Happy Father's Day from Gibson

When it comes to odes to parents, fathers generally get the short end of the stick. However, in a concerted effort to help turn the tide – especially in light of this weekend’s Father’s Day – we’ve managed to come up with eight songs that will hopefully put a smile on Dad’s face. It’ll be that or he’ll pull out a hankie to wipe away a tear or two. In either case, get ready to soak up the emotion of the moment.

And – of course – a genuine, heartfelt Happy Father’s Day wish to all the fathers in the world from everyone here at Gibson.

“Father and Daughter” – Paul Simon

Paul Simon wrote this beautiful 2002 ballad for the children’s animated film, The Wild Thornberrys Movie. The track is essentially a love song to Simon’s daughter, Lulu Belle, who was seven years old when the track was recorded. Released as a single, the composition garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Song. A different mix of the track appeared on Simon’s 2006 album, Surprise.

Watch here …

“Daddy, What If” – Bobby Bare

This Grammy-nominated 1973 ballad featured Bobby Bare performing a duet with his five-year-old son, Bobby Bare Jr. The composition was written by legendary songwriter and children’s author Shel Silverstein, whose songs were covered by a host of Nashville renegades. Today, as a recording artist in his own right, Bobby Bare Jr. begins all his concerts with a song penned by Silverstein.

Watch here …

“Father To Son” – Queen

This song, written by guitarist Brian May for Queen’s seminal Queen II album, deals with the passing of a father’s wisdom from one generation to the next. May’s stately guitar lines in the verses give the song an elegance befitting its theme. The song’s bridge, on the other hand, features some of the bluesiest solos May ever came up with.

Watch here …

“Families” – Lou Reed

Notwithstanding his reputation as a rock and roll rebel, Lou Reed has written a trove of songs centered on family dynamics. “My Old Man,” from his 1980 album Growing Up in Public, was scathing, but this tender ballad from 1979’s The Bells exudes pain and regret emanating from the gulf between father and son. His voice teeming with touching deference, Reed sings, “I know how much you resent the life that I have.”

Watch here …

“Kooks” – David Bowie

David Bowie wrote this 1971 song for his newborn son, Zowie, a year prior to adopting his Ziggy Stardust persona. Bowie has since joked that the track goes to show what can happen when you allow yourself to fall into an overly sentimental frame of mind. Both Robbie Williams and Smashing Pumpkins have recorded cover versions.

Watch here …

“Father and Son” – Cat Stevens

This 1971 track, from the classic Cat Stevens album Tea for the Tillerman, embodies the oft-stated notion that the love between a parent and child should grow toward separation. The track purportedly inspired much of the original plot for the film, Moulin Rouge. In the end, however, because the film conflicted with his Muslim beliefs, Stevens would not allow the movie’s producers to use the song.

Watch here …

“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” – Temptations

This 1972 Temptations hit featured a son imploring his mother to tell him the truth about the father he never knew. With a tear in her eye, the mother offers a non-judgmental assessment of her late husband’s philandering and drinking, saying simply that he “was a rolling stone.” The 12-minute track set the standard for so-called “cinematic soul” epics that came in its wake.

Watch here …

“Ships” – Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter wrote this beautiful tribute to his father when he was with Mott the Hoople, but he elected not to record the track until 1979. Barry Manilow scored a Top 10 hit that same year with a sappy cover version, but Hunter’s arrangement remains one of the most moving and thoughtful father-son odes ever committed to tape.

Watch here …