Thanks for checking out I Know That Song! We have so much fun doing this every morning at 7:10. Finding fun behind-the-music facts to share. Join us when you can as see if you know that song.
This song was written by both B.A. Robertson and Mike Rutherford, who was best known as the bass player for “Genesis” and both had recently lost their fathers when they wrote this song, making it very personal for both of them.
The song was written in stages. B.A.wrote the first verse before his father died in 1986, which was the same year Rutherford lost his dad.
Robertson was working with Rutherford when he got the call that his dad had died, which is reflected in the opening lines of this verse:
I wasn't there that morning
When my father passed away
Three months before his father died, Robertson's son was born, which we hear in this line:
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
The father theme defines this song and is probably why it connects on such a personal level with so many listeners back in 1988 and to this day. The song's vocalist Paul Carrack, from Squeeze and Ace, had a personal connection with this song, as his father died in an accident when Paul was just 11.
This band’s founder, Mike Rutherford, lost his father, Crawford Rutherford, in 1986 while Mike was on tour with Genesis in Chicago. Two weeks later, he took the Concorde to England for the funeral and returned to America in time for the next show.
Later, this funeral fly-by hit Mike hard: In his 2014 autobiography, he says he realized that he was so wrapped up in his own career during this time that he was neglecting his loved ones, especially his dad.
In a real sign of the times and our ever shortening attention span, this song probably would not have succeeded today like it did in 1988. It runs 5:30, which in another era would be considered too long for radio play, but in 1988 listeners had a fair degree of patience: Madonna's "Like A Prayer," Roxette's "Listen To Your Heart" and Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You" were also US chart-toppers that exceeded five minutes in length.
That is a testimony to the power of a good song, no matter the length. Many listeners heard their own stories in this song. "People write to me to this day saying how they had lost touch with their fathers, and how they had written to them on the strength of that song," Rutherford said. "Most songs don't have that extra bit that changes your life."
Mike (Rutherford) and Mechanics....The Living Years...I Know That Song!