I’ve had this idea in my head for a few years now, and my father’s 80th birthday seemed to be the right occasion to try and make it happen. My original plan was to do a complete a cappella recreation of the original score, but that turned out to be far beyond my vocal talents, technical ability, and available time.
The approach to my initial idea was to load in one of my favorite performances of Mars, tempo map it, then record all of my own parts. The tempo map was key because it would allow me to do some looping and other studio trickery. The biggest part of the joke was that, like most good comedy, I was going to play it entirely straight – it would be as serious a work as I could make it. Alas, it was not to be.
When it became painfully obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to do the version in my head, I made one of those mid-project pivots and decided to just be silly and sing over my reference track. The end result was just as good for the intended purpose – making my dad, a professional conductor for his entire career, laugh on his birthday.
- Dad, the Bringer of Age Ray Toler 3:15
Note from the future: Because I did the entire final recording and wrote all of the lyrics other than the main ostinato on January 31, I did contemplate posting this as my first entry for Song-A-Day 2022 and getting a day ahead of the race. The thought of this being the first thing playing on the album for all time dissuaded me, however. It’s a good joke, but let’s not run it into the ground… In hindsight, though, maybe I should have, since I’ve been behind schedule all month.
Getting old you are getting old (repeats) You are old (repeats) You’re old. So old. Sol old. You! (Are old) You! (Are old) You! Older than the mighty redwoods (you are) Older than Mt Everest sitting in the Far off Himilayas they’re pretty old let me tell you (You are so old) Older than Elven races you are Older than the late Jurassic era When the dinosaurs roamed the earth and then Died and turned to oil to fuel our autos Older than the darkest oceans you are Older than the farthest desert you are Older than the solar system and the planets in the heavens high above us (Old, old, old, old…) Good God look he’s gotten so old… he’s so old, so… How the hell did he get to be old Dear Lord look he’s gotten so old… he’s so old, so… How the hell did he get to be old? How the hell did he get to be old??? Older than the invention of cheese If you please, older, he is, than cheese How did he get old? (How the hell did he get to be, get to be old?) How did he get OLD? (How the hell did he get to be, get to be…) Dear Lord look he’s gotten so old How is he so old? How is he so old? How is he so old? How is he so old? How is he so old? How is he so old? How is he so old? How is he so old? Getting so old Getting old Getting old You are so old You are You are old Old.
- A recording of Mars, The Bringer of War by Gustav Holst
- Neumann TLM-103