New babies announced with classic rock songs at south Calgary hospital

Lullaby renditions of classic rock favourites are welcoming babies into the world at a south Calgary hospital.

Parents of infants born at South Health Campus can select one of eight songs to play over the loudspeakers to announce their new child.

The list is oddly specific.

All the songs are from the same general genre: four from Queen, one from each Bon Jovi and the Eagles, two from the Rolling Stones — strangely including the band’s You Can’t Always Get What You Want (You Get What You Need).

“But you get what you need,” women and children’s health executive director Joanne Cabrera said with a chuckle. “Could have been hoping for a boy but got a girl. You never know.”

Cabrera spoke to the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday morning about the unique program, known as “music notes,” that’s well-loved by hospital staff.

Calgary’s South Health Campus hospital opened in 2012.(CBC)

The idea came about after South Health Campus opened in 2012, she said. A staff member pitched the idea to the hospital’s citizens committee, whose members loved the idea.

They drew up a list of tunes.

“We ended up with songs that have a great message,” Cabrera said. “And then [turned] them into the lullaby creations.”

The full song list includes:

  • We are the Champions by Queen.
  • Bicycle Race by Queen.
  • You’re my Best Friend by Queen.
  • Somebody to Love by Queen.
  • Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones.
  • You Can’t Always Get What You Want (You Get What You Need) by the Rolling Stones.
  • Peaceful Easy Feeling by the Eagles.
  • Always by Bon Jovi​.

Parents who want to take part are told about the program before the birth. Then after the baby is born, they can call into an automated system and enter the code associated with the song of their choice. It’s then played throughout the hospital.

“What’s really cool is you’ll hear a music note sometimes and then a pause and then another music note,” Cabrera said. “People just grin ear to ear and you’ll hear ‘Twins!'”


With files from Caroline Wagner and the Calgary Eyeopener.

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