It can be hard to find a happy medium when it comes to songs that both adults and children like, especially if the kids are old enough to learn – and, crucially, repeat – swear words (scuppering any plans to listen to hip hop during daylight hours) and the grown ups are sick of the sound of screechy princess ballads being belted out from the backseat for the entire duration of a road trip.
Here’s my top 5 summery songs from kids films that are perfect for playlists, in the car, and at family barbecues – and not a Disney song in sight…
Steal my Sunshine – Len (Peter Rabbit soundtrack)
Canadian indie-pop-punk-rap-whatever-they-were act Len never really reproduced the success of this infectious 1999 track but it made a welcome appearance on 2017’s live action x CGI kids comedy action.
It’s lively and upbeat, and part of its appeal I’ve always thought comes from its sampling of the break from More More More by adult film star turned disco queen Andrea True Connection. But the kids don’t need to know all that – they’ll just love the infectious Len track especially if they’ve seen Peter Rabbit.
London is The Place For Me – Lord Kitchener (Paddington soundtrack)
It only seems right that there should be a nod to Trinidad’s famous calypsonian, whose melodies were a staple of Windrush era London’s real-life soundtrack, in the 2014 live action Paddington film.
The Paddington movie is a modern kids classic, with a timeless feel, and D-Lime’s version of London is the Place for Me is the perfect musical accompaniment. Telling the story of Darkest Peru’s best known emigrant and his arrival in Notting Hill, the home of the kindly Brown family and of course the world famous carnival, classic calypso reflects the history of this community – in both fact and fiction – beautifully.
Revisit D-Lime’s calypso vibes in Paddington 2 for the sumptuous version of Savito as the West Indies meets West London theme continues. The rhythms, percussion, and brass make a lovely addition to a family friendly playlist.
Feels Like Summer – Tim Wheeler (Shaun the Sheep Movie soundtrack)
Former Ash frontman Tim Wheeler (who wrote some of my teenage faves Girl from Mars and the very summery Oh Yeah) came up with a really lovely track for what I consider to be an absolute belter of a family-friendly film. It’s happy, it’s sweet, and it’s catchy enough that even the sheep can’t help humming along to it.
La Mer – Charles Trenet (Mr Bean’s Holiday soundtrack)
Love him or loathe him, there’s something about Rowan Atkinson’s almost silent comic character that has kids in stitches. Charles Trenet’s post war classic adds a brilliant finale to Mr Bean’s escapades as he struggles to reach his intended holiday destination without an inevitable catalogue of mishaps and misunderstandings.
And if you don’t fancy translating the French lyrics for les infants then the only English language version worth listening to is Beyond the Sea by the inimitable Bobby Darin (sorry, Robbie fans).