David Lee Roth, lead singer of Van Halen, used to be known as the only musical one in the Roth family. His sister, Lisa Roth, never really considered herself musically inclined. Ballet was as musical as shot got, until about three years ago.
She was shopping for a baby gift, and couldn’t find anything she thought would be the perfect gift for her friend. She thought, “What if there was a gift that would benefit the parents and the child?”
Music came to mind first, since at the time she was working for CMH Records, a label that focused on blue grass and classic country music. She thought it would be a great gift.
“But most of the lullabyes out there, I wouldn’t think parents could relate to or enjoy hearing them over and over again. But their favorites songs, I figured they would.”
So, she approached her boss, David Haerle about creating lullabyes based on a parent’s favorite singers and bands. Rock-A-Bye Baby features recognizable music from nearly 30 artists, from Metallica to the Rolling Stones. Even country stars such as Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, and Garth Brooks are featured.
“It’s more for the parent than the child but it calms the child at the same time,” explains Roth.
But it’s not an easy process taking a rock song and turning it into a lullabye. First, they have to license the music. Then they have to go through the music, note by note, and take it down a few notches to make each song suitable for baby. The songs have to be slowed down, but they don’t lose the recognizable melody. The reverb is cut down significantly. There are no vocals. No loud steel guitars. And no drums. Instead, they use the glockenspiel, the mellotron, bells, and wood instruments. Sometimes you’ll hear a bird or even a frog.
“We really try to make each song magical. I like to say we add a little sparkling pixy dust to make each special,” says Roth.
The formula works. Rock-A-Bye Baby accounts for about 65% of CMH Label Group’s revenues.
Celebrities have talked about buying Rock-A-Bye Baby in People Magazine and US Weekly. The series was also featured on TV show, “Gilmore Girls.”
“When I knew I’d really hit something right was when I saw an interview of Kurt Hammett of Metallica talking about playing it for his child, and he said that it works.”
Click the video above to hear more from Lisa Roth about Rock-A-Bye-Baby and how a psychic predicted her fate, despite her resistance to jumping into the music industry.