Beatlemania for the Babes

Mother and child playing guitar

Did you sing any Beatles songs when you were a kid?

National Public Radio recently did a report on why toddlers like the Beatles so much. (Funniest line: “Beatlemania returns to America this week.” What? It left?)

According to Dr. Deforia Lane,

The Beatles have repetition, predictability and rhythm. And in certain cases, it literally paints a picture for children. And quite frankly, the beat makes you want to move.

Heeeeey…sounds like Super Simple Songs characteristics to me! (And we thought of all that first, right?)

The Super Simple Songs have loads of repetition (Uh-huh), predictability (Rain Rain Go Away – Play With It), and rhythm (Knock Knock, Trick or Treat). The Bath Song paints a picture for the children, and you can’t sit still during The Pinocchio. (Links for the rest of the songs.)

Yes, much of me suspects that these kids are singing the Beatles mainly because their parents and teachers like the Beatles, but it’s true: many Beatles songs are easy for kids to sing and relate to. I like Bob Dylan, but I don’t have my kids sing his songs. (Another terrifically helpful Beatles/Super Simple Songs characteristic: articulation.)

child singing in microphone

I didn’t realize the Beatles’ higher voice range is also an appealing characteristic for toddlers. I would have thought lower registers were preferred, but I haven’t heard many toddlers squealing for Barry White or the Righteous Brothers.

The short report is well worth a listen. If you prefer reading, there’s a hastily-written not-yet-corrected transcript on the same page (ooh, I love those misheard lyrics at the end: I get high! I get high! I get high! not exactly what you want your toddlers singing at top of their lungs, eh?).

To answer my first question above, I don’t remember singing the Beatles as a kid. Not a single one. I don’t know why!

Oh, who is Dr. Lane? She’s a music therapist and the coordinator of the Toddler Rock program at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Toddler Rock? I didn’t know this program existed. How cool is that? We should organize a field trip, yes?

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