Monday 8 July 2013

Famous AAA Fathers (News, Views and Music Issue 201)

Whose the daddy?! Err, these five are to be exact! You didn’t think those musical genes came from nowhere did you?! Admittedly their fame may have been wiped out the minute their famous sons took to the stage but for a time there these five AAA dads were much more famous than their off-spring (much to the chagrin of Murray Wilson in particular). There are two jokers in the pack here: one who had their hit single after their famou8s son had his and another who has nothing to do with music (except his links to his son) and who famously refused to buy his son his first guitar because his exam grades were too poor but who did become ultra-famous in Canada as a sports journalist and writer. There may not be many recordings (and we’ll point out to you what they’re on if there are) but we AAA fans salute you for having music round the house just long enough to influence your very talented off-spring...

Murray Wilson (Father of Beach Boys Brian, Dennis and Carl)

To Beach Boys fans Murray has forever become established as the bossy father, so sure of his own musical opinion that the band’s hapless producer had to give him his own fake set of controls to fiddle around with so he could ‘think’ he was in charge. Anyone whose ever heard Murray on any Breach Boys session tapes (especially the ‘Help Me Rhonda’ tapes, where Brian finally gets so upset he fires him from the group) will know what a monster Murray senior could be. However, fans are wrong to dismiss Murray as having no musical talent. He could play the piano at least as well as his offspring and – even if he overstressed his talents as a songwriter somewhat – did manage to get a song published before Brian was even born. ‘Two Step Sidestep’ sounds like the sort of thing Brian will go on to write in his sleep, but it did respectably when released in 1952, covered by Lawrence Welk on a national radio programme and released as on singles by forgotten bandleader Johnnie Lee Wills and the only slightly better known Bonnie Lou. However, nothing else broke for Murray the same way and by most accounts (except his own) he became a bitter man, jealous at the ‘easy’ way Brian and co found success after his own struggles (his story is easier to understand when you learn his lack of success led to him getting in debt and taking a dangerous factory job, where he lost his right eye in an accident). After being fired from the group Murray did what all good parents do when they’re mad at their children: he stole all the band’s publishing rights under their nose and formed a ‘rival’ group the ‘SunRays’ (as in ‘Mu-Ray’) who, perhaps thankfully, flopped. Much better is Murray’s own solo album, released to cash-in in on the Beach Boys fame, ‘The Many Moods Of Murray Wilson’ – it’s nothing like the music his sons wrote and not even close to the same quality, but it does reveal that Murray was at least a little bit unfortunate not to have become a bigger success in the 1940s.

Alfred Lennon (Father of John)

To be fair, Alfred Lennon had no interest in music whatsoever – John’s love of skiffle and early rock and roll came from his mother Julia. Not that it would have mattered – the young Beatle was born out of wedlock and didn’t see his dad once between the ages of four and 22 (the fact that Alf was always at sea and away from Liverpool for long periods of time didn’t help matters either). However, when Alf came back into his son’s life circa 1964 he brought with him stories of singing lullabies to the boy and, like most sailors, had a better knowledge of American chart hits than almost every other Liverpudlian family around at the time. To prove it (or to cash-in, depending whose side you’re on) Alf even released his own record ‘That’s my life, my love and my home’. It hardly compares to ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ (the Beatles single released weeks earlier), but Alf does seem to have genuinely written the song himself and it’s actually moving as a sort of nostalgic travelogue about the days when Liverpool had genuinely been a thriving, bustling port (never officially released, it’s available on Youtube for your perusal).Lennon had one last falling out with dad in 1965, evicting him from the Esher house he shared with first wife Cynthia, afraid that his then toddler-son Julian was growing too close to his Grandad. Understandable, perhaps (Alf is meant to have asked for a quid or two on the side – rumour is Brian Epstein paid him to keep out of the papers), but a shame given that Alf shows at least a little of the musical brilliance his son enjoyed. Certainly you can imagine that, together with Julia (who died long before her son became famous and had the chance to make cash-in singles of her own), the musical gene must have been strong in the Lennon family.

