Playlist of 30 Songs That Are Not Lullabies to Sing Baby to Sleep

Updated on September 17, 2018
Nikki Knack profile image

I'm a working wife and mom to the best little boys in the entire universe. My interests include family life, gardening, cooking, and music.

Explore these 30 rock and folk songs to help sing your baby to sleep.
Explore these 30 rock and folk songs to help sing your baby to sleep.

While I honestly don't know the words to most of the traditional lullabies, I certainly hear my fair share of kiddie songs when our four year-old is watching Netflix. To escape these repetitive kiddie songs, I needed to make a playlist that could work well for adults and babies alike.

I assembled this playlist on my phone and snuggled up with my baby in the rocking chair. I sang along with these beautiful songs and, eventually, he fell asleep. It's anyone's guess as to whether it's the music or not, but at least I get to enjoy some good tunes in the meantime. Even though not all of these songs have lyrics about babies and sleep, the melodies certainly sound like a lullaby. Below are some of our faves (in no particular order).

Top 10 Songs to Sing to Baby

  1. "Forever Young"—Bob Dylan
  2. "Three Little Birds"—Bob Marley
  3. "Blackbird"—The Beatles
  4. "As Tears Go By"—The Rolling Stones
  5. "Wildflowers"—Tom Petty
  6. "Dear God"—Avenged Sevenfold
  7. "Silent Lucidity"—Queensryche
  8. "Little Wing"—Jimi Hendrix
  9. "Beautiful Boy"—John Lennon
  10. "St. Judy’s Comet"—Paul Simon

Does Music Really Help Babies Sleep?

It turns out that lullabies really do ease pain and anxiety in children. In fact, a research project carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital answered the question of whether or not listening to live music has a soothing effect for babies, or if the babies are comforted simply by the presence of an adult. Patients took part in three 10-minute sessions. In one session they were read to, in another session they were sung lullabies, and in another session they were left alone. What the researchers discovered was “a significant decrease in heart rate and pain level” at the end of the session involving music.

Now that we know that lullabies can soothe babies, can other forms of music calm babies as well? Let's face it, we all get tired of lullabies and kiddie songs. Luckily, there are other options for calming and relaxing your baby into a lasting deep sleep.

20 More Songs to Sing to Baby

11-20
21-30
11. "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)"—Billy Joel
21. "Dream On”—Aerosmith
12. "Simple Man"—Lynyrd Skynyrd
22. "All of My Love"—Led Zeppelin
13. "Sweet Baby James"—James Taylor
23. "Farewell and Goodnight"—Smashing Pumpkins
14. "Sun"—Concrete Blonde
24. "Wild is the Wind"—David Bowie
15. "Songbird"—Fleetwood Mac
25. "Teach Your Children Well"—Crosby Stills Nash
16. "In My Life"—The Beatles
26. "Wild World"—Cat Stevens
17. "Another Lullaby"—Art Garfunkel
27. “MLK"—U2
18. "Sleepyhouse"—Blind Melon
28. "Sweet Child of Mine (acoustic)"—Slash & Myles Kennedy
19. "Shooting Star"—Bad Company
29. "Your Song"—Elton John
20. "Love Song”—Tesla
30. "I Will"—The Beatles

1. "Forever Young"—Bob Dylan

Album: Planet Waves

Release year: 1974

About the song:

  • Written as a lullaby for his eldest son Jess.
  • The song expresses a father's hopes that his child will remain strong and happy. This is demonstrated in the lines, "May God bless and keep you always/May your wishes all come true."

Lyrics pick:

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you

He not busy being born is busy dying.

— Bob Dylan

2. "Three Little Birds"—Bob Marley

Album: Exodus

Release year: 1977

About the song:

  • The lyrics are partly inspired by birds that Marley was fond of. They used to fly and sit next to his home.
  • Three female singers from the reggae group I Threes claim it is a reference to them.

Lyrics pick:

Don't worry about a thing
'Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Love the life you live. Live the life you love.

— Bob Marley

3. "Blackbird"—The Beatles

Album: The Beatles

Release year: 1968

About the song:

  • In one interview the Beatles said they were inspired by hearing the call of a blackbird one morning when studying Transcendental Meditation in Rishikesh, India.
  • In another interview they recalled writing it in Scotland as a response to racial tensions escalating in the United States.

Lyrics pick:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.

— George Harrison

4. "As Tears Go By"—The Rolling Stones

Album: Shine a Light (movie soundtrack)

Release year: 1965

About the song:

  • One story surrounding the song's genesis explains that Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen and forced them to write a song together. He is quoted as saying, "I want a song with brick walls all around it, high windows, and no sex."

