Introducing The Beatles et. al. to a 2.5 year old
June 7, 2012 12:18 PM   Subscribe

I want to introduce my 2.5 year old daughter to songs & tunes that will stay with her for the rest of her life. When she was born, I used to sing to her Ringo’s "Good Night" as her first lullaby, and recently when she found it on ‘her Youtube’, she was astonished & happy to rediscover it. I want to feed her with many more great Beatles tunes to grow up with, as well as any and all other great & necessary melodies.

Right now she loves 'Moon River,' 'My boy lollipop' & 'Strangers in the Night' for some reason. Otherwise, we have mainly classical music playing as background, which I want to augment.
Please recommend great Beatles play lists and other musical ideas.
(This Q&A helped)
posted by growabrain to Grab Bag (42 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Octopus' Garden, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Yellow Submarine.
posted by goethean at 12:20 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was wandering BN today and saw a book that talked about the stories behind the lyrics for all the Beatles' songs - that might be interesting, too.

That said, kid music has improved over the years - do a YouTube search for "Kitty Fight" and "I think I'm a Bunny".
posted by tilde at 12:24 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: Bungalow Bill, Rocky Raccoon (SPOILER: Rocky dies at the end).
posted by goethean at 12:31 PM on June 7, 2012

Beatles live at the Beeb will never disappoint. Features Paul singing "Till There Was You" from "The Music Man."
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:36 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: Help
When I'm 64
Ob La Di, Ob La Da

Also look into Simon and Garfunkel for similar songs that both kids and adults can learn to love.
posted by bondcliff at 12:36 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: How about folk? Bruce Springsteen's "Seeger Sessions" album would be fantastic. Plus when she gets a bit older than 2-1/2, she could really dig the silliness of the first verse of "Dan Tucker" ("Old Dan Tucker was a fine old man/washed his face with a frying pan/combed his hair with a wagon wheel/died of a toothache in his heel").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: Good Day Sunshine, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Penny Lane refers to the always-popular fire engine.

Lots of Beatles songs have animal sounds in them: Good Morning Good Morning, Blackbird, Piggies, Hey Bulldog.
posted by goethean at 12:40 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: You may want to look into the Rockabye Baby series, which turns acclaimed rock and pop tracks into more child-appropriate nursery and lullaby melodies. They work surprisingly well, and get around the problem of great songs that have problematic lyrics.

Some examples:

Journey - Don't Stop Believin'

Queen - Under Pressure

Smashing Pumpkins - 1979

Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child o' Mine

Radiohead - Paranoid Android

And they've got a whole album of Beatles hits.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:40 PM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Some more good Beatles songs for kids:

All You Need is Love
Hello Goodbye

I always think Paul Simon is great non-kid kid music. E.g.:

Me and Julio
St. Judy's Comet
Born at the Right Time
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:45 PM on June 7, 2012

Cat Stevens' If You Want to Sing Out (featured in Harold and Maude, to ring a bell).
posted by kitcat at 12:46 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: You know, almost anything by Cat Stevens. And Donovan.
posted by kitcat at 12:47 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: A couple of "lullabies" I had as a kid:

Doo Wah Diddy (the first song I remember learning)
Blowing in the Wind
posted by fishmasta at 12:56 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: Dave Brubeck's Greatest Hits has been in constant rotation in my family since it came out in 1966. My siblings and I all grew up on it and I'd say we all probably still listen to that album (or the ones it was compiled from) on at least a monthly basis. It's instrumental jazz, so not sing-along... but endlessly listenable. Nobody could make odd time signatures swing like The Dave Brubeck Quartet.

On preview: now that bondcliff mentions it, Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits was another heavy rotation album around the house when i was little.

All of the Beatles suggestions so far are good, and I would add the Hey Jude album as a fantastic, prefab Beatles playlist spanning most of their existence. not sure it's currently in print in any format, but a playlist could be easily assembled from individual tracks.

