Today’s post is about my dad’s music… because his music influenced my music…

Last week, I wrote about how I was in the market for funeral songs. At that time, my dad was on his death bed. He has since died and I’m left remembering him. The full impact of grief has not yet hit me. Intellectually, I know he’s gone and not coming back and yet I just saw him eight days ago. I haven’t had time to miss him yet, I guess. As I wrote in my last post, my dad was very much a music lover and he passed a lot of his passion on to me. We did not share the same musical tastes once I got old enough to determine what I liked and what I didn’t like. I do remember listening to some of his music in the car when I was very young.

My dad introduced me to the fluffy sweetness of Olivia Newton-John’s voice. He used to play her cassettes in the car and for some reason, I just adored her. She was pretty and had a great style, or so five year old me thought, anyway. In those days, Olivia was a country star.

I remember this song from Olivia Newton-John’s 1974 album, If You Love Me Let Me Know.

About a year ago, I went looking for Olivia’s deep cut “Mary Skeffington” and learned that it was also sung by Gerry Rafferty. As I listened to Gerry’s version, I ran into a British musician on YouTube who covered it. We’ve sort of become correspondents since then. I listen to his music and he listens to mine. And all because my dad exposed me to Olivia Newton-John back in the day.

I need to listen to more Gerry Rafferty… He’s done more than “Baker Street” and “Right Down The Line”.

The Carpenters were another musical act I shared with my dad. He loved Karen Carpenter’s clear vocals and Richard Carpenter’s virtuoso piano playing. I didn’t appreciate The Carpenters until I was a lot older. But my dad owned a couple of their albums and he’d play them on road trips.

“Sometimes” was written by Henry Mancini, Felice Mancini, and Bob Seger. The words came from a letter written to Henry Mancini by his daughter.

The song “Sometimes” seems very poignant to me right now. It’s about the importance of remembering loved ones while you still can and appreciating them for who they are.

“You” was another great sleeper hit on The Carpenters’ 1976 album, A Kind of Hush.

A lot of The Carpenters’ hits were kind of saccharine and overwrought. And yet, there was no denying their talent. My dad was a big fan and he passed his appreciation on to me, even as I can see why some people thought they were a bit too square to be hip.

My dad liked Jim Croce. He had a couple of Croce’s albums on 8-track that he’d play sometimes. While I never got as much into Croce as my dad did, I did find a few of his songs very beautiful.

One of my favorite Jim Croce songs is “I Got A Name”. There is something majestic and strong about this song that moves me every time.

This song always makes me laugh. I have a friend who changed the lyrics to something naughty and I think of the revised lyrics every time I hear this.

And… very strangely, my dad was also an ABBA fan. Well, he owned one of their albums, anyway. I don’t think he bought more than one. I guess he liked their sound, though he was not one to listen to music you could boogie to. The album my dad owned was their 1979 release, Voulez-Vous, which seems especially funny, since that album was known as their “disco” album. I used to listen to it all the time.

“As Good As New” was one of my favorite songs on Voulez-Vous. The lyrics were a little lame, but I loved the funky melody. I think my dad was more partial to songs like “I Have A Dream”.

Ahh… how inspiring!

“Kisses of Fire” was another favorite of mine, but it probably made my dad nervous. Most music with a strong beat did.

There were other albums, of course. I used to raid my parents’ music all the time. I liked listening to their copy of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream and Other Delights. I was also enchanted by the album cover, which featured a beautiful woman covered in what appeared to be whipped cream. I hope it was shaving cream, otherwise it would not be very pleasant for long…

“A Taste of Honey” was a favorite…

As I remember my dad, I realize that he had a lot to do with my love of music. I didn’t always like what he liked, but I liked enough of it. I hope wherever he is now, he’s got all the tunes he could ever wish for… and his voice back strong and clear.