The Kangaroo Song

When I put Alex to bed, I read him a story, then we turn out the light (he blows it out) and sing a few songs. My repertoire of kids’ songs is relatively limited, though, and Alex regularly asks for stuff I’ve never heard of.

“Have the…zoom zoom song!”

“What’s the zoom zoom song, Alex?”

“Zoom zoom song!”

“I don’t know that one. Can you sing it for me?”


Riiight. So, racking my brains for new material, a month or so ago I remembered the classic Rolf Harris song, “Tie me kangaroo down sport.” Or rather, I remembered the chorus, which goes:”

Tie me kangaroo down, sport,
Tie me kangaroo down.
Tie me kangaroo down, sport,
Tie me kangaroo down.

Rolf Harris, for those of you who didn’t grow up in the UK, is an Australian entertainer who has been hosting TV shows, making music, producing some fabulous art, and generally being an all round nice chap for over fifty years. “Tie me kangaroo down sport” was a hit in 1960, and has become one of those cultural points of reference in modern Britain, along with Rolf’s famous catch phrase, “Can you guess what it is yet?”

The best of Rolf HarrisNeedless to say, Alex loved the catchy melody and sing-a-long-ness of the refrain. Despite me not knowing any more than those four lines, he insisted that I sing it over and over again. I liked having something new to sing, but I wished that I knew more of the lyrics. I could have used this new-fangled interweb thingie, of course, but by sheer coincidence I ran across a copy of “The Best Of Rolf Harris” in the line for the checkout at our local Sainsbury’s just a few days later. Bonzer!

Okay, so it’s not quite my usual listening material, but I bought it mainly for Alex, and he enjoys it. The Kangaroo Song is actually quite an amusing little ditty, and one I would recommend to any parent of small children. “Sun Arise,” which I used to think was irretrievably naff, I now find rather pretty and evocative. The last track on the CD is Rolf’s rendition of “Waltzing Matilda”, and he does an excellent job of that, too. The rest of the CD has its ups and downs, but on the whole it was five pounds well spent.

I was interested to find that I can’t listen to “Two Little Boys” without crying, though. It is regularly derided as one of the crappest songs in musical history, but it still gives me a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. Call me sentimental, but I think it’s a beautiful expression of love, and of the fear of losing someone so close to you. I get the same way over Glen Phillips’s “Darkest Hour“. I can’t listen to it without tears, either.

Being a parent does mushy things to your head.

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