There is no stronger — and more complicated — human bond than between a father and his son. Happy Father’s Day to those of you who brought your indubitably dashing likeness into the world at this exciting time. Here are some popular songs for the occasion:
Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), “When the Tigers Broke Free“ — Waters wrote that autobiographical song as homage to his father, Eric Fletcher Waters (1913 – 1944), who died in the battle of Anzio. The song was ultimately left off The Wall album, the bandmates’ consensus being that it was too intense:
It was dark all around
There was frost in the ground
When the Tigers broke free
And no one survived from the Royal Fusiliers Company C
They were all left behind
Most of them dead
The rest of them dying
And that’s how the high command
Took my daddy from me
Harry Chapin, “Cats and the Cradle“ — There is also a decent hard rock cover by early 1990s band Ugly Kid Joe.
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then”
Cat Stevens, “Father and Son“ — Stevens wrote it as a father-son conversation, with the higher-note verses being the boy’s lines:
It’s not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.
Mike and the Mechanics, “The Living Years“ — I am not of the school of thought that talking solves things. Some things speak for themselves, you reap what you sow. Where we don’t see eye to eye, latter-life insight (I think) helps. Mike Rutherford disagrees:
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye
Marie Laforet, “Viens, Viens“ — A splash of estrogen in French, sang from the point of view of a young girl abandoned by her womanizing father. She mentions her younger brother (the linked video is subtitled):
Do you know that Jean is back to school
He already knows the alphabet, it is funny
When he pretends to smoke
He looks just like you
Dan Fogelberg, “Leader of the Band“ — The song reminds me of Dennis Leary once doing a comic monologue about people suing Heavy Metal bands in the ’80s over their allegedly suicide-promoting lyrics. Leary’s punchline was that he should sue Fogelberg for his wimpy songs, listening to which turned him into a pussy. But I don’t think he had this song in mind.
He earned his love through discipline, a thund’ring, velvet hand.
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.
Johnny Cash, “A Boy Named Sue“ — One deadbeat dad did his job:
And he said, “Son, this world is rough
And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn’t be there to help ya along
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you’d have to get tough or die
And it’s the name that helped to make you strong”
Faster Pussycat, “House of Pain” — The life a boy whose father disappeared in a divorce:
Image credit (top of post): unknown