Father to Son
Father to Son is a progressive rock power ballad by Queen. It was recorded in August of 1973 and released on the album Queen II on 1974-03-08. The lyrics and music were composed by Brian May who also played electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, and provided backing vocals. Freddie Mercury sung the lead vocals, added backing vocals, and played piano. Roger Taylor played percussion and provided backing vocals. John Deacon played bass and acoustic guitar. In addition to the album version, with a length of 6:14, a promotional version, quite different from the album version, was released as the B-side of The March of the Black Queen in the 1970s, with a length of only 4:35.
The way I understand the song, it describes a king going to battle to fight for his kingdom and make a better life for his son. Fearing he will die, the king writes his son a letter to pass on his wisdom, but his son is too young to understand, or ignores it and winds up making all the same mistakes as his slain father. When the son becomes older and has a son of his own and writes him a letter, but just like the young man, his son doesn't listen either, and the pattern continues forever. However, despite the reoccurring failures and timeless rebellion, minute progress is made and the world continues to turn.
The album Queen II is engineered so that Procession merges seamlessly into Father to Son, which in turn merges seamlessly into White Queen (As It Began). Each of the three songs are composed by Brian May, so I presume they're related in some way and meant to be listened to in a single sitting.
I'm particularly fond of this song, not just because I admire the fantastic music and profound lyrics, but there is also a little bit of envy because I never had a decent relationship with my father, certainly not one where he tried to impart his wisdom onto me. Instead, what I learned from him took the form of a cautionary tale.
A word in your ear From father to son Hear the word that I say I fought with you Fought on your side Long before you were born Joyful the sound The word goes around From father to son to son And the voice is so clear Time after time it keeps Calling you calling you on Don't destroy what you see Your country to be Just keep building on the ground That's been won Kings will be crowned The word goes around From father to son to son Won't you hear us sing Di di di di di di di di di Our family song? Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba Now we hand it on But I've heard it all before Take this letter that I give you Take it sonny hold it high You won't understand a word that's in it But you'll write it all again before you die A word in your ear From father to son Funny you don't hear A single word that I say But my letter to you Will stay by your side Through the years Till the loneliness is gone Sing if you will But the air you breathe I live to give you Father to son Father to father to father to son Joyful the sound Word goes around Father to son to son Kings will be crowned Earth goes around Father to son to son Joyful the sound Word goes around Father to son to son Kings will be crowned Earth goes around Father to son to son Joyful the sound Word goes around Father to son to son Kings will be crowned Earth goes around Father to son to son
- youtube.com/watch?v=4hytYgRmzTs - Album version.
- youtube.com/watch?v=LL6DiCHG2Y8 - Live at the Rainbow, 1974.
- queensongs.info/song-analysis/songwriting-analyses/no-synth-era/queen-ii/father-to-son - Song information.
- songmeanings.com/songs/view/103422 - Song Meanings.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_II - Wikipedia page for Queen II.