I used to despise The Rolling Stones.There was no particular reason for my aversion. It was irrational, the result of a childish whim and sustained by sheer willpower. Maybe it was because I knew they were my father’s favourite band. That meant they were old, and I should naturally despise them.In the early 2000s, my father would frequently play his Pandora playlist of classic rock songs, which included an unavoidable string of Stones hits. Mick Jagger’s raucous vocals would pour out the windows and onto Acacia Avenue, washing over the flowery rows of suburban homes.
Meanwhile, I would put my hands over my ears and run in circles across the carpeted floor, a clear protest gesture to express my displeasure.In my 7-year-old mind, there was a sharp distinction between my present and my parents’ past. I grew up on Hannah Montana and “American Idol,” while they grew up on David Bowie and “Gilligan’s Island” (“A three hour tour, a three hour tour,” they would sing every time we were on a boat). Apart from a brief mention in Kesha’s “Tik Tok,” I had no idea — nor did I want to know — who Mick Jagger was.Almost every time my father had guests over, he would play a recording of “Gimme Shelter” from the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jagger, U2 and Fergie performed a high-energy rendition of the song, combining anti-war sentiment from the 1960s with a Y2K appeal. My father would sit on our old red couch, sharing his ecstatic reactions as if it were his first time seeing the show. I never told him I was secretly enthralled by the performance, and I gradually but steadily memorised the lyrics by heart.
But, if you’re wondering, I despise The Rolling Stones.It became increasingly difficult for me to resist the allure of my father’s favourite band as I grew older. My act began innocently enough: I would lightly play “Start Me Up” while getting ready for school, dancing along to the irresistible jump of the electric guitar. My secret obsession grew from there, culminating in a poetic appreciation for “Sympathy for the Devil” and Bob Dylan’s influence.The deeper I delved into the music, the more I was able to recover the hazy memories of my childhood. The songs were no longer muffled noises mediated by tiny, 7-year-old hands.
The melodies took on a form that I could finally grasp, and I began to understand my father’s deep affection for the band on a level I hadn’t previously imagined possible.Nonetheless, because of my stubborn refusal to admit when I was wrong, I made my love for The Rolling Stones my best kept secret. When they came up in conversation, I bit my tongue; I resisted the urge to sing along to “She’s a Rainbow” when it came on the radio. I led a double life of quiet admiration and verbal derision.
But one night at dinner, my father and I were having a witty conversation of some sort when he remarked, “Don’t make a grown man cry.””Please don’t think you can get away with quoting The Rolling Stones,” I snapped back.”How did you know it was a Rolling Stones song?”My secret had been revealed by a single slip of the tongue.
But it felt as if I didn’t even need to tell him — as if he already knew.As a result, I endured a brief period of well-deserved mockery from my father. I couldn’t listen to The Rolling Stones without him flashing back to those years of feigned hostility.
Nonetheless, the moment I told him the truth, I was able to truly connect with him through music. He eventually developed a habit of quizzing me on song titles and sharing trivia. I’ve also come to broaden my taste in classic rock, and I like to think I’m better for it.When I return to Huntington Beach, my father and I will take long drives with the windows down, the waves lapping up alongside Pacific Coast Highway.
My father will always listen to an oldies radio station, and we’ll sing along to those timeless classics. But when The Rolling Stones play, there’s always a sense of humour and mutual understanding. I may be thousands of miles away from my father, but I carry a piece of him with me wherever I go. I occasionally wear my Rolling Stones T-shirt down Telegraph Avenue, and a Trader Joe’s cashier once commented that my parents must be proud. I’d like to believe they are as well. I can’t deny it: I am my father’s daughter, and I am a die-hard Rolling Stones fan.
Living | Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @njtimesofficial. To get the latest updates