As an on-trend parent these days you need to invest in an all-terrain buggy that takes up the width of a pavement, but what's on your little one's MP3 player? If you insist baby is cool for crèche, you might want to follow the lead of Elton John and Victoria Beckham, ensuring your offspring nods off to lullaby versions of popular songs. Based in Los Angeles since 2006, the Rockabye Baby! series has been reworking the oeuvres of pop and rock's biggest names (anyone from Madonna and Kanye West to U2 and Metallica) into soothing instrumentals using glockenspiel and vibraphone to suit the ears of both babies and parents.
Its breakthrough year came in 2011 when Victoria tweeted that husband David had downloaded The Beatles compilation ahead of Harper's birth, while around the same time Elton mentioned on Canadian TV that he and David Furnish had gone down a more tongue-in-cheek route, filling up their son Zachary's iPod with soothing versions of the more raucous Green Day, Led Zep and Rolling Stones along with Bob Marley and again the Fab Four.
Now Rockabye Baby! is making a play for the UK market, specifically the Britpop generation, with a collection of Blur standards that even gives “Parklife'”and “Popscene” the soporific treatment.
Such a radical restyling completely removes Damon Albarn's angst and any sign of the group's ability to reinvent themselves over a long career, though the timeless melodies of “The Universal” and “Tender” still shine through. This could be galling for our homegrown pioneer, the Punk Rock Baby concern that record company employee Ian Walker founded four years before Rockabye Baby! to ensure new generations would hear from an early age politicised, edgy punk and alternative tunes, albeit in synth-based muzak versions. Operating from his south London home, Walker has focused on a more bijou, thematic back catalogue that has seen Ibiza Baby and 80's Baby added to his original punk release.
He has also expanded into music-related books and clothing that he now sees as a more sustainable business. “CDs aren't cheap to manufacture these days and the market is sinking,” he explains. “[Rockabye Baby!] has obviously got bigger backing than I have, so good luck to them.”
Walker aims to make his first book The Adventures of a Punk Rock Baby a free download ahead of the release of its follow-up, Pop Music Is Rubbish. Probably for the best, for, as hip bedtime music goes, no one has surpassed Tanya Donelly's “Moon River'” from charity album Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies.
'Lullaby Renditions of Blur' is out April 22 on Rockabye Baby! Music