I've never been a lullaby kind of guy. I don't know about you, but I've always been of the mindset that a baby should add to your life, not take it over completely. And there are times when I can stomach nursery rhymes and lullabies- for the good of my daughter- but there are other times when I want to punch each and every one of The Wiggles in the face. I'm sure even The Wiggles get sick of The Wiggles, and if they had their druthers they would much prefer to rock out. So when it comes time to sing my daughter to sleep, I don't sing her "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," I sing her some Skynyrd ("Tuesday's Gone") or some Springsteen ("Thunder Road").
Let my wife play all the Justin Beiber she wants in her car- when Daddy has the baby it's classic rock all the way. So say goodbye to "Rock a' Bye Baby," and "Hush Little Baby (Don't You Cry)," and say hello to a play list sure to send even the most raucous rug rat to bed mumbling the chorus to your favorite song from the 60's, 70's, 80's, and even the 90's. We're "rockin'" baby to sleep...daddy style.
Here's my list of the twelve best song's that you can sing to soothe your kid off to sleep (in no particular order):
note: click song title for video...
"Forever Young" (Bob Dylan, 1974, from the album 'Planet Waves')
Every Daddy should do some Dylan. This song, written as a blessing from a parent to a child, has the perfect melodic quality, and length, to put a baby to sleep in no time. But, if you want to ensure slumber, and actually teach your kid some words, impersonate a cover version of the song... As we all know, Bob's voice takes some getting used to and who the f@# knows what he's singing about?
"The Sound of Silence" (Simon and Garfunkel, remastered single, 1965)
If what you desire is silence from your screaming child, this is a no-brainer.
"Where did You Sleep Last Night" (a.k.a. "In the Pines" and "Black Girl," this is an American folk song dating back to the 1870s. This version by Nirvana is a reinterpretation of Lead Belly's 1944 version of the song. It was recorded for MTV Unplugged in 1993)
If you have a daughter, why not get her used to you asking her where the hell she's been long before her teen years? This song is amazing, and even the most tenacious of tearing toddlers will stop dead in their tracks to hear it.
"I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" (Jim Croce, 1973, from the album 'I Got a Name')
Okay, so it's folk rock, but it's no worse or better than Puff the Magic Dragon, and it's got a great sentiment. Sue me.
"In My Life" (The Beatles, 1965, from the album 'Rubber Soul')
Forget "Ob-la-di-ob-la-da" and "Yellow Submarine". If you want to put your kid to bed with a Beatles' Song, don't wuss out and go for the one with the high notes.
(Note: I've included a cover by Jason Mraz [click his name to play] to appease my wife and sister-in-laws... See?!! He even sucks when he sings other people's songs).
"You Better You Bet" (The Who, 1981, from the album 'Face Dances')
Here's a great interactive song for father and child. Get instant satisfaction when your kid sings the chorus back to you as he or she drifts off the dreamland.
"Babe" (Styx, 1979, from the album 'Corner Stone')
C'mon, you know the words to this one. Any kid trapped in his mom's station wagon in the early eighties while she left you in the car to go and buy smokes has been haunted by this song. They played it on the radio every two minutes in 1982 for three straight months. Now you get to pass it on to another generation, so it lives on and on and on... Why should we be the only ones who had to suffer?
"Better Man" (Pearl Jam, 1994, from the album 'Vitalogy')
When you're looking down at your little girl wailing in her crib because like a moron you wanted to check on her at two a.m., this is the song to keep in your back pocket. Let her know you're probably not the best man for the job, but you're all she's got, and maybe she'll cut you some slack and pass out in your arms.
"No Woman, No Cry" (Bob Marley and the Wailers, Live 1979)
As Bob says in the accompanying video (click the song), "Everybody has the answer," and hopefully, as your last resort; this song is the answer to your prayers when you're trying to get your future rabble-rouser to sleep. Just insert little Timmy or Tammy's names in place of the word "Woman" and you'll lull them off to sweet dreams... Then you can sneak out to the garage and appreciate the song in your own "unique" way.
"Midnight Special" (Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969, from the album 'Willy and the Poor Boys')
This traditional folk song, recorded many times over, was popular with many an inmate in the American South in the early 1900's hoping to take his own life to avoid a lifetime of incarceration. With its reference to a hand gun that could quickly put you out of your misery, I thought it fitting for fathers trying to get a wailing kid to bed. So when you're screaming "Just shoot me," play this song in your own head to keep your sanity. It helps.
"No Surrender" (Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, 1984, Live Boxset)
If you can capture the feel of the live version of this song, it's the equivalent of falling asleep in the great outdoors, next to a campfire, eating s'mores. This is a personal favorite... but the album version sucks, so don't even go there. If you're a father with a kid that refuses to go to bed, this is your anthem.
"My Way" (Sid Vicious version, 1978)
Ya, it starts off a bit slow, but once you speed it up, and get your Sid snarl on, you'll be rocking your kid like a rag doll to the beat. Trust me, when all else fails, protect your kid's neck from whiplash and get your punk on. Mosh it up, and this song will tire out the whole family in mere minutes.
There you have it. And in the words of AC/DC: "For those about to rock...We SALUTE you!"; or, at the very least, we hope your kid goes to sleep before 6 a.m.
Bin' there. Done that.