Music in the Delivery Room

Thursday’s episode of Soundcheck, on WNYC, featured a segment called “Music in the Delivery Room,” which I think is pretty self-explanatory. I didn’t have a chance to listen to the segment; the boss was upset and I was doing everything possible to calm him. But I think it’s a great topic.

We put together a playlist for Jen’s L&D, and boy did we need some music around! We got to the hospital on Monday evening and Julian hung out inside until Wednesday morning. Then we stayed postnatal until Friday, so it was getting a little boring at times.

We loaded up an iPod with a bunch of tunes and bought a JBL Speaker Dock to plug it into. Jen, no question, was going to set the rules for her L&D. The only rules, luckily, were No Dylan and No Springsteen. “You’ll have enough time to brainwash him with them later,” she told me. So we loaded up with some punk and New Wave, some ’80s faves, a lot of R&B, and some jazz vocalists. Julian was always a wiggly little fetus, so we always joked his theme song was “Don’t Fence Me In.” Ella’s recording of that song has always been a personal favorite for both of us, so including a fuckton of her songs was pretty much required. Aside from that, we just wanted familiar music that would comfort us both, skewed heavily to her favorites.

So here’s a partial listing of artists and albums:

  • Al Green, “Take Me to the River” — a hits complilation
  • Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, “Street Life” — a hits compilation
  • The Clash — everything but “Cut the Crap”
  • David Bowie, “Ziggy Stardust”
  • Def Leppard,  “Vault” — hits
  • Earth Wind & Fire — hits
  • Eartha Kitt, “Back in Business”
  • Ella Fitzgerald — a few of the Songbook albums
  • Fleetwood Mac, “Greatest Hits”
  • Four Tops — hits
  • Jackson 5 — hits
  • Jeff Buckley, “Grace”
  • Joe Jackson — hits
  • Journey, “Greatest Hits”
  • Julia Darling — her self-titled release
  • Kate Bush, “Hounds of Love”
  • Madeleine Peyroux — several albums
  • Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”
  • Neko Case — several albums
  • PJ Harvey — several albums
  • Psychedelic Furs (and Love Spit Love) — hits; Jen loves Richard Butler’s voice
  • R.E.M. — several albums
  • Rosemary Clooney & John Pizzarelli, “Brazil” — has special sentimental value for us
  • The Spinners — hits
  • Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the Key of Life” and “Talking Book”
  • The Stone Roses
  • Talking Heads — several albums
  • Ted Motherfucking Leo — several albums

A couple of notes. There should have been some Sloan albums on here. There were, in an earlier version of the playlist I built. I have no idea why they disappeared, but I felt awful when Jen asked to hear them and I didn’t have them on. As for what was playing when Julian emerged, we don’t remember the song, but it was Ella Fitzgerald playing at that moment.

Also, one of Jen’s favorite childhood memories involves a certain Earth Wind & Fire song. She and her brother Jeff would play her dad’s record and dance together when this song came on. They danced to it when Jen married her first husband, and then they danced to it again at Jeff’s wedding. So of course, given Julian’s date of birth — September 21 — there was no question we’d play this:


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