For many of us, our journey to discovering and finding out about music always started in the family. For the most part, it was the most authoritative and influential figures when our thumbs were acceptable substitutes for pacifiers — our parents. We don't know about you (although we'd love to hear your story) but our dads were mainly the ones who formed an unshakeable imprint into the evolution of our music tastes.
So in the spirit of this Fathers’ Day, we look back and reminisce about the records our dads played on loop in our childhood — ones that have even stayed with us all these years too. Thanks dads, for moulding our music taste into what it is today, even with all the cheesy numbers we’d laugh at now but sing along to anyway. Also thanks for tirelessly taking care of us and stuff.
Happy Fathers’ Day to all the fathers out there!
Clarence Chan (Founder)
Black Or White - Michael Jackson
It was my dad who first introduced me to the legendary MJ. We had his Dangerous Laser Disc at home and I remember playing air guitar every time the first track 'Black or White' came on. I must have been six or seven years old then. Interestingly, I think my first gig was catching Michael Jackson live at the old National Stadium. It was just me and dad. I remember leaning on his arms and falling asleep all hot n sweaty because MJ took so long to come out on stage! Looking back, I count myself fortunate to have caught MJ live and at his prime. Thanks Dad!
Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx
My dad is quite the romantic. He used to belt this while playing it on his powerful Bose hifi system that I accompanied him to get. He would put on that cringey face, full of effort and win when he screeched the chorus and score points with mum. Heard it too many times it's hard to forget. Time for a new love song dad! Thanks for the memories, Happy Father's Day!
Daniel Peters (Editor)
Feels So Good - Chuck Mangione
My dad always made sure to have music playing in the house or (especially) in the car. He simmered down from his days as a Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath-loving teenager by the time I was born but there was no downside. I got to listen to so much jazz and gospel music thanks to him and this song is a big highlight. Sure it's jazz at its most pastoral and overly sentimental, but it still brings back all those same feelings of comfort and security I had, whenever he lovingly carried my lazy-ass baby self to bed after long car rides. This song never fails to feel like one big, warm hug.
Africa - Toto
I don't know what it was with pop music's fascination with world music at that time but there were so many pop songs I heard in my childhood littered with African rhythms and exotic melodies. Could we blame Paul Simon? It's possible but many of these songs provided a lot of joy for my dad, and by extension, me and my siblings. Most of all, this classic Toto song that Zach Braff loves. Many happy family sing-a-longs were had.
Delfina Utomo (Honorary Lead Editor)
Bitches Brew - Miles Davis
Mine's an entire album. Jazz, too much jazz. My clearest memory was of him coding in his computer lab at home and blasting jazz. It annoyed me because he got to do just that — blast music and be glued to the computer and no one could bug him while I had to do mandatory children chores. But when he was out, I’d listen to his stuff: he liked Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, and Tony Williams the most. I think the drummers intrigued him the most. Even though jazz isn’t really my cup of tea, I’d have to say Bitches Brew by Miles Davis is a real fine album.
Jasmine Yee (Resident Bandwagon Ninja/Events Manager)
Blue Savannah - Erasure
When the family got restless during warm Saturday afternoons, we’d often put on cassettes or CDs and this was one of our usual picks. It’s weird how it energised us — I remember violently dancing to the beat to annoy my parents. Man, synth pop…
Estrella - Kitaro
Anyone else’s dad bought this album? Oh my goodness this played too many times in our house. As far as I know, this CD was constantly in our hi-fi set (we had the type that rotates three CDs) and when that all-too-familiar violin intro would kick in, my sister and I would complain and attempt to switch to another album. But of course we were not tall enough to reach the knobs on the hi fi set so we had to sit through another hour of this instrumental display of a demure Japanese man’s emotions.
Liane Tan (Assistant Events Manager)
Close to You - The Carpenters
My dad is a big fan of 'Greatest Hits' albums and I remember listening to (only) The Very best of the Carpenters a lot in the car as a kid. On Saturdays he'd take me to ballet classes and this album was often on repeat. This must have been one of my favorites because I still remember the words.
Dancing Queen - ABBA
Another one of his favorites is ABBA, who in his opinion were one of the few "real pop stars". Naturally, Mamma Mia! was the soundtrack of my childhood and it was extra special when the we got to see the musical together back in 2004.
Nathalia Kasman (Designer)
Andai Aku Bisa - Chrisye
Too Much Heaven - Bee Gees
I grew up listening to a lot of Chrisye and Bee Gees—in the car on road trips to Bandung, at home, everywhere. These two songs are our go-to songs during family karaoke sessions. And even though they're both sad songs, we crack ourselves up trying (really hard) to reach the high notes (and failing horribly).
Camille Castillo (Country Representative for The Philippines)
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - The Beatles
My dad was a hippie. He lived the real LSD life in the 70's. My mum always said this was my dad's song and I never really got what she meant by it until I was a bit older. So out of all the Beatles songs he played, this was the one that got stuck in my head. It started my love for The Beatles and all things colourful and trippy.
Imagine - John Lennon
Most Beatles fans are either Lennon or McCartney (except me, Georgie all the way) and my dad was a full on Lennon fan. The lines "You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one" always reminds me of my dad's dreams and hopes for his lifelong advocacy. This is the only song you can get him to sing on karaoke night.
Lim Jia Ying (Writer)
Hey Jude - The Beatles
Ah, those days where kopitiams in heartland malls still had jukeboxes in them. Being the kid I was, I will always bug my dad to pick songs for me (guess I was just afraid to pick the wrong song and hear in play in public?). I hardly remember when was it that he first chose 'Hey Jude' on the jukebox, but the catchy lyrics and melody made this tack my must-play song each time we were there.
How Deep Is Your Love - Bee Gees
More like the song I heard in my childhood thanks to my mom and dad. They use to play this in the living room during their romantic dinners, while I will be sitting in my room, rushing to complete my school homework. Well, at least I enjoyed the song and thanks to them, it's now one of my favourite oldies.
Chew Wei Li (Writer)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Beatles
My dad's a huge Beatles fan (he has the whole vinyl collection), and he played a lot of their songs when I was a kid so I grew up loving them too. I think his favourite track is 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' (which has pretty… odd lyrics) but many of the ones that stuck for me were by George, especially this one. The guitar textures and lyrics intrigued me as a kid, and I still love every bit of it.
Op 28 No. 15 'Raindrop' - Chopin
You could say this is the most "classic oldie" of all, technically. The soundtrack of my childhood was either the Beatles or classical music, and on the weekends we'd wake up to Bach or Chopin echoing through the house as my dad practised. Such soothing music to wake up to, and this was definitely one of my favourites. On contemplative rainy days I'd always want to listen to it, but alas, those were the days before much Internet and I could never find a version close enough to my dad's.
Now that we’ve shared our intimate childhood memories, we’d like to hear yours! And don’t forget to thank your dad for the amazing tracks and musicians you discovered from him.