My little Van is a human jukebox. It's really incredible. You probably need to see it to believe it. He's got an insane ear for language and music. He can hardly throw a ball without it getting accidentally tossed behind him and he has a pretty non-existent attention span when it comes to cartoons or movies, but he can strum and sing along with whole albums when the mood strikes him. Which happens pretty often. And by pretty often I mean all freaking day long. Everyday.
Here are some of his favorites as of now (in no particular order):
Kodachrome, by Paul Simon
Van has been grooving to this one, and other Paul Simon hits, for months and months. He picked a greatest hits album from a stack of records last summer and we've been listening to that and his self titled record pretty regularly. Like, daily.
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Paul Simon
Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon
He calls this one "Bus Gus." As in, "hop on the bus, Gus." He's been singing this for a really long time now. My favorite part is hearing his little voice sing, "and get yo-self freeee." Too funny.
Duncan, Paul Simon
Van really turned me on to this one. I wasn't so familiar until Van had me listening to Paul Simon's Paul Simon record so frequently. Van doesn't sing this one as much as he requests it. He named this song "Girl in the Parking Lot" because of the "Young girl in the parking lot was preaching to a crowd/ singing sacred songs and reading from the Bible." He enjoys this one quite a bit and sings "do-do-do-do-do do do-do-do-do-do" along with the woodwinds between the verses.
I Do it for Your Love, Paul Simon
This is another I didn't hear much of pre-Van's obsession with it. He sings this BEAUTIFULLY but I haven't been able to capture it yet. When Van wants to hear this one he requests "Orange Juice" because of the line "All that winter we shared a cold/ drank all the orange juice that we could hold." Orange Juice - ha!
Sugaree, The Grateful Dead
This is one of the first tunes Van was really into and has been singing it since he was about 15 months or so. He calls it "Shake It." He asks to hear this one a lot and likes to look it up on YouTube and watch live performances of it. I have a 30 second video of my friends' band covering this one at the Torch Club that Van asks to watch every once in a while as well. He loves anything Jerry, but Sugaree was his first favorite Dead tune.
Bertha, The Grateful Dead
Bertha is a relatively new favorite of his. A few months ago he was singing something in the car that I didn't quite understand while we were waiting for Tony to deposit his check at an ATM machine. He was singing and singing and I still couldn't name that tune. I asked him what he was singing and he says, " Berssa! I singing Berssa!" He does it pretty clearly now. :)
Deal, The Grateful Dead
Tony's band covers this one, and it's a go-to for Van when he has his ukulele in hand. This is another one that he's been singing for almost a year.
The Wheel, Loser, Bird Song, I Know You Rider, Going Down the Road Feeling Bad and Mama Tried, all by the Dead
I can't wait until he's old enough to harmonize with me on I Know You Rider. :)
Honeydew, The Mother Hips
This is my favorite Hips song, which I passed down to Van. He called it "Bring You Down" ("this is the sound/ let us bring you down") but now he just calls it Honeydew.
Later Days, The Mother Hips
The Mother Hips are a local-ish band so most of our friends and family aren't familiar with their stuff. I guess if that's the case then you just need to take my word for it - Van fucking nails this song. He's been singing it in pieces since last year, but only recently has been able to put all the verses and choruses together as they should be. He's loved this tune for a long time - so much, in fact, that he would inadvertently say "bye mama! see you later days!" when I would leave for work each morning.
Last month our friends played with the Hips at the Fox in Oakland. We actually got to show this video to Tim Bluhm, the writer of this song, and he was pretty impressed.
Esmeralda, The Mother Hips
Now when I tell Van "see you later days", he responds with "see you Esmeralda days." Esmerelda is the track that follows Later Days on his iPod, and he sings the guitar intro before singing the words.
October Teen, The Mother Hips
...or as Van calls this one, "Good steps in the heart." It took me foreverrrrrr to realize that this was a song he was often requesting because "good steps in the heart" are never referred to in this song. "Footsteps in the hall" are, though. We got into many a fight over this one due to me not understanding what the hell he was asking for.
Whisker River, Willie Nelson
...but only the live version.
Kiko and the Lavendar Moon, Los Lobos
The most popular bed time song, probably. He doesn't sing it too accurately, but hums and "doo doo doo's" along with the accordion.
Saint Behind the Glass, Los Lobos
This one is a weird choice, but he loves it. When he hears it he runs to grab his lap harp so he can play along with the intro. He calls this song "Hammer and a nail".
The Bends, Radiohead
Baby literally has the bends.
Fake Plastic Trees, Radiohead
He listens to Radiohead with his Dad before naps.
Poisonheart, The Ramones
Van LOVES the Ramones, who he calls "Ree-mones." He has two Ramones shirts that he asks to wear pretty much every day and thinks any kind of logo or graphic presented in a circle with text is the Ramones. He found a Starbucks gift card in my purse and told me I had a Ramones card. Circular logos on top of bottle caps are also Ramones bottle caps. He sings the chorus to this song all the time.
Blitzkreig Bop, The Ramones
The Ramones tunes are all newer loves. He listens to them in the garage with Tony and they sing and play drums and guitars.
I Wanna Be Sedated, The Ramones
Hey Jude, The Beatles
This is another one he's been singing for almost a year. He just does the chorus and the na-na-na's at the end. I was so happy I was able to take Van to Outside Lands last year to hear this one live. Just so he can say he went, you know?
Yellow Submarine, The Beatles
This one is a new favorite. I think he learned it from my parents after my boss gifted him a Yellow Submarine lunch box. He only sings the "we all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine" part. Which is cool. This song isn't my favorite.
I Am the Walrus, The Beatles
Van calls this one "Walrus Song"! It was one of his first favorites last year. We'd been listening to it on the iPod here and there when I received the Magical Mystery Tour vinyl in an old stack of records that was handed down to us. Van was MAYBE 16 months or so when he yelled out "Walrus Song!!" within literally 2 seconds of the song starting. Blew me away.
Down By The Bay, Raffi
Because I don't want him to be a total little weirdo genius with nothing in common with small children. And Raffi is a G, and writes and performs his own material. Sometimes Van sings "Down by the Bank" on accident. It's pretty funny.
Baby Beluga, Raffi
Apples and Bananas, Raffi
Refugee, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Don't have-a live like a refugee (don't have-a live like a rah-fu-jay hey)"...freaking hilarious. He sings along with the video which he makes me find for him on YouTube at least weekly.
The Weight, The Band
This one is...wait for it..."Take a load off, Vanny." Duh, right?!
Can't Hardly Wait, The Replacements
California Stars, Wilco
I feel thankful every day that I have a kid that's as stoked as I am to hear cool songs and sing and play along with records. I'd take my kid keeping us up late singing and practicing his drums to one wanting to watch SpongeBob or Caillou or some bullshit like that. You have good taste, Vanny. I'm one grateful mama.