Also: pretty much anything by They Might Be Giants, even before they started making kid's music.
posted by usonian at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2012

Get Beatles Rock Band! She will love smashing the drums (probably), it has a no-fail mode, and I guarantee that those songs will get into her head. Even the later ones that aren't so poppy.

Also? Anything you like! I play the Pixies and the Ramones and dance around with my kid and he loves it, and I love that he requests it.
posted by chickenmagazine at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In the throes of feeling overwhelmed and hormonal after my daughter was born, I would sing Blackbird to her and sob. If I'm tired or sad, it will still make me cry. The Beatles songs I played when she was little are still among her favorites, she's 11 now. Seconding Simon & Garfunkel, they were immensely singable when she was little. She doesn't go out of her way to listen to them, but I catch her singing along if the songs come on shuffle/radio in the car.
posted by upatree at 1:05 PM on June 7, 2012

good point, chickenmagazine - the bitty beatles fan is also a huge ramones fan around here
posted by tilde at 1:05 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: My girls love High Hopes as sung by Frank Sinatra.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:12 PM on June 7, 2012

The Beatles' Piggies was a fave growing up, and I don't see it mentioned here. Lots of Queen, too. "Bicycle" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" in particular.

My 19 month old likes watching old videos of the Lennon Sisters on Lawrence Welk on Youtube. They are super, super corny, but it's close up shots of happy children singing, they sing well so I don't mind hearing it, and the songs are old standards that everyone in the family knows.

Also, this is a sort of sideways angle on your question but They Might Be Giants has a number of albums that were written to be equally enjoyable for kids and adults. We have "NO!" and the toddler was actually singing some of the songs as he went to sleep last night. And Jonathan Coulton has Beatle-ishly singable songs about robots and zombies and things.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:18 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: Nature Anthem by Grandaddy is wonderful, easily memorized, and has a fun video.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:28 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

My boys liked Elvis (the 'Elvis 56' disc in particular) when they were 4 & 5ish (Beatles, too). We used to sing in the car together. They did the Jordanaires parts.

Although I'm sure your dear one will have much better sense than my boys, do be aware that even with early exposure to the good stuff, the following may happen:

16 now listens to cloying commercial pop. And sometimes Mozart.

15 now listens to Skrillex. And Mouse on Mars.

Neither would willingly put on the Beatles. Or Elvis. "Mooooooooooom! Put on something from this century!"

Best laid plans of mothers and etc etc etc... Sigh.
posted by agentmitten at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2012

I grew up listening to cassette tapes of Manhattan Transfer and songs from Spike & Co: Do It A Capella in the car with my dad.

I had no idea the a capella casette was from a TV show until I Googled it just now.
posted by topoisomerase at 1:59 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: My wife and I sang this song to our son. I know it really well so here's how it goes, "God Bless Us All."

God bless the postman, who brings the mail.
And bless the cowboy, out on the trail.
Bless the man who waves to me, when the train goes by.
Bless all the pilots, flying through the sky.
Bless every space man, on my tv set.
And bless the serviceman. Please don't forget....
Bless Mommy and bless Daddy
who come each time I call.
God bless the ones I love.
God bless us all.

You'll find the original 1953 recording by Bobby Dixon on youtube somewhere but we know it from a 1987 NRBQ live album.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:09 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just recently made a Beatles compilation for my newborn nephew. I'd looked into those lullaby remake albums, but I figured I may as well go with the real thing. These fit on one CD, and I tried to weed out those that gets too loud for a sensitive newborn (I still wonder if Hey Jude actually gets too raucous).

If I Fell, And I Love Her, I'll Be Back, I'll Follow the Sun
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, Yesterday, Yes It Is, I've Just Seen a Face
In My Life, Michelle, I'm Only Sleeping, Yellow Submarine
With a Little Help from My Friends, When I'm Sixty-Four, Julia, Blackbird
Mother Nature's Son, I Will, Good Night, Hey Jude,
All You Need Is Love, Something, Here Comes the Sun, Octopus's Garden,
Golden Slumbers. Across the Universe, Let It Be
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:16 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

During the day, my 19-month-old son loves glam rock Bowie, particularly "All the Young Dudes" and "Rebel Rebel," and Queen.

