Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rewriting Childhood Songs

Lately, I've been trying to remember all the songs from my childhood. It's interesting to revisit these lyrics as adult. -- Some examples being Ring Around the Roses, Jimmy Crack Corn, or Buffalo Gals... You take a look at the history or context, and realize you just need to try to ignore the literal or implied meaning of the lyrics. Every once in awhile, I run across a song that has some golden parts to it, but some trash as well. So instead of throwing the whole thing out, I just keep what I want and make up the rest.

Example #1: Good Morning, Good Morning from Singing in the Rain.
In the movie, they're singing good morning because they've stayed up the whole night. And honestly I can't remember much more than, "Good Morning, Good Morning. It's great to stay up late. Good Morning, Good Morning to you." It's not that it's inappropriate for children, it's just that it's not very fitting. So I changed the words and added a bridge, and here's the new version I sing to Hazel every morning while changing her diaper:

Good Morning, Good Morning
I hope you're feeling great
Good Morning, Good Morning to you
Good Morning, Good Morning
I hope you're feeling great
Good Morning, This day is for you
You had a good night sleepy-time in bed
But now it's time for upsie-daisy, silly-head
Good Morning, Good Morning,
I hope you're feeling great
Good Morning, This day is for you

Example #2: Let the Sunshine In
Here's another one in need of a face lift. I love the chorus -- to me it was always a chipper anthem of the power of positive thinking. But then the other day I started singing the verse I remembered, and had to stop myself. It's all about the devil! I got online to see if there were other verses more appropriate for children, and found out that all the verses to that song are about the devil. Why anyone would craft such a delightful song with such terrible subject matter is beyond me -- like making a bouquet out of carcasses. So I took a little time to think about what I thought the song should say, and here is my new version:

My mother told me something
That a little girl should know
And it’s all about your attitude
When giving things a go
She says look for the good in things
And you will surely see
If you’re positive and confident
You can do anything

chorus:

So let the sunshine in
Face it with a grin
Smilers never lose
And frowners never win
So let the sunshine in
Face it with a grin
Open up your heart and
Let the sunshine in

While driving me to school one day
My daddy did explain
That I’m the one responsible
For having a good day
He says no matter what the day brings
You can always choose
To respond with kindness and you’ll find it
Keeps away the blues

[chorus]

And now whenever storm clouds
darken up the sky
I know just what I need to do
to get me through the night
I say a little prayer and
Remember to be brave
And a rainbow will soon appear
to chase away the gray


[chorus]

There! Much better!

The chorus always reminded me of the experience that inspired the second verse. I can remember many many mornings when my dad would be driving us kids to school, and he would ask, "Are you going to have a good day today?" The first few times we would point out that there's no way we could know that -- how could we know what would happen to us that day? And then he would start in with a little pep talk about how no matter what happens or what other people do, we always have control over our reaction and how we handle things. He would encourage, "Only you determine what kind of day you have!" After the first few speeches, anytime he would ask us "Are you going to have a good day?", we would just groan and laugh. We all remember those conversations very well, and as cheesy as it may be, it bears a lot of truth -- and is much better subject matter for a song!
video

28 comments:

Mike and Jane said...

I love the new words! I'm glad you're singing to Hazel. I never wanted to be anything but a mom when I was growing up and God blessed me with 4 wonderful kids.

Jenn said...

hazel is so blessed to have a mommy like you! i love singing to my kiddos but always draw a blank when it comes to remembering the good ones so i end up singing the same 2 or 3 songs over and over again each night... your post encouraged me to actually dig in and find out what the lyrics are to more songs! have a great weekend!
love, jenn

the momo dance said...

BA--you are so wonderful. Ben and I want to start swapping song videos with you. . . sort of a creative exchange of our versions of songs! anyway, one we like to sing to Doss, oddly enough, is the old Cheers song--"Making your way in the world today takes everything you got. . . " it is actually a really sweet tune. chat soon! btw, your comments on my blog make my day.

Jackhamr said...

This really made my day. Made me smile, cry and remember this song from childhood. Love the new words.
Thanks for sharing!

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