Friday, February 10, 2006


Maybe it's because I'm musically-inclined -- no, not musically-gifted or -talented or can even carry a tune or keep a beat, no I just love music (a lot of it anyway) -- but I almost constantly have tunes dancing in my head. In the interest of disclosure, I'll admit to being a shower-singer, a car-singer (especially when I think other people aren't looking), and I'll be crooning to the neighborhood (when I don't see anyone else outside) when I'm taking out the trash. Most likely, I'm just the village idiot, but I'm a singing idiot.

So, obviously, I have lots of songs that get stuck in my head. In this post, though, I just want to talk about children's songs that I find myself singing. We write for children, and I pretty much consider myself a kid at heart -- others that know me better than I know myself use a different word: immature, but I'm not sure what that means, so I'll just take it as a compliment -- so I guess it's not strange that I get lots of kid's melodies "jogglin' in my nogglin." Also, I teach 4-year olds (6 year olds last year) in Sunday School, so quite a few of them will be "songs of faith" for kids. Then, my oldest son takes piano lessons, so I hear quite a few there as well.

Here's a not-quite-comprehensive list of my regulars:

I Know an Old Lady (Who Swallowed a Fly)
Rise and Shine (and Give God the Glory-Glory)
Alleluia/Praise Ye the Lord (medley)
I'm a Little Teapot
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Father Abraham
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
When a Bullfrog Croaks (Zak Morgan's cool song)
Farmer in the Dell
The Christmas Song (Alvin and the Chipmunks)
Baa Baa Black Sheep/Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star/ABC Song (all the same tune)
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy
Old MacDonald
Hush Little Baby
(I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy) Down in My Heart (Where?)
Theme from Sesame Street
This Land Is Your Land

A lot of times I don't know all the words, such as with Hush Little Baby, but I just keep on going making up my own as I go along. Example: "Hush little baby, don't say a word, daddy's gonna buy you a mockingbird, and if that mockingbird don't sing..." and that's about as far as I know of that one, but I continue, "...dadd'ys gonna buy you a diamond ring, and if that diamond ring don't shine, daddy's gonna buy you A Wrinkle in Time, and if that book don't read too good, daddy's gonna buy you a piece of wood..." and on and on it goes. I sing that one a lot to my baby daughter. I, uh, think she likes it.

You may wonder how in the world I fit all these in with the regular adult music, especially Bill Mallonee tunes, that constantly whirl through my head. I don't know how to explain it. Just the way it is and I am, I guess. I probably should be constantly praying, like the B-I-B-L-E says, but usually I'm constantly singing. And (usually but) not always to myself.

How about any of you guys? Do any of you, especially you guys/girls with kids, have any kid's music running through your heads? If so, what are some of the numbers you're singing to yourself? Don't be shy.


codepoke said...

First, and most importantly, that is one scary picture.



That about stops me cold.

Anyway, I gotta be different again. I actually listen to the music in my head, because it tells me how I'm feeling so often. I will find that I'm singing one line of a song over and over and over. I know the whole song, but it's just that line over and over. I might even be singing it wrong. Whatever I'm singing, though, it's what I'm feeling.

One day I just kept singing,
And he's watching us all
With the Eye
And he's watching us all
With the Eye
And he's watching us all
With the Eye
And he's watching us all
With the Eye

I had not realized it, but I was getting really nervous about how our church's leader was getting authoritarian. The song in my head told me, though.

codepoke said...

Yo, Rich!

Here is something you NEED to read. Why they still cannot pick the next "Hit" song.

Rich said...

That makes sense that social influences matter. I think it's true of books as well, but not to the same degree. But you can see with the Harry Potter phenomenon how what other people are reading matters a lot as to whether you'll read it or not.

