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"Children" is a single by trance 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 Yugoslaviamarker; 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.

"Children" is one of the pioneering tracks of dream house, a genre of electronic dance music characterized by fewer beats per minute than other house music styles, and melodies written to evoke emotion. 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.

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. Synthmania.com, 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".

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. 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 Switzerland (Robert Miles's home country).

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.

Chart performances by country

"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.

"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". It spent 13 weeks at #1 on the Eurochart Hot 100, reached #2 on the UK 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.

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.

In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio 1 did not play the song on its daytime playlist at first, 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. Meanwhile, Kiss FM was among the first to play the song, even using it in one of the station's minute-long television commercials. Still, "Children" reached the number three position on the UK Singles Chart prior to promotion and marketing.

German Top 100
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Position
43
45
10
4
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
3
3
4
5
6
8
13
21
24
27
32
46
49
67
75
75
83


Austria Top 40
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Position
26
6
3
3
3
2
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
3
4
5
6
9
14
21
21


Finland Top 20
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Position
16
18
6
8
3
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
3
4
6
13


France Top 50
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Position
14
5
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
4
6
7
10
14
19
18
22
29
28
33
33


Norway Top 20
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Position
6
3
3
1
1
1
1
1
2
3
5
15
12
16
15
18


Sweden Top 60
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Position
51
10
17
3
3
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
3
3
5
8
10
13
21
35


Swiss Top 50
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Position
15
13
6
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
2
3
3
5
9
12
11
13
15
19
25
42
39
39


U.S. Hot Dance Club Play Top 50
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13
Position
40
26
15
12
6
2
1
2
5
10
17
30
46


U.S. Top 40 Mainstream
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15
Position
33
29
29
25
25
21
20
18
17
19
22
25
30
36
38


U.S. The Billboard Hot 100
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Position
75
54
39
33
31
27
25
24
24
21
21
21
25
21
25
28
32
34
44
48
ITA singles chart
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Position
21
20
15
8
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
2
3
3
1
3
3
5
7
10
15


Certifications

Country Certification Date Sales certified
France Platinum 1996 500,000
Germany Platinum 1996 300,000
Norway Platinum 1996 40,000
Sweden Gold May 20, 1996 10,000
Switzerland Platinum 1996 50,000
UK Platinum April 1, 1996 600,000


Track listings



CD single

France
  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


France
  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


Germany
  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

Europe
  1. "Children" (dream version) — 7:50
  2. "Children" (original version) — 6:50
  3. "Children" (message version) — 6:50


UK
  1. "Children" — 7:30
  2. "Children" (vocal mix) — 6:50
  3. "Children" (guitar mix) — 7:21


U.S.
  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


Cassette

  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

Chart (1995-96) Peak

position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 5
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart 2
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart 1
Dutch Singles Chart 3
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 1
Finnish Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 1
Latvian Airplay Top 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 4
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 21
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks 23
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 32
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 17


End of year chart (1996) Position
Australian Singles Chart 32
Austrian Singles Chart 4
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart 4
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart 6
French Singles Chart 7
Swiss Singles Chart 3


Covers

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".

In 2009 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.

Notes


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