Children (composition)

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"Children"
Children by Robert Miles Italian artwork.png
Artwork for Italian single releases
Single by Robert Miles
from the album Dreamland
B-side"Children" remixes
Released
  • August 1995
Recorded1995[1]
Genre
Length
  • 7:21 (original version)
  • 4:03 (radio edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)Roberto Concina
Producer(s)Miles
Robert Miles singles chronology
"Children"
(1995)
"Fable"
(1996)
Music video
"Children" on YouTube
Audio sample
"Children"

"Children" is an instrumental composition by Italian composer Robert Miles. It was first released in Italy in January 1995 as part of the EP Soundtracks on Joe Vannelli's DBX label, but it did not chart.[1] Vanelli brought the track to a nightclub in Miami where it was heard by Simon Berry of Platipus Records. Berry worked with Vannelli and James Barton (of Liverpool's Cream nightclub) to release the song in November 1995 as the lead single from his album Dreamland.[1] The song was Miles' most successful single, being certified Gold and Platinum in several countries and reaching number one in more than 12 countries.

Background and writing[edit]

Miles gave two inspirations for the writing of "Children". One was as a response to photographs of child Yugoslav war victims that his father had brought home from a humanitarian mission in the former Yugoslavia;[4] and the other, inspired by his career as a DJ, was to create a track to end DJ sets, intended to calm rave attendants prior to their driving home as a means to reduce car accident deaths.[1] The song cost £150 to record.[5]

"Children" is one of the pioneering tracks of Dream house, a genre of electronic dance music characterized by dream-like piano melodies, and a steady four-on-the-floor bass drum. The creation of dream house was a response to social pressures in Italy during the early 1990s: the growth of rave culture among young adults, and the ensuing popularity of nightclub attendance, had created a weekly trend of deaths due to car accidents as clubbers drove across the country overnight, falling asleep at the wheel from strenuous dancing as well as alcohol and drug use. In mid-1996, deaths due to this phenomenon, called strage del sabato sera (Saturday night slaughter) in Italy, were being estimated at around 2000 since the start of the decade. The move by DJs such as Miles to play slower, calming music to conclude a night's set, as a means to counteract the fast-paced, repetitive tracks that preceded, was met with approval by authorities and parents of car crash victims.[6]

Critic Boris Barabanov claimed a similarity between "Children" and Russian singer Garik Sukachov's song "Напои меня водой" ("Napoi menia vodoi" – "Quench my thirst"), and says the song was written before "Children". Sukachov said that he gave his consent for the melody to be used.[7]

Music videos[edit]

Billboard ascribes the final stage of the song's promotion to the airing of its music video on music television networks such as MTV Europe and Germany's VIVA.[1] Two videos were produced, the first was directed by Matt Amos and premiered in November 1995. It features black-and-white footage of a small girl riding in a car through a diverse range of landscape. The locations are London (Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square), Paris (The Eiffel Tower can be seen), Geneva (place du Molard, rue Coutance), Morges (marina with small towers) and countryside in Switzerland (Robert Miles's home country), and France and Italy near the Mont-Blanc Tunnel.

The second video was directed by Elizabeth Bailey and premiered in February 1996. It was filmed in colour and alternates between images of Miles DJing at a nightclub rave and images of children at play, thereby touching upon both of the themes of the song.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Children received widespread universal acclaim from critics with many calling the track a masterpiece. AllMusic editor Jose F. Promis described the song as "magical" in his review of Dreamland.[9] Billboard magazine attributes the song's widespread success to its melodic nature, characterized by an "instantly recognizable" piano riff (which was not in the track's original version). They identify this factor as making the song accessible to a broader audience beyond clubbers and fans of electronic dance music alone by means of radio airplay.[1] In 2017, BuzzFeed listed the song at number 41 in their list of "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs Of the '90s".[10] Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report wrote: "In the time it takes you to listen to this song, another nation has probably taken this remarkable instrumental to the top of their chart. Name a country, and it's likely Number One there right now. And now the music of this classically trained Italian pianist/producer is set to descend on the airwaves and dance floors in the U.S.A. The melody is hypnotic."[11] People Magazine called it a "techno-requiem".[12] Synthmania.com, which identifies the song as being written on a Kurzweil K2000, calls this the "dream house piano" sound, consisting of "standard piano, syn bass and string/pad sounds bathed in delay and reverb".[13] Upon including the track on 2002's The Very Best of Euphoria compilation, TheManAdam, co-creator of the Euphoria series of trance DJ mix albums, said that the song "had a major influence on [his] generation of remixers and producers when [they] all at first started making trance".[14]

Chart performance[edit]

"Children" was first released in Italy in January 1995 on Joe T. Vanelli's DBX imprint label, as part of the Soundtracks EP. Subsequently, following exposure at a gathering of DJs and record producers in Miami, the track was licensed by the UK-based Platipus Records who were represented by UK licensing agency Dynamik Music. In conjunction with Miles' manager, Gavin Prunas, the track was licensed to Deconstruction Records; it was then licensed to more than a dozen additional record labels in Europe through DBX, Deconstruction as well as appearing on the Platipus Records Volume 2 compilation released worldwide via Dynamik Music.[1]

"Children" was a success worldwide, peaking at number one in more than 12 countries and holding that position for several weeks. "Children" reached number one in the following countries: Austria (six weeks), Belgium, Denmark, Finland (three weeks), France (11 weeks), Italy, Norway (five weeks), Germany, Scotland (three weeks), Spain, Sweden (seven weeks) and Switzerland (13 weeks); beyond that, according to Billboard magazine, it reached the top five in "every European country that has a singles chart".[1] It spent 13 weeks at number one on the Eurochart Hot 100, reached number two on the UK[15] staying 17 weeks on the chart, and it reached number 21 in the US, holding that position for four weeks. Along with U2 members Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr.'s reworking of the Mission: Impossible theme, it marked the first time since November 1985 that two instrumentals had simultaneously charted in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100.[16]

