When it comes to music, I’m pretty eclectic. My playlist is just as likely to include Metallica as Lily Allen, Wolfmother as Kate Miller-Heidke, and The Killers as Manowar. I love music. Like many people, I can define whole swathes of my life by the music I was listening to at the time.
Moving across the country when I was 16?
Terrible, ugly, angry break-up?
I could go on, but I’m sure you know what I mean, and you’ve got your own songs-as-memories to fall back on.
One of the things I’ve struggled within since having kids is the need to play music that’s “age-appropriate” for them. For quite a while, that meant I just didn’t play music while they were awake. Then I went through a phase of playing “Kids music”.
(Do you have any idea how soul-destroying The Wiggles are after you’ve heard the same song for the thirty-seventh time in one day? Yes? You’re clearly a parent.)
Then one day I had an epiphany.
My parents didn’t play “age appropriate” music when we were kids.
They played the music they liked, and we either “got it” or we didn’t. Either way, we turned out just fine. In fact, I still remember how incredibly excited I was when I was about five or six years old, and my Mum decided to make me a tape of all my favourite songs. Both my brother and I got to choose the songs that would go on our own special cassettes, that we could then take it in turns to play throughout the day.
I don’t remember every song that was on my very first mix-tape, but I remember some. The selection included:
I know. I was clearly a melancholy kid. But oh, I loved that mix-tape! I had no idea what the songs were really about, I just knew that they touched me deeply, and I wanted to fall into the music and live there forever and ever.
But it wasn’t all tragic. Just to break it up, I also included this:
I started thinking about my childhood mix-tape this afternoon when I posted this status update on Facebook:
“Shot through the heart, and you’re too late. You give gloves… a bad name.” — My 5yo songmaster.
It actually makes me incredibly happy to know that if five-year-old Big Brother made his own mix-tape, there would barely be a “kids song” to be found. It would be more likely to include a bit of the Who:
“Talkin’ bout my gena-a-tion”
And a bit of Queen:
“He’s just a poor boy from a poor family, Spending his life with this one sausagey”
A bit of The Doors:
“Hello, hello, what is your name?”
Maybe some Vanilla Ice:
“Ice, Ice Baby. Too cold, Too cold.”
And, of course, the aforementioned Bon Jovi:
“Shot through the heart and you’re too late. You give gloves a bad name.”
What were your favourite songs as a kid? Do your kids like the same music as you?