Sunday, September 6, 2020

5 X 5 Songs: Fathers

5 facts about 5 songs about fathers. 

____________________ 

The Living Years 


Artist: 
Mike + the Mechanics 

Year: 
1988 

Video (official) link: 

Lyrics: 

Every generation 
Blames the one before 
And all of their frustrations 
Come beating on your door 

I know that I'm a prisoner 
To all my Father held so dear 
I know that I'm a hostage 
To all his hopes and fears 
I just wish I could have told him in the living years 

Oh, crumpled bits of paper 
Filled with imperfect thought 
Stilted conversations 
I'm afraid that's all we've got 

You say you just don't see it 
He says it's perfect sense 
You just can't get agreement 
In this present tense 
We all talk a different language 
Talking in defence 

Say it loud (say it loud), say it clear (oh say it clear) 
You can listen as well as you hear 
It's too late (it's too late) when we die (oh when we die) 
To admit we don't see eye to eye 

So we open up a quarrel 
Between the present and the past 
We only sacrifice the future 
It's the bitterness that lasts 

So don't yield to the fortunes 
You sometimes see as fate 
It may have a new perspective 
On a different day 
And if you don't give up, and don't give in 
You may just be okay 

So say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear) 
You can listen as well as you hear 
Because it's too late, it's too late (it's too late) when we die (oh when we die) 
To admit we don't see eye to eye 

I wasn't there that morning 
When my Father passed away 
I didn't get to tell him 
All the things I had to say 

I think I caught his spirit 
Later that same year 
I'm sure I heard his echo 
In my baby's new born tears 
I just wish I could have told him in the living years 

Say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear) 
You can listen as well as you hear 

It's too late (it's too late) when we die (it's too late when we die) 
To admit we don't see eye to eye 

So say it, say it, say it loud (say it loud) 
Say it clear (come on say it clear) 

5 Facts: 

1. 
This song is written from the perspective of a son who has a conflicted relationship with his father. After his father dies, he discovers that he and his dad had a much stronger bond than he ever realized, and the son regrets not saying more while his dad was alive. 

2. 
It was written by group founder Mike Rutherford and the Scottish songwriter B.A. Robertson; the pair also co-wrote the first Mike + The Mechanics hit, "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)." Both Robertson and Rutherford had recently lost their fathers when they wrote this song, making it a very personal endeavour for both of them. 

3. 
The song was written in stages. B.A. Robertson wrote the first verse before his father died in 1986, the same year Rutherford lost his dad. The pair composed the music based on this verse, and then a while later Robertson came up with the second verse. The final verse didn't come to him until shortly before the song was recorded. Robertson was staying at a hotel in Los Angeles and was under pressure to finish the lyric before flying back to Europe. He recalls going outside to a garden at the hotel when the verse came to him. 

Robertson was working with Rutherford when he got the call that his dad had died, which is reflected in the opening lines of this verse: 
I wasn't there that morning 
When my father passed away 

Three months after his father died, Robertson's son was born, which we hear in this line: 
I'm sure I heard his echo 
In my baby's new born tears 

4. 
When Mike Rutherford's father, Crawford Rutherford, died in October 1986 at age 80, Mike was on tour with Genesis in Chicago. Two weeks later, he took the Concorde to England for the funeral and returned to America in time for the next show. Later, this funeral fly-by hit Mike hard: In his 2014 autobiography The Living Years, he opens with this story. After lots of reflection, Mike realized that he was so wrapped up in his own career during this time that he was neglecting his loved ones, especially his dad. 

5. 
Many listeners heard their own stories in this song. "People write to me to this day saying how they had lost touch with their fathers, and how they had written to them on the strength of that song," Rutherford told Record Collector in 2014. "Most songs don't have that extra bit that changes your life." 
____________________ 

Papa Don’t Preach: 


Artist: 
Madonna 

Year: 
1986 

Link: 

Lyrics: 

Papa I know you're going to be upset 
'Cause I was always your little girl 
But you should know by now 
I'm not a baby 

You always taught me right from wrong 
I need your help, daddy please be strong 
I may be young at heart 
But I know what I'm saying 

The one you warned me all about 
The one you said I could do without 
We're in an awful mess 
And I don't mean maybe, please 

Papa don't preach I'm in trouble deep 
Papa don't preach, I've been losing sleep 
But I made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby, hm 
I'm gonna keep my baby, hm 

He says that he's going to marry me 
We can raise a little family 
Maybe we'll be all right 
It's a sacrifice 

But my friends keep telling me to give it up 
Saying I'm too young, I ought to live it up 
What I need right now is some good advice, please 

Papa… 

5 facts: 

1. 
This song is about teenage pregnancy. Madonna takes the voice of a confused teenager who wants advice from her father at a difficult time. In a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, she said: "It just fit right in with my own personal zeitgeist of standing up to male authorities, whether it's the Pope or the Catholic Church or my father and his conservative, patriarchal ways." 

