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The Surprising Resurgence of Cat Stevens’ ‘Father and Son’

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicked off summer blockbuster season this weekend and, in addition to offering the most satisfying Sylvester Stallone cameo in years and hauling in an estimated $145 million, it also reignited interest in a classic tune about dad-hood: Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son”. Much like Vol. 1, the latest Guardians’ installment features a soundtrack that goes heavy on the classic rock tunes. During a particularly emotional father-son reunion, the folk song by the man now known as Yusuf Islam plays and yanks at the old heart strings.

It’s clear that the song resonated with viewers. As the YouTube statistics for “Father and Son” show, people flocked to play the track after they left the theater. For the five previous years, the song struggled to get even a couple thousand daily listens. This weekend, it received more than 50,000.

The resurgence of “Father and Son” as an emotional resonant song for parents and children nice to see. Funny eough, however, the song isn’t what it seems. While it sounds like a heartbreaking tale of a father and son struggling to understand each other, the tune was originally conceived to take place during the Russian Revolution. It tells the story of a young Russian’s desire to join the communist revolution against the wishes of his conservative father and was part of a musical project called Revolussia, which Stevens was working on with British producer Nigel Hawthorne. What exactly Revolussia was supposed to end up being isn’t entirely clear, as the project was scrapped before it could really get anywhere. Still, the song’s legacy is powerful.

This isn’t the first time a song has seen a massive resurgence in popularity thanks to Guardians. The first film’s soundtrack was massively popular, reaching the number one slot on the Billboard 200 chart and selling 1.75 million albums. As a result, both ‘Spirit in the Sky’ and ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ were given second lives. Cat Stevens’ classic seems to be on the same course — and will now be associated with a Planet reuniting with is son instead of the Revolussia. Time is strange.