7 Rock & Roll Songs Kids Love As Much As Their Parents
Remember when you could listen to your favorite songs as loud as you wanted without having to worry about words that maybe weren't so appropriate for little ears? Before you were forced to play "Baby Shark" on repeat until you genuinely wondered if you would ever get it out of your head? Don't dismay, because there are rock 'n' roll songs that kids love as much as their parents do, and thanks to the oh-so-popular Rock and Roll Playhouse, you can now create a playlist of tunes you and your kid can happily rock out to.
The Rock and Roll Playhouse is a concert series that travels around the country and, according to their executive director, Amy Striem, "provides ways for parents to connect with their children through the shared excitement of live music. Combining elements of education, with music from iconic artists in the rock and roll canon, The Rock and Roll Playhouse offers an intergenerational experience by creating a space for parents to enjoy the music they grew up with while introducing their children to live music in a safe, concert setting." In other words, this is a children's concert that will leave parents wanting more, and possibly embarrassing their children with their singing and dance moves. #sorrynotsorry.
This Sunday the band members of The Rock and Roll playhouse will take the stage at Camp Romper, a Brooklyn event where families will be experiencing a day full of music, arts and crafts, yoga, food, and more. If you're not in the NYC area, you can check out to their events page to see if they're playing at a venue near you in the near future. In the meantime, here's a list of hits, courtesy of the band, that are tried and true crowd-pleasers. These seven songs are the perfect palette cleanser after you've been forced to listen to one too many children's songs, and/or you just cannot listen to "Old Town Road" one. more. time.
1. "Three Little Birds" Bob Marley
Oh how I love this song. We play "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley a lot to our kids: so much so that when I was having a bad day my oldest son started singing, "Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be alright." Cue the tears! Striem says they love to play this song and have the kids flap their arms and "fly" around like birds. I think I'll try that myself the next time I'm having a bad day.
2. "Yellow Submarine" The Beatles
The Beatles are a favorite in our house, and Striem says their classic "Yellow Submarine" provides the perfect opportunity for kids to not only listen, but also interact with the music. She states, "On the last chorus, we ask the audience to think of their favorite colors and shout them out. The band then plays the chorus by replacing 'Yellow' with various colors that the audience is shouting, which helps the kids connect with the musicians."
I can also attest to the fact that the "Yellow Submarine" music video is very entertaining to kids (I mean, hello, it's a cartoon), and I played for it about twenty solid minutes for my son when he was getting his allergy testing done several years ago.
3. "Shakedown Street" The Grateful Dead
Yes, you read that right, The Grateful Dead is kid-friendly. Well, the music anyway. Striem notes "Shakedown Street" is "perfect for encouraging movement and dance. The band will have kids warm up by shaking their legs, arms, heads, and bodies. By connecting activities with content from songs, we help spark imagination and creativity."
Guess that means it's time to get my old tie-dyed shirts out and get shaking!
4. "Ray of Light" Madonna
I can think of plenty Madonna songs that aren't necessarily on the top of my child-friendly playlist (as much as I love them myself), but "Ray of Light" is actually perfect to play, and dance to, with little ones. Striem says they love to use streamers at their shows as rays of light the kids can twirl around during this song. Even the most energy-fueled kiddo will be worn out after a dance party to this tune.
5. "Come Together" The Beatles
Of course The Beatles make the list twice. They're The Beatles for crying out loud! Striem says Rock and Roll Playhouse loves to bring out the parachute for "Come Together" because not only does it encourage movement and play, "but it encourages everyone to come together and work as a team to make 'waves.'"
I also like to sing this to my kids when we need to tidy, but I change the words slightly to "Come together, right now, we need to clean." They love/hate it, but it works.
6. "Honky Tonk Woman" The Rolling Stones
I just took a quick peek at the lyrics for "Honky Tonk Woman" by The Rolling Stones and it's definitely not suitable for children, but thankfully for us all, Mick Jagger is a bit hard to understand when he's singing it so you can get away with playing it as long as your kids can't actually read what he's saying.
In the show, Striem says they alter the lyrics to make them kid-appropriate and use this song as a way for kids to learn about instruments, noting "The sensory experience of a four or five-piece rock ‘n’ roll band might be a lot for a toddler to unpack, so all of our shows have a song where we introduce each instrument and layer to them one by one... The drummer will start playing and the bandleader will quiz the kiddos by having them shout the name of the instrument. Each part is then added one by one until all instruments are playing together."
7. "Hand In My Pocket" Alanis Morissette
Striem says "Hand in my Pocket" by Alanis Morissette is another great tune for teaching about the instruments, and certainly one that will have parents of a certain age singing along at the top of their lungs. Parents such as me, for instance. And while you may have to censor a word or two in this tune, I love the lesson about not having it all figured out just yet that Morissette teaches in this song.
Whatever songs you choose to play for your kiddos, just know that you don't have to say goodbye to all your favorite music just because you have kids. Though you may not be able to escape Kidz Bop all the time, you can certainly balance it out with some kid-friendly rock 'n' roll classics that will remind you of your younger, less-tired days. Just make sure you stretch before you start busting out those dance moves.