Jim McCartney (Father of Paul)

Do you remember the Jim Mac Band? If you do then you must be an old Liverpudlian with a good memory, because they never made a record and hardly ever toured outside Merseyside. Those who did see them, though, raved about them – especially the prim and proper looking band leader who always seemed to be lost in the music. Jim Mac is, of course, better known as James Mccartney Senior, the dad of Paul whose love and worship of all forms of music did so much to encourage his son’s playing. Sadly, tight finances after wife Mary died meant that Jim had to give up his trad band, but its worth noting that for a time there they were one of the biggest Liverpudlian bands of the day and that its not everyone who ends up leading their own band. Sadly Jim never did make any recordings, but his son sort-of made up for it when, with time to spare during a Nashville session with Wings in 1974, Paul asked the musicians to have a go at ‘a couple of songs my dad wrote’. ‘Walking In The Park With Eloise’ and ‘Bridge Over The River Suite’ were duly issued under the pseudonym ‘The Country Hams’, although enough Macca fans knew the truth to buy the singles (which nowadays are featured as ‘bonus tracks’ on the CD re-issues of ‘Venus and Mars’). Paul proudly presented his dad with one for his 60th birthday and pointed to his name on the writing credits. ‘Oh no, I’ve never actually written a song, lad’ said Jim – at which point Paul’s face reportedly froze, fearing a copyright investigation – ‘I did make those two up, though!’ Ironically, of course, it was The Beatles in particular who ruined the career of trad bands like this, who until 963 had still just about been making a living for themselves. Paul will pay his own tribute to his dad’s style of music many times over the years, from ‘When I’m 64’ (started when Paul was 14) to ;’Honey Pie’ through ‘You Gave Me The Answer’. Remember, John’s Aunt Mimi did her best to keep instruments out of the house, so if Jim hadn’t been in a band (and bought a piano for their front room) the famous Lennon and McCartney partnership might never have got started...

Cliff Townshend (Father of Pete)

One of the biggest surprises in Pete’s book ‘Who I Am’ released last year was how much the Who guitarist worshipped his dad – and how concerned he was that bands like The Beatles (and The Who) seemed to kill off his career. Unlike Paul (who was too young to travel when his dad was a musician) Pete travelled everywhere his dad went until his teenage years, enjoying a regular stay at the Isle of Mann (where his dad was quite popular) which eventually ended up in the lyric for Who single ‘Happy Jack’. Pete’s love of rock and roll came very late when he was at art college and began to take music seriously – just as his father had done for years, although Cliff never really saw eye to eye with the rock and roll movement his son was such a part of. That’s definitely where the musical genes came from though – and, reading between the lines of the book, Pete’s determined, perfectionist stance. Sadly Townshend Senior never did make any recordings, even though out of the four ‘musicians’ on this list he arguably had the most successful career, touring up and down the country for many years.

Scott Young (Father of Neil)

Neil developed his love of music from his mother Rassy, who herself became a household name when she became a regular panellist on a local quiz show (actually inheriting the job from Neil’s granny). However, his love of words and his determined, no-ones-going-to-get-in-my-way mentality most certainly came from his father Scott, who had already made quite a name for himself as a newspaper writer before Neil was born. In fact, it wasn’t until the ‘CSNY’ era that newspapers began to stop referring to Neil in Canada as ‘the son of the sports writer’ – even the Buffalo Springfield’s #1 hit ‘For What It’s Worth’ hadn’t made Neil famous enough. After Scott and Rassy split Neil saw less of his father (who, famously, refused to buy him his first guitar because his school grades were dropping during his teenage years) but Scott’s career went from strength to strength as he turned his hands to writing books. The most interesting of these for the Neil Young scholar is Scott’s autobiography ‘Neil and Me’ which looks in (admittedly vague) detail about Neil’s childhood and fills in some of the ‘gaps’ about how his writing career took off. As far as I know, though, Scott had no particular interest in music right up until his death a few years ago and only listened to his son’s music when it happened to be on the radio.

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

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