Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: The Bellamy Brothers, “Kids of the Baby Boom”

“‘Kids of the Baby Boom”

The Bellamy Brothers

Written by David Bellamy

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

March 27, 1987


#1 (1 week)

April 18, 1987

A while back, this meme took off like wildfire among my fellow Gen Xers:

Alas, memes weren’t a thing yet in the late eighties, so we needed brilliant songwriters to capture in 3-4 minutes what we capture today in a disposable meme.

Boomers get a bum rap in those memes, but they’re mere carpet burns compared to the incendiary indictment of the Boomer generation put forward by one of its own:

Now we all can run computers and we all can danceWe all have Calvin Klein written on our underpantsAnd at six-o’clock, like robots, we turn on the newsWatch those third world countries deal out more abuse

To the generation that benefited from the sacrifices of their fathers and mothers, and would become the last generation to have more opportunities for a successful life than their parents, the Bellamy Brothers say this:

As the farms disappear and the sky turns blackWe’re a nation full of takers, never giving backWe never stop to think what we consumeKids of the baby boom

Because it comes from someone within the same generation, this feels less like an attack and more like a challenge to do better.  And the boomers did do better in many ways, laying the groundwork for a more inclusive society and moving toward parenting that centered the dignity of the child.

I could write a lengthy treatise of criticism of my own Generation X, but it would come from the same place of love and in the same spirit of “hey, let’s step up our game” that the Bellamy Brothers show here.  But if someone else comes for Gen X, my dukes are up, and I think the same would be true of the Bellamys.

Let’s be tougher on ourselves and kinder to our parents and our kids.  That’s the message of “Kids of the Baby Boom” and it still resonates today.

“Kids of the Baby Boom” gets an A.


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  1. The Bellamy Brothers were always at their best when they took on headier themes and they hit this one out of the park for all of the reasons you cited. If a Millennial duo had put this out 20 years later, it would have come across as immature and condescending, but it works as a cleverly articulated piece of self-reflection and self-deprecation. This song is clearly the offspring of “Old Hippie” DNA without being derivative. It doesn’t hit me quite as hard as “Old Hippie” but I think it may still be my second favorite Bellamy Brothers hit. Certainly based on its cultural footprint on radio in the years since, it’s surprising that this one hit #1 while “Old Hippie” came up short, but in no way does that minimize its worthiness of making it to the penthouse.

    Grade: A-

  2. Not a bad song by any means, but I have to admit I liked ”Old Hippie” better. There’s a Facebook page called Classic Country Music Stories, and if the dude who runs it is to be believed, this song was a spin-off of sorts from ”Old Hippie,” as the latter ended up being about 15 verses long. I’d post a link to it but I’m afraid it’d trip the spam filters.

  3. It was April 18, 1987 on Billlboard not May 18. Remember this one well. I was born on April 16, 1987 so this was #1 the week I was born. It always makes me feel special that such a timely song about the generation before me was #1 the week I was born. Neat song for sure. This one and “Old Hippie” are my favorite social commentary songs that the Bellamy Brothers did. Great time capsules to say the least!

  4. Further proof that the Bellamy Brothers have one of the most impressive and interesting career trajectories of the decade, from self-deprecating pick-up line songs at the start of the decade to wise reflections on aging near its end.

    I love how their harmonies have sweetened and the overall musicality of their output has increased.

    It’s a testament to the strength of the songwriting that this song can bear this degree of analysis so many years later.

    A great song.

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