One of the most respected names in children's music, Red Grammer has had a longstanding career with both adult and children's audiences. As Glenn Yarborough's replacement in the Limeliters, Grammer ably filled those shoes and more. Grammer's music has reached the realm of classic, and his positive, uplifting recordings are often heard in classrooms across the United States.
Grammer was born in 1952 in Orange, New Jersey, and was raised in nearby Little Silver, New Jersey. Grammer loved to sing from an early age, and chose to major in music at Beloit College. He counted Johnny Mathis among his influences, and Grammer's clear, strong tenor is reminiscent of a young Mathis. It was that similarity that probably got him noticed by the Limeliters and caused him to be selected as Yarborough's replacement in 1981. Grammer toured with the Limeliters until 1988.
But Grammer's strong religious faith and interest in children caused him to turn at least part of his creativity to children's music. In 1983, Grammer released Can You Sound Just Like Me?, a collection of participation songs for young children, on his own Red Note label. It was followed three years later by Teaching Peace, a collection for older children. Though spanning a great variety of musical styles from rap to waltz, Teaching Peace was simple and direct in its lyrics. Songs such as "I Think You're Wonderful" and "See Me Beautiful" ("See me beautiful, look for the best in me, that's all I really am, that's all I want to be") touched the hearts of families everywhere and was an instant hit with teachers who sought to counter violence in the media. Although Teaching Peace eventually won a Parent's Choice Classic Award, it was a surprise to the children's music community that the album did not win any awards during the year it came out. The album is still considered one of Grammer's best.
Five years later, Grammer introduced Down the Do Re Mi, again addressing the needs of preschoolers with songs like "Me and the Morning" and "The ABC's of You." This time, the awards were forthcoming: Pulse Magazine selected the album as Best Children's Recording of the Year. In 1993, Grammer released another album for preschoolers, Red Grammer's Favorite Sing Along Songs, and an album for adults called Free Falling.
Two years later, Grammer addressed the needs of older children with another hit, Hello World. Grammer's talent as a songwriter -- and that of his wife, Kathy Grammer -- showed through in all of the lyrics. From "We're All In This Together" (where the world is compared to an interdependent body -- "Sally's a kneecap, Johnnie's a toe, we're all in this together") to "We're Rich" (not about material wealth, but the wealth of human experience), each of the songs reflected Grammer's strong faith in human nature. ~ P.J. Swift