Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day: My Father's Eyes

With Sunday being Father's Day, I decided for tonight's post that I would do some searching online for an appropriate song to commemorate the occasion. Combing through the results, I concluded that: "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" is a little too funky and "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" is just downright incorrect. Despite reviewing pages of search results, in my head, I couldn't get past Eric Clapton's "My Father's Eyes" from his 1998 album Pilgrim. This is an album that my parents bought for me while I was in college. It's the one that featured Eric's duet with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, "Change The World," that's been inescapable on radio ever since.  The album got a good number of spins on my stereo before finding its permanent home in my Pro Logic CD book.

One song on the album that always stood out to me was My Father's Eyes. The lyrics are moving, Clapton's vocal is soulful and strong, and the guitar riff is clean and memorable.  One negative, which doesn't totally detract from the song, is that the production is a little too slick; a little too perfect. Despite that complaint, I still do enjoy listening to it since it reminds me of the days where I actually flipped through my Pro Logic CD book looking for something to drop into the Discman to soundtrack my walk to class.  It also happens to be an emotional song about the relationship between a father and a son, with the lyrics touching on both Eric never meeting his own father and the tragic loss of his son Connor.

As is many times the case with YouTube, this evening I stumbled upon a video that I never expected to find, since I never knew its contents took place. Even though My Father's Eyes wasn't released until 1998, on Pilgrim, it was in fact performed six years earlier by Clapton and his band on January 16, 1992 at Bray Film Studios in Windsor, England.  This was the session where Clapton resurrected his career by performing a set of acoustic songs for MTV's Unplugged series.  As a result of this night's taping, Clapton won six Grammy's including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Rock Male Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song, with the majority of those accolades received for "Tears In Heaven".

I learned tonight that a number of songs that were played that night did not make it onto the album. One of them was an early version of My Father's Eyes.  Fortunately, the video of this performance has made its way online.  It contains all of the emotion of the original and drops the slick veneer.

Please take a listen to the unplugged My Father's Eyes performed by Eric Clapton and his band at the legendary 1992 session for MTV and remember to wish your dad a Happy Father's Day on Sunday. [The song starts at 1:38]:

1 comment:

WeightStaff said...

More importantly, is that a Ray Cooper sighting in the background playing percussion?

Check out his resume: