Dads Just Don't Understand — Or Do They?

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, also known as Will Smith, in the "Parents Just Don't Understand" era. In this photo, he's about the age his eldest son is now. i i

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, also known as Will Smith, in the "Parents Just Don't Understand" era. In this photo, he's about the age his eldest son is now. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, also known as Will Smith, in the "Parents Just Don't Understand" era. In this photo, he's about the age his eldest son is now.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, also known as Will Smith, in the "Parents Just Don't Understand" era. In this photo, he's about the age his eldest son is now.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Father's Day is right around the corner — don't panic, it's not this weekend, it's June 19. But this year, we're trying to get ready ahead of time. We want to give our dads, and yours, something awesome.

For Mother's Day last month, we called our moms and asked them to name their favorite song of all time. They came back with funny, sweet stories. We posted our baby pictures. And you got in on the action, calling your moms and telling us their favorites in the comments section.

For Father's Day, we've got a new twist. We're calling our dads and asking them what their favorite song was — when they were our age. This has so far produced some terrific stories. A few examples:

Robin Hilton, 42, vividly remembers what his dad was like at the same age. "He went through a fantastic midlife crisis: He quit smoking, started going to the gym, bought a cherry-red T-Top Camaro and started listening to 'rock 'n' roll' in the form of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band," Robin writes. He asked his dad what that was all about — turns out he just wanted his friends to think he was cool. "It didn't work. They didn't think I was cool," the elder Hilton writes. "I even tried Jimmy Buffett on the tape player and gave some thought to voting Democrat. None of it worked."

I asked my dad what he was listening to when he was my age (28), and he was immediately horrified. "Well, you were born. 1982. Oh, man, I was in medical school," he said. "That was a very bad year for music. Oh, God, Foreigner." So who knows? I'm guessing he was crazy sleep-deprived.

Stephen Thompson's kids, 7-year-old Grace and 10-year-old Jonah, turned the tables on their 38-year-old dad, asking him what his favorites were when he was a kid. He came back with Blondie's "Heart of Glass" at 7 (because his elder sister had been taping songs she loved off the radio, and "Heart of Glass" was one of her favorites) and The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" at 10. (Stephen's sister was by then into punk rock. The family-unfriendly "Makin' Bacon" by The Pork Dukes was on heavy rotation, too, but the real family favorite was The Ramones.)

So now it's your turn. Call your dad, or your grandpa, and ask him what his favorite was when he was your age. What else was going on then — with him or the rest of the world? Does he still like that song, or that band? And, if you've got kids, think about what you were listening to when you were their age. A Raffi original? Or "Rapper's Delight"?

Tell us what you find out in the comments, or write to us at allsongs@npr.org. We'll collect the best stories for a list on NPR Music, and maybe a story on the radio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.