Songs From My Youth (Monday, November 2, 2015)
Most everyone has songs that they associate with their childhood whether those songs were learned through school or at home. Many of these songs are aimed at teaching lessons, while others are simply supposed to be fun/silly things for little kids to sing along with. The songs of my childhood contain some songs that I still love today, while there are others that I realized as an adult were short-sighted and even prejudicial or portrayed stereotypes. The world has obviously changed with heightened sensitivity to stereotypes over the 30 years since I was a little kid in grade school, so I would hope that some of the songs I learned in school are no longer part of what children learn today.
One of the songs I really liked even though it was kind of sad was the Last Unicorn which we had on an old 45. A 45 was a very small record that only had one or two songs per side. The version I am sharing here is not the same version I had as a child but I don't remember the artist and could not find his version on YouTube. >.<
The Last Unicorn
My mom one year for Christmas bought me a record by the children's artist Raffi. The album she bought me was Baby Beluga. I remember it being one of those Christmas gifts I thought I really wouldn't like when I first got it but I ended up really enjoying it and even listened to it recently when visiting Mum's house once a few months back. My favorite song off the album was Biscuits in the Oven.
Here's a cute version off the internet. That shows some of the dances you were supposed to do while singing the song.
Biscuits in the Oven
A different year at Christmas time Mom and Dad bought my twin brother Clifford and I two Disney records... or they may have been kind of hand me down records that were originally purchased for my brother Robert and sister Heather when they were younger. There were lots of great songs off those records but three of my favorites were Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from the Aristocats. It's not Easy from Pete's Dragon and I Wanna Be Like You from the Jungle Book. Warning: Some of the Cat portrayals in the Aristocats video are cultural stereotypes regarding appearances.
Everybody Wants to Be a Cat
I Wanna Be Like You
It's Not Easy
As some other bloggers have shared I also learned the tune Big Chief Watopotami in School. The song certainly perpetuates stereotypes of Indians (Native Americans) as lazy and uneducated.
There is not a recorded version I was able to find but the lyrics go...
Big Chief Watopotami
Sat in the sun and said "Me hot am I"
Sat in the shade and said "Me cooler"
"This is the life of an Indian Ruler."
123... Ugh, 123... Ugh... Ugh, Ugh, Ugh
I hope and imagine that today children do not learn this song in grade school. Or if it is taught it is taught as an example of stereotype and not something to be laughed at or sung joyfully. I'm not sure very young children should be taught it at all, as concepts of stereotypes may not be something they can fully understand. I am not an educator though, and obviously there are different maturity levels for different aged kids which vary from household to household.
So as not to end things on a sour note though I wanted to share a song off my oldest brother Robert's Muppet's Movie album from 1979. I'm Going to Go Back There Someday. A sad and beautiful tune sung by Gonzo. I still miss Jim Henson and his genius. I have not yet had a chance to watch the new Muppet's television series, but I loved the Muppet Show when I was little.
I'm Going to Go Back There Someday
Should you choose to...please feel free to share or reminisce about songs from your childhoods in our comments section.