2. 
The line "I've made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby," caused anti-abortion groups to praise Madonna and abortion-rights groups to criticise her. Madonna refused to take a stance on the issue. 

Women's organisations and others in the family planning field criticised Madonna for encouraging teenage pregnancy, while groups opposed to abortion saw the song as having a positive anti-abortion message. The song also caused her first conflict with the Vatican, as she dedicated it to Pope John Paul II, who urged Italian fans to boycott her concerts during the Who's That Girl World Tour in 1987. 

3. 
The video featured Danny Aiello as Madonna's father. He recorded an answer song from the father's perspective called "Papa Only Wants The Best." Aiello was mostly unknown at the time, but went on to star in Do The Right Thing and Moonstruck. 

4. 
For the music video, Madonna sported a complete image makeover. She changed the heavy jewelry and make-up, and adopted the gamine look, which is notably applied to describe the style and appearance that Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn used during the 1950s.[38][39] In the video Madonna played a tomboy, dressed in jeans, a black leather jacket, and a slogan T-shirt with the caption "Italians do it better". The video alternated between tomboy shots and those of a more glamorous Madonna with a more toned and muscular body, cropped platinum blonde hair, and figure-revealing clothing, consisting of a 1960s-style black bustier top and capri pants. 

5.
Actor Alex McArthur was signed to play Madonna's boyfriend and the father of her child in the video. Madonna had spotted McArthur in a small role as a naive youth in the 1985 film Desert Hearts, and she thought he was a natural to play her mechanic boyfriend. "I was out in the garage working on my Harley," said McArthur, "I answered the phone and a voice said, 'Hi, this is Madonna. I would like you to be in my next video.'" 
____________________ 

Cat’s in the Cradle 


Artist:
Harry Chapin 

Year: 
1974 

Link: 

Lyrics: 

My child arrived just the other day 
He came to the world in the usual way 
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay 
He learned to walk while I was away 
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew 
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you, dad" 
"You know I'm gonna be like you" 

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon 
Little boy blue and the man in the moon 
"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 

My son turned ten just the other day 
He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play 
Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today 
I got a lot to do, he said, that's okay 
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed 
It said, I'm gonna be like him, yeah 
You know I'm gonna be like him 

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon 
Little boy blue and the man in the moon 
"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 

Well, he came from college just the other day 
So much like a man I just had to say 
Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while? 
He shook his head, and he said with a smile 
What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys 
See you later, can I have them please? 

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon 
Little boy blue and the man in the moon 
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when" 
But we'll get together then, dad 
You know we'll have a good time then 

I've long since retired and my son's moved away 
I called him up just the other day 
I said, I'd like to see you if you don't mind 
He said, I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time 
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kids have the flu 
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad 
It's been sure nice talking to you 
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me 
He'd grown up just like me 
My boy was just like me 

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon 
Little boy blue and the man in the moon 
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when" 
But we'll get together then, dad 
We're gonna have a good time then 

5 facts: 

1. 
The song tells of a father and son who can't schedule time to be with each other, and it serves as a warning against putting one's career before family. The father’s unwillingness to spend quality and affectionate time with his son instils a legacy whereby the son has more important things to do than spend time with his father in the latter’s later years. 

2. 
This song is based on a poem that Harry's wife Sandy wrote. According to her: 

"'Cat's In The Cradle' was a combination of a couple of things. Whenever I was on a long drive I would listen to country music, because words would keep me awake more than just music. And I heard a song… I can remember the story, but I don't remember who sang it or what the title was, but an old couple were sitting at their breakfast table and looking out the window, and they saw the rusted swing and the sandbox, and they were reminiscing about the good old days when all the children were around and then the grandchildren, and how it passed, and now it's all gone.” 

3. 
It took the birth of his son for Harry Chapin to decide to turn the poem his wife wrote into a song. Sandy Chapin: 

"Harry and I would exchange writing of all kinds. We were always working on each other's writing. Some of my writing at a certain period were 20-page papers for a doctoral program at Columbia. So it wasn't always that poetic. But we both looked at each other's stuff. And then one time he came home and he said, 'What have you been doing?' I showed him 'Cat's In The Cradle,' and he said, 'Well, that's interesting.' You know, sometimes he'd pick up something and put music to it. And that didn't really grab him at all. And then after Josh was born, it did. He picked it up and he wrote music to it." 

