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Simply the Worst: #10 – Father & Son

Oh God No - StevensThere are some things in life which are really rather awful, but somewhat inevitable – death, hunger, Loose Women. They are not worth getting upset about because they will always be there. It’s the same with rubbish pop records. It is not worth getting ones undergarments all twisty because of a song created in a lab and mass-marketed with more detailed planning than went into the Moon landings. You don’t like the Lady GaGa record? And? It’s not aimed at you. Leave it, it ain’t worf it, as they say in Walford.

But some songs achieve a remarkable double whammy; they take the piss by being simultaneously awful and ambitious at the same time. They crave respectability and often get it, becoming ‘classics’ and therefore played on commercial radio from now until the world ends in 2012. Here is our series on some of the preening monstrosities which have lived lives far past their worth.

If drugs don’t mess your mind, how come so many people think Cat Stevens is any good? Stevens’ music was everything that was wrong with what hippies became; dreary, maudlin, pious, solipsistic, shallow, insipid and so unerringly boring it could easily have been boxed and sold as a board game. His unlovely voice – thin, reedy and smug – sat atop softly-strummed folksy clunkers which became beloved of idiot buskers everywhere. Rock historians point to punk as a reaction to rock star excess, but it was really the singer-songwriter genre it killed. Anyone who’d rather listen to this than, say, Queen is a liar or a nut.

‘Father & Son’ was his wretched worst. Fatherhood is an important and wonderful thing indeed, but this would make even the most paternalistic chap want to take a meat cleaver to his impregnation wand. Absurd advice is imparted while the listener simply surmises that the titular characters are just a pair of self-obsessed wazzocks. ‘Find a girl, settle down’ he implores, clearly ignoring the fact that with a Father so utterly drippy the whole nature vs nurture argument is out the window and his son will be the most clichéd homosexual this side of Rufus Wainwright. ‘Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.’ Are the two mutually exclusive?

Stevens, of course, changed his name to Yusuf Islam and supported the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, and even that still wasn’t as heinous as Tea for the Tillerman. Stevens remains on ELM’s hatelist for sullying the good name of Stevens, forcing Shakin’ to change to the less dynamic Shakey.

Final damning words? Boyzone’s cover was better.


5 Responses

  1. I’m actually quite keen on loose women…….

  2. …..and you’re right, he’s a total fuck wad.

  3. It was awful….the 70s were awesome: Bowie, Kraftwerk, New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Sugarhill Gang, Television…..and yet the cultural legacy is cat Stevens, James Taylor and that Abba film that every woman bought on DVD last Christmas.

  4. Indeed. He is loathesome.

  5. Bert – Bowie was massive in the 70s, so people had some taste. Why then did the decade come to be remembered for wetter than an otters pocket crap?

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