This is both an historical folk rock song and an autobiographical one in the same vein as "Manuscript
", the first song of the genré which Al wrote nearly forty years earlier, but unlike "Manuscript" and as might be deduced from the title, this is a witty, light-hearted number
Anyone who knows anything about the man will realise at once who is the child in question. Alastair Ian Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1945, and spent much of his youth at boarding school in the south of England, and later playing electric guitar on the south west coast with the likes of future BBC DJ Tony Blackburn.
Dwight D. Eisenhower - Ike - was a distinguished US Army general who served as President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, the years in question. This is how a schoolboy growing up in England might have viewed the Promised Land, and certainly the way Al did. And not a few adults as well. It includes everything from baseball, Elvis Presley, the 1957 launch of Sputnik I which shocked the US and launched the space race, to the fascination of American cars, always so much bigger than British ones, and the paranoia of the Cold War.
Al Stewart may not have experienced the United States during the Eisenhower years, but he visited New York in the Spring of 1968, as related in the song "In Brooklyn
", and a few years later, emigrated to California, marrying late in life, and raising two young daughters as American as Mom's apple pie.
Though "...Eisenhower Years" was written by a (relatively!) old man, it is recorded with all the enthusiasm of a footlose teenage rock fan, and Al has often performed it with his acolyte, and fellow (native born) American Dave Nachmanoff. (Thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England. Check out a photo of Eisenhower