Today is the 2nd anniversary of my father’s passing, who died at the age of 81 on Thanksgiving morning 2006. My fan was an avid music fan his whole life; though he was never a musician himself, he was deeply appreciative of musicianship. My dad demanded excellence in every field, and the music he listened was no exception. Here are a few songs from artists my dad liked:
- In the Mood Glenn Miller – My dad was a fan of several big-band artists, such as Benny Goodman and Mr. Big Band himself Duke Ellington, but he greatly admired Glenn Miller’s arranging skills
- How Deep Is The Ocean Frank Sinatra
Frank was my dad’s favourite singer. This song was the opening track for the album Nice ‘n’ Easy, which my dad purchased as a Mobile Fidelity audiophile vinyl reissue while we were temporarily living in Manhattan in 1980. Not that my dad was an audiophile per se ; I think he only bought this version of the album because the store were throwing in a free T-shirt with it, which he gave to me. The t-shirt was basically a promotion for another Mobile Fidelity re-issue (Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed), but that became my cool music t-shirt for the next few years, and I wore to my first high-school-era jam session.
- I Saw Her Standing There The Beatles
My dad tended to pick an artist from each era to like, and because he had good taste, The Beatles was his pick from the ’60s. I can’t say he was much of a rock fan otherwise, but every time this song would start up on a tape I liked to play in the car on family trips, he’d always turn up the volume. Perhaps it reminded him of his stint at Harvard Law School in ’64-’65, as the only other rock song that seemed to get such an enthusiastic response from him was Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones from the same era.
- Mona Lisa Nat King Cole
Mr. Unforgettable was another singer my dad greatly admired, and this song was a popular one with him and his contemporaries, even years after its release.
- No Woman Nuh Cry Bob Marley
My dad was more of a fan of older Jamaican music forms, such as ska from the ’60s. But when Bob was dying of cancer, my dad made a point of taking me to the record store to purchase the album he had just released, Uprising. And every time the Jamaican television station would show clips from Bob’s famous concert at the London Orpheum, my dad would surprise me by knowing all the words to this song and singing along the whole time.
Currently on the Type M page is an essay about a musical memory of my father. It serves as a preface for an article I wrote about my friend Ginny’s organization Inspirit, which raises money to pay musicians to play gigs in nursing homes, hospitals and shelter. Because my dad the music fan spent a lot of time in the last couple years of his life in assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and hospitals, I knew instinctively that what Ginny is doing is a worthwhile thing, so I decided to write an article about her organization.
Thank you for the good taste in music, Dad…