Strike Up The Children’s Choir!

July 2, 2009

Paloma accused me of being an aficionado of songs with children’s choirs. I found myself on the receiving end of this perceived slur when we chanced across The Lost Boys on cable.

As we watched the antics of ‘80s-styled vampires, the song Cry Little Sister played on the movie’s soundtrack; said song featured a children’s choir.

It was then that she made her allegation (despite the fact that the song means nothing to me – though the movie’s soundtrack was fun back in the day).

I stammered for a comeback to an accusation that was truly a first. My fifth-grade teacher said I was “as trustworthy as a rattlesnake,” but this children’s choir charge had me bumfoozled.

Could it be true?

The Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want has a children’s choir. No shame in being a fan of that one.

The only other song that popped into my head was, of all things, Kenny Loggins’ Welcome To Heartlight. Aside from one, maybe two songs, I’ve never been a fan – his association with Top Gun pretty much demanded that I blacklist him – and I loathed Welcome To Heartlight when it was a hit in ’83.

If the only thing standing between me and a sullied reputation as a fan of children’s choirs was a dislike of Kenny Loggins, I was standing on shaky ground.

Some research quickly reminded me of The Carpenters’ Sing and Clint Holmes’ Playground In My Mind (“My name is Michael, I got a nickel…”). Both featured children’s choirs and I remembered hearing both as a youngster when they were radio hits.

Could affection for the dulcet strains of vocalizing urchins been ingrained in me when I was but an urchin myself? Is there something about the pint-sized choral harmonies of scamps and ragamuffins that cause my ears to perk up as though it was bacon sizzling in a pan?

I lost interest in researching pretty quickly. The results were inconclusive. For every song with a children’s choir that I liked, there was one that was not good.

Not good.

Actually, I didn’t even come up with a dozen songs. I have to have missed or forgotten some obvious ones.

However, here’s an assortment of songs that do have children’s choirs…

Sammy Davis, Jr. – The Candy Man

I think I was four when this song topped the charts. To a four-year old – when one of the few desires in life is candy – The Candy Man was as stirring as We Shall Overcome was to those marching for civil rights.

And though it wasn’t Sammy’s version, the song appeared in the movie Willie Wonka & Chocolate Factory, which seems to have quite a following with my fellow Gen Xers.

There must be a thesis in the relationship between that flick and slacker culture.

Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall, Part II
from The Wall

Like the concept of candy, a dislike for being confined to a classroom is a common thread in the DNA of kids. So, when I heard Another Brick In The Wall blaring incessantly from the bowling alley jukebox, it resonated.

It was one of the first 45s I ever bought with my own money and, though I wouldn’t really get into music for another year or so, Pink Floyd’s unlikely hit song helped awaken that interest.

Pat Benatar – We Belong
from Tropico

Pat Benatar’s rise to start status coincided with my teenage years, so she could have been singing Bolshevik work songs and she’d have had our attention.

Nonetheless, I owned most of her cassettes and likely bought Tropico soon after it came out. And, I’ve proven adept at repeatedly buying copies of her albums on vinyl which we already own.

Gorillaz – Dirty Harry
from Demon Days

Why I haven’t swooned harder over Gorillaz is a bit of a mystery to me. I love cartoons. Their music has always entertained me. And, I might be one of the few people that enjoyed the movie Tank Girl which was based on the comic book created by Jamie Hewlett who handles the animated aspects of the band.

I’d accept the blame except that would make me responsible. Instead, I think I need to devote more time to the music of Gorillaz. This should delight Paloma who is a big fan and – oh by the way – Dirty Harry features a children’s choir.