"The Beatles have been done to death."
"I know they were the greatest band, for their time, but what could they say that's relevant today?"
"Another Beatles CD aimed at kids? Have they no shame!"
Against nearly-unsurmountable odds, Caspar Babypants (the prolific Chris Ballew, late of the Presidents of the United States of America) has taken the challenge and released BABY BEATLES, a collection of the rock band's tunes reimagined for kids.
I won't be linking to any videos from this collection. Apple Music is happy to collect its royalties for song performance but the cost of proper licensing (according to Ballew) is prohibitive. But that was the easiest obstacle to overcome. There are 2-3 generations of adults with preconceived notions of how "their Beatles" sound. And in order to win over the hearts and minds of pre-adolescents, a recording artist must go through their parents' wallets.
When you think about it, children should have the least problems with Beatles covers. After all, how well would they know the original versions? And they might prefer a cover version, especially if it's performed by one of their favorite artists (imagine Raffi singing "Octopus's Garden"). That's one of the songs included here, along with "All Together Now," "Yellow Submarine," and "Penny Lane." So don't worry – you know the material. It's all in the presentation.
Ballew is all about deconstructing the Beatles and presenting them as pure children's songs. I'm not talking about the Monkees, crystalizing the first two years of the Beatles career in an endless tribute. These are children's songs that just happen to have been performed by the Beatles, some about 50 years ago.
It's oddly appropriate that "Cry Baby Cry" is repurposed here as a gentle child-calming lullaby. And let's not forget the "it's so obvious" inclusion of "Your Mother Should Know."
Ballew did a lot of research into the Beatles and was amazed that they produced such a diverse body of work despite being pressured to record and release as much material as possible, while dealing with day-to-day lives and their surrounding media frenzy. I'm amazed that Ballew has produced as much children's music as he has in just a few, short years – birthing them at the rate of one CD every nine months. No wonder he "took a break" with a labor of love. Well, I shelled out $95 per ticket to take my older son to see Sir Paul McCartney earlier this summer. For a fraction of that amount, you can bring BABY BEATLES home for your kids.
BABY BEATLES is available from Caspar Babypants' website link to CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.
Here is the video from the 2013 song, "Stump Hotel":