Adapting Songs from the 1950s and 1960s

I don’t always adapt existing songs, but sometimes when I do, they’re based on iconic tunes from the 1950s and 1960s, rewritten specifically as movement songs.

Funny story: I have a long list of songs I’ve written but haven’t shared here on the blog and in my store yet. Yesterday I decided to do a little catching up, and chose two songs at random to share. It wasn’t until after I added them to the store that I realized both were based on songs by male artists from the 50s and 60s.

I took this coincidence as an opportunity to remind you that inspiration for new songs and adaptations can come from any style, genre or generation. A few years back, I was really into adapting current pop songs, and still like to do so from time to time. But I have found that borrowing ideas and melodies from other decades can be a lot of fun, especially since many parents and grandparents attend music therapy sessions and music classes.

It’s up to you as a songwriter to decide just how closely you want your version to resemble the song that inspired it. You can put a modern spin on an old classic, or keep it true to the original. Here are my adapted versions of the songs by the prolific artists pictured above.

Up On Your Feet | Movement Song for Children

When I sat down to write a fun, playful and catchy movement song for music class, the old Harry Belafonte tune “Day-O” came to mind immediately.

It felt like a moment of divine inspiration, because the lyrics came faster than I could type them. It doesn’t get much better than that as a songwriter!

Up On Your Feet is a good song to wind down with at the end of a class or session, as children start to get a bit antsy and need to move. I usually sing it a capella so that I can move right along with them.

Blowin' In the Wind | Movement Song for Children

Who knew when I started writing children’s music that someday I would be adapting a Bob Dylan song?! Definitely not me. But when it came time to write a new song specifically for streamers, that’s where my brain went.

I wasn’t surprised in the least that the biggest fans of this adaptation so far have been the parents and especially grandparents of my young students, since they know the original well.

The little ones like Blowin’ in the Wind because it’s repetitive, upbeat, and gives them the opportunity to sway, spin, and fly their streamers.

I think after these two adaptations, I’m due to cover a song that’s a bit closer to my students’ generation, or at least closer to mine ;) What songs have you adapted lately?