Friday, October 19, 2018

A Window Above: Father and Son

Title: "Father and Son"
Writer: Cat Stevens
Original Release: September 1970
B-side to "Moonshadow"

Twice now, Marvel movies have made me tear up.  The "Father and Son" scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was the first.  The second was the "kid from Oakland" line in Black Panther - helps to know this movie to understand why.

I discovered Cat Stevens in high school.  "Father and Son" was one of the songs we covered in our garage band senior year.  For some in the group, it spoke to the very real tensions we were experiencing in our own families at that point in our lives.  In the original, Cat Stevens sings both parts (apart from the backing vocals) but we did it as a duet.  I played the drum machine on this one.

Stevens wrote it originally as part of a musical project with Nigel Hawthorne about the Russian Revolution.  The song was to be sung between a young revolutionary and his conservative farmer father.  The project was abandoned when Stevens contracted tuberculosis in 1969 but the song survived.  Naturally, Stevens has been asked in the years since if the song reflects his own autobiography but he says his own father was always supportive of him.

I found this wonderful reflection from Stevens in a Rolling Stones interview by Paul Gambaccini:

"Some people think that I was taking the son's side," its composer explained. "But how could I have sung the father's side if I couldn't have understood it, too? I was listening to that song recently and I heard one line and realized that that was my father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father speaking."

Want to hear all of the songs I have featured in a convenient playlist?

Enjoy: A Window Above

What are you listening to these days?


  1. Wonderful !

    cheers, parsnip and badger

  2. I'm not crying... you're crying!

    Amazingly, just 2 or 3 days ago, I mentioned this song (and its appearance at the Ravager funeral) to someone as a prime example of how soundtracks can really amp up the emotional heft of a story. Some novelists are now releasing playlists for each chapter of their stories.

    1. Hi, Cyg!

      Published soundtracks, separately sold, have been a big part of the video game industry for a long time, too.

      Of course, this is nothing new. Setting stories to music likely predates the written word. By a lot.

  3. Good music can really make a film. I used to love Cat Stevens.