Weekly Playlist 033: Dad Edition

This week, in celebration of my dad's (Greg) birthday, I decided to bring him on board as a co-author of my weekly playlist, since he was the primary influence for my musical interests. This list will feature 5 songs of my dad's choice from the 1960s that were important to him, followed up with 5 songs of my choice that have special connection between me and my father.

From Greg:

During the mid 1960s, when I was a grade schooler, I was first exposed to music by my teenage sister, Sandi, who was 9 years older than me. Her choice of radio stations and the records she bought heavily influenced my musical tastes. Back then, the only purchase choice in music was vinyl. Like todays iTunes you could buy singles, but they were on small records known as 45’s, creatively named because they played at 45 rpm. Less like today (although now coming back in style) the real connoisseurs bought LP’s or long-play albums, and sat down purposely to listen to the whole album while reading the liner notes and song lyrics. This practice helped me discover “hidden gems;” songs that were on an album but not necessarily played on the radio.

My first song is “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel. This song was the “A” side on the first record that I bought; my brother wanted the Beatles, but I didn’t like the more popular bands, and I was bigger, so we ended up buying the 45 by renown 60s folk artists Simon & Garfunkel. The song was written for the movie The Graduate and 25 years later was covered by alt rockers The Lemonheads to cover the release of the movie on video. The Lemonheads version was used in Wayne’s World 2 and was one of the bands few hits. Oddly enough the song includes the lyrics “coo coo ca choo” as an homage to the Beatles, so in a way my younger brother got his Beatles song too.

For my second featured song, I chose “Nothing is Easy” by Jethro Tull. The song is from the album Stand Up, and is memorable because when you opened the album cover, a stylized version of the band popped up from the middle. Jethro Tull were excellent musicians and used unique time signatures at times. “Nothing is Easy” is an example of this and also features an introduction by frontman and lead singer, Ian Anderson, on his signature flute, something unique in a rock song.

Jethro Tull's Stand Up album pop-up

The pop-up band from Stand Up (source)

Lastly, I chose the song “Crimson & Clover” by 60s psych rockers Tommy James and the Shondells; this band was one of many during this era to feature a band name structured as “[Frontman name] and the [band members’ collective name]”, other examples being Paul Revere and the Raiders and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The song is another iconic track from the 1960s; it has been covered my many artists including Prince and Joan Jett, and has been referenced a multitude of other times in songs and other media.

Don’t forget the music of the past. There are great artists and songs that influenced current artists, and you will definitely find some “hidden gems” of your own.

From Geoff:

For my 5 songs, I made choices that reflect my dad’s influence on me and my music taste, especially during my formative years throughout the late 90s and 00s.

My first feature is “Beautiful Day” by U2. As I’ve mentioned previously on my blog, U2 was one of the first bands that my dad introduced me to; All That You Can’t Leave Behind, the album that “Beautiful Day” is on, was released in 2000, and was the among the first U2 music that I was exposed to and can remember. My family and I were lucky enough to catch U2 play at Chicago’s Soldier Field during their “U2 360° Tour”, and after that show I went from a nostalgic listener of U2 to a full-on fan.

“Bent” by Matchbox Twenty is my next feature. Matchbox Twenty is another favorite group of my dad’s, and I remember hearing this album, Mad Season, being played on his 5-disc CD player during my childhood. In 2007, as part of their “Exile on Mainstream” tour, my dad took my 2 younger brothers and I to Matchbox Twenty’s Chicago stop at the Sears Center; this was my remarkably my first concert, but after the fun experience I had determined that it wasn’t going to be my last.

For my third and final feature, I chose one of Anberlin’s lesser-known tracks, “Ready Fuels”. My brothers, my dad, and I first became fans of Anberlin after hearing their massively popular hit single “Feel Good Drag”, off 2008’s New Surrender, on the radio. “Ready Fuels” comes from Anberlin’s 2003 debut album, Blueprints for the Black Market; this song was used several times by my dad as he set it as a backing soundtrack to videos that he took of my brothers and I during our high school track meets.

I’m very thankful to have a dad with whom I can share my musical interests and discoveries, and who can introduce me to “new” music from when he was growing up. During last Christmas, we were able to relax in his home office, listening to some old vinyl records that he’s collected while enjoying a cozy fire; this past weekend as I was visiting for his birthday, my dad and I played the “guess the artist from the radio” game that we play, beating me to the answer several times.

I look forward to continuing my musical discoveries with my dad, whether that be by listening to old records or playing games with the car radio. Love you dad; thank you for being a great father and musical companion. Happy 60th birthday!

  1. Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel
  2. Nothing is Easy - Jethro Tull
  3. Time of the Season - The Zombies
  4. Crimson & Clover - Tommy James and the Shondells
  5. I Got a Line on You - Spirit
  6. Beautiful Day - U2
  7. Bent - Matchbox Twenty
  8. Selling The Drama - Live
  9. The World I Know - Collective Soul
  10. Ready Fuels - Anberlin