A Look Back At Both ‘In Harmony’ Rock Star Children’s Albums

In Harmony albums

A Look Back At The Two “In Harmony” Rock Star Children’s Albums presents a review of two fantastic albums that presented rock fans with some rare tracks all for a good cause. The first album was titled In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record. The album was released in 1980. The concept was to release an album of children’s songs sung by popular musical artists. The album was distributed by Warner Brothers Records. That album was followed up a year later with the release of In Harmony 2. That album was released on Columbia Records.

In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record

Album Highlights And Tracklisting:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod – Doobie Brothers

The opening track was a recording by The Doobie Brothers entitled “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.” The song was based on a poem written by Eugene Field in the 19th century. It’s a a song about a dream in which three children are floating in a boat resembling a shoe having fun fishing and staring at the stars. This was a popular song that had been recorded many times before The Doobie Brothers released their version of the song. “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” would be released as a single from the album. It actually broke into the Billboard Top 100 peaking at number seventy-six. It was the only single to be released from the album that broke into the Billboard Hot 100. As you can see below, The Doobie Brothers also released the song many years later on their 2006 hits compilation.

The album had a direct connection to the classic television show Sesame Street. The album featured the song “Share”  performed by Ernie and Cookie Monster. It was the only appearance of Sesame Street characters on the album. The complete tracklist is below

  1. “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” – The Doobie Brothers
  2. “Jellyman Kelly” – James Taylor
  3. “Be With Me” – Carly Simon
  4. “Blueberry Pie” – Bette Midler
  5. “Share” – Ernie and Cookie Monster
  6. “One Good Turn” – Al Jarreau
  7. “I Want a Horse” – Linda Ronstadt and Wendy Waldman
  8. “The Sailor and the Mermaid” – Libby Titus and Dr. John
  9. “Pajamas” – Livingston Taylor
  10. “A Friend for All Seasons” – George Benson and Pauline Wilson
  11. “I Have a Song” – Lucy Simon
  12. “In Harmony” – Kate Taylor and The Simon/Taylor Family

One Good Turn – Al Jarreau

A second song was released from the album entitled “One Good Turn.” The song was performed by the legendary Al Jarreau. This incredibly smooth silly version of the song failed to break into the Billboard Hot 100, but it stood out as one of the standout tracks on the album. Al Jarreau would often perform this song live.

One of the reasons fans should seek out this album is the record’s closing track.  The song “In Harmony,” was performed by Kate Taylor who is James Taylor’s young sister. She is joined by James Taylor as well as Carly Simon and her sisters. It’s such a beautiful recording featuring stunning vocals by all of these wonderful musicians.

IN HARMONY 2

The real gem among these two albums was the follow-up release In Harmony 2. This was a very special album for many reasons. Of course, the point of these albums was to generate money for children’s charities. However, the reason In Harmony 2 created a buzz among music fans when it was first released was because of the inclusion of Bruce Springsteen’s very popular radio hit “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” Up to that point, the live recording of the performance from a show in 1975 at CW Post College on Long Island was available as a radio promo single release only. The song’s release on the In Harmony 2 vinyl album was the recording’s first available commercial release.

The inclusion of Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” was not the only gem released on In Harmony 2. The album was packed with many great surprises. The album’s opening track “Nobody Knows But Me” performed by Billy Joel was one of the album’s strongest cuts. It’s probably why it was placed as the album opener.  The song was a perfect choice for Billy Joel. The proud Long Islander knocked it out of the park like a Darryl Strawberry home run.

Nobody Knows Me – Billy Joel

Sunny Skies – James Taylor

Not all songs released on In Harmony 2 were cover versions or brand new recordings. James Taylor contributed one of his own compositions called “Sunny Skies,” for the album. The song had originally been released on the classic James Taylor album Sweet Baby James. The album was originally released in 1970. The song fit in perfectly on the In Harmony 2 album

Splish Splash – Dr. John

Another standout track on the album was Dr. John’s version of the classic rock and roll tune called “Splish Splash.” This is one of the songs that can be interpreted in many different ways. However, Dr. John’s version is full of New Orleans soul like only he can deliver in his own classic style.

The In Harmony 2 album broke into the Billboard Top 200 album charts peaking at number one hundred and fifty six. Breaking into the top 200 was pretty impressive for a children’s album. The second album was released on Columbia Records which was the home for many of the artists on the album including Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.  The first In Harmony album did not break into the top 200. However, both albums won Grammy Awards in 1981 and 1983 for Best Recording for Children.

  1. “Nobody Knows But Me” – Billy Joel
  2. “Sunny Skies” – James Taylor
  3. “The Owl and the Pussycat” – Lou Rawls and Deniece Williams
  4. “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” – Teddy Pendergrass
  5. “Ginny the Flying Girl” – Janis Ian
  6. “Here Comes the Rainbow” – Crystal Gayle
  7. “Splish Splash” – Dr. John
  8. “Some Kitties Don’t Care” – Kenny Loggins
  9. “Maryanne” – Carly and Lucy Simon
  10. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” – Bruce Springsteen

A Look Back At Both ‘In Harmony’ Rock Star Children’s Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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