Lucifer showrunners say Cat Stevens declined to give permission for Lucifer and God to use “Father and Son” in the season 5 musical episode.
Lucifer showrunners Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich have revealed the one song they couldn’t get approval to use for the show’s musical episode was “Father and Son” by legendary musician Cat Stevens. The fantasy series stars Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, a fallen angel who grows bored of his responsibilities as the Devil. He runs off to Los Angeles, where he uses his supernatural powers to help LAPD solve crimes. The show aired on Fox for three seasons before Lucifer was canceled due to low ratings, but after a robust response from fans online, Netflix picked up the show a month later. The second half of Lucifer season 5 was released earlier this week, and the streaming service has renewed the show for a sixth and final season.
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With the tenth episode of season 5, “Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam,” Lucifer joins a long tradition of shows making their characters sing about their problems for an episode. The musical special is full of karaoke favorites from a variety of decades and genres. Occasionally the song choice is a bit on the nose, like when the murder victim joins in on a rendition of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust,” but overall, the music is used to follow the character’s emotional journeys throughout the episode.
Showrunners Modrovich and Henderson revealed to The Wrap that they originally planned to use “Father and Son” for a duet sung by Lucifer and his father God, played by Dennis Haysbert. However, singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, also known as Yusuf Islam, denied permission for the song to be used in the scene. Modrovich speculated on Stevens’ reasoning for refusal, telling The Wrap:
“I totally respect him and his team because I think a lot of people feel this way about their music, but it is a song for so many different people and it evokes so many different things for people, that you don’t want to narrow it to one image or experience. I think that’s how he felt. I think he was like, ‘Look, it’s such a song that speaks to so many people. I kind of want to keep it in that big place of everybody relates to it.'”
Ellis came to the show’s rescue by proposing he and Haysbert sing the epic Broadway ballad “I Dreamed A Dream,” from Les Miserables, which he had just learned to play on the guitar. Ellis’s first performance of the substitute song, done over the phone for Modrovich, reduced the showrunner to tears. He wasn’t the only one. Ellis explained that he and his co-star Haysbert also found themselves crying during rehearsals due to the song’s tender themes.
Stevens licenses his music for film and television projects fairly often, perhaps most famously when he provided most of the soundtrack for the cult classic Harold and Maude in 1971. He had also licensed this specific song, such as in 2017 when he allowed “Father and Son” to be used in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for Peter Quill to listen to during the funeral of his father figure, Yondu. But perhaps the image of God and his famously wayward son singing a song titled “Father and Son” was just a tad too literal for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. The relationship isn’t explicitly restated in the lyrics themselves, but the dialogue between the characters of the song is so powerful and moving that adding the baggage of the characters of Lucifer could detract from the song’s impact. Fortunately, the showrunners were thrilled with how the episode worked out, and there is no bad blood between them and Stevens.
Next: Why Lucifer Season 5 Just Killed [SPOILER]
Source: The Wrap
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