Lyrics pick:

It is the evening of the day

It's all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.

— Mick Jagger

5. "Wildflowers"—Tom Petty

Album: Wildflowers

Release year: 1994

About the song:

  • This is the first of three albums produced by Rick Rubin. Wildflowers was certified 3x platinum in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Lyrics pick:

You belong somewhere you feel free

I got just one life in a world that keeps on pushin' me around. But I stand my ground and I won't back down.

— Tom Petty

6. "Dear God"—Avenged Sevenfold

Album: Avenged Sevenfold

Release year: 2007

About the song:

  • This is the fourth studio album by Avenged Sevenfold. Although critical reception was mixed compared to previous releases, Avenged Sevenfold won the Kerrang! Award for Best Album in 2008.

Lyrics pick:

Dear God the only thing I ask of you is
To hold her when I'm not around
When I'm much too far away

Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost.

— M. Shadows

7. "Silent Lucidity"—Queensryche

Album: Empire

Release year: 1990

About the song:

  • The song is assumed to be based on the subject of lucid dreaming. During the song, a distorted voice explains a method for this, saying, "Visualize your dream. Record it in the present tense. Put it into a permanent form. If you persist in your efforts, you can achieve dream control."

Lyrics pick:

Hush now don't cry
Wipe away the teardrop from your eye
You're lying safe in bed

I will be watching over you
I'm gonna help you see it through
I will protect you in the night

It's a place where you will learn,

to face your fears, retrace the years,

and ride the whims of your mind.

— Queensryche

8. "Little Wing"—Jimi Hendrix

Album: The Cry of Love

Release year: 1967

About the song:

  • Hendrix described "Little Wing" as being "based on a very, very simple Indian style." It is likely that he is referring to some Native American mythologies in which spirits inhabit animals.

Lyrics pick:

Well she's walking
through the clouds
with a circus mind
that's running around
Butterflies and zebras
And moonbeams
And fairy tales
That's all she ever thinks about
Riding with the wind

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

— Jimi Hendrix

9. "Beautiful Boy"—John Lennon

Album: Double Fantasy

Release year: 1980

About the song:

  • "Beautiful Boy" was written for Lennon's son, Sean. It begins with John comforting his son after he has had a nightmare. Later, John passionately describes the love he has for his son and the joy he feels around him.

Lyrics pick:

Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

— John Lennon

10. "St. Judy’s Comet"—Paul Simon

Album: There Goes Rhymin' Simon

Release year: 1973

About the song:

  • Many songs are about how much a parent loves their child. However, Simon’s song is about that most dreaded of parental tasks—trying to get your kid to sleep.

Lyrics pick:

Little sleepy boy
Do you know what time it is?
Well the hour of your bedtime's
Long been past

And though I know you're fighting it
I can tell when you rub your eyes
You're fading fast

I've got nothing to do today but smile.

— Paul Simon

11. "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)"—Billy Joel

Album: River of Dreams

Release year: 1993

About the song:

  • "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" is the seventh track and fourth single from Billy Joel's 1993 album River of Dreams.
  • The song was inspired by Alexa Ray Joel, his daughter. The song is in the key of G major, giving it a beautiful dreamy quality.

Lyrics pick:

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes

The good ole days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems.

— Billy Joel

12. "Simple Man"—Lynyrd Skynyrd

Album: (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)

Release year: 1973

About the song:

  • "Simple Man" is the last track on Side one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut album (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd).
  • The song is one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's most popular songs. It has sold over 1,333,000 copies in the U.S.

Lyrics pick:

Baby, be a simple, really simple man
Oh, be something you love and understand

Take your time

Don't live too fast

Troubles come

And they will pass

— Lynyrd Skynyrd

13. "Sweet Baby James"—James Taylor

Album: Sweet Baby James

Release year: 1970

About the song:

  • The album, produced by Peter Asher, was recorded at Sunset Sound, Los Angeles.
  • Taylor was "essentially homeless" at the time the album was recorded.

Lyrics pick:

Goodnight you moon light ladies, rock-a-bye sweet baby James

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

— James Taylor

14. "Sun"—Concrete Blonde

Album: Free

Release year: 1989

About the song:

  • Free is the second album by alternative rock band Concrete Blonde.
  • Concrete Blonde were best known for their 1990 album Bloodletting, their top 20 single "Joey," and Johnette Napolitano's distinctive vocal style.

Lyrics pick:

Part the dark and chase it gone
You're the sweet and sunny one
As bright as any star tonight.
You smile like a beam of light

15. "Songbird"—Fleetwood Mac

Album: Rumours

Release year: 1977

About the song:

  • "Songbird" is a song by Fleetwood Mac from the album Rumours.
  • It is one of four songs written solely by Christine McVie on the album.
  • McVie composed and wrote the whole song in half an hour.

