POP MUSIC: 11 Before 11

There’s nothing like setting yourself an impossible task! So far in our 11 Before 11 series we’ve covered classic fiction and great paintings, neither of which proved as difficult as whittling down 60-plus years of pop music history to 11 childhood must-knows. We’ve ignored recent years and bypassed entire decades (sorry Elvis!) but we’re pretty sure these timeless classics and era defining albums will pass the kitchen disco test. Let us know anything we’ve missed that you think we really shouldn’t have and/or what music gets your kids going on the living room dancefloor. Find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band The Beatles
Or, really, any Beatles album you love. We picked this one because it’s a classic and there’s plenty of kid appeal in ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ and ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’. Get your hands on a copy of the 50th anniversary reissue (out 26 May) and you’ll get ‘Strawberry Fields’, ‘Penny Lane’ and restored documentary and promo footage to boot.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust David Bowie
Another tough one, I mean, how can anyone CHOOSE one Bowie album? Let’s focus on what’s important here, though – you want them to love him. Start with ‘Starman’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and “Suffragette City’ and there’s little chance of anything else.

Nevermind Nirvana
No child should be allowed to reach the teen angst stage without an intimate knowledge of the grunge band that defined a generation. And there’s no Friday night dance-off that can’t be improved with a rock out sesh to ‘Come As You Are’.


Post Bjork
A journey through the Bjork back catalogue is a celebration of boundary pushing, be yourself innovation. Our first choice was 1993’s Debut but if you want to get a five-year-old flinging themselves around the room to Iceland’s most famous export, it’s best to start with the irresistible riot of ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’.

The Very Best of Bob Dylan Bob Dylan
Sometimes you just need a Best Of and there’s mileage galore in this one. ‘Mr Tambourine Man’, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’… and the rest. Saturday morning pancakes with a Nobel prizewinner on the Sonos sounds like perfection to us.

The Immaculate Collection Madonna
The Queen of Pop’s greatest hits album is packed with sing-a-long belters. Think ‘Holiday’, ‘Material Girl’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, ‘Like a Prayer’ – you’re singing along now, aren’t you?. And never underestimate the comedy potential of teaching a toddler to ‘Vogue’.

Purple Rain Prince
Prince, symbol, the artist formerly known as, there’s so much to love in The Purple One’s back catalogue it could have a list of its own. We’ve plumped for Purple Rain so you can show them your best moves to ‘Let’s go Crazy’.

Pet Sounds Beach Boys
Atmospheric, wistful and bursting with youthful enthusiasm, the Beach Boys 1966 concept album is an easy family favourite. A couple of listens to ‘God Only Knows’ and they’ll be requesting it at the next school disco.

Back to Black Amy Winehouse
Save the cautionary tales for when they’re about to do their GCSEs and focus on the musical brilliance of Winehouse’s triumphant second album. Most kids can’t get enough of ‘Rehab’, just try and swerve any awkward questions. 

Thriller Michael Jackson
Somehow this list didn’t feel right without MJ. You could start them on a few Jackson 5 classics but we prefer cutting straight to the chase with ‘Billie Jean’ and the ‘Thriller’ zombie dance.