Writing this blog, as well as impending fatherhood, has made me think about my relationship with my own father. We were never close, as my parents split up when I was five years old, and he passed away when I was just sixteen. My teenage years, when my music tastes first formed, were also the last few years of his life, and we spent very little time together during those years. Of course, had I known those would be the last few years, I would have tried to spend more time with him, but as a music-obsessed teenager my last priority was spending time with my family.
I know little of my father’s music tastes. I have a vague recollection of a handful of fairly middle of the road LPs in his living room, but specifics escape me. The only musical memory I have of my father is his funeral, where two songs were played: The Hollies “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and Elton John’s “Sacrifice”. I’d felt numb throughout the funeral, but those two songs brought the tears to my eyes. They still do to this day, even though as pieces of music in their own right I had previously been at best indifferent to them.
I’ve often found that when feeling emotional for any reason, music has been what has set off the tears. The same was true at my wedding, when my wife’s best friend’s performance of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End” had me in floods in front of all my friends and family. It’s not that music is the only thing that makes me feel, but that music is the trigger which allows me to release pent-up emotions. I do wonder what would happen to me without music, how would those emotions be released? During the lifelong emotional rollercoaster that having children will no doubt be, this is sure to be one function that music will continue to fulfill.