At night, we play mellower, night-night music like Van Morrison.
posted by hmo at 3:08 PM on June 7, 2012

I had no idea the a capella casette was from a TV show until I Googled it just now.

oh dude yes it's awesome I watched that on VHS so many times after we taped it offa PBS, coincidentally I've been listening to Ladysmith Black Mambazo's The Lion Sleeps Tonight on repeat like all week

If you're looking for the kind of stuff that influenced early Beatles, I will always rep for Chuck Berry, which I loved as a wee kid and continue to love today.

My two-year-old niece loves listening to a bunch of Putumayo compilations, which are from various parts of the world. She got this mp3 player for Christmas, which is durable as heck, not too loud, and allows her to listen to music whenever she wants.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:14 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: Barbara Ann!
posted by milk white peacock at 3:14 PM on June 7, 2012

A collection of classic children's songs will be memorable forever. This is a current collection on 3 CDs, although I wish it was better musically. I don't see anything else as comprehensive and cheap.

Here are new songs made for kids from the alternative-inspired band "The Not-Its".
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:16 PM on June 7, 2012

Bungalow Bill, Rocky Raccoon (SPOILER: Rocky dies at the end).

Don't think so. It was only a scratch.

But Daniel was still hot, though. . .:-)
posted by Danf at 3:16 PM on June 7, 2012

My child is actually named after a Beatles song so I love this, obviously.

Might I recommend some Breathe Owl Breathe for your little one? My kid was quite obsessed with them for some time -- we went to see them in concert and they were kind enough to tape his drawings he made for them up on their speakers. Not to mention, their live show is so kid and adult-as-kid friendly, it's not even funny. The band put out a kid's book not too long ago (the lead singer Micah is an artist as well) that featured his wood cuts and a 7" vinyl album to play along with it. They're such a delight as a band, especially when you and your kid can love it equal amounts.

And nthing the Beatles Rock Band suggestion, if you can manage it. Got it for my son two years ago for Christmas and he loved it.
posted by youandiandaflame at 3:23 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: I sing the following to my two-year-old girl:

Tom Waits - Time
Simon and Garfunkel - April, Come She Will (substituting "sleep" for "die" in August)
Simon and Garfunkel - Sound of Silence
The Beatles - Blackbird
Trad arr. Pogues - Dirty Old Town (subsitituting "big soft bear" for "big sharp axe", etc)

and recently, I remembered that I used to sing her Tom Waits's "Johnsburg, Illinois" when she was really small. Now every time I bust it out again she says "When I was a baby!" and grins.

The Beatles really work with toddlers. I have the blue double-album best of, and man--every time we're in the car, she wants to hear it, especially Don't Let Me Down. All I can say it it beats, for example, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, on the red best of.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:46 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: The Woody Guthrie collection Songs To Grow On For Mother And Child was a big hit with my daughter when she was small.

I also used to sing her Yellow Submarine and Let It Be at bedtime--not sure how we arrived at those two.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:12 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: The Really Rosie soundtrack by Carole King is great.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:20 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My parents played the Beatles and tons of other 1960s/70s music when I was growing up, all of which I still love today, but when I was really little I LOOOOOOOOVED to sing and dance like a maniac to the Stand by Me soundtrack, which is filled with fantastically kid-friendly 1950s rock.
posted by gatorae at 6:32 PM on June 7, 2012

In case you're interested in another bedtime song to sing, this is a favorite of mine (and someday, I hope, of my son's):
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)- Billy Joel

It's pretty easy to play on piano in case you're so inclined. When I play this on piano and just think the lyrics, the last two verses make me choked up. Hope you like it!
posted by EKStickland at 8:01 PM on June 7, 2012

Schoolhouse Rock, maybe? (Which opens the door later to all kinds of amazing musicians like Bob Dorough and Blossom Dearie.)