Lyrics pick:

For you, there'll be no more crying,
For you, the sun will be shining
And I love you, I love you, I love you

I am pretty fearless, and you know why? Because I don't handle fear very well; I'm not a good terrified person.

— Stevie Nicks

16. "In My Life"—The Beatles

Album: Rubber Soul

Release year: 1965

About the song:

  • "In My Life" is a song by the Beatles released on the 1965 album Rubber Soul.
  • The song was written mainly by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney.
  • George Martin contributed the piano solo bridge.
  • It is ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" as well as fifth on their list of the Beatles' 100 Greatest Songs.

Lyrics pick:

In my life, I love you more

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

— Paul McCartney

17. "Another Lullaby"—Art Garfunkel

Album: Angel Clare

Release year: 1973

About the song:

  • Angel Clare is the debut solo studio album by Art Garfunkel, released on September 11, 1973.
  • It is his highest charting solo album, peaking at number five and contains his only Top 10 hit in the US, "All I Know," which peaked at number nine.
  • The title of the album, Angel Clare, comes from the name of a character in Thomas Hardy's novel, Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

Lyrics pick:

Close your eyes my pretty child,
Though the night is dark and the wind is wild,
I will stand beside your bed,

Tonight there is nothing you need fear or dread.
You can sleep now, go to sleep,
The rain falls and the windows weep,
I'm standing by to sing a lullaby.

We human beings are tuned such that we crave great melody and great lyrics. And if somebody writes a great song, it's timeless that we as humans are going to feel something for that and there's going to be a real appreciation.

— Art Garfunkel

18. "Sleepyhouse"—Blind Melon

Album: Blind Melon

Release year: 1992

About the song:

  • Blind Melon is the eponymous debut studio album by American rock band Blind Melon.
  • The album was released by Capitol Records.
  • Most critics gave the album four stars.

Lyrics pick:

As I feel the moon rise
The time that all feels is the right time
Here in our sleepy house

You gotta do your best to decorate this dying day.

— Shannon Hoon

19. "Shooting Star"—Bad Company

Album: Straight Shooter

Release year: 1975

About the song:

  • Straight Shooter is the second studio album by the English supergroup Bad Company.
  • The album was released on April 2, 1975.
  • The album reached number three in the U.K. Albums Chart and the U.S. Billboard 200.
  • Critical reception was mixed, but the consensus was that they were, without a doubt, talented musicians.

Lyrics pick:

Don't you know that you are
A shooting star
And all the world will love you
Just as long, as long as you are

20. "Love Song"—Tesla

Album: Mechanical Resonance

Release year: 1986

About the song:

  • "Love Song" is a power ballad written by Frank Hannon and Jeff Keith of the band Tesla.
  • Originally released on The Great Radio Controversy, the song reached number ten on the U.S. charts, becoming the group's biggest hit.

Lyrics pick:

Love is all around you

21. "Dream On"—Aerosmith

Album: Aerosmith

Release year: 1973

About the song:

  • Steven Tyler says that this was the only song on the band's first album where he used his real voice.
  • This song was their first major hit and became a classic rock radio staple. Released in June 1973, it peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100, but they hit it big in the band's native Boston, where it was the number one single of the year on WBZ-FM.

Lyrics pick:

Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true

At times I’m so weak from lovin’ that I couldn't even carry a tune.

— Steven Tyler

22. "All of My Love"—Led Zeppelin

Album: In Through the Out Door

Release year: 1979

About the song:

  • This song is not a love song in the traditional sense. It is a tribute to Robert Plant's son Karac, who died of a stomach infection in 1977.
  • Robert Plant did the vocals in one take.
  • Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham were rarely on time for recording sessions. As a result, many of the songs on In Through The Out Door were put together by Plant and Jones, with Page and Bonham adding their parts late at night.

Lyrics pick:

All of my love, all of my love, oh
All of my love to you

Music is for every single person that walks the planet.

— Robert Plant

23. "Farewell and Goodnight"—Smashing Pumpkins

Album: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Release year: 1995

About the song:

  • "Farewell and Goodnight" is from the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which is the third studio album by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It was released on October 23, 1995.
  • Propelled by the album's lead single, "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," it debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first week sales of 246,500 units.
  • Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness earned the band seven Grammy Award nominations in 1997, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.

Lyrics pick:

Goodnight, my love, to every hour in every day
Goodnight, always, to all that's pure that's in your heart

I feel like I'm always fighting not to repeat myself.

