How to Live Without Corny Kids Music


April 10, 2012 by Jay Helms

Not long after Carla and I were married, we listened to one of Jeff Foxworthy’s comedy albums. On the album he jokes about how life moves fast, saying, “One minute you’re driving 90 mph in a Firebird jamming to Led Zeppelin, and the next minute you’re cruising in a mini-van singing ‘Hey diddle-diddle the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon.’ ”
I was never afraid of the mini-van…it was the ridiculous kids music I dreaded. So, I decided I was simply going to skip kids music altogether and just play cool music for our kids regardless of what they wanted to hear. By cool, I mean interesting, hip, and sophisticated instead of the newest pop music. So for anyone else who refuses to endure one more verse of “The Wheels on the Bus,” this one’s for you… my Top Fifteen Better Songs for Kids:

15) “On Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz (The best version was only released in the UK, but can be heard Here.)


14) “Surely Goodness” by Israel Houghton


13) “River of Love” by George Strait


12) “Get Down on It” by Kool & the Gang
11) “Magnificent” by U2 – Music Video is a Must.


10) “Sh-boom” by The Chords
9) “Waiting in Vain” by Bob Marley
8) “Salsa de Noche” by Gipsy Kings
7) “Mexican Dance” and “Hoedown” by Aaron Copland
6) “Off to Work” by Michael Giacchino from “The Incredibles” Soundtrack (Think “futuristic lounge” music as if it was written in the 1960s).


5) “L’Appuntamento” by Ornella Vanoni – Ultra-Cool Italian Love Song from the beginning of Ocean’s Twelve.
4) “Kathy’s Waltz” or “Strange Meadow Lark” by Dave Brubeck
3) “Life in Technicolor (Versions 1 & 2)” by Coldplay – When was the last time you heard a hammered dulcimer in rock music? Plus this song has My Favorite Music Video of All Time.
2) “Munster Cloak” (Live version recorded in Matt Malloy’s Pub) by The Chieftains


1) “Word” by P.I.D. (Track 7 on the Album “Born with the Gift”).


2 thoughts on “How to Live Without Corny Kids Music

  1. annewoodman says:

    I am in absolute agreement about this post! We played/play all sorts of classic stuff for our kids, like the Beatles, Zeppelin, Marley, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sheryl Crow (and I used to play Aaron Copland in orchestra in high school–super-fun!). I think kids can get a lot from being exposed to real music. Although I have to confess–our son really, really, loved the Wiggles (and I did, too!).

    • Jay Helms says:

      I suspected there were a few others out there who felt the same way I did/do. That’s funny about the Wiggles…it could happen to any of us :). One of our Ella Favs is “Manhattan”. That’s a great summertime song. I wonder what difference it’ll make in our kids’ lives, to have a rich variety of music played in the home growing up…

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