What do you do when your career as a rock star is fading? You start making music for kids. Here are a few bands that now produce kiddie rock.
The Verve Pipe were a very popular alternative rock band in the mid-‘90s. Their first single “Photograph” was a big hit on rock radio, but “The Freshmen” hit the Billboard Top 5. It was a sad, haunting song about a doomed relationship. In 2009, having not had a hit in a decade, the band turned to music for kids and released The Family Album.
Dan Zanes was the lead singer the 1980s college rock band the Del Fuegos. Their best known song was “I Still Want You,” which was used in a beer commercial. By the late ‘90s, the band had broken up, Zanes got married, and had a baby, and started recording kids music. His first children’s album Rocket Ship Beach was critically acclaimed, and established the burgeoning genre of “kindie”—or “kid indie” rock. In 2005, the Disney Channel hired him to make music videos of some of his songs to run between shows for preschoolers.
In the ‘90s, Kay Hanley fronted the alternative rock band Letters to Cleo, who had hits including “Here and Now” and “Awake.” She embarked on a solo career too, culminating in writing and performing the power-pop songs for the 2000 live-action version of Josie and the Pussycats. In the mid-2000s, she signed a deal with Disney. First, she provided backing vocals in the studio and on the road for Miley Cyrus-as-Hannah Montana. Then she performed the theme song for several Disney Channel shows, including My Friends Tigger and Pooh.
There was an “Australian Invasion” in pop music in the late 1980s—bands like Crowded House and INXS found international success. Producing a few minor hits was a band from Sydney called the Cockroaches.
If you have a kid, some of those band members might look familiar. That’s because after the band fizzled out in the early 1990s, band member Anthony Field earned a degree in early childhood education, and formed a kiddie band with some other students, and his old Cockroaches bandmate, Jeff Fatt. That band became the Wiggles, the most successful children’s act of all time, selling more than 17 million DVDs and four million albums.