When I was a little girl, I idolized my dad. I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to be 6 feet tall just like him. I wanted to be an astronomer just like him. I wanted to get my PhD and be called Dr, (you guessed it) just like him. And in my six-year-old mind all of this was more than possible, it was inevitable. Obviously, things didn’t quite work out the way I’d imagined. For starters I’m only 5’2″ and at age 30, it’s pretty unlikely I’m hiding one last growth spurt. For another thing, I tried that whole science thing and the closest I ever got to being an astronomer was assisting an astronomy professor teach a gen ed course during my undergrad days. As for that PhD… well, that might still happen one day, but it won’t be for science. And it certainly won’t be on my dime. But I digress.
Where was I? Oh yeah. I was a fan of my dad from the word go. The fact that he wasn’t around to make me take a nap every afternoon (something I hated as a child) may have had something to do with my favoritism. It wasn’t fair, but well, little kids are biased. Go figure. As I got older though and started to figure out who I was and what I liked, the list of things I had in common with my dad seemed to get shorter. Don’t get me wrong, we had (and still have) a great relationship, with only a few of the usual issues faced by a father and his teenage daughter–in our case it was math homework and driving lessons. Poor Dad. Dealing with a teary-eyed daughter was sometimes hard, especially when trying to explain algebra or teach how to parallel park a car…
But music was not something we bonded on until my late teens. My father mainly listens to NPR or classical music. There’s nothing wrong with either choice, but for a Beatles-loving, rock-obsessed teenager, music was an area where it was sometimes hard for us to find common ground. I wasn’t a fan of his music and (predictably) he thought I listened to my music too loudly.
Side story: Blasting music was something I picked up from my mother… or so I thought. Every year around Christmas, she digs out her Mannheim Steamroller albums and sets out to see if she can make all the windows in the house rattle. My dad grumbles and usually goes outside to put up lights, while my mother chuckles wickedly and proceeds to have a grand old-time inside. They do this routine every year, but when I was old enough to start borrowing the car I do seem to recall a time or two when I feared I might burst an eardrum to Beethoven simply by turning on his car.
It was probably around my junior or senior year that Dad and I finally found some musical common ground. As I’ve mentioned before, I went through a very big classic rock stage . It lasted for several years and for a while there I completely lost track of contemporary music. It was also around this time that my mother discovered the used CD racks at the local used book/music/movie/everything store and began bringing home bands that she and my dad listened to B.K. (“Before Kids”). Well, you must imagine my surprise when one birthday she gave him a copy of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s greatest hits. I remember thinking to myself, “Hey! I listen to them! What could Dad possibly want with them?”
Sometimes I have to laugh at how silly I was then, even as an all-knowing teenager. Maybe especially as a teenager. Despite my tendency to roam through my parents’ vinyl collection as a young kid, I’d basically always assumed they belonged to my mom. It had never occurred to me that my father had ever listened to anything besides Bach and Mozart. Like every self-absorbed teenager, the idea of my father having a full and varied life before I came along never occurred to me. Yet here was evidence of rock music he liked. It was a novel experience, let me tell you. Suddenly, I could talk about to my father about music. It wasn’t exactly a watershed moment. But it stands out in my memory.
So in honor of my dad’s birthday this week, here is your daily dose of CCR!
CCR always amuses me to no end because they cultivated this down home, good old boy, Southern swamp rock image, but they were really from Northern California! Most of their albums were recorded in a place called Cosmo’s Factory in Berkeley, CA. And lead singer John Fogerty sometimes pronounced words with something akin to a New Jersey accent. Just goes to show what an image (and the focus on an image) can sometimes do. This is not to say that CCR’s music wasn’t amazing. It was tightly crafted, raucous, and addictive. They’re in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a good reason, folks.
This first video is the iconic Proud Mary, a.k.a. Rollin on a River. If you think you’ve never heard CCR, I can assure you that you have heard this one. Here they are performing on the Johnny Cash Show, probably in 1969. Warning, Fogerty apparently could not lip-synch for the life of him. I looked at lots of videos, there isn’t a good one on YouTube right now. I checked!
The second video is a psychedelic little master piece. I don’t know who made it, maybe it was a student piece? Maybe it was just the 1970s? It does look like the band might actually have been involved though. 1970 was a pretty swinging time, so you never know. Either way, the song is beautiful and certainly worth a listen.
Happy Birthday, Dad!!!