15 Family Friendly Rock Songs

I often come across people looking for music suggestions for a project involving kids; a playlist for a child’s birthday party, a slideshow intended for kids. “But I don’t want to use children’s music” they say.  Doh! Ok, that’s fine. There are plenty of great non-children’s music rock songs for everyone to enjoy. But I promise to share information on the fabulous kindie artists out there and the fantastic music they are creating in upcoming posts.

Here is a list of family friendly rock ‘n’ roll songs. It’s a little Queen heavy because my son loves Queen. He also loves AC/DC but it’s difficult to find appropriate Bon Scott era AC/DC to place on this list. I did include two so proceed at your own risk!

1. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” – Queen
This is one of the first songs my son Owen responded to. It will be on every kid friendly playlist I make. Both this clip and the next are from Queen’s 1985 performance at Live Aid.


2/3. “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” – Queen

I loved these songs as a kid. I imagine today’s kids will as well. The stomp clap of “We Will Rock You” into the dramatic “We Are the Champions” I mean, c’mon!

4. “Peek-A-Boo” – Devo
I think this song is fun. It may have a creepy underlying meaning but to me it’s just about playing Peek-A-Boo. The music video is super creepy and would probably scare young children so I have linked to this live audio with a static image so you only have to look at one somewhat creepy picture.

5. “Sir Duke” – Stevie Wonder
This song ALWAYS makes me smile. It’s about music and dancing. “You can tell right away a letter A when the people start to move.” This song is a letter A all the way. Who doesn’t dance to this song? I used to think it was weird when I watched concert footage and saw people crying in the crowd. I cried when I saw Stevie Wonder. Partly because there was a huge traffic jam and it took us hours to get there but mostly because, well, because it was Stevie.

6. “It Must Be Love” – Madness or the original by Labi Siffre
This song is just oozing with sweetness. How cute is this video of Labi Siffre? How cute is Labi Siffre? I learned to play this song on guitar from this video. Thanks Labi!

7. “Rock Around the Clock” – Bill Haley
I read somewhere that this song is considered to be the first rock song but Wikipedia says no. Wikipedia does credit the song as “widely considered to be the song that, more than any other, brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world.” Why not play this song for your kids or teach them to play it in their band?  Counting, rocking and a little music history.

8. “You’re My Best Friend” – Queen
A beautiful anthem to love and friendship. I used this for a slideshow I made for my grandma’s 90th birthday. It would be great for a kid’s slideshow as well.

9. “Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley
Repetitive lyrics, positive message, birds…perfect for kids.

10. “We’ve Got the Beat” – The Go-Go’s
Your twelve year old daughter is starting a band? This song should definitely be on the set list. Everyone gets to sing there’s a cool bridge with clapping.

11. “Rock Lobster” – The B52s
“Down, Down”.  Get those kids moving.

12. “Let My Love Open the Door” – Pete Townshend
I just love this song.

13. “Rock This Town” – The Stray Cats
I love this song! It does have lyrics that mention drinking and getting in a fight so it might not be an option for everyone. I substitute the line about drinking with “I order a juice in a box”. Clever right? But juice in a box could upset people too. You know, all that sugar. The line about fighting? Well, it’s pretty much the best part of the song with the stops and the attitude. “Look at me once, Look at me twice, Look at me again and there’s going to be a fight”. I think you have to let that be.

14. “High Voltage” – AC/DC
At eighteen months old this was Owen’s favorite song. He would request it by name. We’ve heard it probably 300 times and have never tired of it. To me that is a huge testament to the awesomeness of AC/DC. This will always and forever be a favorite of mine.

15. “Let There Be Rock” – AC/DC
This song is what it’s all about…ROCK!! The following lyric, “The white man has the schmaltz”, might be questionable to some.  It doesn’t bother me but we listen to the entire early AC/DC catalog…a lot.

6 thoughts on “15 Family Friendly Rock Songs

  1. These are fun selections.

    I have a playlist of older Weezer songs that my kids love. Surfwax USA, Buddy Holly, a good few others… that’s actually what got me thinking about making rock music for kids.

  2. Great list! Thanks for posting. It is great to find some common ground rather than let them take over the car stereo. We played the Clash for our kids (ages 6 and 10) on a road trip two weeks ago. Pillows over their ears.

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