Spring is a popular season for many events, including festivals at local school districts throughout the United States. Perhaps the least appreciated, save for doting parents and grandparents, are the annual performances of various children’s choirs.
Generally, people enjoy the spontaneous singing of children more than an organized performance weakened under the supervision of adults. The presence of grown ups tends to drain the carefree joyousness of children singing while they play, a big reason few children’s songs have ever become enduring hits.
Nevertheless, some children’s voices are heard on some popular records, including one from a number album that also won several Grammy awards. In that particular case, the child can be heard crying rather than singing.
No one would expect that hit to come from Alice Cooper and, indeed, it was not from that ghoulish hard rocker who made Welcome To My Nightmare. Yet Alice Cooper does own the distinction of including more children’s voices in his discography than any other artist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
His first instance of including the voices of children came, quite appropriately, on his the hit title track from his School’s Out album. The kids can be heard cheering near the end, when Alice declares that “School’s out completely… “
An individual child can be heard asking a question on a song from the minor hit “The Ballad of Dwight Frye” from the album, Love It To Death. “Mommy, where’s Daddy?” the boy says. “He’s been away for so long.”
Welcome To My Nightmare contains the hit Department of Youth,” which features singing children in the chorus. The voices belong to Dave Ezrin and the Summerhill Children’s Choir, who stump Cooper as the song fades outs.
After the line in the chorus that declares, “We’ve got the power,” Alice yells, “and who gave it to you?” In unison they answer, “Donny Osmond!” prompting Cooper to jokingly shout them down.
Here are five other popular songs that feature the voices of children.
Playground In My Mind by Clint Homes
This hit reached the Top Ten, partly because of the children refraining “My name is Michael, I got a nickel, I got a nickel shiny and new.”
Dear God by XTC
A boy representing a young Andy Partridge sings the first verse of this anti-religious hit whose success was aided by a disturbing video, highlighted by Partridge himself taking a hammer to a tree filled with a stereotypical family.
The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking by Roger Waters
Actor Brandon De Wilde, who played the young son in the Western classic Shane, should actually get the credit for the child’s voice in this title track. After the Pink Floyd leader mentions Dick Tracy and the title film character, De Wilde can be heard saying to Alan Ladd, “Mother wants you.”
Big Dipper by Elton John
Rocket Man employs the talents of the Watford Football Team and the Audley Street Girl’s Choir for backing vocals on this track from A Single Man, his first release after the departure of songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.
Clair by Gilbert O’ Sullivan
The girl after which the song was written can be heard giggling toward the end of this Top Ten hit, not long after “Alone Again, Naturally” reached number one.
Isn’t She Lovely? by Stevie Wonder
Songs In The Key of Life spawned numerous hits on its way to number one, including this ode to Wonder’s new born daughter who can be heard crying in the song.