Songs about Children: “KID ROCK”
I guess even the wildest rock ‘n’ rollers settle down at some point. This new maturity is often signaled by the birth of a child, which inevitably leads to a song about the birth of a child, which leads to music videos with kids, which leads to an appearance on ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’.
Sometimes not. Sometimes they just write songs about kids….and here are some:
-“Memphis, Tennesee” Chuck Berry
The most deceptively heartbreaking song on this list. He’s calling the operator to try to get in touch with “his Marie”. You automatically think it’s a love interest, although he mentions an “uncle” which is odd.
Then in the next verse he tells how her mother pulled them apart, which still sounds like it was a lover. But he does mention Marie had “hurry home drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye.” Hmmm.
Then he nails you. Marie is only 6 years old, and obviously his daughter, and the mother, in fact was his own wife. Or ex-wife.
-”A Boy Named Sue” Johnny Cash.
This song made famous by Johnny Cash tells the funny story of what might happen if a father named his kid Sue. Just a funny song on how you can screw up your kid in one easy stroke.
-“Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” John Lennon.
Feeling guilty about neglecting his first son, the ex-Beatle deliberately took time off to be with his second. An older, more mature Lennon wrote this touching 1980 tune, which starts out with comforting words to a sleeping Sean. Given that Lennon was murdered less than a month after the song’s release, the line “I can hardly wait to see you come of age” is especially heartbreaking.
-”Father Of Mine” Everclear.
Everclear sounds so angry on this one, you’d almost thought the guy had been named Sue. It’s tough growing up with a bad dad
-“Mary Had A Little Lamb” Paul McCartney and Wings
Yep. The actual song, but with a McCartney melody that will earworm in your brain for months. See, Paul had a daughter, Mary, named after his mother who died when he was 14. She liked the song and even sang on the chorus (la la’s) with little sister Heather. That was more important to him at that point than the critics who pulverized him for it or the general public who mainly scratched their heads. See what being a dad can do to you?
-“Cat’s In The Cradle” Harry Chapin.
Most people with busy lives can relate to this one. The dad’s too busy for the son. But when the son grows up, he’s too busy for the dad. Karma, anyone?
‘Isn’t She Lovely,’ Stevie Wonder
On tour in 2007, the soul legend introduced his now-grown daughter Aisha to crowds as the infant he wrote about in this 1976 classic. The recording kicks off with baby Aisha crying. Later, she can be heard playing in the bathtub as Stevie says, “Come on — get out of the water.” Today, that lovely baby is one of her father’s backup singers.
‘Father and Daughter,’ Paul Simon
The man who gave us ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ wrote this gentle song for the 2002 animated feature ‘The Wild Thornberrys Movie’ and later included it on his album ‘Surprise.’ Simon, who has three children with Edie Brickell, sings, “There could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you.” what a great line. But I’m positive he’s wrong.
‘Father and Son,’ Cat Stevens
In this song, the father doesn’t want his son to leave the nest, but the son badly wants to make it on his own. Singing from the two perspectives in alternating verses, Stevens portrays hope on the father’s part and frustration on the son’s.
‘Time in a Bottle,’ Jim Croce
“There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do”: Those words rang tragically true when Croce was killed in a plane crash three months before this song’s release in 1973. The singer had decided to take a break from touring to spend more time with his wife and infant son, AJ, who inspired this track. First, though, he would fulfill his obligations to previously booked venues. After a gig in Natchitoches, La., his plane clipped a tree and crashed, killing everyone on board.
“Forever Young,” Bob Dylan
Part of his 1974 album “Planet Waves,” Dylan wrote this song after an eight year touring hiatus. Dylan had become a father while not on the road, and he felt that the subject matter would reflect with his fans. And what a great song. I have read the lyrics to my daughter at bedtime for years.