Designer Daddy’s Top 10 Songs of the Last 10 Years

This past year marked a couple of personal milestones: becoming a father and the birth of this blog. To commemorate ten years as both Daddy and Designer Daddy, I’m sharing a series of Top 10 lists. Each post will feature the most amazing/fun/memorable things/experiences/whatevers from the last decade.

Top 10 Songs

Sharing my passions with my son is one of the best parts of being a dad. And before I was able to introduce him to my favorite comic books, TV shows or movies, there was music. Whether I was lulling a newborn to sleep, distracting a fussy baby on a long car ride, or teaching a toddler the basics of superhero themes, music has been an integral part of my parenting experience.

I grew up in a musical home, my parents and siblings displaying mastery of the piano, guitar, opera and more. My skill set veered more towards music appreciation (though I do sing), but I pride myself on having the largest music collection in the family. So, it was a no brainer that my kiddo was going to be raised on radio (or iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, rather).

Limiting this list to ten was near impossible. There’s quite a bit of overlap from my TV and movies lists — my parenting journey has definitely had a soundtrack. In any event, here are the top 10 (or so) songs from my first ten years of fatherhood. Release dates are listed next to each title, but the songs appear in the order I introduced them to my son.

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LULLABY RENDITIONS OF THE BEATLES by Rockabye Baby! (2007 & 2009)

The Rockabye Baby! series of lullaby-style pop songs is must for any parent raising a musically literate kid. While I appreciate the ever-expanding catalog (from Johnny Cash to Madonna to Wu-Tang Clan), my go-tos were two volumes of songs by The Beatles. The timeless tunes translate perfectly into baby-fied instrumentals, and what better way to soothe my tot to sleep than with the greatest band of all time? Golden Slumbers, indeed.

STAND BY ME SOUNDTRACK by various artists

These classics collected from the 50s and 60s became a favorite of both mine and Jon’s during his diaper-changing days. Nothing calmed and entertained my wiggly youngster quite like “Everyday,” “Yakety Yak,” and “Mr. Lee.”

Pro tip: if you’re going to finger-pop the inside of your cheek during “Lollipop” (like they do in the scene below), be sure you’ve wiped the Desitin off your hands first.

by George Clinton

I made a lot of mix CDs during my early years of fatherhood (compact discs weren’t that long ago, kids). One such puppy-themed mix included an all-time favorite, George Clinton’s funktastic “Atomic Dog.” You should have seen me beam with pride the first time my toddler uttered his first “Bow-wow-wow, yippie-yo-yippie-yay.” Who’s a good boy!

by Yo Gabba Gabba (2008)

You may notice from most of this list I’m not big on children’s music. To be fair, there are a few artists I dig. However, most kid’s music strikes me as too earnest and corny.

Yo Gabba Gabba is the exception. In addition to being a freaky fun TV show, YGG is also a treasure trove of musical gems. Each episode features an original song by a slew of too-cool-for-school indie bands; but the true earworms are the cast-performed songs.

“Don’t Bite Your Friends” is a great bop with a message, and “I Love Bugs” is a fly, down-tempo groove. But nothing brings the fun like “Party in My Tummy.” Call-and-response menus set to a delicious hip-hop beat? Instant dance party every time!

“BATMAN THEME” by Neil Hefti

The greatest superhero TV theme song of all time — fight me. Or better yet, watch my young ward bring this classic ditty to technicolor life.


“GHOSTBUSTERS” by Ray Parker, Jr. (1984)

Some of the best musical memories with my son involve driving around in my convertible, blasting his current favorite song for the fourteen-thousandth time. There’ve been many others since, but “Ghostbusters” is his first “top down” favorite. It didn’t hurt that this was also his favorite movie AND Halloween costume.

“ODE TO A SUPERHERO” by “Weird Al” Yankovic (2003) / “SPIDER-MAN THEME (JUNKIE XL REMIX)” by Michael Bublé (2004)

Batman was my son’s first favorite superhero, but Spider-Man clung to the top spot for a lot longer. Spidey also had quite a few songs to fuel the fandom. “Ode to a Superhero” is amazing on several levels in that it a) recounts the plot of 2002’s Spider-Man film, b) introduced my kid to the genius that is “Weird Al” and c) exposed him (albeit subversively) to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.”

Michael Bublé’s jazzy take on the “Spider-Man Theme” was used in Spider-Man 2 and was one of my favorites to sing along with — often to my child’s chagrin. I may have even performed a drunken karaoke version at some point — much to the crowd’s chagrin.

“BEAT IT” by Michael Jackson (1983)

Of all the songs on this list, this one holds the most memories from my childhood. While “Billie Jean” may have preceded it as the first number one from Thriller, “Beat It” was the song every kid in school was talking about, trying to decipher the lyrics, and playing the air guitar like there was no tomorrow. Who knew that 30 years later I’d be singing and dancing and air guitaring with my kid like there was no tomorrow?

by LL Cool J (1991) / “DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT” by Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell (2004)

Introducing your child to hip-hop is a tricky task. Lyrics are often far from kid-friendly, yet there’s no denying the ageless appeal of a sick beat and a killer hook. “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” are two such tracks that have received heavy rotation at school pick-up. And luckily both have “clean” versions for young, rap-respecting ears.

“MY TWO DADDIES (CAN BEAT UP YOUR ONE)” by Brent Almond (2013)

I saved this one for last, though it’s certainly not the best. It is, however, the most personal. What started as a writing workshop exercise turned into an award-winning talent show performance that then became a professionally produced and recorded single.

While I cringe a little when it comes up on my song rotation, my son never seems to grow tired of hearing his dear old dad hamming it up. Earnest and corny and a little bit snarky, this country tune tells the tale of a little boy proud of his two dads. Turns out we’re pretty proud of him, too.

Top 10 Songs - My Two Daddies

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I told you it was impossible to list only ten! Here are ten more magical musical moments…
HERE COME THE ABCs / HERE COME THE 123s by They Might Be Giants
“THE SHARK FIGHTER!” by The Aquabats
“THE TIME IS NOW” by John Cena (this song is trash, but represents the pinnacle of my kid’s wrestling-obsessed phase)
“RUMOUR HAS IT” by Adele (included for the memory of my then-two-year-old singing the chorus, “boomer has it”)
“EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!” (feat. The Lonely Island) by Tegan and Sara
any/every POWER RANGERS theme song
“THE NIGHT BEGINS TO SHINE” by B.E.R. (the ubiquitous prog rock anthem featured in several episodes of Teen Titans GO!)
SCHOOL OF ROCK SOUNDTRACK (we’re big fans of both the film and the stage show)
anything by RANDY RAINBOW (most aren’t very kid-friendly, but you can’t beat them for introducing your child to progressive politics and Broadway classics)


The main list is mostly nostalgia driven, overflowing with “oldies” and tunes from my own childhood (which are now one and the same 🙁 ) But if I were to list my son’s 10 favorite new songs from the last decade, it would look something like this:
“HAPPY” by Pharrell Williams (2013)
“LEAN AND DABB” by iLoveMemphis (2015) Please watch this EPIC summer camp performance
“CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” by Justin Timberlake (2016)
“DESPACITO” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber (2017)
“SICKO MODE” by Travis Scott feat. Drake (2018)
“OLD TOWN ROAD” feat. Billy Ray Cyrus by Little Nas X (2019)
“BAD GUY” by Billie Eilish (2019)
“COME & GO” by Juice WRLD & Marshmello (2020)

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Check out my Spotify playlist of all these songs. And be sure to list any of your favorite musical parenting memories in the comments!

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