Growing up my father would sing and play guitar to put me and my brother to sleep. Amidst the classic rock standards (The Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin) he also played a lot of his own material. My dad’s a gifted musician and lyricist and to me, listening to him play as I dropped off to sleep, there was never a drop in quality when he would switch back and forth between McCartney to Lennon to himself to Robert Plant. Even now as an adult I still believe that.
Dad’s songs had great melodies and lyrics but an overwhelming majority of them were about heartache. Think ‘Angie’ by the Rolling Stones, mix in ‘Yesterday’ and you’re getting close to the level of angst my dad imbued his songs with. Remember, he wrote these songs as a teenage boy, long before he fell in love with my mother, and as the saying goes he wrote what he knew. One night after listening him sing one of his more passionate songs about a woman who had cast him aside coldly and cruelly, I had to ask:
“Jeez dad, what did this girl do to you?”