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Oh Daddy

Lyrics

Written by Christine McVie.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Justine, Lauren, Casi, Eve, Stewy, and Villavic.


Perhaps Christine McVie's most despondent song ever, "Oh Daddy" paints a chilling picture of a codependent relationship. This song is crushingly sad. Even the music sets a landscape for the song's heartache. It is as if Lindsey Buckingham's guitar, with its eerie, gray tones, understands the loneliness and tragic nature of the song. The melodic arrangement of the song delineates the kind of deep sadness that someone can only go through alone.

Speculation ensues as to the identity of the song's "Daddy", with theories ranging from Mick Fleetwood (the most widely held theory, since he claimed in his autobiography that the song was based on him), to John McVie, to some other man in Christine's life. It is clear that the term "Daddy" is symbolic here, to imply a parent/child relationship where the "Daddy" is powerful, and Christine/the singer is the helpless child.

It has also been suggested that the song may not be about Christine, and that she wrote it about someone else's experience. Whether or not "Oh Daddy" is based on Christine's personal experience, it is clear that she reached into a dark place within herself to write it. Artists often reach deep within themselves for inspiration, and sometimes the darkness inside themselves is the most meaty thing to explore. The love described in this song can almost be likened to a form of abuse - not sexual or physical, but psychological abuse. It is a love is so twisted, so deeply rooted, it is truly damaging to the singer.

"Oh daddy, you know you make me cry
how can you love me, I don't understand why
"

The father figure, "Daddy", has control over the singer's heart. She is helpless and desperate, because she is so dependent on him for her own happiness. She doesn't feel worthy of his love. She has very low self-esteem, and their relationship is causing or adding to these feelings of inadequacy.

"Oh daddy, if I can make you see
if there's been a fool around, it's got to be me
yes, it's got to be me
"

There is bitterness and realization in these words. She feels betrayed by the false sense of security that she got lulled into, being with him. Did he lull her into it? Did she lull herself into it? Probably both, because of the codependency of their relationship. She needs him, desperately. He needs her to need him.

"Oh daddy, you soothe me with your smile
you're letting me know, you're the best thing in my life
oh daddy, if I can make you see
if there's been a fool around, it's got to be me
yes, it's got to be me
"

Her lack of self-worth again comes into play here. She depends on his smiles and warmth for her happiness. She seems to be at an emotional low point, as if she's fallen into an abyss. She's lonely and unfulfilled. Her life is not complete right now, so she turns to him for comfort. He has too much power over her. She cannot feel good without his reassurance. The line "you're letting me know you're the best thing in my life" is truly disturbing. Does she know he's the best thing in her life because she sincerely feels that, or does he encourage her to feel that way? Probably both. Again, codependency.

"Why are you right when I'm so wrong?
I'm so weak but you're so strong
everything you do is just all right
and I can't walk away from you, baby if I try
"

She's angry and resentful, as well as sad, that he is right when she is "so wrong". His perfection-what she sees as his perfection-becomes the source of her inner turmoil. If he is so good, then, conversely, she is so bad. She knows she is trapped. There is something so desperate about the line, "and I can't walk away from you, baby if I try." There is a catch-22 going on here. She knows that if she could break away, it would be her salvation, ensuring her transformation into a strong, independent woman. But on another level, she is too afraid and insecure to leave him, because she relies on him so deeply.

It is interesting that she uses the words "all right" to describe him ("everything you do is just all right".) This could signify that she thinks everything he does is wonderful, and makes her feel good. However, it could also mean that everything he does is just tolerable or average, just barely passing muster.

"oh daddy, you soothe me with your smile
you're letting me know, you're the best thing in my life
oh daddy, if I can make you see
if there's been a fool around, it's got to be me
yes, it's got to be me
yes, it's got to be me
yes, it's got to be me
"

In the final analysis, "Oh Daddy" is about wanting to leave a relationship, but lacking the inner strength to do so. The listener is left with a sense of desperation, and the hope that the singer will somehow liberate herself from this situation.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

Copyright 1995-2001, Martin and Lisa Adelson
All Rights Reserved.