Father’s Day: Songs About Dad
This is the weekend where we examine the impact great fathers have made upon history. From the Bible, where the landscape is littered with the actions of fathers. Who could forget the long walk Abraham and his son took in Genesis? Adam, the first father, raised a fine bunch of stand-up children. And what about the Big Father himself — Jesus’ daddy — who sent him on an all-important mission?
Charlie Lawson of Stokes County, North Carolina, probably never got his fair share of Father’s Day ties. Without the seed Marvin Gaye Sr., we would never have experienced the sweet soulful sounds of such hits as “Sexual Healing” or “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” And who wouldn’t want to be adopted by Woody Allen?
But even if your father is a dick, there’s still reason to celebrate Father’s Day this year. Remember the end of Return of the Jedi, where after years and years of Darth Vader acting like an asshole, he still lent Luke a hand (no pun intended) when he needed it most. And after Rick Moranis both shrunk and blew up the kids, did he or did he not seek and find the antidote to return them to normal with no body count? And on Game of Thrones, even though Dad is absolutely shitty to his midget son and incestuous other children, doesn’t he risk life and limb to repel the forces of Stannis Baratheon, the one true king?
Of course, those instances are from fiction, but it’s only one day per year and, nine times out of ten, he’s not asking for much. Just give him a beer and some raw meat and let him be. And if that doesn’t do it, give the bastard what he really needs….
TOP TEN SONGS FOR DADDY ON FATHER’S DAY
10. “It Hurts Your Daddy Bad” by The Reverend Horton Heat
I know what you are thinking: why on Earth would I want to hurt my daddy? But I encourage you to stop and consider this question very carefully. Think. Go back as far as your cognizant memory will allow. If you’re like me, you’ve mentally blocked out several of the reasons. See a shrink (or two) if you need to. Hypnotherapy can get most of that out. Write a book. If you have to, use the journals you’ve been keeping since junior high. Close your eyes and remember. Got it now? That’s step one. Step two: wait patiently. He will not be bigger than you forever. Bide your time…
9. “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” by Eartha Kitt
One of my lifelong goals is to learn to play this song on the guitar and serenade my father. Because, after all, he made me this way. This song combines two of my favorite passions: sultry music and daddy issues. And trust me, if it weren’t for Daddy Issues, I’d never get laid.
8. “Mama and Papa Hopkins” by Lightnin’ Hopkins
One of the greatest bluesmen of all time has a knack for getting autobiographical. Here he paints a picture of a night of discord in his childhood family home in which he schools his own family that they “never get too old to learn.” You hear that, Dad?
7. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna
… and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister
Ah, a twin bill. This one is for both the angry boys and girls from the iconic 1980s (plenty of consideration was given to Captain Lou Albano’s riveting performance in “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”). These two songs allowed Gen-Xers to stick it to their daddys via music video, that is, until he came in and told you it was time to turn off the TV and go to bed.
6. “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations
If you are like me, you can’t withstand the sound of a belt slipping through belt loops without severe episodes of PTSD. But there is something to be said for the catharsis provided by a song about a man who grows up to discover his father is a dick. That’s right Dad, I said catharsis. Ask Mom where the dictionary is and get cracking.
5. “Mom and Dad’s Waltz” by Willie Nelson
The Poet Laureate of Texas was more well-known for singing about Mommas than Daddys, so it’s no surprise that he sneaks her into this song. But perhaps that’s why Daddys all across the Lone Star State love Willie, who once said “99% of the people in the world did not end up with their first loves, and that’s what keeps the jukeboxes spinning.” That quote has nothing at all to do with Father’s Day… or does it?
4. “Papa Ain’t Salty” by Doug Sahm
If you haven’t heard of Doug Sahm or the Sir Douglas Quintet yet, then this is your true Father’s Day present. Enjoy the hell out of it. But another item to examine is how interchangeable the word “Daddy” and “Papa” is, or isn’t. Like explored with “Momma” and “Mama” in an earlier post, there exists an innate sexuality in the word “Daddy” that isn’t necessarily there with “Papa.” How many times have you boys landed a girl by telling her to “Come to Daddy” or telling her, “Oh yes, that’s what Daddy likes… right there?” It happens. But in music, artists tend to lean toward Papa, with Papas in song being either “Aggravatin’,” “Easy Ridin’,” “Eagle Ridin’,” “Kansas City,” “Pig Meat,” “Pistol Packin’,” “Do Right” or “Sweet.” But whatever it takes, just understand that within every woman, no matter how beautiful she is, there is a Daddy Issue somewhere deep down inside just waiting to be explored. So slap on some old spice, rinse your mouth with bourbon and Pall Malls and get your weekend started. And remember to tell her, “Daddy wants some eggs and bacon in the morning.”
3. “Had a Dad” by Jane’s Addiction
Fathers everywhere: If you want your child to be successful, you must run out on them. Sticking around will never do any child with artistic inclinations any favors. So step out for a beer, cigarette, whatever you have to do because a writer’s life is hard enough as it is.
2. “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics
I should be ashamed for including this tear-jerker, but not everyone is fortunate enough to still have their fathers around to pick on and jack with. Some of them never got to experience their fathers’ senses of humor evolving like I did. Perhaps Father’s Day isn’t a laughing matter and for them, I offer this video because it will help get it all out.
1. “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash
If you’re like me and you get most of your facts from Hollywood biopics, then you know from Walk the Line that Johnny Cash’s father was a dick. And you also know Johnny Cash was no saint to his own kids. Way to keep it going. But if you’re like me, you’ve written long songs about fighting your father. However, if you’re like me, then your father wrestles cows for a living and can probably still whip you so you’re forced to move halfway across the country to talk shit. So send him a tie or forward this playlist to him or, better yet, this year get him what he’s always wanted: a paternity test.
Oh, and PS Dad: Just kidding. Happy Father’s Day.
Did I miss any? Leave them in the comments below!