With Fathers Day coming up on Sunday, our theme this week was a lay down misere: dads, grandads, step-dads, good dads, bad dads… even sugar daddies got a look in on our show dedicated to FATHERS.
We opened with a song about one of the worst father’s in pop-music. The Temptations PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE talks of a Dad who was a dishonest, cheating, alcoholic. But hey, not everyone’s perfect! With a huge variety of music in the playlist, I’m sure we addressed the balance.
A song that puts a lump in my throat is Billy Bragg’s TANK PARK SALUTE. There are several songs about grieving for a father who has died, but none seems as powerful as this track. It was written as a way of addressing the silence and denial that surrounded his dad’s illness. Take a look at this 1991 performance:
My Dad died many years ago now and if you’ve been through it you’ll know that the event creates one of life’s turning points. Equally, becoming a parent is also a life-changing event. Most new dads only get to bore their friends, but the proud rock-star dad can annoy the whole world if he chooses. One of the few truly likable songs about fatherhood is David Bowie’s cheerful, self-effacing KOOKS – although advising “Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads” is a bit much from someone who christened his poor son Zowie. Another newborn inspired Radiohead’s end-of-the-world lullaby SAIL TO THE MOON.
Creedence Clearwater Revival have a different take on paternity and destiny in FORTUNATE SON: a cry of blue-collar resentment, directed at the privileged elite who used their connections to protect their sons from being sent to Vietnam.
Neil Young gave us OLD MAN with a little bit of help from James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt; Eric Clapton sang of a father he never knew with IN MY FATHERS EYES. And then it was Elvis with the song that his daughter Lisa Marie sang at the 20th anniversary celebrations of his death: DON’T CRY DADDY. Check out this amateur video of the performance. It seems its the only version, unfortunately, as its also on the offical Elvis site.
Luther Vandross’ song, DANCE WITH MY FATHER, won the 2004 Grammy Award for song of the year. We followed that with Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s DUST GOT IN DADDY’S EYES and The Winstons’ song COLOR HIM FATHER that was dedicated to all the step-fathers out there.
Not wanting to get too serious at the Theme Park, so it was well and truly time for James Brown and PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG. Here’s a clip from the Ed Sullivan show, May 1966. I love the way Ed Sullivan is beaming at the end of the performance and exclaims “Wow, that was exciting wasn’t it!”. Yes, Ed it was. Long live the Godfather of Soul.
Time for some jazz: I didn’t want to overlook one of my favourite kinds of Dads and Julie London’s ode to the Sugar Daddy was perfect. And then it was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with GO DADDY-O. A very nice segue into Hawkeshaw Hawkins with RATTLESNAKIN DADDY and The Heartbreakers with ROCKIN’ DADDY O.
And we didn’t want to forget the dear old, (or young as the case may be), Grandads: Fats Waller gave us GRAND OLD DAD. A change of pace saw the Dave Matthews Band rock out with DREAMS OF OUR FATHERS and then Everclear lamented an absent father in FATHER OF MINE. Here’s the very cool video clip:
A couple of songs for my children who lost their father when they were quite young: For Jack a song by his father’s favourite artist: John Lennon and BEAUTIFUL BOY. And for Zoe, it was another favourite – Paul Simon singing FATHER AND DAUGHTER. Here’s a live performance of that song from 2006.
When I played Eric Clapton’s very moving TEARS IN HEAVEN I guarantee there wasn’t a dry eye at the station. Clapton wrote the song after losing his son Connor in a terrible accident. And then it was a song that isn’t overtly about fatherhood but I interpret it that way, and you may too. It’s Roy Orbison and the Mavericks doing a cover of Simon & Garfunkle’s BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER.
Ian Hunter grieves that his relationship with his Dad is just like Two Ships That Pass in the Night in his song SHIPS. Ian Dury followed with MY OLD MAN, a quirky, affectionate memento of his Dad, an East End bus driver. At Dury’s funeral in 2000, the song was performed by his own son, Baxter. Here he is with the Blockheads performing live.
Thanks to Ku Promotions for the tickets we gave away to the COOL NIGHTS BIG BAND performance. It encouraged me to go out with a jazz standard: SONG FOR MY FATHER by the Horace Silver Quintet. Released on the Blue Note label, the cover art features a photograph of Silver’s father. If you listen to the opening bass piano notes, you might just recognize what Steely Dan borrowed for their song RIKKI DON’T LOSE THAT NUMBER.
Happy Fathers Day to all you Dads for next Sunday. Here’s this week’s playlist:
Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations
Daddy’s Home – Shep & The Limelites
Tank Park Salute – Billy Bragg
My Father’s Waltz – Hem
Kooks – David Bowie
Sail To The Moon – Radiohead
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Old Man – Neil Young
My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
Don’t Cry Daddy – Elvis Presley
Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
Dust Got Into Daddy’s Eyes – Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland
Color Him Father – The Winstons
Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag – James Brown
Daddy – Julie London
Go Daddy-O – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Rattlesnakin’ Daddy – Hawkshaw Hawkins
Rockin’ Daddy O – The Heartbreakers
Grand Old Dad – Fats Waller
Dreams of Our Fathers – Dave Matthews Band
Father Of Mine – Everclear
Daddy’s Song – Harry Nillson
Beautiful Boy – John Lennon
Father and Daughter – Paul Simon
Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Roy Orbison & the Mavericks
Ships (That Pass In The Night) – Ian Hunter
My Old Man – Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Song For My Father – Horace Silver
Next week: BIRDS (the feathered variety).
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
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