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WTF Is Happening on ‘Her Father Didn’t Like Me, Anyway’ Cover?

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It’s been more than two years now since the world lost Gerry Rafferty, the singer-songwriter behind such masterpieces as “Right Down the Line” and “Stuck in the Middle with You.” His highest chart-topping single, “Baker Street,” features the most iconic saxophone solo in the history of modern music (sorry, “Careless Whisper” hornblower Steve Gregory, it’s true).

The man behind the 1978 sax riff, Raphael Ravenscroft, was an English session musician who followed up with an obscure 1979 solo album, “Her Father Didn’t Like Me, Anyway.” The album cover will crush your mindgrapes.

raphael ravenscroft father

The bored model with a hairbrush. The gun phone. The newspaper sprawl. The packed suitcase. The idle sax. THE TITLE. What does it all mean? Some known associates and I tried to break down what was happening here on the day Rafferty died in January 2011. One friend dredged up the email thread, and though we’re still baffled, here are his four possible scenarios …

Can we analyze the title for a second? I have four interpretations:

1. “Man, I loved her, but she just told me that she was breaking up with me. Oh well, I guess it wouldn’t have worked out because her father didn’t like me anyway.” In this tame scenario, Raphael is trying to make himself feel better about being dumped by recognizing that their relationship was doomed to failure based on parental disapproval.

2. “Screw the bitch, I’m leaving and not looking back. Plus her father didn’t like me anyway.” I find this less likely, given the picture. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would hash out a break up with his now ex-girlfriend. He’d be out of there in two shakes. Plus, why the post hoc rationalization about her father. Why would he care at that point?

3. “I don’t mind that we just killed her father, because her father didn’t like me anyway.” I can’t quite tell from the picture, but it looks like he has a gun in his right hand. Is it possible they ran off to some motel after killing her father who was opposed to their relationship and now they’re scanning the papers for news of his murder? Sax on the run?

The odd thing is that, in all of these cases, it seems like Raphael places great weight on the views of his girlfriend’s father. And that’s something I find hard to believe. As we’ve already suggested, it would be the rare father that would approve his girl taking up with a hunk of raw sex like Raphael. If he was going to have companionship — and let’s face it, this guy got around — it would always be over the objections of a disapproving father. Why did Raffy care about it — so much, in fact, that he named an album after it? So what appears on first glance to be a defiant stance — I don’t care what your father thinks! — is actually kind of sweet (though maybe not in light of scenario #3), a door into the heart of a sensitive hornsman.

But what about…

4. “I just killed my girlfriend and I’m very glad to be shacking up with this sexy woman with a toilet brush. I initially felt bad about murdering my girlfriend, but, it’s not all bad, her father didn’t like me anyway. Ha ha! Pass me that fifth of Jack Daniels.” In this scenario, I take the title to be used ironically, as if to say, “I clearly don’t care about the consequences of my actions. I just blow hot wind through this metal tube and get all kinds of trim. Bitch had to die and if it pisses off her father, all the better.” This is belied, somewhat, by the plaintive look on his face, though that may be enhanced by his phenomenal mustache). He just seems so sensitive in that picture.

SEE ALSO:
Morbid Brilliance: Album Covers Minus The Dead Guys
Stuck In The Casket With You: RIP Gerry Rafferty

Another friend chimed in:

I was thoroughly confused as to what the scenario might be……until I found the attached promotional poster. “The warm silk of his sax touched her there on Baker Street. He’s not leaving. He’s just on his way.”

In my opinion, Raphael has just informed his dame that he can no longer deal with the pressures of being cooped up in the basement of her parents’ house. His yearning to blow, compounded by the actions of her overbearing and alcoholic father, has brought him to a turning point. Sure, he could gut it out by working the overnight stocking shift at Caldor, continuing to save money for his eventual escape with the lady. But he was destined for better things. You don’t just bottle up the natural gift of saxophone playing that produces warm silk. So he left in the middle of night, bound for New York City and hoping for a break. But he isn’t leaving her for good. He’s just on his way to greater things at this moment.

Finally, a librarian chimed in with the actual lyrics:

The coat she wore still lies upon the bed
The book I gave her that she never read
She left without a single word to say

Her father didn’t like me anyway.

She always wanted more than I could give
She wasn’t happy with the way we lived
I didn’t feel like asking her to stay

Her father didn’t like me anyway.

Daddy never knew just what she’d seen in me
Daddy didn’t like my hair
Perhaps if we had talked, he’d have seen something in me
But Daddy didn’t really care.

To tell the truth I didn’t have the nerve
I know I only got what I deserved
So now she’s taken leave of me today

Her father didn’t like me anyway.

Daddy never knew just what she’d seen in me
Daddy didn’t like my hair
Perhaps if we had talked, he’d have seen something in me
But Daddy didn’t really care.

The coat she wore still lies upon the bed
The book I gave her that she never read
She left without a single word to say

After reading that, it seems like a hybrid of scenarios 1 and 2, right?

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