As Cooper's second birthday looms, he's finally aged to the point where he has developed some bona fide opinions about music—or at least latched onto a few favorite songs. Being that this is a household that emphasizes songs the whole family can enjoy (while not wholly outlawing outright kids' music), the majority of the songs on this list are simply oldies for young'uns. These are the songs (especially of late) that Coop asks for by name, and/or can "sing" on request.
- The Beach Boys: Barbara Ann
The song we've probably been singing to him most consistently since he was born. He finally got in the habit of doing the "Ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba-aaan" on his own a month or so ago. Not counting his own made up songs, which constitute him saying "MOMMY" or "DADDY" in a high, meandering sing-songy voice, this is the first song Coop learned the words to.
- Les Paul and Mary Ford: Bye Bye Blues
It just so happens that "bye bye" and "blue" were both words in his vocabulary, so it became a joy for him to actually put the two together once he connected to this song. "No cry, no sigh" came along in direct response to this tune. He requests this song about 85 times daily.
- The Playmates: Beep Beep (The Little Nash Rambler)
Okay, if you don't have kids, or if you don't know it from when you were a kid, you're probably not going to stomach this song beyond one or two novelty listens. But let me assure you that it is THE HIT of the household right how.
- Simon & Garfunkel: Leaves that are Green
When Coop discovered the black circles inside the square packages lining our shelves, he was obliged to take them all out and spread them out on the floor. When he learned that if you put the black circles on the turntable, music came out, he was hooked. Now every day he says "records! records!" because he wants to see the magic happen. His favorite is "red record," aka Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence (which has a red label...as opposed the "yellow record," Electric Prunes' Mass in F Minor—of all records!). We skip the opening track and start it on "Leaves that are Green," a jaunty little tune all about growing old and dying.
- The Free Design: Kites are Fun
He learned about kites through The Cat in the Hat, in which Thing Two and Thing One have lots of good fun with a kite. So of course this resonated with him, for despite never having seen a kite in person, he knows that kites are fun. Unclear whether, when he says "Kites Fun!" he is requesting this song or requesting that book. Pretty sure it's the song.
- Serge Gainsbourg: Comic Strip
A late-breaking addition to the list—he just heard this song for the first time yesterday, but it was a huge hit. Choreography during the Brigitte Bardot parts went a long way.
- The Kinks: David Watts
Not unlike "Barbara Ann," Coop latched on to the "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa-Fa-Fa" of this song.
- Tennessee Ernie Ford: Sixteen Tons
In truth I think Coop just likes this song because his mom and I have so much fun singing along to it. There was a day though where it was the only thing he wanted to listen to. Hope the lyrics are not a harbinger for his lot in life. Oh well, at least we can take comfort from Simon & Garfunkel that every life will eventually come to an end, even the hard ones.
- The Sesame Street version of Feist's "1234" is a huge favorite, not only because it includes counting to four, but also because there are monsters and penguins.
- Everything on Tom T. Hall's Country Songs for Children is really terrific. Earlier this year someone released a tribute compilation to this album, but that seems totally unnecessary. Seek out the original (on Spotify, if nowhere else—that's where we listen to it).
- Finally, a truly wonderful Sesame Street song from the 70s, "What's the Name of that Song?" There are actually a lot of great Sesame Street songs out there, old and new, but this one is the king in this house.