Welcome. Thanks for visiting.


This blog both supplements and compliments the book by looking at the songs,

records, radio shows, musical TV and films that have been made for children by adults. 


Like the book, the blog looks not only at the music, but at the social, historical and industrial (finance, contracts, production etc.) contexts that affect how the music is made and distributed.

I also write about what adults communicate (or tried to communicate) to their child audiences through music.

This is especially relevant when the songs are written to meet a self-created curriculum (Sesame Street)

or serve broader ideological intentions (Junior Choice).


The vast majority of the songs I write about were not made exclusively for a child audience but for 'families' and sometimes just adults. I’m interested in how those songs have become associated with children.


I am critical of the musical construction of notions of 'the child' and 'the family' and the ways that music creators often draw on stereotypical and normalised notions of these two terms.

Spinning the Child started off as my PhD thesis which I did at the University of Liverpool. The PhD took me 8 years part-time, completed alongside teaching music full-time, being a dad, and writing, recording and performing with my band Johnny and the Raindrops (music for children and families).

I spent nearly two decades as a Higher Education music lecturer. Before that, I had a major label record deal with BritPop band Soda in the 1990s, was in other bands, and worked as the music coach on the Joy Division biopic Control I now work as a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK., on a project looking at arts in primary schools.

Spinning the Child is a major rewrite of my PhD. The additional three years of primary research included a three-week visit to the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa, OK, USA, the content analysis of the songs on the 85 albums on Sesame Street Records, and many interviews with current musicians, song writers, radio producers and managers involved in the creation of music for children.

Looking closely at the music of my own childhood (Bagpuss, The Muppet ShowJunior Choice, etc.) renewed my interest and critical appreciation of an area of music that, as I have discovered, has been largely bypassed by academics.

My aim here is to stimulate conversation and discussion about music made for children.

Please get in touch with your thoughts, questions and requests.

'Stay awake and keep dreaming.

Hope is the fuel that keep the fire burning'


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