fit into the spirit of the song.

--I still love me some Tom Jones. And my cousin loved Living Colour when he was a baby :)
posted by Madamina at 12:14 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yup, Stevie Wonder!

Elvis can be good too. His greatest hits are quite singable.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:34 PM on March 10, 2011

I've caught my two year old daughter singing Bob Marley's No Woman No Cry and Jamming to her dolls. I think it's the repetition.

Also Ray Charles's Genius Loves Company and anything by Michael Jackson.
posted by samhyland at 12:54 PM on March 10, 2011

nth The Beatles.

My daughter (2.5) knows every song on Revolver. She yells "tape loops" when Tomorrow Never Knows comes on.
posted by gaspode at 1:44 PM on March 10, 2011

Peaches (apparently by the Presidents of the United States of America). Until I googled the lyrics a second ago, I had never heard this song except as sung by people under the age of 4. They LOVE it, especially when there are peaches to eat!
posted by philokalia at 1:47 PM on March 10, 2011

John Linnell did State Songs which seems really kid-friendly to me--maybe too much for your purposes even. My favorites are "Pennsylvania" and "South Carolina".

Friends of mine have noticed their toddlers really did certain brands of power pop like The New Pornographers.
posted by ifjuly at 1:51 PM on March 10, 2011

posted by ifjuly at 1:52 PM on March 10, 2011

Oh -- and Cyndi Lauper did a fun cover of "Iko Iko".

Actually, just about any cover of "Iko Iko" would be fun. (Except for that crap one they did for Rain Man.) I personally like Dr. John's, but that may be a little too laid-back; Cyndi Lauper's is nice and bouncy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2011

My daughter loves REM, "I Am Superman." She's 9 and has loved it for as long as I can remember. "Father & Daughter" by Paul Simon is another long-time favorite. She also loves Smashmouth (from Shrek movies, mostly). She's also been jamming to Mumford & Sons lately, she loves to dance like crazy in the fast bits and go slo-mo when the songs go slow.
posted by upatree at 2:20 PM on March 10, 2011

My daughter loves/has loved:

Old Train - Tony Rice
Sweet is the Melody - Iris Dement
Hello Goodbye - Beatles
The whole Buena Vista Social Club album
Long Time Gone Now - Dixie Chicks
Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco
Star Wars theme

Great question, great thread! I'll be taking notes....
posted by kirst27 at 2:21 PM on March 10, 2011

When I was little I thought that the best song in the world was "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive. I. LOVED. IT. So much!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 2:46 PM on March 10, 2011

Basically anything by The Extraordinaires. They have a few songs with swears in them, but for the most part they play music that fits exactly this category.
Specifically, I can think of:
Neighborhood Watch
Rats and Pizza
The Egg of Columbus

as being what you're looking for
posted by DeltaZ113 at 4:39 PM on March 10, 2011

When I was a little kid, I loved "Elvira" by the Oak Ridge Boys.

WARNING: This is a nuclear-grade earworm. Click with caution.
posted by ixohoxi at 6:55 PM on March 10, 2011

Everytime one of my nieces gets into my car she wants to hear this song:
Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad by Christine Kane (the actual song starts at about 1:55 if you want to skip the intro)
posted by BoscosMom at 8:27 PM on March 10, 2011

These 2 by Cheryl Wheeler would be good too:
The Potato Song and My Cat's Birthday
posted by BoscosMom at 8:41 PM on March 10, 2011

The Who was a lot of fun to dance around the living room to when I was a kid. Happy Jack, Baba O'Riley, and Boris the Spider (the voices!) are all pretty kid-friendly.
posted by phunniemee at 9:42 PM on March 10, 2011

As a kid growing up in the 80s, the only music I ever really listened to was whatever was on the car radio my parents had on (which I thank God now for them having on). These are some of the ones I most vividly associate with those car rides, for whatever odd reason:

Blondie - The Tide Is High. Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian. Van Halen - Jump. Bill Withers/Grover Washington Jr - Just the Two of Us. Culture Club - Karma Chameleon. Yes - Owner Of A Lonely Heart. Naked Eyes - Always Something There to Remind Me. John Lennon - Just Like Starting Over.

And any of Billy Joel's, Michael Jackson's, or Hall & Oates's uptempo hits of the time. Especially Hall & Oates. (clap clap)

Also, the compilation commercials for Creedence and Motown ("2 LPs or 2 cassettes!") are forever ingrained in me.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:14 PM on March 10, 2011

Hotel Yorba - The White Stripes
posted by Blandanomics at 8:03 AM on March 11, 2011

Orange Blossom Special - Johnny Cash
King of the Bongos - Manu Chao
Close to Me - The Cure
Lovecats - The Cure
Beautiful World - Devo
Monkey Man - Toots and the Maytals
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
Open / Close - Fela Kuti
posted by tiburon at 4:49 PM on March 11, 2011

older ones:

Madness--Our House
The Specials--Pressure Drop
Elvis Costello--Veronica
Joni Mitchell--Big Yellow Taxi
Supertramp--Goodbye Stranger
Beach Boys--I Get Around
David Bowie--Golden Years
The Clash--Rock The Casbah and London Calling

and a newer one:

Great Lake Swimmers--See You On The Moon!

and yes to the suggestions above for ABBA, Paul Simon, and The Beatles
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:47 AM on March 12, 2011

Mr. hgg's childhood faves:

Three Dog Night: Joy To The World
The Fifth Dimension--Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In
Tennessee Ernie Ford--Sixteen Tons
Roger Miller--King of the Road
Eric Burden and the Animals--House of the Rising Sun
The Doors--Light My Fire
The Troggs--Wild Things

and a slower, more lullaby-like one:
Kris Kristofferson--Me And Bobby McGee
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:22 AM on March 12, 2011

My sources for music for the kids are usually video games, movie soundtracks, commercials and even tunes originally sampled by hip-hop artists. Here are a bunch of examples:

“San Diego Zoo” by The 6ths
“Alpha Beta Gaga” by Air
“Rebellion (Lies)” by The Arcade Fire
“Frontier Psychiatrist” by The Avalanches
“Planet Claire” by The B-52’s
“Delta (Little Boy Blues)” by Badly Drawn Boy
“Sloop John B” by The Beach Boys
“All Together Now” by The Beatles
“Clap Hands” by Beck
“Belle & Sebastian” by Belle & Sebastian
“Gracie” by Ben Folds
“We're All In This Together” by Ben Lee
“Lollipop” by Ben Kweller
“Dreaming” by Blondie
“Just What I Needed” by The Cars
“A Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins
“Aerodynamic” by Daft Punk
“Everyday Should Be A Holiday” The Dandy Warhols
“We Don't Say Shut Up” by The Danielson Famile
“Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab For Cutie
“July, July!” The Decemberists
“Mr. E's Beautiful Blues (Untitled)” & “Last Stop: This Town” The Eels
“Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra
“Ooh La La” The Faces
“1234” & “Mushaboom” by Feist
“Sing For Me” by The Fiery Furnaces
“This Here Giraffe” & “Bad Day” by The Flaming Lips
“Go Your Own Way” & “Don't Stop” by Fleetwood Mac
“Nature Anthem” by Grandaddy
“See You On the Moon!” by The Great Lake Swimmers
“Woody” & “Carried Away” by Hayden
“Awoo” by The Hidden Cameras
“Wanna Be Your Friend” by The Inbreds
“Picture Book” by The Kinks
“Breakdown [Handsome Boy Modeling School version]” by Jack Johnson
“In The Morning” by Junior Boys
“La Le Lala” Kinnie Starr
“Feelin'” by The La's
“Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot
“I Think I Need A New Heart” by The Magnetic Fields
“Little Rhymes“ by Mercury Rev
“Float On” by Modest Mouse
“Cuddly Toy” by Harry Nilsson
“Gold Soundz” or “Shady Lane” by Pavement
“Nowhere With You” & “True Patriot Love” by The Joel Plaskett Emergency
“All For Swinging You Around” by The New Pornographers
“Everything Is Everything” by Phoenix
“The Sunnyside Of The Street” by The Pogues
“We Will Become Silhouettes” by The Postal Service
“I Don't Want to Grow Up” by The Ramones
“Nobody” by The Replacements
“Take Me In Your Hand” by The Rheostatics
“She's A Rainbow” by The Rolling Stones
“Ice Cream” by Sarah McLachlan
“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon
“Penpals” & “Everything You've Done Wrong” by Sloan
“Peg” by Steely Dan
“If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens
“Alright” by Supergrass
“Sports!” & “Petite Feet” by Tim and Eric
“Eggs” by The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
“Sonic Bloom” by Tripping Daisy
“We Can Work It Out” by Stevie Wonder
“My Favourite Chords” by The Weakerthans
“Dyslexic Heart” by Paul Westerberg
“Ocean Man” & “Friends” by Ween
“Outta Mind (Outtasite)” by Wilco
“The Way I Feel Inside” The Zombies
posted by boost ventilator at 6:52 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, I loved A Capella music, particularly Spike Lee's Do It A Capella, watchable here apparently. This was very much helped by Rockapella doing the Carmen Sandiego theme.
posted by mismatched at 9:26 PM on March 18, 2011

Excellent suggestions. I had a bunch of new ones but looking through the list I think they were all covered. Made about $30 of MP3 purchases from Amazon from suggestions on this thread alone. My thanks!!
posted by gnash at 2:32 PM on March 20, 2011

For something of the non-pop variety, you might want to check out Dan Zanes - he makes what he refers to as "family" music (as opposed to "children's" music).

A lot of what he does is recording fabulous old folk songs you've never heard - two of his albums, Sea Music and Parades and Panoramas, are nothing but traditional songs, and they're FABULOUS. My family loves them; I've put them one when no one else was home and I'm doing the dishes.

They're also a great introduction to folk music (bust out your ukulele!).
posted by audiodidactic at 5:32 AM on April 2, 2011

Very late to the game on this one, and this is sort of a strange recommendation... but I have yet to meet a kid who didn't freakin' love Belinda Carlisle's Heaven is a Place on Earth.
posted by MaddyRex at 11:14 AM on May 16, 2011

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