Father & Son

ONE of the most haunting pieces about fatherhood that you can come across is the lyrical song “Father and Son,” written and performed in 1970 by singer-songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam).

The song is an exchange between a father not understanding a son’s desire to break away and shape a new life, and the son who cannot really explain himself but knows that it is time for him to seek his own destiny.

It’s one of the most emotive songs sung by the same person, but with a transition to a deeper vocal range to depict the father’s voice. The back-up vocals was provided by Stevens’ long time guitarist Alun Davies, singing an unusual chorus of simple words and sentences such as “No” and “Why must you go and make this decision?”; beginning mid-song, so softly, they are only perceptible with a slight increase in volume towards the end of the song.

I hated that song.

It was one of those songs that was endlessly played on the radio, which my much older brothers attempted to cover but miserably failed.

Until I became a parent, and was recently reminded of Yusuf Islam’s invaluable contribution to music, merging his Islamic beliefs to his artistic talent, and finding peace in his career.

In this Father and Son version, version, you will find a much younger Cat Stevens, at the height of his popularity.

Looking back, I realize that one of the most priceless moments in my life as a son … was when my Father met my own son.

Which is why many, many years later, not much has changed with the evocative song Father and Son insofar as the message is concerned, despite the advanced vocal age of Yusuf Islam, transporting back in time with my own struggles in defining myself with my own father, and finding the invaluable lessons learned when I, too, became a father.

Which was my recent trip to the Philippines was as priceless as the memories created.

Some songs do stand the test of time, transferred from one generation to another, much like life, much like this version of Ronan Keating with the surprise appearance of Yusuf Islam, two of UK’s biggest musical artists, expressing the same song he’s written when he was younger.

Wherein I, too, would have my own struggles with my children, fighting, arguing, debating, but always loving … one day, not long from now.

In the end, I shan’t ever be defined by all the things I’ve said and done, but by the children I’ve raised.

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on July 27, 2012, in Fatherhood, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Deeply touched by your words. I was unlucky not to know my real father but i was lucky to have a stepfather who was very kind. He passed away 12years ago. And the things he had done for my mother and me will remain forever. I was raised properly. Now it is my turn to do the same to my child.

    • Thanks for the visit. I’m glad you can relate to the story although it is indeed disheartening that you didn’t get to meet your biological father; however, the only chance we can get is to pass onto to our own children the good things we’ve learned, and some of the better things we wish for them.

      Have a great week ahead!

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