If "everyone's" listening to a new band or new cool song, then chances are you'll probably want to, too. But it's sort of like what Scot's mentioned (Ken may have, too) previously, it has to reach a tipping point to get to the place where you know "everyone else thinks this song is popular" so I'd be a fool not to. Of course, there'll always be those who'll "rage against the machine" as it were. Just because something's popular doesn't make it good. (A lot of times, that's me.) But the reverse is true, as well: just because something's popular doesn't make it bad, either.

As far as predictive success, it is hard to know from the beginning, and execs in the music biz (and publishers as well) are always taking a chance. That's why the amount of marketing is SUCH a big thing, because that influences people's decisions as well. It's also why they're reluctant to go with the "new" thing when something/someone else has a successful track record.

B said...

I just finished reading about that study before I came over here (I read about it on I didn't read the whole article that codepoke linked, but the article over at Fox News said that people probably rely heavily on what others think about music and books because there are too many options. Having so much out there makes it impossible for one person to sample all the artists and writers for themselves.

As far as what kids songs get stuck in my head, they are usually songs that I song all the time when I was a kid. Songs like Peter, James and John in a Little Sailboat, I'm Gonna Sing Sing Sing and Down in My Heart have been favorites since I sang them in Sunday School. I also still like the songs from my favorite Disney Movies. Baby Mine, Once Upon a Dream and Be Our Guest are still heard in my head on a regular basis.

WandaV said...

When I'm in a really excellent, jubilant mood, I'll break into a yodel.(or sometimes just to irritate my kids)

I worked in our church's bus ministry and junior church ministry for so many years that I have lots of those songs seared to my soul.

I also croon old western songs Dad had on an album that fascinated me.


Rich said...

Great points, b. Should I be crediting you or Fox News? Er, I'll credit you.

And yeah, I totally mind-blundered on Disney songs, but I'll have Under the Sea and Hi Diddly Dee bouncing from ear to ear A LOT.


Which songs? Name 'em, girl (well, all except for the western ones - unless you're talking about Jessie in Toy Story 2).

WandaV said...

Well, some of them you would know already.

Father Abraham - which was alway fun to lead the hand and feet motions to on a swaying church bus.

The Noah Song Arky-Arky song-- whatever te real title was. You know, "God told Noah there's gonna be a floody, floody" (this song pops to mind when it rains)

This little light of mine

I've got the joy, joy, joy etc.

Do Lord

It is summertime in my heart

Then there's the daycare songs:

Little bunny Foo-Foo (yes, I hear it echoing in my head sometimes. Argh!)

The song that never ends- the one that ended Sherry Lewis' show daily

I can never dribble a ball without chanting "One little, two little, three little Indians."

And the hand song-- you know the one where you clap and slap in time with the words: "Miss Mary Mack-Mack-Mack all dressed in black-black-black.

A friend of mine at church,who is several years my junior, thinks we should write the lyrics to the old Sunday school days down so that they aren't completely lost to the generations to come. It might be a sound idea, really. Times change and so do songs.

As for show tunes, I sing "Singin' in the Rain" when I take the dog out in a downpour. I unexpectedly come out with "Just you wait 'Enry "Iggins, just you wait." at the oddest times.

My daughters love it when I sing Johnny Horton songs like Battle of New Orleans and Sink the Bismark. (yes, I actually sat through the record long enough to learn the words by heart.

Westerns: Anybody remember Ghost Riders in the Sky? My girls and I belt it out in the car. Hee hee.

Sorry I was too lazy to go and italicize the titles. Forgive me?


Rich said...

Nothing to forgive.

Those are awesome, and some of them bring back some school day memories (i.e Battle of New Orleans and Little Bunny Foo Foo).

Thanks for the backward stroll, and by all means chronicle the history.

codepoke said...

Ghost Riders in the Sky?


Three different versions of it, on the harmonica in 2 keys, and every word. Yeah, I remember the first song I ever wanted to memorize! (Unless it was "Blowin' in the Wind". One day at about age 12 I realized it was all about Nixon, and my understanding of music changed forever.)