Sunday, July 27, 2014

The new unofficial Parents' Day theme song

Today (July 27) is Parents' Day. Unlike Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving and Halloween, Parents' Day doesn't have its own holiday music. To remedy that situation, Music Weird will, in just a few minutes, announce the new unofficial theme song of Parents' Day. 

Parents' Day is a weird holiday, because it overlaps so much with Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. Also, most kids are ingrates who don't rush to honor their parents, so it's not clear who is supposed to do the celebrating. 

The Congressional resolution that created the holiday in 1994 says only that the holiday is meant for "recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children," but it doesn't specify who will do this recognizing, uplifting, and supporting. I think Congress just assumed that someone would do it. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg even suggested that Parents' Day replace Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day altogether as a way of "minimizing traditional sex-based differences in parental roles." That would be more efficient too.

In fact, I think we should go even further. We've already combined all of the US presidents' birthdays into one Presidents' Day, so why not consolidate every holiday into one great Holiday? We could wrap up the whole Christmas season, along with every other international holiday from the entire year, in one day with a single Holiday that everyone could celebrate as he or she sees fit. This one-holiday system would greatly simplify the lives of people who create calendars. I also propose that the new Holiday fall on a specific date instead of this "fourth Sunday of the month" business.

But.... Let's get back to music.

I tried to find out if a Parents' Day theme song had ever been written, and I found the image below in a 1986 issue of Billboard. It shows contemporary Christian singer Cheri Keaggy and gospel and soul singer Candi Staton (misspelled as Stanton in the blurb) at the National Parents' Day Conference that year. The theme of the conference was "Strengthening Families—Building Communities," but the article didn't say whether the conference also had a theme song to go with its theme.

Cheri Keaggy and Candi Staton perform for Parents Day 1986

In popular music, an endless number of songs celebrate mothers, and fewer songs celebrate fathers, but even fewer celebrate parents as a unit.

You might be wondering at this point, "Then what's your great idea for the unofficial Parents' Day theme song?"

I'll tell you. Because of the coercive aspect of holidays like Parents' Day, the most fitting theme song is the Shaggs' 1969 classic, "Who Are Parents?" This song really embodies the conflict that lies at the heart of Parents' Day. 

On the surface, the song celebrates parents as "the ones who really care" and "the ones who are always there." That sounds nice. 

But the Shaggs also wrote and recorded their music under duress, prodded along by a tyrannical father who had been told by a palm reader that his daughters would become a famous music group. So, even though the lyrics celebrate the compassion and benevolence of parents, you have to wonder who's doing the celebrating. Just like with Parents' Day itself. 

If you're looking for a sincere Parents' Day song, then you probably can't do better than Lefty Frizzell's "Mom and Dad's Waltz." It's just a sweet song that Frizzell wrote about loving his mom and dad. Of course, this song doesn't accommodate same-sex parents, so it can't really serve as the unofficial theme. 

Neither can Cheap Trick's "Surrender," which also refers to mother and father, but it's a good candidate if you're looking for a "cool" Parents' Day theme. 

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