This can’t be right. Has it really been 53 years since the Father and Son single came out?
For me, I grew up with this song as a little girl in the 90’s. Dad would play it around the house on Saturday mornings when he wasn’t working. It’s a song whereby the chords remind me of love, family, the smell of bacon and doing our weekly chores. It feels warm and light in my soul.
Despite the lyrics describing a failing relationship between a Father and Son, filled with loss and emotional misunderstanding, the song feels soft in my hands. I would think the lyrics spoke to my Dad in this sense more than it did to me. Relationships between kids and parents just aren’t the same as they were back then. I’m grateful I can speak with Dad about any topic that comes to mind, but the generation gap he experienced was a lot more… ‘formal’ in his youth. Lots of children found it hard to speak to their elders, particularly their stern father figures. If you listen to the tone and the melody of the piece, you’ll find it stirs a different sort of feeling than the lyrics on their own. A feeling that is tender and calm, making it an easy listener and a classic on the throwback playlist that brings a familiar sense of togetherness. Like fine wine, this beautiful song has got better with age.
Father and Son was a huge hit for Cat Stevens by means of his career, it was a track on the ‘Tea for Tillerman’ album released in 1970 that really put Stevens’ voice in the spotlight of the music industry along with ‘Morning Has Broken’, ‘Moonshadow’ and ‘Wild Word’. After his huge career burst in 1970, we saw Stevens convert to the Muslim faith and change his name to Yusuf Islam. He went into a cone of musical silence for many, many years and with so many tragedies happening in the world – it seemed Yusuf was focusing on his philanthropy and home-life. Fans were incredibly surprised to see Yusuf back on stage to call for world peace following the 9/11 attacks. Finally, in 2006 we saw him return fully to his music. He has since released several more successful albums, was inducted into the hall of fame, and began live touring again. He has also re-embraced the name Cat Stevens, calling himself Yusuf/Cat Stevens on many forms of media.
Yusuf still speaks out for humanity. We remember the legend coming here just last year to address the crowd at Hadley Park for our National Remembrance Service for the Christchurch tragedy, March 15. He spoke with incredible wisdom, presenting powerful words of comfort to those listening. “Our prayers go to those shining souls whose lives were snatched away in that moment of madness,” he concluded.e “May peace be upon them. Peace in this world may take a bit longer.” He performed a few of his hit songs on stage, one of which was ‘Peace Train’ which silenced the crowd completely. It was breathtaking.
As well as performing, Yusuf is an incredibly talented songwriter, writing one of my all-time favourite tracks ‘The First Cut is the Deepest ‘. He’s a man that simply vibes his own music. You can see it in his shoulders, his face, his song. His voice has a touch of wisdom beyond his years with this incredible twang just touching on the ends of his breath; a voice of kindly introspection, strumming an acoustic guitar and praising affection and a search for peace. His song ‘Father & Son’ is an example of just that, written over 53 years ago it can still bring buried tears to Dads’ eyes.
I have so much love for this song and this artist.
Join me in listening, over and over and over.