Mick Cooke's Top 10 Songs for Children
Mick Cooke is a composer for film and TV, and a former member of Belle & Sebastian. He first started writing songs for children in 2005. His album of children's songs, Down At The Zoo, went to number 1 in the iTunes children's chart in 2011. Mick wrote and performed Playtime for Penguins, which appears on the new Bookbug Toddler CD.
These days there's no shortage of music produced specifically for young children. Here's a list of 10 songs that have not been written specifically for children, but which my two boys (aged 3 and 6) really enjoy.
Mamma Mia by ABBA
That riff at the start seeems to really appeal to small people. And the way the Mamma Mia chorus is sung sounds kind of like nonsense in a way. From a songwriter's perspective, it's a masterclass in how to fit as many hooks as possible into a 3-minute song. There is no fat in this musical pork chop!
Who wouldn't want to meet Starman and get your mind blown?
Starman by David Bowie
You would have to be in a catatonic state for this song not to affect you, whatever age you are. Who wouldn't want to meet Starman and get your mind blown?
Hands Up by Ottowan
"Hands up, baby, hands up.” A useful song for dressing a toddler.
Sing Sing Sing by Benny Goodman
With those growling trumpets, devil trombones and infectious rhythms, it sounds like the soundtrack to a scary jungle safari. And as such, little folks love it.
You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra
A song for all the family. Even though some days they can make you feel pretty old.
Incredible by M Beat featuring General Levy
I had an inkling that jungle music would appeal to my boys, and boy I wasn't wrong! It makes them dance like they've just had 240 volts through them - or so I would imagine. They remain strangely unreceptive to the Prodigy's first album, though, which again defies logic.
Jolene by Dolly Parton
You wouldn't think that this heart-wrenching song in which Dolly begs with another woman not to take away her man would appeal to a preschooler, but you'd be wrong. Our 3-year-old can't get enough of it. I don't blame him; if I had written a song half as good as this, I would die a happy man.
Old Man by Neil Young
We used to play Neil Young's Harvest album to our eldest when he was a baby to send him off to sleep. So much so that we became almost superstitious about the soporific powers of this album. With this song, you can not only send your baby to the land of nod, but sit and reflect upon your own mortality. Double whammy.
These Days by Nico
Again, more at the lullaby end of the spectrum. Seems to calm down a 3-year-old.
Reelin' In The Years by Steely Dan
This one confused me as well! My wife started playing the Can't By A Thrill album by Steely Dan in the car, and within a week our three-year-old was telling passing strangers that his favourite band was Steely Dan! Beyond logic, even if it is Pretzel Logic...
Playtime for the Penguins is featured on the Bookbug Toddler CD, available in all Bookbug Toddler Bags from March onwards. The tracks from this CD will shortly be available to download on the Bookbug Songs and Rhymes page.
If you would like to read more about the benefits of music for children, read our fascinating Bookbug blog on How Songs, Rhythms and Rhyme Support Early Development.
Get your kids moving with these Fantastic Books about Dancing.
For more information about Mick Cooke's work, please visit: http://toomanycookes.co.uk/