At the risk of exposing what one of my kryptonite level weaknesses is here, I can’t hear the Manfred Mann version of the Bruce Springsteen classic song Blinded By the Light. For real, I have not only changed radio stations when I’ve heard it come on, I’ve walked out of retail establishments for playing it. I mean…if a radio station or store has the crappy remake, then I know they know about and have or at least can GET the original. And it just makes me crazy. I’m a lover in general, and of music in particular…all kinds of music. I like rap. I like country. I like disco. I like classical and jazz. I like modern pop even though I’m 40. I freaking hate that song though. It’s my musical kryptonite. I can’t stand it.
Now the Springsteen version? I love it. I love that whole album. In fact, I love Springsteen’s entire body of work, but especially the late 1970s stuff. And I love The Boss because of my dad. I’ve written before how I use sports to communicate with my dad (he had a lot to say about the Derby this year! Hoo boy!). The only other thing we can talk about with any depth is music. Dad taught me to love music.When I was a little girl, I had my own records. Disney read along books and songs of Sesame Street and Chipmunk Punk. But what I really liked was listening to my dad’s records with him. The Beatles. Big Brother and the Holding Company. John Prine. And especially Springsteen. Dad sang all the lyrics along with the records (my dad can really sing…it’s a shame I didn’t inherit his voice). I’ve written before how my brain just ‘picks up’ song lyrics, and I hung on every word. I knew all the words to the Born to Run album before I was in preschool (this video gets the words *mostly* right…true fans of The Boss know when that ‘1-2-3-4’ is coming up). Inappropriate for a 4 year old? Probably. But I loved it and I sang it to The Boy when he was 4 too. Not sorry.
Tramps like us…
I spent a lot more time with my dad as a kid than I did with my mom, which I found out early on was atypical. My dad is a pretty stereotypical dad though…not real wordy…not too sentimental. Kind of distant. But as far as nurturing and quality time with a parent goes, Dad was the best I had, and especially for a man of his time, he wasn’t bad at it. He always seemed to like having me around more than my mom did. I always got the impression I was bothering her. But Dad was content enough to have me hang around to watch sports with him or listen to records and sometimes he’d read me books like my grandparents (his parents) did when I was at their house. I still don’t have and have never had what I’d call a ‘close’ connection with my dad. Not like some of my women friends who consider themselves ‘Daddy’s girls,’ anyway. I’ve never had a heart to heart talk with my dad about the intricacies of life or philosophy. I’ve never cried on his shoulder after a heartbreak. But of the people I grew up living with, he’s the person I’m closest to. And before I met J and became another family, Dad was one of the closest connections I had in life, period. So for his 50th birthday…a year before I met J…I got him Springsteen tickets. I had just started working full time and moved out on my own and it was the first gift I could get for my dad that was something ‘nice.’ We’d go…just Dad and me. Our tickets were in an out of town NBA basketball arena and our seats were like row ZZZ or something, but it was still pretty cool to see Springsteen live with the E Street Band (WITH Clarence Clemons on sax…rest in peace and power, Big Man) with my dad. And to sing along to Jungleland with him at a concert, and not on an overplayed record.
My dad doesn’t say much in general (I’m a lot like him in a lot of ways…who knows…maybe he writes a blog I don’t know about). He says even less about me when he does talk to other people (he’s mostly always just talking about sports). But he did tell everyone, unbidden, ‘My daughter took me to see Springsteen for my birthday,’ that year. And that made him noticeably happy. Other than dancing with him at my wedding, that’s the closest and most sentimental I’ve ever felt with my dad. It’s definitely top three in the Memories of Dad Archive.
My dad isn’t perfect. He wasn’t the kind of engaged and involved father J is with The Boy. He wasn’t the father figures the heroines in teen movies always seem to have. He wasn’t even the dad a lot of my friends had growing up. But he was a pretty great dad anyway. I love my dad. And I love Bruce Springsteen because of my dad. But I hate that damn Manfred Mann remake.