Bobby McFerrin is also good.

I'm realizing that these are musicians my mom listened to when I was growing up, whom I've come to appreciate on my own. A good sign…
posted by Lexica at 8:29 PM on June 7, 2012

Best answer: I'm late to the game here, but I had to share... I sang The Beatles' "I Will" to my daughter as a baby, almost every night, at bedtime. I'd sit at her bedside stroking her face and her little eyes would blink shut. She would ask me to sing, "Who knows I love you," but I never heard her sing it herself. Then, when she was two and a half, her little brother was born, and one day I left him wrapped in his little carseat in the living room and I went into the kitchen to do something. When I walked back into the living room, I saw my daughter kneeling next to the carrier, her teeny hand on his cheek, singing her version of I Will to him. Gah. My heart. It explode. Best Mom Moment of my life to date.

I also enjoy singing Death Cab's "Passenger Seat" and Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You." All those sweet soft love songs. Really all the Beatles songs mentioned above are great too. But I'm preferential to I Will. :)
posted by takoukla at 5:33 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I had a musical Renaissance when I was around 18-19. I went to college and met friends who were into old 60's-70's music (think Apocalypse Now soundtrack-ish) and it hit me like a sledgehammer, I had heard alot of this music before! No idea where from! I finally figured out it was just what my parents were into when they had me, and it stuck. Specifically, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills & Nash, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Emerson Lake & Palmer... each have 1 song that I distinctly remember from before any visual memory.

That, and my parents had a boat when I was a young kid before my brother was born, and on the boat it was Beach Boys and Bob Marley 24/7, so even to this day hearing either takes me back to early early childhood on the lake.

Moral of the story: I'd just share the music you like with your kids, and it will be special to them in their future more for what it represents than for the music itself. Although I gotta say my parents listened to good music ;)
posted by el_yucateco at 6:43 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Some of The songs I still remember from my childhood:

We're Comin' to America - Neil Diamond
Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul, and Mary
Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul, and Mary
Mr. Tambourine Man - Byrds
Be My Baby - Ronettes
Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
Bad Moon Risin' - Credence Clearwater Revival
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Wild Thing - Trogs
Joy to the World - Three Dog Night
I'm a Believer - The Monkees
Under the Boardwalk - Drifters
Chapel of Love - Dixie Cups
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
American Pie - Don McLean
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
posted by xyzzy at 10:09 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Jason Falkner's Bedtime with The Beatles and Bedtime with The Beatles, part two.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:19 PM on June 8, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you to all responders. Please keep updating the list, if you have more suggestions.
posted by growabrain at 8:46 AM on June 9, 2012

My dad sang a couple of Beatles songs (Ob-La-Di, Let It Be, Hey Jude) around the house, but we never had more than the Hey Jude album in the house until I was about 8, when I started exploring them on my own. They're wonderful memories for me and I still very much enjoy The Beatles.

I think the entire Abbey Road album is a wonderful package of catchy lyrics and background-worthy instrumentation. I've put The Safaris' Wipe-Out and The Five Stairsteps' O-o-h Child on a playlist for kids. This Stax collection has a bunch of classic tracks like Otis Redding's I've Been Loving You Too Long and Eddie Floyd's Knock on Wood that I think are kid-friendly and will serve her well for years to come.
posted by knile at 12:08 AM on November 27, 2012

Revisiting this - the Yellow Submarine soundtrack went over well when I was a kid.

And to revisit other artists - my father is a major, major blues buff, so there was a lot of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and such around the house when I was a kid, but Taj Mahal's De Ole Folks At Home made it into heavy rotation as it was fairly kid-friendly - it's the second half of a double-album, and was all acoustic blues/folky, with two songs - "A Little Soulful Tune" and "Cluck Old Hen" - especial favorites.

And Taj's cover of Ooh Poo Pah Doo is probably what my father is teaching my niece right now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:06 AM on November 27, 2012

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