Random Things On Your Head: The Unintentional Legacy of Laurie Berkner

We have a go-to song in our family for when we want to induce head-based silliness. A good time is guaranteed for all, simply by singing out “So-and-so’s got a ____ on their head (x3), and they keep it there all day!” It works for things that may have already accidentally landed on someone’s head (Ruby’s got a balloon on her head…) or things that you can place on to someone’s head, just for comedic musical effect (Edward’s got my shoe on his head…). The children enjoy this game, although it has become so ubiquitous that it can be easy to forget where it all originated.

Laurie Berkner put out her first children’s album in 1997, so almost 20 years ago. It came out too late for my childhood, and too early for my kids, so it would be easy for those parents in my generation to have missed her and her incredible music, despite her presence on Nick Jr. and Sprout. This music is fun, it’s clever, it’s alternately sweet and silly, and it’s something that all generations can enjoy together. In 2001, on her third album, Berkner included a song called “Pig on Her Head,’ and I have no idea how it worked its way into our familial subconsciousness, but there it is. We sing that song at least once a week (and sometimes several times a day), adding new words and verses appropriate to the situation. And yet we didn’t have a full grasp of just how much Laurie Berkner there was out there to love.

Problem solved! As a blogger, musician, and reviewer, I got word that, on June 16th, The Laurie Berkner Band would be doing something kind of ingenious. They are releasing 6 new compilations simultaneously, collecting a lot of her earlier music into themed albums better suited to parents and teachers who are looking for tunes about a specific subject. I was offered the chance to download these albums for free to review, which I jumped on, and they are just so much fun.

The 6 themes are: Animals Songs, Classroom Favorites, Food Songs, Movement Songs, Nature Songs, and Transportation Songs. A couple of songs are repeated on more than one album (“Fast and Slow: The Rabbit and the Turtle” is on both the Transportation collection as well as the Animal one), but for the most part you are getting around 75 tracks of kid-pleasing, adult-pleasing fun. I’ve been playing them for the kids this past week or so, and they are already hooked on “I Feel So Crazy I Jump in the Soup” and “Choc-o-lot in My Pock-o-lot.” They were both singing along to “Rocketship Run” almost immediately, and of course we all squealed with delight when “Pig on Her Head” came rolling over the speakers.

If you are a huge Laurie Berkner fan and own all of her music already, these probably aren’t the albums for you. You would do better to just make some sweet iTunes playlists out of what you’ve already got. But if you are a casual fan, or have never heard her music before, or are a teacher or homeschooler looking for songs about any of these subjects, then go pre-order these collections right now. You won’t regret it. And if you don’t have kids, trust me, you will probably still get your money’s worth.

Posted in Children, Laurie Berkner, Music, Parenting, Review, Tenor Tuesday.

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