French nightclubs began playing the imported record from Italy in 1995, making France one of the first countries to popularize the track. Spreading through the underground from clubs to, eventually, the radio, it was licensed there by an independent record label in November 1995. Spain and Italy itself were the other early adopters that brought the track into clubs. Club charts in these countries signalled "Children"'s popularity to other countries: In Denmark, club and radio play followed the single's release, while in Belgium radio play only followed by crossing over from club play, and in the Netherlands radio play was the primary factor in the single's promotion. In Germany, a domestic release came after demand built up from club play through promotional releases from the UK and Italy.[1]

In the U.S., major airplay included pioneering Los Angeles-area dance music station "Groove Radio 103.1," which used "Children" as its first-ever song on June 21, 1996.

In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio 1 did not play the song on its daytime playlist at first,[4] though Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong did play it for three weeks in a row on his Essential Selection program in 1996. Tong's appointing it Essential Tune of The Week each week for three weeks in a row culminated in a frenzied bidding war amongst UK major record companies.[17] Meanwhile, Kiss FM was among the first to play the song, even using it in one of the station's minute-long television commercials.[1] "Children" reached the number two position on the UK Singles Chart prior to promotion and marketing,[18] and became the year's eighth best-selling single.[19]

Track listings[edit]

CD single[edit]

France

  1. "Children" (eat me edit) – 4:03
  2. "Children" (dream radio) – 4:00

CD maxi[edit]

Belgium, Netherlands

  1. "Children" (radio edit) – 3:49
  2. "Children" (dream version) – 7:30
  3. "Children" (original mix) – 7:21

France

  1. "Children" (eat me edit) – 4:03
  2. "Children" (dream radio) – 4:00
  3. "Children" (dream club version) – 7:34
  4. "Children" (original guitar mix) – 7:16
  5. "Children" (message version) – 6:52

Germany

  1. "Children" (dream version) – 7:30
  2. "Children" (original version) – 7:21
  3. "Children" (message version) – 6:50

UK, US, Mexico, Japan, South Africa

  1. "Children" (eat me edit) – 4:00
  2. "Children" (dream version) – 7:30
  3. "Children" (guitar mix) – 7:21
  4. "Children" (message version) – 6:50

7"[edit]

US

  1. "Children" (dream radio) – 4:00
  2. "One and One" – 4:00

12" maxi[edit]

Europe

  1. "Children" (dream version) – 7:50
  2. "Children" (original version) – 6:50
  3. "Children" (message version) – 6:50

UK

  1. "Children" – 7:30
  2. "Children" (vocal mix) – 6:50
  3. "Children" (guitar mix) – 7:21

US

  1. "Children" (full length mix) – 7:30
  2. "Children" (radio edit) – 4:00
  3. "Children" (guitar mix) – 7:21
  4. "Children" (message version) – 6:50

Cassette[edit]

  1. "Children" (eat me edit) – 4:00
  2. "Children" (guitar mix) – 7:21
  3. "Children" (eat me edit) – 4:00
  4. "Children" (guitar mix) – 7:21

Charts and sales[edit]

4 Clubbers version[edit]

"Children"
4Clubbers - Children single.jpg
Single by 4 Clubbers
B-side"Remix"
ReleasedJuly 2001
GenreTrance
Length3:38
LabelDropout
Songwriter(s)Roberto Concina
4 Clubbers singles chronology
"Children"
(2001)
"Someday"
(2002)

In 2001, German trance group 4 Clubbers remixed the song and released it as a single. It reached the top 20 in Spain and charted in France, Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Children" (Club Radio Edit) – 3:38
  2. "Children" (FB vs. JJ Radio Edit) – 3:28
  3. "Children" (Club Mix) – 9:00
  4. "Children" (Future Breeze vs. Junkfood Junkies Mix) – 7:49

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[75] 72
Germany (Official German Charts)[76] 39
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[77] 47
Spain (AFYVE)[78] 18
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[79] 86
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)[80] 45

Jack Holiday and Mike Candys version[edit]

"Children 2012"
Children-2012-Jack-Holiday-Mike-Candys.jpg
Single by Jack Holiday and Mike Candys
from the album Smile
Released3 February 2012
GenreElectro house
Length3:07
Songwriter(s)Roberto Concina
Jack Holiday and Mike Candys singles chronology
"Around the World"
(2011)
"Children 2012"
(2012)
"2012 (If the World Would End)"
(2012)

In 2012, Jack Holiday and Mike Candys remixed the song and released it as a single.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Children" (Radio Edit) – 3:07
  2. "Children" (Christopher S Radio Edit) – 3:08
  3. "Children" (Original Higher Level Mix) – 5:00
  4. "Children" (Christopher S Remix) – 5:35
  5. "Children" (Mike'N'Jack Club Mix) – 4:56
  6. "Children" (Steam Loco Mix) – 4:57

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[81] 54
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[82] 22
France (SNEP)[83] 54

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  6. ^ Bellos, Alex; Hooper, John (June 2, 1996), "Italy's ravers dance down road to death", The Observer, p. 19
  7. ^ Dostoyanie Respubliki:

    Мне позвонили (то ли итальянский исполнитель, то ли группа), которые хотели бы использовать мелодию из песни "Напои меня водой" в каком-то семпле там (или что-то такое). Я сказал "да, милости просим, почему нет".
    They phoned me (either an Italian performer, or a group) and they asked me whether they can use the melody from the song "Napoi menia vodoi" ("Quench my thirst") in their sample (or something like that). I answered "yes, it's ok, why not".

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