Kids In America

Album: Kim Wilde (1981)
Charted: 2 25

Songfacts®:

  • This song celebrating the youth of America was written by Wilde's brother Ricky and her father Marty. The Wilde family is from Chiswick, England, which might explain the questionable geography in the lyrics, as the line, "New York to East California" would most likely land you in the Mojave Desert - most songs celebrating California refer to the much more hospitable coastal areas.
  • This was Wilde's first single. She racked up 19 Top-40 hits in England, but just one more in the US: a #1 cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On." She later became a prominent gardening expert in England.
  • Marty Wilde (Kim's father), was a popular performer in England, racking up several hits there.
  • This was featured on the soundtrack of the mostly-forgotten movie Reckless, starring Darryl Hannah and Aiden Quinn. A cover by The Muffs was used to open the movie Clueless. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
  • In 2007, Jonas Brothers recorded a new version called "Kids Of The Future" for the Disney movie Meet The Robinsons. The song was also covered by Len for the movie Digimon and by No Secrets for Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
  • A YouTube film of Wilde's impromptu drunken performance of the song on a tube train in December 2012 went viral. The singer told The Independent that she was mortified when it became a huge trending video on Twitter. "I was with my brother, on my way home after some drinks, and I just started singing," Wilde explained. "When I woke up the next day it'd all kicked off on Twitter and I thought, 'Whatever career I have right now, I probably buried it.' What amazed me was that people thought it was fun and sweet and it's made me realise that the public have more time for me than I thought."
  • The Muffs were given a few songs to choose from for Clueless and picked this one because it was the catchiest. They never learned to play it live until they were asked to be a part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the soundtrack's release and were expected to perform the song. Kim Shattuck, lead singer of the pop-punk band, explained to Culture Brats why The Muffs abandoned the song for so long: "The lyrics are really stupid. It's very embarrassing to sing them. I just had an attitude about it because I didn't write it... It was just kind of weird and awkward for us to play it but once we started playing it, we realized people really enjoy seeing us play that song and the fact that we didn't really play it was kind of rebellious for no reason."
  • Kim Wilde was still living with her parents and brother when she recorded "Kids In America." Ricky's bedroom was next to Kim's, which led to some sibling bickering.

    "He'd got himself a Wasp keyboard –­ the little yellow and black thing – and I was really annoyed by all the noises coming out of his room," she recalled to TeamRock. "It had a sort of pulsing beat which ended up being the intro to Kids In America. That was particularly annoying coming through into my room while I was trying to listen to Joni Mitchell."
  • Marty Wilde's lyrics were inspired by his preoccupation with American rock music. "My dad's head went into a fantasy, this idea of everything being better in America," Kim Wilde recalled. "Of course for his generation, that was very true. Everyone was going to drive in movies and drinking milkshakes and having hamburgers in America. We weren't doing things like that in the UK. I think a lot of that got caught up in the lyrics – all the kids in America are having a better, more interesting, more dangerous time than we were here."

    "When Elvis and rock and roll was imported over from America, it was to a generation of kids whose parents had dealt with the war, and rationing, and they'd all been brought up in pretty poor conditions," she continued. "When rock and roll came along, it was a great thing for the kids to dream about again. They dared to have an identity, for starters. They dared to dream through these great records imported from America. That's where the great love affair started for my father – as soon as he heard an Elvis Presley record."

    "I'll never really fully understand what made him write those lyrics, because there's something very private about lyrics and the lyricist, but I did enjoy singing them," Kim Wilde concluded. "They had a rebellious quality that sat with me very well at the time. I was a bit of a rebel without a cause, but I was a rebel nonetheless."

Comments: 9

  • Jamara from NcI watched a movie that had this song as the ending credits song amd I cant remember the name of it
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzOh, quit all the bashing, if you're 38 or older, you like this song and you know it. It's a guilty pleasure, no skin off my back. :-)
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzShe looks like Markie Post with lip implants :-)
  • Tony from Perth, AustraliaNearly 30 years later and she still cannot sing, maybe she found her true vocation as a gardener !
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis song was also recorded by The Muffs for the game, Rock Band 2.
  • L_a_ from Montreal, QcThe synthesizer theme near the end of this classic was reprised in Roger Sanchez' mega club anthem ''Turn on the music'' in 2006, only slowing its rythm.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaMy old girlfriend looked like Kim Wilde whenn this song came out, so she liked it of course. Great song...
  • Chris from Claremont, CaBeing born in 1982, it seemed as if the song was written for kids in the 80's, which I was, I was 7 at the end of the decade
  • Mark from London, EnglandKim's real surname is Smith. She is now more famous in the UK as a gardener!
see more comments

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