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God Bless American Idol and Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies

Why God bless American Idol you might ask? Well, for the last two weeks they’ve been doing Lennon and McCartney songs. Yes, most of the contestants are murdering them, but as a side benefit of this, I can actually listen to the Beatles with out my kids pissing and moaning about it. ‘Cause you know, if it’s on American Idol, it’s got to be good. Yeah…whatever.

When I was a kid my mom always sang bedtime songs to us. Looking back, I realize that some of them were probably less appropriate than others, and I wonder if that contributes to my love of sad songs today. I know she sang us happy songs, but the sad ones are the ones I really remember and the ones I’d always asked for. Popular bedtime songs of my childhood include:

Imagine, Blowin’ in the Wind, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Bye Baby Bunting, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, One Tin Soldier, Farwell to Tarwathie, Molly Malone (I blame my Gram for that one though) Let it Be, Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, Sundown, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Scarborough Faire, American Pie, Turn, Turn, Turn, Country Roads, In My Life Jet Plane, I am a Rock and of course, Puff the Magic Dragon. She did make up a fourth verse to this one because my brother Martin sobbed when he was old enough to understand what a sad song it really is.

I’ve kept up the bedtime song tradition with my kids – they choose what they want to hear just like we did. Some of them are the old standbys of my childhood and some are new. They both love Dar Williams’ The One Who Knows and We Learned the Sea. Corwin’s favorites are One Tine Soldier, Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Scarborough Faire. He really likes a lot of Celtic folk and frequently requests I Am Stretched On Your Grave (it’s a beautiful song but depressing as hell) and Counting Crows’ Long December. I promise, he’s really not morose. Killian’s favorite is Molly Malone and Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).

I recently made my sibs and my mom each a two cd set called Mom’s Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies – they loved it. So, did you get bedtime songs as kids? Did/do you sing them to your kids? Which ones?

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13 thoughts on “God Bless American Idol and Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies

  1. I do not know how you can sing “The One Who Knows” by Dar Williams without sobbing all over the place. Even me–the least sentimental person around–can’t listen to that song without tearing up.For those who haven’t heard it, it’s about a mother whose child is almost grown up and ready to go out into the world, but she knows that if she’s loved her child enough, then her job is done. And the melody is beautiful and Dar’s singing is gorgeous and heartbreaking and all at once.Excuse me, I have to go find my box of tissues.

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  2. When my sis and I had the chicken pox, Mom rigged the stereo so it stood in the hallway between our rooms. We listened to Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Zoo album and various Neil Diamond.I loved One Tin Soldier so much, my 1st ‘original’ fairy tale was based upon it. When I dig it out of storage, I plan on posting it on my blog for y’all to laugh at me!

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  3. I don’t believe I was ever a child so I can’t comment

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  4. My mom read us Terry Brooks and CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

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  5. My mother, sing? Snarl, maybe? Nope, sorry, no music in my early years. Probably why I admire anyone with even a pinch of musical talent. It’s a good thing I can write and sew…

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  6. I love the pics. And your mom has excellent taste in music. Sounds like a 60s 70s woman to me:)

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  7. Only sort of related – Saddest song ever: The song about the kid who wants to buy his mom new shoes to wear to heaven. OH. MY. GOD. Saddest thing ever. They used to only play it at Christmas, but now it is in the Muzak rotation at Meijer (local grocery store for those not from Michigan). It is terrible. I sob like a baby every time I hear it. Gag.XoXoXoDakota Rebel

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  8. Zaccheus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he… Sunday School song.Like the pics very, very much.

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  9. American Idol is dead to me.

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  10. Oh my dog, Dakota, I can’t listen to the Christmas Shoes song. Can. Not. Listen. I turn off the radio every single time it comes on.What kind of sadistic person wrote that song?

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  11. I love Sinead O’Conner, stretched on your grave. Love all her stuff.I don’t sing to the kids. It’s better for all of us that way. 😉

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  12. I still haven’t seen American Idol this week – it’s recorded. This is torturing me. Hopefully tomorrow I can tune in.I love the Beatles, too. Daughter #2 (17 now) didn’t know who Sir Paul (McCartney) was. Oy! How could anyone not know???A lot of those bedtime songs your mother sang to you, I sang to my kids: Puff the Magic Dragon, Blowing in the Wind, Where Have All The Flowers Gone, lots of Beatles songs, Scarborough Fair, and other moldy oldies. My mom sang stuff like “Mersey Dotes and (something) dotes and little lambsy ivy” or something like that. I remember the melody better than the words. And “Paper Dolls”.

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  13. Le sigh. “Tom Dooley” was also a sad one. I also remember Tim singing me “November Rain” by GNR. Good times.

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