Nothing’s better as a parent than possessing the power to soothe a sleepless child. For one man armed with a pink ukulele, a little daddy-daughter duet did the trick, and video of the adorable performance has gone viral.
On his YouTube page, Benjamin Ames writes that his 4-year-old daughter, Adelaide, thought that she heard fireworks and that she couldn’t sleep. So, propped in front of a camera, the two sang the lovingly simple “Tonight You Belong to Me” as a way to “keep her mind preoccupied.” The video is on its way to 600,000 views in a week.
Ames, 32, and his family are currently living in a small village near Innsbruck, Austria, where he is a physicist. Originally from Kansas City, Mo., Ames told TODAY by phone on Tuesday that they’re still getting accustomed to random little holidays in his new home, some of which are celebrated with fireworks.
“It was just one of those nights and we heard boom, boom boom,” Ames said of a recent night when he and his wife were trying to put their daughter to bed. Adelaide was stirred up by the noise and Ames suggested they sing some songs to soothe things.
The song, written in 1926 by lyricist Billy Rose and composed by Lee David, has generated numerous covers over the years, and there are a bunch online. Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, who put out an album of ukulele songs in 2011, called just that, did a version of the song with Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power. Ames, who said he loves music and is trying to inject that into his daughter, got hooked on the song by seeing Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters perform it in the film “The Jerk.”
As Ames and Adelaide start the song, the little girl gives her dad instructions to “be quiet” or “shhh” when she thinks she still hears fireworks outside. Clad in little pink-trimmed owl pajamas with tiny pigtails atop her head, Adelaide stops the music a few times, while managing to get out the words, “I know, you belong, to somebody new / … ‘shhh!’ … / but tonight, you belong, to meeeeeee.”
After going strong for about a minute, Adelaide stops the music again. “Shhh! What’s that sound?”
“Airplane,” Ames says.
The music starts again and the two add in a couple of perfect mouth-trumpets for accompaniment. Near the end, as dad starts to take a little bit too much of the spotlight, Adelaide puts one hand on the ukulele to quiet the tempo before she finishes strong.
And, in a fitting salute to any bedtime number, the last word of the night is “shhh.”