Children (song)

Children (song)
Single by Robert Miles
from the album Dreamland
B-side Remix
Released November 14, 1995
Format CD single, CD maxi,
12" maxi, cassette
Recorded 1994-1995
Genre Trance
Length 3:49 (radio edit)
7:21 (original version)
Label Arista (US), Deconstruction (UK), Motor Music (Germany), BMG (Japan)
Writer(s) Miles
Producer Miles
Certification Platinum (BPI)
Platinum (Germany)
Robert Miles singles chronology
Music sample

"Children" is a single by electronica composer Robert Miles from his album Dreamland. "Children" is Miles' most successful single, being certified Gold and Platinum in several countries and it reaching #1 in more than 12 countries. Miles created several remixes himself with an additional remix by Tilt.


Background and writing

Miles has stated two motives for the writing of "Children". One was as a response to photographs of child war victims his father had brought home from a humanitarian mission in the former Yugoslavia;[1] 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.[2]

"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.[3]

Music videos

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.[2] Two videos were produced, the first being the one Billboard discusses: 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) and countryside in Switzerland (Robert Miles's home country), and France and Italy near the Mont-Blanc Tunnel.

The second video, filmed in colour, 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.

Critical reception


Billboard magazine attributes the song's widespread success to its melodic nature, characterized by an "instantly recognizable" piano riff (which, ironically, was not found 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.[2], 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".[4]

Chart performances

"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 Deconstruction Records; it was then licensed to more than a dozen additional record labels in Europe through DBX and Deconstruction.[2]

"Children" was a success worldwide peaking at #1 in more than 12 countries and holding that position for several weeks. "Children" reached #1 in the following countries: Austria (6 weeks), Belgium, Denmark, Finland (3 weeks), France (11 weeks), Italy, Norway (5 weeks), Germany, Spain, Sweden (7 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".[2] It spent 13 weeks at #1 on the Eurochart Hot 100, reached #2 on the UK[5] staying 17 weeks on the chart, and it reached #21 in the U.S., holding that position for 4 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.[6]

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.[2]

In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio 1 did not play the song on its daytime playlist at first,[1] though Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong did promote it through his Essential Selection program, including it as part of the show-opening "Essential Seven" several times at the start of 1996.[7] Meanwhile, Kiss FM was among the first to play the song, even using it in one of the station's minute-long television commercials.[2] Still, "Children" reached the number three position on the UK Singles Chart prior to promotion and marketing.[8]

Cover versions

In 2001, the trance project 4 Clubbers covered the song and it spent two weeks on stage 1 in the German Dance Charts (#1). In 2004, the song was sampled for "Do You Know (I Go Crazy)" by Angel City, reaching #1 on the UK Dance Charts. In 2009 it was sampled for Rollin' (Remix) on the Kid Cudi mixtape "Dat Kid from Cleveland". The song was first sampled by Jackie Chain on his upcoming EP "Aint Slept In Weeks" for Fall 2010 release. The same year, the string quartet Escala most famous notably from Britain's Got Talent, have covered the song for their debut album which was released in May 2009. A remix of the song also appears in the video game Garou: Mark of the Wolves. The track is also sampled on Natalie Bassingthwaighte's track 'Could You Be Loved?', from the album 1000 Stars.

Air Cadet Use

In Canada, Children is used in the Air Cadet Glider and Power Pilot scholarship choreographed dance. The dance is danced with hands behind the back representing a relaxed and almost quiescent-like attitude (an attitude heavily linked to pilots in the air cadet program). The dance also includes the chant : P.I.L.O.T Glider/Power 2Kx(based on year, a cadet that passes his or her scholarship in 2005 would chant 2K5).

Track listings

CD single

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

CD maxi

Belgium, Netherlands
  1. "Children" (radio edit) – 3:49
  2. "Children" (dream version) – 7:30
  3. "Children" (original mix) – 7:21
  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
  1. "Children" (dream version) – 7:30
  2. "Children" (original version) – 7:21
  3. "Children" (message version) – 6:50
UK, U.S., 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

12" maxi

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


  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

Peak positions

Chart (1995/96) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[9] 5
Austrian Singles Chart[9] 1
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[9] 2
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[9] 1
Danish Singles Chart[10] 1
Dutch Top 40[11] 3
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 1
Finnish Singles Chart[9] 1
French Singles Chart[9] 1
German Singles Chart[12] 1
Irish Singles Chart[13] 2
Italian Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart[9] 4
Norwegian Singles Chart[9] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[9] 1
Swiss Singles Chart[9] 1
UK Singles Chart[14] 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[15] 21
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks[15] 23
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[15] 1
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40[15] 32
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream[15] 17

