That’s my Father, and yes he’s missing his right arm. He died the first day I was on the radio. Knew I was born to be a killer on the air. (Too soon?) And that’s me front left.

 

While Mother’s Day seems to be largely about unconditional love and gratitude, paternal relationships can get a bit tricky. While my father died when I was 17, we had a good but slightly distant relationship because of his work schedule mostly. Well, that, and I was too stupid to take advantage of having him while I did.

 

It became apparent when I became a parent how valuable fathers are to their children. For all of the different relationships children have with their dads, here’s a sampling that I hope will find something that will strike a chord of your relationship with dear old dad.

I’ll start with my personal favorite that actually brings a tear to my eyes from Mike & The Mechanics – “The living Years.” An all-round excellent expression of dealing with many feelings of love and regret.

I feel Mike’s pain in the chorus

“I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years.”

 

But it hits me like a ton of bricks when he sings

“I wasn't there that morning
When my father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
.”

 

It affects me as I write this piece. Masterfully done, sir.

“My Father’s House” is a Bruce Springsteen song that references the friction between Bruce and his father and his tendency to stick his head in and scold Bruce to "Turn down that goddamn guitar." BTW, Bruce turned okay.

“My Father’s Eyes” from Eric Clapton addresses the dynamic of looking at his son who died at four, and his father, who he never met.

The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” puts some serious soul on cum ‘n go fathers in this #1 hit from 1972. You cannot be unaffected, if you have a heart.

“Rooster” is Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell song honoring his father, who was nick-named ‘Rooster’ while serving in Vietnam.

“Teach Your Children” is about the frictional relationship Graham Nash had with his father and was originally heard on the Deja Vu album from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Queen – “Father To Son”, is a Brian May song from the father's perspective. It also shows off Freddie Mercury’s two-octave range.

John Mayer’s "Daughters" reminds fathers to be good to their young daughters for a healthy relationship later on.

“Isn’t She Lovely” is Stevie Wonder’s joyful tribute to his daughter Aisha who is on the song.

Cat Stevens – “Father and Son” is a reflection of the dichotomy of Cat being a pop star while his father ran a restaurant. Different, but equal and it’s okay.

And then there’s, Harry Chapin and “Cat's In The Cradle.” As if there isn’t enough guilt from parenting, Harry drives a stake through your heart for any shortcomings and mistakes, real or imagined, in this song drenched in regret of learning lessons too late.

“Color Him Father” by The Winstons that I always liked, but I happened to put it on a mix CD for a former boss, knowing he liked it, and then getting a tear in his eye when he thanked me profusely for it. The meaning behind the "Color Him Father" is an unabashedly sentimental song in which a boy expresses his love for his stepfather, a hardworking and generous man who married his widowed mother, who had seven children, and embraced them as his own after her first husband was "killed in the war."

Happy Father’s Day to all.