Shel Silverstein, One Day discussed on Part-Time Genius



You're listening to part time genius and we're talking about the strange life and times of shel silverstein and if you ask me one of the strangest times in his life by far was this period between nineteen fifty nine in the mid nineteen seventies when he actually enjoyed a pretty successful music career i mean particularly as a songwriter and i don't i don't think most people know this yeah i'd have to agree i mean it makes sense that is not for poetry would translate to songwriting but it's still amazing just how well he pulled off that transition yeah i as a singer he didn't have much success is voice was i guess to raspy and jarring for most people's ears even though we actually does have a dozen albums but when he committed to songwriting things really took off for him and by the end of his life he'd written more than eight hundred songs you know many of these were recorded and performed by some pretty famous artists like will jennings willie nelson jerry lewis even johnny cash that's a pretty incredible lineup actually even won a grammy for the song he wrote for johnny cash which was a boy named sue you you've heard the song right man yeah of course but i didn't know shel silverstein it until recently like it makes perfect sense in hindsight right like it's such a deeply silly song and it still has a sense of danger to it so it really fits right into shells repertoire yes strength for anybody who might not have heard it before the song is about a boy who was named sue by his absentee father and he gets picked on all his life for having a girl's name so much so that one day su tracks down his dad and threatens to kill him and at that point that's when the dead reveals that he only named his son sue because he wanted to make him tough i guess by forcing him to stand up for himself you know whenever somebody made fun of him anyway sue gets on board with this explanation and all is forgiven between he and his dad you know but the thing that most people don't know is that silverstein actually wrote a sequel to the song as well it was called father of a boy named sue but you will not find this song on johnny cash album the darkness of this song it actually kind of clips is the silliness and the other one so silverstein wound up singing it himself which which probably explains why so few people actually know about so i actually a little afraid to ask you can't just leave us hanging like that so what makes it so much darker well first of all the sequel is told from the dad's point of view and it's basically him setting the record straight on what happened in the first song so for example he reveals that he actually named his son soon not to toughen him up but is revenge for all those times the voice screamed and cried and fitz baby which you know of course seems perfectly fair yeah it feels like a totally appropriate response.

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