Children (composition)

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Robert Miles - Children (Cover).jpg
Single by Robert Miles
from the album Dreamland
  • January 1995 (Italy)
  • August 1995 (UK)
RecordedNovember 1994[1]
GenreDream trance
  • 4:03 (radio edit)
  • 7:21 (original version)
Songwriter(s)Roberto Concina
Robert Miles singles chronology
Music video
"Children" on YouTube
Audio sample

"Children" is an instrumental composition by Italian dance composer Robert Miles. It was first released in Italy in January 1995 as part of the EP Soundtracks on Joe Vannelli's DBX label, but it did not chart.[1] Vanelli brought the track to a nightclub in Miami where it was heard by Simon Berry of Platipus Records. Berry worked with Vannelli and James Barton (of Liverpool's Cream nightclub) to release the song in November 1995 as the lead single from his album Dreamland.[1] The song was Miles' most successful single, being certified Gold and Platinum in several countries and reaching number one in more than 12 countries.

Background and writing[edit]

Miles gave two inspirations for the writing of "Children". One was as a response to photographs of child Yugoslav war victims that his father had brought home from a humanitarian mission in the former Yugoslavia;[2] and 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.[1] The song cost £150 to record.[3]

"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 trance 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.[4]

Critic Boris Barabanov claimed a similarity between "Children" and Russian singer Garik Sukachov's song "Напои меня водой" ("Napoi menia vodoi" – "Quench my thirst"), and says the song was written before "Children". Sukachov explained that he gave his consent for the melody to be used.[5]

Music videos[edit]

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.[1] Two videos were produced, the first was directed by Matt Amos and premiered in November 1995. It features 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), Geneva (place du Molard, rue Coutance), Morges (marina with small towers) and countryside in Switzerland (Robert Miles's home country), and France and Italy near the Mont-Blanc Tunnel.

The second video was directed by Elizabeth Bailey and premiered in February 1996. It was filmed in colour and 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.[6]

Critical reception[edit]


Children received widespread universal acclaim from critics with many calling the track a masterpiece. Billboard magazine attributes the song's widespread success to its melodic nature, characterized by an "instantly recognizable" piano riff (which was not 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.[1], 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".[7]

The Gavin Report wrote: "In the time it takes you to listen to this song, another nation has probably taken this remarkable instrumental to the top of their chart. Name a country, and it's likely Number One there right now. And now the music of this classically trained Italian pianist/producer is set to descend on the airwaves and dance floors in the U.S.A. The melody is hypnotic."[8]

Upon including the track on 2002's The Very Best of Euphoria compilation, TheManAdam, co-creator of the Euphoria series of trance DJ mix albums, said that the song "had a major influence on [his] generation of remixers and producers when [they] all at first started making trance".[9]

Chart performance[edit]

"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 Platipus Records who were represented by UK licensing agency Dynamik Music. In conjunction with Miles' manager, Gavin Prunas, the track was licensed to Deconstruction Records; it was then licensed to more than a dozen additional record labels in Europe through DBX, Deconstruction as well as appearing on the Platipus Records Volume 2 compilation released worldwide via Dynamik Music.[1]

"Children" was a success worldwide, peaking at number one in more than 12 countries and holding that position for several weeks. "Children" reached number one in the following countries: Austria (six weeks), Belgium, Denmark, Finland (three weeks), France (11 weeks), Italy, Norway (five weeks), Germany, Spain, Sweden (seven 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".[1] It spent 13 weeks at number one on the Eurochart Hot 100, reached number two on the UK[10] staying 17 weeks on the chart, and it reached number 21 in the US, holding that position for four 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.[11]

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.[1]

In the U.S., major airplay included pioneering Los Angeles-area dance music station "Groove Radio 103.1," which used "Children" as its first-ever song on June 21, 1996.

In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio 1 did not play the song on its daytime playlist at first,[2] though Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong did play it for three weeks in a row on his Essential Selection program in 1996. Tong's appointing it Essential Tune of The Week each week for three weeks in a row culminated in a frenzied bidding war amongst UK major record companies.[12] Meanwhile, Kiss FM was among the first to play the song, even using it in one of the station's minute-long television commercials.[1] "Children" reached the number two position on the UK Singles Chart prior to promotion and marketing,[13] and became the year's eighth best-selling single.[14]

Track listings[edit]

CD single[edit]


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

CD maxi[edit]

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, US, 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



  1. "Children" (dream radio) – 4:00
  2. "One and One" – 4:00

12" maxi[edit]


  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[edit]

Cover versions and samplings[edit]

In 2001, the trance project 4 Clubbers covered the song and it spent two weeks on stage one in the German Dance Charts (number one). The string quartet Escala, most famous notably from Britain's Got Talent, covered the song for their debut album which was released in May 2009. The song also served as inspiration for one of the songs in the video game Garou: Mark of the Wolves, notably the theme of protagonist Rock Howard.

