Music and my little man

I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. It’s always been a big part of my life, and I’ve never fully understood how some people can just take it or leave it.

I’ll always remember the Christmas that I received my first tape player. It would have been 1992, when I was eight years old. My dad got me a tape called ‘Safe Six’, a dance complication, while my mum got me ‘The Greatest Hits of 1993’ – featuring Take That, D-Ream and other classics such as The Outhere Brothers. Strange how those little things stay with you.

Earlier than that, I was fascinated by my dad’s record collection, and remember listening to Bruce Springsteen with him, while my mum’s car, albeit a little later down the line, would have Carry On Up the Charts by The Beautiful South playing on repeat.

As I’ve been wondering lately about the music that I play to my five-month-old little man, it’s probably interesting to note that I am now a huge fan of Springsteen, I’ve seen him live many times, and will be seeing Paul Heaton of Beautiful South fame at the beginning of June. Those early influences, in some instances, certainly stick.

Since my little man arrived, I’ve tried to have a lot of different types of music on in the house. Though I’d love it if he developed my tastes and enjoyed the bands that I do, I’m more than happy for him to discover just what it is that he enjoys.

I got to thinking about this post a long while ago. When he was just a few weeks old, he would cry and cry every time we went to change his nappy. However, on one occasion, everything changed.

Throughout the pregnancy his mum and I would listen to a lot of Bruce Springsteen, and Thunder Road has always been my favourite song, so would have been played more than any other. On the day in question, he was crying as usual, until I started playing the song on my phone, and he calmed down immediately.

A lot of reading material claims that babies can hear all sorts going on around them while in the womb, and although it may just be the romantic in me, it really seemed that he recognised the song and it was Bruce that soothed him.

Similarly, Don McLean’s American Pie has always been a karaoke favourite of mine, and whenever he is grumpy in his mum’s company now, that’s the song that she sings to him to calm him down. She’s tried plenty more, but that’s always the one that works. I’ll sing a song by The National, a band played in our house almost constantly while he was ‘on the inside’ and, again, it sooths him more than any other.

As I said, maybe it’s just me being an old romantic, but even the thought of him recognising the songs from before he was born is enough to have me smiling.

There are other songs he seems to love. Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping makes him laugh every time, and doing The Time Warp – complete with actions – turns him into a giggling wreck – though the pitch ad energy of those songs probably has more to do with that than anything else. He really comes alive now on his changing table, and squeals and dances to anything from Reel Big Fish to Katy Perry. It’s made our regular changes a special time that I treasure.

I hope that, like me, he does pick up on his parents’ taste. I’d love to have a third-generation Springsteen fan in the house with us, or take him along to see The National when he’s a little older.

For now, in just enjoying that we can enjoy music together. It’s always been a huge part of my life, and I hope it will become a big part of his too.