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The Songaminute Man How Music Brought My Father Home Again by Simon McDermott

The Songaminute Man How Music Brought My Father Home Again

Biography / Autobiography   Books of the Month   Exclusive Pre-Publication   eBook Favourites   The Real World   

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April 2018 Book of the Month

The nostalgic memoir of a young man, eldest of fourteen, growing up in 40s Wednesbury. The heartbreaking true account of his son struggling to come to terms with his father's dementia. A tribute to the unbreakable bond between father and son.

'At once a touching tribute to a beloved music-loving dad with Alzheimer’s and a poignant portrait of the love between a father and son, this written-from-the-heart memoir will warm the soul, and undoubtedly further the author’s magnificent endeavour to raise awareness of this devastating disease.

Simon McDermott’s cherished dad, Ted, was born in the Black Country in 1936 and always loved singing. In his early twenties, following National Service, Ted seized an opportunity to air his voice publicly by becoming an announcer for Walsall Football Club, which provided him with plenty of opportunities to entertain the crowd, while coming up with ideas to draw more women to matches. Also enjoying stints as a Butlin’s redcoat and singing in clubs up and down the country, Ted never lost his love of music - not after settling down and working in a factory, and not after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. In fact, as Simon discovered during drives to calm his dad’s angry outbursts, singing has the power to bring back the old Ted. And so Simon posted a clip of his dad, the clip went viral and now, one single and full-length album later, Simon and Ted have raised over £150,000 for The Alzheimer’s Society.

Peppered with moving and amusing family anecdotes from all stages of Ted’s life, and suffused in love and light through even the most harrowing moments, this heart-wrenchingly honest memoir is powerfully compelling, and should offer succour to others in similar situations.' ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Nicola Edwards - 'The story of Ted McDermott told by his son Simon is an amazing read – a memoir of family, love, and hope that will stay with you for a long time.'
  • Val Rowe - 'A moving and inspirational tribute from a son to his father.'
  • Julie Bertschin - 'Alzheimer's and dementia affects the lives of so many families today.  The story of Ted McDermott's life is superbly written by his son Simon; it is an emotional and extremely touching read.'
  • Christine Woolfenden - 'A compelling story told from the heart. It stays with you long afterwards, especially knowing so many are going through the same ordeal with loved ones.'
  • Elizabeth Winsor - 'A lovely family record, and maybe there is an audience from the touching YouTube clips. However I'm not sure such a detailed biography would be of interest to the general public.'
  • Tina Tse - 'A poignant and unflinchingly honest account of a son’s tribute to his dad.'


The Songaminute Man How Music Brought My Father Home Again by Simon McDermott

When Simon McDermott first noticed his dad Ted's sudden flares of temper and fits of forgetfulness, he couldn't have guessed what lay ahead. Then came the devastating, inevitable diagnosis. As Ted retreated into his own world, Simon and his mum Linda desperately tried to reach him until at last: an idea. Turning the ignition in his mum's little runaround, Simon hit play on Ted's favourite song Quando Quando Quando. And like that, they were just two mates driving around Blackburn, singing at the top of their lungs. Simon filmed their adventure, uploaded the video to YouTube and woke up to messages, tweets and his phone ringing off the hook. Their carpool karaoke had gone viral all the way across the globe. But a record deal, Pride of Britain Awards, over GBP130,000 raised for The Alzheimer's Society and a Top 10 single later, Simon was still losing Ted. That's when he made a decision. His Dad - the storyteller of his childhood and his best friend - couldn't tell his own story, so Simon would tell it for him. This is that story. Set in the heart of the Black Country just before WWII, and written with the help of Ted's friends and family, The Songaminute Man recalls a boy who became a gutsy and fiercely loyal man. It remembers a childhood of sleeping top-to-toe, rationing, adventure in the woods and making-do-and-mending, a close-knit community, and a life-long passion for music. Full of poignant moments, the ups and downs of family life and treasured memories, The Songaminute Man is a story of two halves: a celebration of the man Ted was, and a powerful and moving account of caring for a loved one.


An elderly dementia sufferer is set to become a singing sensation after his viral videos landed him a record deal. - Express

The old-school entertainer, a former Butlin's redcoat who has spent his whole life singing in working men's clubs, singing in the bath, singing for family and friends, dreaming of his big break, will finally get it... the story of how they got to here is Simon's as much as it is Ted's - a story about the love of a son for his father.
- Daily Mail

THIS Morning viewers fell utterly in love with the son who helped his 80-year-old father with his dementia by using music. - The Sun

Carpool karaoke star with Alzheimer's disease has been named the UK's most creative fundraiser. - BBC

About the Author

Simon McDermott is the son of 80-year-old Teddy McDermott, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2013. After the disease took its toll on Ted's relationship with his family, his memory and his mood, Simon found a unique way for them to connect again: carpool karaoke. Simon filmed the pair's joyful rendition of Quando, Quando, Quando, and put it up on YouTube with no expectations. But the video went viral across the globe, being watched by over 60 million people, and raising over GBP125,000 for the Alzheimer's Society.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2018


Simon McDermott

More books by Simon McDermott
Author 'Like for Like'


HQ an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


256 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Books of the Month
Exclusive Pre-Publication
eBook Favourites
The Real World

Biography: arts & entertainment
True stories



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