Sunday, June 15, 2008
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
Two songs for Father's Day from across the generations: First up, Frank Sinatra sings "New York, New York." To my father's generation, Frank Sinatra was the kid who fought his way out of the slums, who became "The Voice." who did it his way, and with style. He meant a lot to folks my father's age. Since my Dad is an Italian-American from Brooklyn, New York, he means even more.
Pete Hamill, a writer who hung out with Frank in saloons and casinos, explains: "He wasn't simply an entertainer...Through a combination of artistic originality, great passion, and immense will, he transcended several eras and indirectly helped change the way all of us lived. He was formed by an America that is long gone: the country of the European immigrants and the virulent America-for-Americans nativism that was directed at them; the country in which a mindless Puritanism, allied with that scapegoating nativism, imposed Prohibition upon the land and helped create the Mob; a country undergoing a vast transformation from a fundamentally rural society to one dominated by cities; a country that passed through Depression and war into the uncertain realities of peace. They were extraordinary times, and in his own way, driven by his own confusions, neuroses, angers, and ambitions, Frank Sinatra helped push the country forward."
Maybe the Frank Generation didn't know what to make of the next generation -- the Beatles Generation, the Dylan Generation. The world had changed drastically, the rules had shifted, and fathers looked at their sons across a great chasm. Maybe they always have, since time began. Maybe the Beatles Generation doesn't know what to make of the Radiohead Generation, or the Arctic Monkeys Generation, and so on. Anyway, here is a song about that gap, Cat Stevens singing "Father and Son."