Songs for Rad Dads, Plus Dad Jokes

Casting a wide net for a Father’s Day edition of #ThematicStatic, we heard from many listeners about tunes that recall memories of their own dads, plus songs explicitly about fatherhood. We threw in artists with names inspired by daddy dearest, and and couple of hearty dad jokes for good measure.

Listener voice memos (leave us one!) and social media commentary (via Instagram and Twitter) are always appreciated for building these themed sets together each week. So consider the Pride theme for June 24 and tell us what you want to hear!

Meantime, enjoy the full June 17, 2021 #ThematicStatic mixtape (listen!👇🏼), and several runners-up.

Listen to the show.

Reminds Me of Dad

On their 1988 release Naked, art-rockers Talking Heads’ “Mommy Daddy You and I” vaguely follows the northbound trip of a family unit by train, bus and car. The band’s fans have posited that the song’s child narrator and his parents are on an immigration journey, one as newly emancipated slaves (“they say that up North it gets cold”), or even en route to give up the kid for adoption. What do you think? Listen to the remastered track👇🏼.

Shoutout to bio-dads, step-dads, adoptive parents, in-laws and father figures of all sorts!

Holly in Kentucky (mother of yours truly, Morning Host Celia) requested James Brown “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” in memory of her own father, whom we called Poppa. The longtime listener/first-time recorder left us this request via voice memo (listen!👇🏼).

Holly requests James Brown

Jeremiah here in Nashville requested soft rock classic “Africa” by Toto, though we rocked the expectedly power-chorded cover version by Weezer on-air. Jeremiah had this to say about the resonance of the tune:

“I was almost born in Africa when my parents were missionaries there. During my elementary school years, we lived in Wyoming. Every Sunday after church, we would go to Godfather’s Pizza. Dad would give me a quarter for the juke box and I would play that song every time! For a Father’s Day present a couple years ago, my wife got me tix to see Toto at the Ryman. I think someone near me was cutting up onions when they played that song!”

Sent on Instagram

Additional, unaired but much adored tracks were these requested by listeners:
– The Temptations – “My Girl” (Megan)
– Jeff Bruce – “Gone Fishin'” (Safara)
– Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Fortunate Son” (Kim)

Songs About Fatherhood

Tim in Columbia made a whole mix of Dad songs for us, and the Jim Croce sing-along “I Got a Name” is arguably the tear-jerkingest of them all. “I’ve got a name / And I carry it with me like my daddy did / But I’m livin’ the dream that he kept hid.”

Staying in the ’70s and not mad about it, we played Harry Chapin hit “Cat’s in the Cradle,” but a Tennessee-fied version recorded live by Johnny Cash in 1990. This song — penned about the complex, potentially cyclic natures of father-son relationships — was requested by two different Nashville listeners, Guy and Quincy.

Phosphorescent’s “My Beautiful Boy” on 2018 record C’est La Vie is a Father’s Day runner-up in my heart for its beach-breezy tone and expressed admiration for singer Matthew Houck’s young son (listen!👇🏼).

Nearly half a century prior to Phosphorescent, John Lennon and Yoko Ono happily settled into domestic life and thumbed their noses to the haters on Double Fantasy‘s ode to parenthood, “Watching the Wheels,” which Rachel requested on Twitter.

Artist Monikers Inspired by Dads

NewDad (yet another compound word invented for band name dibs!) are from Galway, Ireland, and their 2021 song “Slowly” aired on Friday’s New Music Experience with Jason Moon Wilkins back in February. Watch the psychedelic video below 👇🏼. A clinking of the Guinness pints to all who are soon or have recently forayed into fatherhood!

Father John Misty was a to-my-face request when I met listener Matt by happenstance out in Five Points. The recording and performance alias of sardonic singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist J. Tillman may actually refer to the clergy, but it’s always a good day to play rollicking piano number “Writing a Novel” from Fear Fun…so we did.

Dad Rock & Dad Jokes

Jon said the enduring Chicago band Wilco is “peak Dad,” a request possibly influenced by the admitted and regretful coiner of the Dad- prefix to describe all things safe, inoffensive and derivative of earlier generations’ palatable styles. (See: ’70s rock selections above and below.) Call it what you want, the music of Wilco influences countless musicians and music-lovers of all ages and life stations, past, present and future. So I will surely keep bumping their catalog in the morning hours on WNXP, like “Can’t Stand It” on today’s #ThematicStatic, and maybe I’ll see you fellow Dad rockers at Ascend Amphitheater on August 15?

Todd in Hohenwald — not yet a father himself but with the comedic goods ready to go — recorded this voice memo with a made-up joke that’s timely and relevant to Middle Tennessee (listen!👇🏼). You can just donate to WNXP if you adopt this as your own, deal?

Todd tells a Dad joke

Abby requested Steely Dan, and though I didn’t fit it into #ThematicStatic, I think we all deserve to hear “Dirty Work” today. Don’t be a fool. This is an A+ Dad-rock, go-to karaoke song for my friend Mike, and our own weekend host Emily Young, for damn good reason (listen!👇🏼).

One more Dad joke from Jeremiah, who said it’s a go-to for cheering up loved ones and strangers, alike:

Why can’t you see hippopotamuses hiding in trees? 🦛
Because they’re so good at it!

Sent via Instagram