End of year charts

End of year chart (1996) Position
Australian Singles Chart[16] 32
Austrian Singles Chart[17] 4
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[18] 4
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[19] 6
Dutch Top 40[11] 8
French Singles Chart[20] 7
Swiss Singles Chart[21] 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[22] 65


Country Certification Date Sales certified
France[23] Platinum 1996 500,000
Germany[24] Platinum 1996 500,000
Norway[25] Platinum 1996 40,000
Sweden[26] Gold May 20, 1996 10,000
Switzerland[27] Platinum 1996 50,000
UK[28] Platinum April 1, 1996 600,000

Chart successions

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring LV
"Macarena" by Los Del Rio
Swiss number-one single
February 18, 1996 - May 5, 1996 (12 weeks)
May 19, 1996 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Macarena" by Los Del Rio
Preceded by
"Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo
Belgian (Wallonia) number-one single
March 23, 1996 - April 13, 1996 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Soirée disco" by Boris
Preceded by
"Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
March 23, 1996 - June 21, 1996 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Macarena" by Los Del Rio
Preceded by
"Soirée disco" by Boris
French SNEP number-one single
March 23, 1996 - June 1, 1996 (11 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The X-Files" by Mark Snow
Preceded by
"Firestarter" by The Prodigy
Norwegian VG-Lista number-one single
16/1996 – 20/1996 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lemon Tree" by Fools Garden
Preceded by
"Firestarter" by The Prodigy
Finnish number-one single
18/1996 – 20/1996 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Until It Sleeps" by Metallica
Preceded by
"California Love" by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
Swedish number-one single
April 12, 1996 - May 24, 1996 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Until It Sleeps" by Metallica
Preceded by
"Macarena" by Los Del Rio
Austrian number-one single
April 28, 1996 (1 week)
May 12, 1996 - June 9, 1996 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Macarena" by Los Del Rio
"Coco Jamboo" by Mr. President
Preceded by
"America (I Love America)" by Full Intention
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
June 15, 1996 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Wrong" by Everything but the Girl


  1. ^ a b "Robert Miles - Biography". S:alt Records. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Pride, Dominic; Crouch, John; Spahr, Wolfgang; Dezzani, Mark; Llewellyn, Howell; Maes, Mark; Tilli, Robbert; Strage, Frederick et al. (May 4, 1996), "Miles' 'Children' gives birth to a European craze", Billboard 108 (18): 11, ISSN 0006-2510 
  3. ^ Bellos, Alex; Hooper, John (June 2, 1996), "Italy's ravers dance down road to death", The Observer: 19 
  4. ^ "Famous Sounds". SynthMania. 2004-2006. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  5. ^ Zywietz, Tobias (March 22, 2005). "Chart Log UK: Mew - Monty Python". Chart Log UK. The Official Zobbel Website. Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  6. ^ Anonymous (June 14, 1996), "Entertainment briefs: Instrumentals crack top 100", St. Petersburg Times: 4G 
  7. ^ "Pete Tong's Essential Selection - 26.1.96, 2.2.96, 16.2.96". The Aimless Essential Selection Index. Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  8. ^ Sharkey, Alix (March 2, 1996), "Dream on", The Independent: 67 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Children", in various singles charts (Retrieved April 14, 2008)
  10. ^ Billboard April 27, 1996. Billboard. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  11. ^ a b "Single top 100 over 1996" (in Dutch) (pdf). Top40. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "Robert Miles singles, German Singles Chart" (in German). musicline.,Robert/single. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  13. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved April 14, 2008)
  14. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved April 14, 2008)
  15. ^ a b c d e Billboard (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  16. ^ 1996 Australian Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  17. ^ 1996 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  18. ^ 1996 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  19. ^ 1996 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  20. ^ 1996 French Singles Chart (Retrieved April 19, 2010)
  21. ^ 1996 Swiss Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  22. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1996". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  23. ^ French certifications (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  24. ^ "German certifications – Children" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved July 19, 2008. 
  25. ^ Norwegian certifications (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  26. ^ Swedish certifications (Retrieved September 11, 2008)
  27. ^ Swiss certifications (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  28. ^ UK certifications (Retrieved September 25, 2008)

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