Sir Paul McCartney has a heavy presence in the lullaby rotation for the same reason that the writers of old jazz standards do: easily singable tunes, easily understandable lyrics, and big direct emotions. Okay, maybe you wouldn't want to sing "Helter Skelter" or "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" at bedtime, but most McCartney songs suit the mood perfectly. Romantic lyrics meant for Paul's girlfriends can be directed to your kids easily without being too creepy. And if you're going to sing a song every night for months on end, you want to be a rock-solid smash that will keep you gratified even after so much hard use.
I sing the obvious Paul songs - "Hey Jude," "Let It Be" - but in my fourth year as a dad, I'm starting to look for deeper cuts. Lately I've been going hard on "Here, There, and Everywhere." It's the kind of sappy ballad that got on my nerves when I was young, but in middle age it makes more emotional sense to me. And this tune is magnificent, winding its way through some sophisticated key changes without sounding like an intellectual exercise. Any song by the Beatles is probably embedded deep in your unconscious already - a quick trip to Google for the lyrics and you're in business.
You can learn more about The Beatles here:
About the Curator - Ethan Hein
Ethan Hein is a Doctoral Fellow in Music Education at New York University. He teaches music technology, production and education at NYU and Montclair State University. With the NYU Music Experience Design Lab (https://www.musedlab.org), Ethan has taken a leadership role in the creation of new technologies for learning and expression, most notably the Groove Pizza (https://musedlab.org/groovepizza). In collaboration with Soundfly, he has developed a series of online music theory courses (https://soundfly.com/courses/unlocking-the-emotional-power-of-chords). He maintains a widely-followed and influential blog (http://www.ethanhein.com), and has written for various publications, including Slate, Quartz, and NewMusicBox.