DJ Calvin West released a cover version of the song on March 2, 2011, on Spinnin' Records. On March 28, 2016, Keanu Silva released his cover also on Spinnin' through the SPRS imprint.

On April 20, 2017, Armin Van Buuren premiered at his weekly radio show A State of Trance a new version produced by Vigel that was released one day later on the label A State of Trance. This track is also part of the album A State of Trance 2017 (Mixed by Armin Van Buuren), with tunes from other artists like Gaia, Rodg, Super8 & Tab, Gareth Emery, Orjan Nilsen, First State, MaRLo, etc.

In June 2017, Australian post rock band sleepmakeswaves performed a cover version of the song for radio station Triple J, as a part of its weekly Like a Version segment.


In 2004, the song was sampled for "Do You Know (I Go Crazy)" by Angel City, reaching number one on the UK Dance Charts. The song was sampled by Jackie Chain for his song "Rollin'" and "Rollin' (Remix)", which appeared on the unofficial Kid Cudi mixtape Dat Kid from Cleveland.[60] The track is also sampled on Natalie Bassingthwaighte's track "Could You Be Loved?", from the album 1000 Stars.

In 2012, the song was sampled by (and forms the basis of) musician Dot Rotten's dubstep and rap single, "Overload".[61]

In 2015, rapper Tyga sampled the song in his single "Stimulated". The usage of a sample titled "Children" in a song where Tyga defends committing statutory rape with his then-underage girlfriend, media personality Kylie Jenner, drew harsh criticism and controversy.[62]

4 Clubbers version[edit]

4Clubbers - Children single.jpg
Single by 4 Clubbers
ReleasedJuly 2001
Songwriter(s)Roberto Concina
4 Clubbers singles chronology

In 2001, German trance group 4 Clubbers remixed the song and released it as a single. It reached the top 20 in Spain and charted in France, Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Children" (Club Radio Edit) – 3:38
  2. "Children" (FB vs. JJ Radio Edit) – 3:28
  3. "Children" (Club Mix) – 9:00
  4. "Children" (Future Breeze vs. Junkfood Junkies Mix) – 7:49

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
France (SNEP)[63] 72
Germany (Official German Charts)[64] 39
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[65] 47
Spain (AFYVE)[66] 18
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[67] 86
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)[68] 45

Jack Holiday and Mike Candys version[edit]

"Children 2012"
Single by Jack Holiday and Mike Candys
from the album Smile
Released3 February 2012
GenreElectro house
Songwriter(s)Roberto Concina
Jack Holiday and Mike Candys singles chronology
"Around the World"
"Children 2012"
"2012 (If the World Would End)"

In 2012, Jack Holiday and Mike Candys remixed the song and released it as a single.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Children" (Radio Edit) – 3:07
  2. "Children" (Christopher S Radio Edit) – 3:08
  3. "Children" (Original Higher Level Mix) – 5:00
  4. "Children" (Christopher S Remix) – 5:35
  5. "Children" (Mike'N'Jack Club Mix) – 4:56
  6. "Children" (Steam Loco Mix) – 4:57

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[69] 54
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[70] 22
France (SNEP)[71] 54

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Pride, Dominic; Crouch, John; Spahr, Wolfgang; Dezzani, Mark; Llewellyn, Howell; Maes, Mark; Tilli, Robbert; Strage, Frederick; Ferro, Charles (May 4, 1996), "Miles' 'Children' gives birth to a European craze", Billboard, 108 (18), p. 11, ISSN 0006-2510
  2. ^ a b "Robert Miles - Biography". S:alt Records. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  3. ^ "Robert Miles, trance producer and DJ, has died at 47". The Guardian. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  4. ^ Bellos, Alex; Hooper, John (June 2, 1996), "Italy's ravers dance down road to death", The Observer, p. 19
  5. ^ Dostoyanie Respubliki:

    Мне позвонили (то ли итальянский исполнитель, то ли группа), которые хотели бы использовать мелодию из песни "Напои меня водой" в каком-то семпле там (или что-то такое). Я сказал "да, милости просим, почему нет".
    They phoned me (either an Italian performer, or a group) and they asked me whether they can use the melody from the song "Napoi menia vodoi" ("Quench my thirst") in their sample (or something like that). I answered "yes, it's ok, why not".

