Father’s Day Post: Songs for My Father: Six Songs for Father’s Day to Celebrate or Shame Your Pops)


During today’s This Week, Robin Roberts had a special sit-down chat with President Barack Obama about this special day.

The president has been outspoken about his absentee father, and even an 11-year-old puts him on the hot spot asking, off-camera, “Do you miss your father on Father’s Day?” Obama’s response (according Roberts): ‘No, I do not.’

As Roberts and This Week‘s host, Christiane Amanpour, pointed out, his interview focused more on lessons he continues to learn as a father himself, and not as the son of an neglectful one. President Obama briefly lamented the approaching “storm” of the teen years of his daughters Sasha and Malia.  He said he was thankful that he has the Secret Service people as deterrence to keep away knuckleheads.

Yet, President Obama did have some kind words for his father who inspired some of his favorite pastimes: playing b-ball and listening to jazz. He said a one-day visit with his father helped him develop his love for both.

The jazz bit inspired this blog post, since I can’t even play H.O.R.S.E anymore without embarrassing myself.

Honor Thy Father

“Song for My Father” – Horace Silver/Dee Dee Bridgewater  DDB: Love & Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver

Dee Dee Bridgewater’s live version of “Song for My Father”:

“Father” is a jaunty, bossa-nova-tinged classic that defined the career of hard-bop pianist Silver. This song and the album of the same name celebrated the Cape Verdean heritage of his father. Dee Dee Bridgewater took a swing at it with tribute album to Silver, Love & Peace, singing the best father praising lyrics I’ve ever heard.

“Color Him Father” – The Winstons

This D.C. soul’s group 1969 single rivals The Intruders I’ll Always Love My Mama” with its “charm” (i.e. bearable sappy-ness).  Runner’s up as my favorite Father’s Day song.

Putting No-Count Pops on Blast

Ed O.G. And the Bull Dogs – “Be a Father to Your Child

Ed O.G. on his “soapbox” in song’s video released in ’91. (YoutubeVEVO)

President Obama’s conference back in 2009 “reprimanding” absentee fathers, especially absentee Black fathers raised the ire of some. Maybe this is the less strident and blunter approach would’ve gone over better.

A forgotten gem from the Golden Age of Hip-Hop (late 1970s to mid-1990s) that I discovered via XMRadio’s DirectTV hip-hop channel.

“How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore” – Alicia Keys

A. Keyz takes a Prince classic and as a cathartic release for her father’s absence.

“Celui Que J’Voulait” (The One I Used to Want) – Kayna Samet

Kayna Samet

Samet, a French hip-hop soul singer, strikes a pose in a promo shoot for her (postponed) second LP, Second Souffle. (NRJ.fr/Universal Music.fr)

Over Donny Hathaway’s emotional rendition of “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”, France’s answer to Alicia Keys serves up her own heart-rending, open letter to her father who abandoned the family.

The most searing lyrics (mon traduction):

“Now I want you to know/Wherever you are/Papa/Please, do not ask me to love you/Please, don’t ask me to hate you/I can’t forget where I come from”

Fatherly Wisdom

Charles Aznavour – A ma fille (To My Daughter)

Not unlike the Dad-in-Chief’s children’s book written to his daughters, iconic French chanson singer (and actor in Francois Trauffut Shoot the Pianist) sings a tale about the pain he’ll feel on the day his daughter leaves the family to start one of her  own – and finally coming to grips with it.

Heartfelt closer. (encore, my translation):

Cet étranger sans nom, sans visage
 (This nameless stranger without a face)

Oh! combien je le hais (Oh! How much I hate him)


Et pourtant s’il doit te rendre heureuse
 (But if he should make you happy)

Je n’aurai envers lui nulle pensée haineuse
 (I would not have a single hateful thought towards him)

Mais je lui offrirai mon cœur avec ta main
 (But I’ll offer him my heart with your hand)

Je ferai tout cela en sachant que tu l’aimes
 (I’ll do all this knowing that you love him)

Simplement car je t’aime (Simply because I love you)

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