— Billy Corgan

24. "Wild is the Wind"—David Bowie

Album: Station to Station

Release year: 1976

About the song:

  • "Wild Is the Wind" is a song written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington. The track was originally recorded by Johnny Mathis for the 1957 film Wild Is the Wind.
  • David Bowie's cover reinvigorated interest in the song.

Lyrics pick:

Love me, love me, love me, love me
Say you do
Let me fly away
With you
For my love is like
The wind
And wild is the wind
Wild is the wind

We are arriving and departing all at the same time.

— David Bowie

25. "Teach Your Children Well"—Crosby Stills Nash

Album: Déjà Vu

Release year: 1970

About the song:

  • Teach Your Children is a Graham Nash song that appeared on the 1970 Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album Déjà vu.
  • Nash wrote the song while still a member of The Hollies. The group voted against recording that song, which is one of the reasons that Nash decided to leave the group.
  • The direct inspiration for the song came when Nash saw Diane Arbus’ famous photograph “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.”

Lyrics pick:

So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

I'm not givin' in an inch to fear.

— David Crosby

26. "Wild World"—Cat Stevens

Album: Tea for the Tillerman

Release year: 1970

About the song:

  • "Wild World" is a song written and recorded by English singer-songwriter Cat Stevens.
  • The song first appeared on his fourth album, Tea for the Tillerman.
  • In 1970, Stevens developed a relationship with actress Patti D'Arbanville and the two were a pair for about two years. During that time, he wrote several songs about her, including the song "Wild World."

Lyrics pick:

Oh baby baby it's a wild world
And it's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh baby baby it's a wild world

Music is part of God's universe.

— Cat Stevens

27. "MLK"—U2

Album: The Unforgettable Fire

Release year: 1984

About the song:

  • "MLK" is the tenth and final song from U2's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire.
  • The song is a lullaby to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • This song, along with "Pride (In the Name of Love)," another tribute to King, earned Bono the highest honor of the King Center, an organization founded by Coretta Scott King.

Lyrics pick:

Sleep, sleep tonight
And may your dreams be realised

Music can change the world because it can change people.

— Bono

28. "Sweet Child o' Mine (acoustic)"—Slash & Myles Kennedy

Album: Appetite for Destruction

Release year: 1987

About the song:

  • "Sweet Child o' Mine" is a song by American rock band Guns N' Roses. It appeared on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction.
  • It was released in August 1988 as the album's third single.
  • The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the band's only number one U.S. single.
  • Billboard ranked it the number five song of 1988.

Lyrics pick:

Oh, oh, oh
Sweet child o' mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Sweet love of mine

Once you've lived a little you will find that whatever you send out into the world comes back to you in one way or another.

— Slash

29. "Your Song"—Elton John

Album: Elton John

Release year: 1970

About the song:

  • "Your Song" is a song composed and performed by English musician Elton John with lyrics by his longtime collaborator, Bernie Taupin.
  • The song originally appeared on John's self-titled second studio album.
  • It reached number eight on the Billboard chart.
  • The song also peaked at number seven on the U.K. Singles Chart.

Lyrics pick:

How wonderful life is while you're in the world

Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.

— Elton John

30. "I Will"—The Beatles

Album: The Beatles

Release year: 1968

About the song:

  • "I Will" was written by the Beatles and released on their 1968 album The Beatles.
  • It was written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and features him on lead vocal, guitar, and "vocal bass."
  • "I Will" was composed while in Rishikesh, India.

Lyrics pick:

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart

Love is the flower you've got to let grow.

— John Lennon

Popular Songs to Sing to a Baby in the Womb

Song
Artist
"Mom"
Garth Brooks
"No One Like You"
John Denver
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
"The Things We've Handed Down"
Marc Cohn
"Baby Mine"
Alison Krauss
"You Are My Sunshine"
Johnny Cash
“Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)”
Dixie Chicks
“Ripple”
Robert Hunter and the Grateful Dead
“Moon, Moon, Moon”
The Laurie Berkner Band
“Lullaby”
Jack Johnson

Famous Songs About Babies and Motherhood

Song Title
Artist
“Sweetest Devotion”
Adele
“Lovin’ You”
Minnie Riperton
“Lullaby”
The Dixie Chicks
“Mouth’s Cradle”
Bjork
”This Angel”
Jennifer Nettles
“Little Star”
Madonna
“In My Daughter’s Eyes”
Martina McBride
“Lullaby for Wyatt”
Sheryl Crow
“Gabriel and Me”
Joan Baez
“Lions and Tigers”
Sleater Kinney
“Blue”
Beyoncé (featuring Blue Ivy)

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