he's a genius too, you know
Dads–they have sure done a lot for music, either by being musicians and dads at the same time, making some rockin' dad rock, or just fathering incredibly talented children. In honor of Father's Day, we thought we'd bring you a short series on dads. Today we bring you some of the bad dads. (Some of them really bad.) Tomorrow, a few of the rad dads that changed the course of popular music and rock 'n' roll.
5. Courtney Love's father Hank Harrison
We have to admit we were conflicted on this one. Courtney Love's dad, a
road manager for the Grateful Dead, funded her explorations in the Liverpool music scene when she was 18 by mailing her packages of LSD and MDMA. (c/o Julian Cope when she was crashing at his flat.) This is self-evidently kind of awesome, albeit in a pretty messed up way. So after some deliberation, we put him in Bad Dads instead of Rad Dads. But it wasn't an easy call. Here she is performing “Plump” in 1995.
4. Katy Perry's father Keith Hudson
You thought that Katy Perry's worst offense was making saccharine music but it's actually much worse–according to her evangelical Christian minister father, she is also an irredeemable sinner. Katy's father Keith Hudson is not just your run-of-the-mill judgmental type of Christian; he's a really really fastidious judgmental type of Christian, robbing Katy of her childhood and forbidding her from reading any books but the Bible, listening to pop music, or referring to deviled eggs or the Dirt Devil vacuum. But don't worry–although he publicly declares that he is not only concerned for his daughter's soul, he's perfectly happy to cash in on her global notoriety in order to Spread the Word to other parents so they can forbid books and music to their kids. Here she is singing “Faith Don't Fail” from a 2001 Christian music album released under the name Katy Hudson.
3. John Lennon's father Alf Lennon
John Lennon's father Alf was shipped off to fight World War II shortly after John was born; when he returned, he discovered that John's mother had become pregnant with another man's baby. According to some accounts, he then forced the 5-year-old John to choose between him and his mother, pretty much abandoning his son. He didn't see John until he was 23 years old–actually on the set of A Hard Day's Night. The only sad song on that album was “I'll Be Back,” about a boy who had run after his mother and now tried to explain why to his father: “You could find better things to do than to break my heart again/This time I will show that I'm not trying to pretend/I thought that you would realize/that if I ran away from you/that you would want me, too.”
2. Michael Jackson's father Joe Jackson
Back in 2001, Michael Jackson burst into tears when discussing his own “loveless childhood” , making reference to his hard-driving manager father who beat his brothers with a belt . Somehow, Michael managed to avoid being beaten but clearly he didn't quite avoid the emotional legacy of the abuse. Here he is performing “Scream” with sister Janet.
1. Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson's father Murry Wilson
The Wilson brothers' father Murry was vicious even even by the standards of the time, at one point beating Brian so bad that he became deaf in one ear. (Trust us–there's too much bad stuff in there for even us to drag out on to a blog. Tomorrow will be happier!) Think of how good those harmonies sound and imagine what Brian could have done if he'd been able to hear in stereo. The song above, “I'm Bugged at My Old Man,” says it all–or actually shows it all. It's one of the most chilling Beach Boys videos–even more than the Manson cover–you'll ever see.
COMING TOMORROW: RAD DADS – THE BEST FATHERS IN MUSICAL HISTORY!