I came across what might be the worst “mixtape” of all time on Rdio.
At first, I thought, “interesting.”
Then I saw that song one is the Ramones’ “Blitzkreig Bop,” and I almost got offended that this is someone’s idea of “dad’s music.” Then I thought, “Let’s be honest. I’m old enough to be a mom, and the Ramones precede me.”
Then I saw song two, what could be on my personal list of The Worst songs, Faith No More’s “Epic.” And I thought, “What kind of dad’s mixtape is this?” It’s almost an offense to dads everywhere, as if they blindfold themselves and walk like zombies through record stores, putting random CDs into their carts and then making mixtapes from them. Awkward juxtaposition is often a hallmark of a great mixtape . . . but not this time.
While I’m being honest, I can admit that I owe a large part, if not all of, my musicality to my dad. Not just his genes, but his voracious consumption of music and his habit of keeping it playing at all times (and sometimes way too loudly, especially when it was four albums in a row of Eddie Fisher on a cross-state drive). I’ve also developed a taste for most of his favorite things: 50s cinema, black licorice, food, dancing, and 50s music (although I prefer Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, and Elvis, and while he likes them a lot, he prefers Eddie Fisher, Joni James, Tony Bennett, and Sinatra). My dad played the accordion, a skill he hated acquiring since his weekly class was scheduled during the Milton Berle show. And he gave piano lessons, despite not knowing how to play piano (He said he knew he’d always be one step ahead of the children he was teaching.) He also taught ballroom dance, a skill I wish I’d picked up from him as a teenager.
So, in honor of him and father’s day, with a little help from my sister, I put together my own Dad’s mixtape. Like it or not, these are a sifter-full of the songs that made up the soundtrack of my, my sister, and my brother’s childhoods. Being a romantic, you will notice a romantic tinge to my father’s taste (and before you comment, think about the fact that he’s reading). I’m thankful to him for not only teaching me an insatiable thirst for music, but also respecting the “high” and the “low.” Just last night, at a Madison club, I experienced just such a juxtaposition, as my friends and I (and the members of Cocorosie) danced to JD Samson’s own digital fusion.
Eddie Fisher, “I Need You Now”
Roy Orbison: “Only the Lonely”
Culture Club: “Karma Chameleon”
Neil Diamond: “Sweet Caroline”
Frank Sinatra: “Strangers in the Night”
Archie Bleyer: “Hernando’s Hideaway”
The South Pacific soundtrack: “Some Enchanted Evening”
The West Side Story soundtrack: “Maria”
Santa Esmeralda: “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
Taco: “Puttin’ on the Ritz”
Eddie Fisher: “Oh, My Papa”