Playlist: Rockabye Baby is all your faves and your little one’s too

Rockabye Baby has more than 50 releases.
Rockabye Baby has released more than 50 lullaby tributes to contemporary musicians, including AC/DC, Kanye West, the Rolling Stones and Weezer. The latest, a Nickelback tribute, is out today.

Lisa Roth often finds herself giving unlikely advice to musicians who are covering songs by the likes of Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, Jay Z and Kanye West.

“A lot of the times it’s, ‘I want you to produce this like there’s a baby sitting in your lap while you’re doing it,’” she says.

As vice president and creative director of the CMH Label Group, Roth oversees a branch of the label that produces the Rockabye Baby series, in which musicians have taken the aforementioned artists and created lullaby renditions of their best-known work. Roth created the series with co-worker Valerie Aiello in 2006, and she has since overseen more than 50 releases. Today sees the release of a Nickelback compilation.

“When we developed this idea, no one here had kids,” says Roth. “I am not sure we would have thought about lullaby versions of Tool if we did have kids.”

For the uninitiated, Rockabye Baby releases are like a private game of “Name That Tune” that parents can play while their little ones benefit from soothing arrangements of classic tunes. Where a song like the Foo Fighters’ “Monkey Wrench” in its original incarnation is characterized by its hard guitars crunching up against bombastic drums and Dave Grohl’s rock ‘n’ roll screams, the Rockabye Baby version is an instrumental playground, led by harmonizing glockenspiels and filled out by little bird chirps, rattles and cute little honks.

CMH Label Group releases about eight compilations per year, working with a small handful of producers, and Roth says the back-and-forth with a producer for each release could take as long as six months.

“There’s a certain amount of training that we have to go through with these people because it’s kind of nuanced: It’s not an easy thing to do. I think people have preconceived notions when it comes to a lullaby, as if you should just play quieter and slower, which is not the case at all,” she says. “First of all, we are a record label, not a children’s company. The music, whether the consumer notices it or not, means a great deal to us.”

Yes, the consumer in question is a baby, one who’s unknowingly being introduced to the greatest pop music of the past few decades (yes, there are people who would put Nickelback into that category). But the consumer is also the parent who can hear songs he or she already loves without having to suffer through nonsense by purple dinosaurs or men in brightly colored turtlenecks.

“I get to spend chunks of my day doing this thing,” says Roth, “and listening to music and deconstructing these songs and picking the instruments, and it’s like painting a little picture, and trying to do it with utmost deference and respect to the artists so they don’t get annoyed.”

And the cradle will rock…
Lisa Roth comes from a very musical family. Her brother is a guy who goes by the name of David Lee Roth, from a little band called Van Halen. Did her big brother ever sing her lullabies while growing up?

RELATED: View a video of the two Roth siblings announcing the Van Halen version of Rockabye Baby

“Well, he never sang to me, but he was always singing,” she says. “And if he wasn’t singing, he was doing air guitar. … David was always — oh my God — I thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He always had music on like, Bob Dylan, Zeppelin, all that good stuff.”

More from CMH: Not Pickin’ one over another
The CMH Label Group doesn’t just release popular music as filtered through lullaby versions. They also release popular music as interpreted in bluegrass style (the Pickin’ On series) and through classical style (the Vitamin String Quartet). So of all of these formats, including the original versions
of songs, which works the best?

“I don’t know,” says Roth. “How can you have a conclusion like that about something that is as creative as music?”

Check out some of our favorite baby-approved Rockabye selections…


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Parenting

Is camp right for introverts?

We ask an expert for tips on sending your introverted child to camp

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.