4. 
Harry Chapin included various symbols of childhood in the lyrics as reminders of how quickly it ends. "Cat's Cradle" is a game played with string, "Silver Spoons" are ornamental spoons for babies, and "Little Boy Blue" is a nursery rhyme. "Man In The Moon" could be about the human features children see when they look at the moon. 

5. 
Harry Chapin was not only a songwriter and performer. He was also was a philanthropist, and humanitarian. On the afternoon of July 16, 1981, Chapin was en route on the Long Island Expressway to perform at a free benefit concert at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York that evening. At 12:27 PM, Chapin was fatally injured in a fiery traffic collision with a semi-trailer truck outside Jericho, New York.  He was 38.
__________________ 

Father & Son 


Artist:
Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens 

Year: 
1970 

Link: 

Lyrics: 

It's not time to make a change 
Just relax, take it easy 
You're still young, that's your fault 
There's so much you have to know 
Find a girl, settle down 
If you want you can marry 
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy 

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy 
To be calm when you've found something going on 
But take your time, think a lot 
Why, think of everything you've got 
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not 

How can I try to explain? 'Cause when I do he turns away again 
It's always been the same, same old story 
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen 
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away 
I know I have to go 

It's not time to make a change 
Just sit down, take it slowly 
You're still young, that's… 

5 facts: 

1. 
The song features a heartbreaking exchange between a father not understanding a son's desire to break away and shape a new life, and the son who cannot really explain himself but knows that it is time for him to seek his own destiny. 

2. 
Cat Stevens originally wrote "Father and Son" as part of a proposed musical project starring Nigel Hawthorne, called Revolussia, that was set during the Russian Revolution, and could also have become a film; the song was about a boy who wanted to join the revolution against the wishes of his conservative farmer father. The musical project faded away when Stevens contracted tuberculosis in 1969. He was close to death at the time of his admittance to the King Edward VII Hospital in Midhurst, West Sussex. After a year-long period of convalescence in the hospital and a collapsed lung, the project was shelved, but "Father and Son" remained, now in a broader context that reflected not just the societal conflict of Stevens' time, but also captured the impulses of older and younger generations in general. 

3. 
Asked soon after the release of "Father and Son", Stevens was asked if the song was autobiographical. Responding he said: 

"I've never really understood my father, but he always let me do whatever I wanted—he let me go. 'Father And Son' is for those people who can't break loose." 

4. He has also said: 

"Some people think that I was taking the son's side, but how could I have sung the father's side if I couldn't have understood it, too?” 

5. 
The producers of the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge wanted to use this in the film and had some of the actors record it, but Stevens would not let them because the racy content of the movie clashed with his Muslim beliefs. Much of the plot was based on the song, and the script had to be rewritten when Stevens refused permission. The song "Nature Boy," sung by David Bowie, was used instead. 
________________

The Lord’s Prayer


Artist:
Sister Janet Meade 

Year: 
1973 

Link: 

Lyrics: 

Our Father, 
Which art in heaven, 
Hallowed be Thy name. 
Thy Kingdom come, 
Thy will be done, 
On earth 
As it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, 
And forgive our debts 
As we forgive our debtors. 
and lead us not into temptation, 
But deliver us from evil; 
For thine is the kingdom 
And the power and the glory 
Forever, 
Amen 
Amen. 

5 facts: 

1. 
"The Lord's Prayer" is a rock setting of the Lord's Prayer with music by Arnold Strals recorded in 1973 by the Australian nun Sister Janet Mead. Mead was known for pioneering the use of contemporary rock music in celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass (Sister Act didn't happen until 1992) and for her weekly radio programs. 

2. 
It went on to become an international smash, selling nearly three million copies worldwide and making the upper reaches of the pop charts in territories as diverse as Canada, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and the United States. 

3. 
Sister Janet Mead intertwined a music career with her church work, forming a rock band which performed a series of "rock masses" that she conducted at Adelaide Cathedral. She went pro about 1973, going to Sydney to record on a Festival Records contract. "The Lord's Prayer" was the idea of her producer, Martin Erdman. The single became the first Australian recording to sell over one million copies in the US. 

4. 
Being humble and media-shy, Mead resisted the call to continue her pop career, despite intense media interest. She now describes the record's success as a "horrible time" in her life — worldwide success brought a pressure that led her to question her faith and withdraw from the public eye. 

5. 
Mead re-recorded "The Lord's Prayer" in 1999 for her comeback album, A Time to Sing.

Sister Janet Mead - A Time To Sing (1999, CD) | Discogs

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