Sometimes ideas come from a couple of pretty strange bedfellows getting busy on the Posturepedic of your mind. Today’s post is an example.
Yesterday, I was playing with my daughter Maria on the floor in her room with her Disney collection of characters. Well, actually, she was playing. I was in limbo, awaiting orders to let me know what my next playtime move would be. I was lucky that day; she was letting me have Jasmine from Aladdin, who she knows I’m partial to. Usually I get stuck with the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, or the Pocahontas figure that won’t stand up on its own. Anyway, her characters (always the blue-dress version of Sleeping Beauty and usually someone like Belle from Beauty and the Beast or Snow White; today it was the pink-dress Sleeping Beauty) were engaged in an extended conversation about something Rapunzel apparently did or said, and so my mind was left to wander on its own for a few minutes. My thoughts turned to Whitney Houston, who had just passed away last weekend, and how great a voice she had. While I was doing that, Maria accidentally pressed a button on the Fisher Price Little People barn with her foot, causing it to spring to life with a lively rendition of “The Farmer in the Dell.”
Well, these two totally unrelated things somehow tangled themselves together in my mind, and by the time I was able to restore some order in there, I was left with the thought, “What would some of the great singers of the past sound like singing nursery rhymes? I immediately began to pine for such a collection of songs, but of course, no such thing exists. So I made one up.
Here’s my list of children’s songs, along with the legendary crooners who would sing them. In each case, I tried to match the singers to the songs I could actually imagine them performing in their own inimitable vocal styles.
You can try this yourself. For example, I had Elvis sing “This Old Man,” because in my head, I can just hear him go, “Uh-this old-uh a-man-uh, He uh-played a-one-uh, Uh-he uh-played a-knick-a-knack on my uh-thumb-uh…”
Anyway, hope you enjoy the following few moments of Thursday silliness. Weekend’s almost here; let’s go out singing.
All together now: “Uh-this uh-old man-uh came a-rollin’ home-uh. Uh-huh-huh.”
K-Thor Records presents: Swinging Tunes Featuring the Mama Goose Crooners
Louis Armstrong – “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
Tony Bennett – “Pop Goes the Weasel”
Frank Sinatra – “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”
Ella Fitzgerald – “The Wheels on the Bus”
Barbra Streisand – “The Alphabet Song”
Nat King Cole/Natalie Cole/Gary Coleman sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”*
Dean Martin – “I’m a Little Teapot”
Jimmy Durante – “Hey Diddle Diddle”
Bing Crosby – “Rock-a-bye Baby”
Tom Jones – “Pussy Cat Pussy Cat”**
Harry Belafonte – “Mary Had a Little Lamb”***
Mel Torme – “Bingo”
Elvis Presley – “This Old Man”
Judy Garland – “Old McDonald Had a Farm”
Sammy Davis Jr. – “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”
Julie Andrews – “Wee Willie Winkie”****
A few notes regarding certain song selections:
* I’m sorry, but you need three people if you want to sing it round-style
** If you can imagine it as a calypso number, it actually works surprisingly well
*** It was either that, or “I Love Little Pussy.” Obviously, I couldn’t do that. They are both legitimate nursery rhymes, by the way.
**** Originally, I had her down for “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” but, of course, that’s been done. Actually, Julie Andrews can sing anything she wants.