|WORDS AND MUSIC BY RICK
performed this song on the Live and Kickin Special.
This song was written shortly after the death of his father.
the following releases:
Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet, Alive - Greatest Hits, and Legendary
says: The older we get, the more like our fathers we become, and women the more like their mothers they become and I found that to be real true with me, and I'm very happy because my father was a great person.
I'll tell you, if I can be to whatever family I eventually have, how my father was to me, I'll be very happy.
- Hot Ones Radio Show, 1984.
Dynamite really does come in small packages. What a powerful song this is. I think Rick was really, really trying to find comfort in his father's death, and he managed to come up with a really positive spin on the whole thing, that his dad finally had answers to the great mystery of death. However, I think the "thrills me to the bone", was more of a poetic thing, because obviously he is way less than thrilled not to have his dad around.
I remember the moment I heard this song for the very first time. I
thought that it was so beautiful. A very short, but very meaningful tribute to his
Dad, whom we all know he loved very much. I thought I understood it completely
then, but it has taken on new meaning for me as both of my parents are in the twilight of their lives. It is very
spiritual and comes from a place deep in Rick's soul. I think this song really demonstrates Rick's ability as a songwriter. It is 1
minute and 33 seconds long. During that time this song takes you from the sadness of loss to the celebration of life.
I love the music. It has that ethereal kind of feeling to it. It starts very softly with just the guitar and then builds to a crescendo
with the other instruments coming in. The only performance I've ever seen of this song is on Alive and Kicking and it truly couldn't have
been better. - Elizabeth S.
It's hard to describe this one. I remember when I first got SHSMY, I had no idea the significance of this song until I had seen Rick in an interview shortly after the album came out and he was asked about it. I thought it was so cool the way it was "spotlighted" in the liner notes with the picture of his Dad and how it is written in Rick's handwriting....and the last line ends like the author was "-unknown".
At that point in my life I had not lost a single significant person in my life, so I took the song as a nice, touching tribute to Rick's father. Thought no other thought about it until my Grandfather passed in '86. This song combined with "My Father's Chair" really made me understand the emotion Rick put into it. I never understood why it was so short either, but now that I'm more mature I can realize that Rick did not need alot of words to say exactly what he wanted to say at that point in his life.
You can almost tell in the original recording the amazement, wonder and profound sadness Rick felt at the time this was penned. This song is perfect the way it is...
In fact, it kind of upset me a little to see/hear that Rick re-recorded it for the Alive album. In all honesty I really don't think it sounds any better (but, hey it's longer by one more word!). Maybe he just felt that it needed some updating, or attention that it didn't get on the first recording, I dunno.
This is one, along with MFC that I wish Rick would play more live. I understand his reasons for not wanting to, as I think he's said before it kind of puts a downer on the evening for him. However, I do think a lot of people get a lot out of this song and would love to see him sing it live.
- Michelle P.
For as short as this song is, it has the most powerful `punch.' I just love this song. In fact, I like it more than My Father's Chair. Yes…I said it. It has just as much depth and meaning to me as MFC, except it's summed up in a minute and a half. What more does he need to say here? Nothing. He said it all with the line, "daddy knows the great unknown." It's right to the point and makes for a beautiful, emotional ending to a great collection of songs. I think this track was an appropriate addition since Rick's dad had just passed around this time. It's a warm tribute to the man who helped make him who he is today. I feel that Rick's dad was smiling down on him when he did this song, and maybe trying to give his son some comfort that it will be okay.
It's terribly sad that Rick had such a loss at a time when he was finally making it. I wish Rick's dad had been here to see his success. But I feel that his dad always knew he'd make it, even if he wasn't here to see it. I believe his dad had great faith in his abilities and the `path' that Rick chose. Rick even says that his dad was his "champion." I also have a feeling (mostly from what I've heard Rick say, and from the person Rick is---as we are often so much like our parents) that Norman was an incredible man and someone you'd be glad to have known.
I can clearly remember my first experiences with this song when I bought SHSMY. I was so involved in the `newness' of the collection, excited with each passing song. Then the last song played and I remember bursting into tears when I heard it. I cried like a baby! And I continued to cry every single time I heard the song, for quite some time. I was instantly covered from head to toe in cold chills and the weirdest feeling came over me. This man who I really didn't know, but felt such a strong connection with, was suffering through the loss of his `daddy.` I like how he used the word `daddy.` It somehow made the connection stronger for me, as this is what I have always called my father. It almost validated that child-like denial we have when it comes to facing the death of our parents or someone else we are close to. Our parents are supposed to live forever, right? (or so I thought) Even though I knew Rick struggled with a lot of issues, as it was apparent from his album WCD, I think the fact that he was dealing with human issues like the rest of us was something I hadn't seriously considered until this point. I realized that life was not a bed of roses for Rick. There was a lot more going on with him than girl-chasing and being a rock star. He was hurting from a major loss in his life and I was suddenly hurting with him and for him. My heart went out to him! I also recall hearing these words and thinking, "I hope this never happens to my daddy." This was coming from the mind of a 14-year old girl who adored her daddy (and still does! Thank God he's still with me) and had the notion that `daddy will never die.' My mind immediately told me I was foolish to believe this, that it would happen at some point, and I knew it. But I remember feeling like it was something in the way distant future, and certainly a thought I didn't want to deal with right then. I wonder if Rick was in this same sort of denial, even though he was a 32-year old man. As an adult it's STILL something I tend to push out of my mind.
There is one line which gives me a mixed feeling, even though it sounds perfect in the song--- "and it thrills me to the bone, to know…daddy knows the great unknown." I can't imagine that Rick meant that literally, that he was `thrilled' his dad had passed. I think he meant that he was trying to be happy for his dad because his dad now knows about the mystery of dying and what is on the other side. He says, "I know all your life you've wondered, about that step we all take alone. How far does the spirit travel on the journey?" This line gives me the feeling that death is something his father might have discussed and wondered about. Rick is also a spiritual person, or so I gather as much from his music. I think Rick has given the afterlife a lot of thought. I mean, don't we all wonder what's to come for us once we pass? We wonder what heaven looks like, and we certainly like to believe that our loved ones have gone on to a better place than here on earth. And we hope that we will do the same when our time comes.
It just fascinates me how Rick can capture so much with so few words. The music has that `other world' feel to it when it starts up. I love how it begins with the volume low and then becomes louder and louder before his voice breaks in. This song is one of the greatest parts of the Live and Kickin' DVD in my opinion. It's so honest and emotional when he speaks about his father during this live performance.
I would love to see this one live at some point, but I feel sure that if I did, I'd be moved to tears. I have to fight the tears now when I listen to the studio recording of the song. I have a feeling that when my day comes and my `daddy knows the great unknown`, this song will be even more special for me than it already is. Thanks to Rick for this beautiful tribute to his father's death! It's cool how he named the song with the date his dad passed. It's one date his fans can never forget.
- Kelley Pearson