Republic Records: Kids & Family and The Rock and Roll Playhouse have announced a record deal for a series of albums geared toward introducing rock and roll to children under the age of 12. The first album created under that partnership, FRIENDS ROCK!, is due to arrive on digital streaming platforms on Friday, September 22nd. The Rock and Roll Playhouse has also shared the first single from FRIENDS ROCK!, an appropriate cover of Friends theme song “I’ll Be There For You”.
Founded in 2014 at its flagship venue, Brooklyn, NY’s Brooklyn Bowl, by celebrated music industry entrepreneur Peter Shapiro alongside childhood educator Amy Streim, The Rock and Roll Playhouse was conceived as a way for families to experience live music together at storied venues. Since then, the project has presented performances to hundreds of thousands of children and their families in 40+ venues across 30 cities, playing the songs of iconic artists like the Dead, Prince, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Phish, Aretha Franklin, Harry Styles, Dave Matthews Band, and more and inspiring the next generation of music fans through dancing, stories, and interactive activities. The program has raised funds for the Can’d Aid Foundation’s Tunes Programs, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, UNICEF, Keep the Music Alive, Rex Foundation, and other organizations and donated thousands of tickets to local school fundraisers and charity auctions across the country.
With FRIENDS ROCK! and subsequent album releases under the Republic Records: Kids & Family umbrella, The Rock and Roll Playhouse aims to expand the scope of its mission, teaching kids not just about the power of rock and roll, but also the power of friendship. In order to create the album, Shapiro tapped a powerhouse in kid’s media, Blues Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood creator Angela C. Santomero to lead the project. Santomero, in turn, brought in Stef Fink, who serves as the series songwriter/producer for hit Nickelodeon show Monster High. Santomero and Fink had recently collaborated on Blue’s Big City Adventure, the musical feature film that debuted in the #1 slot on Paramount+ last November.
Per an official description of the album, “The music follows the journey of five unique kids—Mick, Stevie, Tina, Quinn and Jerry—who fumble their way through the trials and tribulations of starting a rock and roll band. The band covers beloved classic rock songs in their own unique way, celebrating the music of The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Grateful Dead, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Prince, QUEEN, Tom Petty, and more, and even pens its own tunes. The music is high-quality and multi-generational, focusing on the power of friendship.”
“The albums are inspired by the popularity of kid’s audiobooks and podcasts — mixed with everyone’s favorite rock songs,” explained Santomero in a statement. “I love how the characters come alive to celebrate friendship through song!”
Added Republic Records: Kids & Family executive Bree Bowles, “This album presents the perfect opportunity to bring families closer together through music, which is an integral part of our mission at Republic Records: Kids & Family. The Rock and Roll Playhouse series dives deep into a catalog of classic rock hits, reimagining songs from a kid’s perspective and explores music through relatable topics including friends, holidays, back to school, and many more.”
With a number of additional Rock and Roll Playhouse projects in the works—including live touring, a TV series in development, and more—Shapiro is excited by the endeavor’s potential in the kids’ market. “I cannot wait to witness the magic that happens when you introduce our interpretations of classic rock and roll to families through these upcoming albums,” he said.
Pre-save The Rock and Roll Playhouse’s FRIENDS ROCK! ahead of its Friday, September 22nd release here. Play your kids/budding music fans the first single from the album, “I’ll Be There For You”, today on the platform of your choice or via the player below. Scroll down to view the full track listing for FRIENDS ROCK!
The Rock and Roll Playhouse – “I’ll Be There For You” (Friends Theme Song)
The Rock and Roll Playhouse – FRIENDS ROCK! – Album Track Listing
The Rock and Roll Playhouse Anthem
We Can Work It Out
With A Little Help From My Friends
You’ve Got A Friend
What About Your Friends
Count On Me
You’re My Best Friend
I’ll Be There For You
I’ll Be The One