  6. ^ Robert Miles: Children, Color Version (Video 1996) - IMDb
  7. ^ "Famous Sounds". SynthMania. 2004–2006. Retrieved 22 January 2007.
  8. ^ Sholin, Dave (5 April 1996). "Gavin Picks > Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. No. 2099. p. 70. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  9. ^ The Very Best of Euphoria (tray insert). Matt Darey. Telstar Records. 2002.
  10. ^ Zywietz, Tobias (March 22, 2005). "Chart Log UK: Mew - Monty Python". Chart Log UK. The Official Zobbel Website. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  11. ^ Anonymous (June 14, 1996), "Entertainment briefs: Instrumentals crack top 100", St. Petersburg Times, p. 4G
  12. ^ "Pete Tong's Essential Selection - 26.1.96, 2.2.96, 16.2.96". The Aimless Essential Selection Index. Retrieved 2007-01-18.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Sharkey, Alix (March 2, 1996), "Dream on", The Independent, p. 67
  14. ^ Sutherland, Ben (10 May 2017). "Robert Miles' Children - the hit written to save clubbers' lives". Retrieved 10 May 2017 – via
  15. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  16. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 8487." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
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  21. ^ "Top 10 Czech Republic" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  22. ^ Billboard April 27, 1996. Billboard. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  23. ^ "Robert Miles: Children" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  24. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children" (in French). Les classement single.
  25. ^ " – Robert Miles Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  26. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  27. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (23.03.1996 - 29.03.1996)" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  28. ^ Irish Single Chart Archived 2009-06-03 at WebCite (Retrieved 14 April 2008)
  29. ^ "Indice per Interprete: M" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  30. ^ Irish Single Chart Oricon website, artist charts info (Retrieved 2 November 2012)
  31. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 10, 1996" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  32. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  33. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children". Top 40 Singles.
  34. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children". VG-lista.
  35. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  36. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  37. ^ " – Robert Miles – Children". Singles Top 100.
  38. ^ a b " – Robert Miles – Children". Swiss Singles Chart.
  39. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  40. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  41. ^ a b c d e Billboard (Retrieved 30 July 2008)
  42. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  43. ^ 1996 Australian Singles Chart Archived November 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  44. ^ 1996 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  45. ^ 1996 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  46. ^ 1996 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  47. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  48. ^ 1996 French Singles Chart Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved April 19, 2010)
  49. ^ "1996 German Singles Chart". (Retrieved January 14, 2018)
  50. ^ "End of Year Charts 1996". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  51. ^ 1996 Swiss Singles Chart Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  52. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1996". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  53. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1996". (original document published by ARIA). Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  54. ^ French certifications Archived May 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  55. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Children')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved July 19, 2008.
  56. ^ Norwegian certifications Archived June 26, 2006, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  57. ^ Swedish certifications Archived 2012-05-21 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved September 11, 2008)
  58. ^ Swiss certifications Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved July 30, 2008)
  59. ^ UK certifications Archived March 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved September 25, 2008)
  60. ^ " - Video: Jackie Chain f. Jhi Ali, "Rollin"". Faderaccessdate=12 May 2017.
  61. ^ "Dot Rotten's sample of Robert Miles's Children". WhoSampled. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  62. ^ "Tyga's "Stimulated" Ode to Kylie Jenner Samples A Song Called "Children"". Complex. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  63. ^ " – 4 Clubbers – Children" (in French). Les classement single.
  64. ^ " – 4 Clubbers Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  65. ^ " – 4 Clubbers – Children" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  66. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 8480486392.
  67. ^ " – 4 Clubbers – Children". Swiss Singles Chart.
  68. ^ UK Singles Chart Archived 2012-08-25 at WebCite (Retrieved April 14, 2008)
  69. ^ " – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – Children 2012" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  70. ^ " – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – Children 2012" (in French). Ultratip.
  71. ^ " – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – Children 2012" (in French). Les classement single.