I originally set out to make a compilation of lullabies for my sister when she was pregnant with my niece. I thought it would be a nice gift she, my brother-in-law, and my niece could share. One thing led to another, my niece was born, the CD was not made. No big deal, my niece was still too young to appreciate the songs anyway.
Then, I thought it might make a nice Christmas gift for my sister last holiday season. Well again, the CD never got made, but my husband and I did opt for the book Go the F*ck to Sleep as a gift instead. Bedtime-related? Yes. Soothing as a lullaby? Maybe not. But the intent was the same, at least.
This year, I do intend to copy these songs onto a disc for my sister and niece (sorry to spoil the surprise, sis!) but, as the holidays approach, I thought I’d compile this list for all of you, in case you’d like to do the same for your loved ones as a gift or for yourselves. The songs and artists reflect my personal tastes in music, but I think they have mass appeal as lullabies. It’s a mix for both parents and their children to enjoy together. Sweet dreams, everyone!
Rosie’s Lullaby – Norah Jones: Norah Jones is one of my all-time favorite artists. You could probably listen to any one of her songs and relax. This song, as the name implies, is particularly soothing.
“Rosie, come with me/ Close your eyes and dream.”
Father and Daughter – Paul Simon: Okay, so maybe this reaches only some of our readership, and it was a song for “The Wild Thornberries” movie, AND it has become an overplayed father-daughter song at weddings, but the message is beautiful nonetheless. And how can you go wrong with Paul Simon?
“I believe a light that shines on you/ Will shine on you forever/ And though I can’t guarantee there’s nothing scary hiding under your bed/ I’m gonna stand guard like a postcard of a golden retriever/ And never leave ‘til I leave you with a sweet dream in your head/ I’m gonna watch you shine, gonna watch you grow/ Gonna paint a sign so you’ll always know/ As long as one and one is two/ There can never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you.”
Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel) – Billy Joel: Another ubiquitous father-daughter wedding song, but again…it’s Billy Joel, come on! It’s a must. I remember listening to this song on the CD when it first came out. It was (and still is) one of the few CD’s my parents owned, and this song, along with “River of Dreams” was the best part of the album.
“Goodnight my angel now it’s time to dream/ And dream how wonderful your life will be/ Someday your child will cry/ And if you sing this lullaby/ Then in your heart there will always be a part of me.”
Lullaby – Ben Folds: Another personal favorite, Ben Folds. A sleepy song done in true Ben Folds style, with a quirky story and a shout out to James Earl Jones. “Goodnight, goodnight, sweet baby/ The world has more for you than it seems/ Goodnight, goodnight, let the moonlight take the lid off your dreams.”
Lullaby – Dixie Chicks: When I first heard this song, I thought it was a really sweet love song for two adults. Then, when you really listen to the lyrics, you can tell it was written for a child. I love the sleepy guitar and harmonies. Drifting off now…
“They didn’t have you where I come from/ Never knew the best was yet to come/ Life began when I saw your face/ And I hear your laugh like a serenade/ How long do you want to be loved?/ Is forever enough?”
Song for a Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan: Go ahead, put this song on every mix tape you’ll ever make (yes, I said mix tape…remember those?). Christmas mix, winter mix, Lillith Fair mix, lullaby mix. Not an original song for Sarah (it was written by Gordon Lightfoot), but the best version I’ve heard of the song.
“The lamp is burning low upon my table top/ The snow is softly falling/ The air is still in the silence of my room/ I hear your voice softly calling/ If I could only have you near/ To breathe a sigh or two/ I would be happy just to hold the hands I love/ On this winter’s night with you.”
Oh Sarah, you had me at “lamp.”
Angel Standing By – Jewel: In high school, this was a song between my best friend, Emily, and me. To this day, she is still one of my best and dearest friends.
“You were never nothing less than beautiful.”
Songbird – Eva Cassidy: Originally a Fleetwood Mac song (lovelovelove), Eva does an amazing cover. In fact, Eva made a career of covering others’ songs. If you don’t know her already, check her out. Her version of this song is beautiful, and was the inspiration of my sister and her husband choosing this song as their wedding song. Plus, this version was also featured in the movie “Love Actually,” and who doesn’t love that movie?
“I love you, I love you, I love you like never before.”
So Are You To Me – Eastmountainsouth: This song popped up on one of my Pandora stations a while back and I fell in love. I’m a sucker for harmonies, poetic lyrics, and a fiddle.
“As the ruby in the setting/ As the fruit upon the tree/ As the wind blows over the plain/ So are you to me.”
One Voice – The Wailin’ Jennys: For every reason I love this song, see above. Poetry, harmonies, guitar. Plus, it reminds me of my ladies here on the blog, who make a difference every day with their voices.
“This is the sound of all of us/ Singing with love and the will to trust/ Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust/ This is the sound of all of us.”
Answer – Sarah McLachlan: Yes, yes, another Sarah song. I’ll spare you all of the lyrics, so you’ll have to trust me on this one. Just beautiful.
“I will be the answer at the end of the line/ I will be there for you while you take the time/ In the burning of uncertainty I will be your solid ground/ I will hold the balance if you can’t look down.”
“I have loved you for a thousand years/ I will love you for a thousand more.”
For other great, full-length lullaby CD’s by contemporary artists, I’d recommend:
Natalie Merchant “Leave Your Sleep”