Tim Rogers picks his poignant songs about parenthood
To celebrate Father’s Day in Australia this week, the You Am I frontman took a deep dive into the rich pool of music about parents and kids, sprogs and their sires.
A father himself, Rogers shared songs and stories detailing, in his own inimitable words, the “first flushings of fatherhood or the moorings of motherhood” and the complexities of the filial relationship. “Responsibility, reprehension, education, emotional development – it can be a flippin’ filial clusterfug!”
Read on for a selection of Tim’s parental picks, or hear the full Liquid Lunch episode to find out why these tracks made the cut.
But first: a few auspicious words from the man himself, reflecting on the time he told his daughter he found out he was a father.
"I'm hoping that as a Dad I'm at least loving, enthusiastic, and never late. But always will be wondering if I did enough, and if my enough would ever have been ...enough.
"Still we beat on against the tide like little boats in their moorings. Tryin to show our lil' passengers some trust and some care. Sail on scions."
The Fire – ‘Father's Name Is Dad’ (1968)
“The title is so literal for 1967, isn’t it!? The Fire were a British band, and they only released a couple of singles. This is the best of them. It’s a tune occasionally covered by a gentleman I occasionally refer to as ‘my son’ (and very few people get the joke!), David Lane. That’s for you, Davey.”
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – ‘My Old Man’ (1977)
“This is Ian's dedication to his dad. So sweetly sad... It's about love possibly lost, missed opportunities, and what you want to say when a person’s gone. I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, for many reasons - friends and family gone.”
Jen Cloher – ‘Mothers Desk’ (2009)
"Just listen to these lyrics: 'Jennifer don't break your head / Jennifer don't break your heart / All that really matters now is that you try to make a star / So I sat at my mother's desk / where her first class mind was laid to rest.'"
Nas – ‘Dance’ (2002)
“A tune by Nas, not too obliquely written for his Mum. I love the sentiment of the song, and I also love that beautiful little dancing guitar line. It's like a cat dancing on a piano.”
Mojo Juju – ‘History’ (2018)
“I met the wonderful Mojo when she was 14, in urban NSW. But this record [Native Tongue] was released just a couple of weeks ago. Its all about genealogy, generations, culture and care.”
Animal Collective - 'My Girls' (2009)
Fun fact: the sample at the start of this song is from radio emissions made by Saturn’s rings. They were captured by the Cassini spacecraft, the first probe to ever orbit Saturn. In the ancient Roman religion Saturn is the god (among other things) of generation, periodic renewal, and time. Something that parents often have on their mind.
Martha Wainwright – ‘Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole’ (2005)
“I had drinks with Martha a few years ago. We were working together, and afterwards we went back to the Liquid Lounge and she could pick I was a big fan of her dad: Loudon Wainwright III. I promised her I wouldn’t ask about him - I wanted to talk to Martha about Martha.
Anyway we got to talking about our own kids. About being married, being parents, and we eventually ended up talking about her dad. But she brought it up! We got there because – parents and kids, kids and parents – it's fascinating. It's one of the big love relationships in our lives.”