My dad's playlist

Christophe died this week.  Christophe who has screamed and cried for Aline , whose image he had drawn on the beach.  When I hear the news I have to think of my father right away.  I flashback to Sunday afternoons where French chansons were playing in the house from a little cassette tape and we'd sit at the table making some crossword puzzles. My dad would look up now and then and sing along the chorus with a big grin on his face, strongly articulating with his mouth and throwing me a wink.

A year ago I'd not have spontaneously thought of my father as being the source of my love for music. It is my mother who has been classically trained and knows how to play the piano, who joined a choir first and spent most years of us singing in a choir, who took initiative in the last many years to plug in some classical CD's and play them. It was her attending my music academy flute concerts etc.  and encouraging me to practise regularly.

While my mom clearly gave us a classically schooled, cultural input, my dad has given us much more low profile a love for popular music.  At his funeral we heard many friends and relatives telling stories how my father acted as DJ at family or friend's gatherings in the 60-70-early 80ies.  I've missed in my active memory most of that period but I still remember vividly the big reel-to-reel tape recorder in our living room that only got replaced by a cd-player by the end of the 80ies.  Since his youth, my father had been listening to the hit parades closely, writing down positions and planning recordings to tape his favorite music on big reel tapes.  These mixes were used on so many parties. Now I can come across music that catapults me back to the early 80ies, while we get ready to receive some guests at home and the music plays in anticipation.

The first weeks after my father's passing and funeral, I only managed to listen to classical music or to silence.  I didn't support all the noise, rhythm, energy of anything else.  Weeping over and over again with the breathtaking Ave Maria from Caccini or the Kyrie from Puccine.  Slowly grief seemed to settle a bit and I believe one day on my commute to work I got caught by "Madame" by Claude Barzotti on the radio.  I was struck by dad was there, I was back in the past.  I could hear my father sing, I could see him sing in the living room. He was there with me. Not making a big show but just snapping his finger to a rhythm or repeating unexpectedly 1 or 2 lines of the song.

The next months I've been frantically searching for music mainly from the 60ies-70ies that my dad had played on his tapes, music that I remember that he loved and where he clacked his tongue or snapped his fingers to the rhythm.  I tried to rebuild his playlist, his music, his implicit musical education to me.  I rediscovered his preference for gentle he wasn't into rock.

By doing so, I repeated his work. I realised that me and my sister had taped hundreds of cassette tapes in our adolescence just like he had done. That I continued to collect my own music collections by composing many playlists, like he had switched to copying rented library CD's onto cassette tapes when we retired the old reel to reel tape recorder.

I played my dad's playlist over and over in the car, sometimes choking with emotion and tears rolling across my cheeks.  But often I was singing loudly along together with him in my memory.  It often brought back so many good memories that had been stacked away in recent years when worries and care had taken all the space.  The music of my childhood often comforted me like a little soft blanket in my comfort zone filled with gratitude.

Feel free to join me under the little cosy oldies blanket and join me in listening to these sing along songs on this grey Sunday afternoon.

  • Only the lonely - Roy Orbison
  • Return to sender - Elvis
  • Pour un flirt - Michel Delpeche
  • Aline - Christophe
  • This Melody - Julien Clerc
  • When a man loves a woman - Percy Sledge
  • It's now or never - Elvis
  • L'été indien - Joe Dassin
  • Si puo fare - Branduardi
  • Stand by me - Ben E King
  • Put your head on my shoulder - Paul Anka
  • Only you - The platters
  • Amor amor amor - Julio Iglesias
  • The lion sleeps tonight - The tokens
  • Mrs Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel

And now we'll get ready for some virtual visitors. We'll prepare some crab toast appetizers in the kitchen and set a plate of cut cheese with toothpicks and ringeling chips in some 70ies green or orange colored plate with a paper lace-cut napkin underneath.   Let's light some candles and dim the spotlights a bit.  The tray with empty glasses waits patiently for the visitors to arrive.  Mom and dad pass by all dressed-up in a cloud of parfume and after-shave.  In the mean time the following songs play gently in the background

  • Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
  • She - Charles Aznavour
  • Morning has broken - Cat Stevens
  • Honesty - Billy Joel
  • Du - Peter Maffay
  • My sweet lord - George Harrison
  • Everlasting love - Love Affair
  • Ich bin wie du - Marriane Rosenberg
  • Save the last dance for me - The Drifters
  • Can't help falling in love - Elvis
  • Ik ben zo eenzaam zonder jou - Will Tura
  • Love is in the air - John Paul Young
  • Oh Carol - Neil Sedaka
  • Strangers in the night - Frank Sinatra
  • Après toi - Vicky Leandros
  • Madame - Claude Barzotti
  • Inch'Allah - Adamo
  • La pulce d'acqua - Angelo Branduardi
  • San Francisco - Scott mc Kenzie
  • La nostra favola - Jimmy Fontana
  • Jailhouse Rock - Elvis
  • I'm a train - Albert Hammond
  • Take this walkz - Leonard Cohen
  • Homeward Bound - Simon and Garfunkel


Anne said…
Met een brede grijns lees ik de lijstjes :-) Ik zie mijn jeugd voor mijn ogen passeren. Er zitten nummers tussen waar ik een hekel aan heb (ik kan nogal hevig zijn in mijn muziekvoorkeuren), maar ook nummers die ik prachtig vind.

Mag La balade des gens heureux van Gérard Lenorman er ook bij? Margrietje van Louis Neefs?
Goofball said…
Mijn papa zou zeker Margrietje van Louis Neefs meezingen! Maar hij had dat niet opgenomen denk ik, maar zou wel reageren als Louis Neefs op de radio zou voorbij komen. Hij heeft me ook meerdere keren verteld van Louis Neefs zijn deelname aan Eurovisie songfestival waar hij vlak op einde onbegrijpelijk een enthousiaste niet afgesproken kreet deed en dan uiteindelijk zeer slecht scoorde?

La balade des gens heureux hoort er zeker bij! die staat nog niet in mijn playlist, die ga ik toevoegen. Merci voor de suggestie.

Popular Posts