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64 Songs About Fathers and Fatherhood

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Fathers are heroes, protectors, teachers, providers, friends, fixers, and more.  Celebrate fatherhood with a playlist of pop, rock, country, R&B, and hip-hop songs about dear old Dad.

Fathers are heroes, protectors, teachers, providers, friends, fixers, and more. Celebrate fatherhood with a playlist of pop, rock, country, R&B, and hip-hop songs about dear old Dad.

Celebrate Fatherhood with a Playlist

Fathers are giants in the lives of their children, even after the teen years when it becomes obvious that Dad is human too. In addition to being grillmasters, fixers, and kids' playmates, fathers provide a strong foundation of guidance and support.

Celebrate fatherhood with a playlist of songs about the challenging and often thankless job of providing for, protecting, and nurturing youth into adulthood and beyond. We have a long list of songs about dads, including pop, rock, country, R&B, and hip-hop tunes. Honor your father with music that says "thanks."

Reader Poll

1. "Not All Heroes Wear Capes" by Owl City

Above all, dads are heroes, and this 2018 pop song gives them the shout out that they deserve. A son describes his father as an unassuming man who enjoys rock music, his workshop, and his hot rod. Although his father is a man of few words, he expresses love for his family through everyday actions, including fixing things around the house, building a tree house, and teaching his son to drive. Sound familiar?

The narrator rightfully proclaims his dad to be a hero:

He doesn't fight crime
Or wear a cape
He doesn't read minds
Or levitate
But every time my world needs saving
He's my Superman
Some folks don't believe in heroes
'Cause they haven't met my dad.

2. "Just the Two of Us" by Will Smith

Although Will Smith has received more acclaim for his role as an actor, he also enjoyed a career in music in the 1990s. In this 1997 hip hop number, Smith takes the song, "Just the Two of Us" (originally a crossover soul/pop hit by Grover Washinghton, Jr.) and adapts its lyrics so that it describes the love between a father and son.

Smith's song became an international hit. The narrator is a single father who expresses devotion for his child. He wonders what exciting achievements await in his son's future and describes the importance of teaching him values. Additionally, the song features Smith's eldest son, Trey, who was then 5 years old. At the time the song was released, Smith had recently divorced the boy's mother.

3. "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" by Reba McEntire

Although they lived in the same house, the father and daughter in this bittersweet 1992 country tune were emotional strangers. He was the strong, silent type, and although he adored his daughter, he didn't show it. As teens often do, she closed herself off in her room, while he buried his nose in his evening paper after working late. In so doing, the admiration and love between them went unsaid. Don't make the same mistake of letting your feelings go unspoken.

3. "Daddy Lessons" by Beyoncé (featuring The Dixie Chicks)

In this 2016 zydeco/country hybrid song, Queen Bey demonstrates her musical versatility. The song narrator describes how her father taught her motorcycles and religion, guns and music. He made her tough and prepared her to take care of her mother and younger sister in the event of his passing. In real life, Beyoncé's father sold office and medical equipment for Xerox before quitting to manage her career.

5. "Father of Mine" by Everclear

An adult son mourns being abandoned by his dad in this 1997 rock number. It details the painful legacy of having no relationship with the man with whom he shares both genetics and a last name:

I will never be safe
I will never be sane
I will always be weird inside
I will always be lame
Now I'm a grown man
With a child of my own
And I swear I'm not going to let her know
All the pain I have known.

6. "Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore" by Chris Stapleton

The grieving man in this 2015 country ditty figures his dad is now finally through talking to the Lord. His father was a God-fearing man who prayed all the time. He'd fold his hands and bow his head down to the floor. Often, his dad thanked Jesus for all his blessings. However, the old man must have finished the conversation he was having with the Big Guy up there because now he's fallen silent, laying in the church and ready to be laid to rest.

7. "Dance with My Father" by Luther Vandross

Based on Vandross' early childhood memories with his father, this poignant song from 2003 became an R&B/pop hit and won multiple Grammy Awards. Vandross suffered a stroke around the time of the release of this song, just as he was set to relaunch his career, thereby making the song even more emotional for audiences.

The autobiographical tune mournfully describes the singer's early recollections of dancing around with his parents. (His father died of diabetes complications when Vandross was only eight years old.) He recalls his father lifting him high in the air and carrying him off to bed. He knew he was loved. In the song, Vandross wishes he could recapture the happiness of that memory.

8. "My Father's Eyes" by Eric Clapton

In this Grammy Award-winning 1998 pop song, Eric Clapton describes the connection across generations. When he looks into the eyes of his son, he recognizes the father he never knew.

9. "Being a Dad" by Loudon Wainwright III

The practical side of being a dad appears in this humorous 1998 pop song. Responsibilities include feeding, clothing, and reading the same books ad nauseum. As they grow into teens, dads need to tighten the screws, enforcing rules and curfews and confiscating weapons. (What kind of kid does this guy have?) He figures that it's also kinda fun, like when they listen to you, they graduate, or get you classic Dad's gifts for holidays.

10. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" by John Lennon

This 1980 pop song appeared on John Lennon's last album, which was released the year he died. In it, Lennon alludes to comforting his son, Sean, as he wakes from a nightmare. He exudes love for the child and describes looking forward to what Sean will become as an adult. Lennon would never get this chance, however, as he was stalked and killed less than a month after the album's release.

11. "Song for Dad" by Keith Urban

With maturity comes true appreciation for all a father's commitment to his family. This 2002 country ditty revolves around a narrator who notices that his dad's sayings, mannerisms, and physical characteristics are showing up in himself. He hopes that when he has a family of his own, he can be half the man his father is.

Favorite Dad Sayings

Which "Dadisms" do you find yourself saying?

Money doesn't grow on trees,

I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it.

You weren't raised in a barn.

Don't make me turn this car around / pull this car over / come back there.

One day, you'll thank me.

Do you think I'm made of money?

I'm not sleeping. I'm just resting my eyes.

Don't forget to change your oil.

A little hard work never hurt anybody.

School is your job.

Act your age, not your shoe size.

No one said life was fair.

You're not going out dressed like that.

Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about.

Ask a stupid question, you'll get a stupid answer.

Turn those lights off.

I'm not just talking to hear my own voice.

Are your arms / legs broken?

12. "It Won't Be Like This for Long" by Darius Rucker

Knowing that children grow up quickly can be a mixed blessing. A parent recognizes that on one hand that the difficult phases will pass but they realize, too, that so will the favorite ones.

This tender 2008 song is by Hootie and the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker who has reinvented himself as a successful country music solo act. The song describes a new father staying up with his crying newborn baby, and his wife reassures him that it won't be like this for long.

Fast forward almost five years and Dad is dropping his daughter off at kindergarten. As she clings to his leg, the teacher issues the same words of comfort: it won't be like this for long. The narrator then previews the future for father and daughter, including the teenage years and walking her down the aisle. Appreciate each moment—the lows as well as the highs.

13. "I Don't Call Him Daddy" by Doug Supernaw

This country number from 1993 features a divorced father who calls at 6 a.m. to check in on his young son. The boy is living with his mother and her live-in boyfriend while the dad spends much of his time trying to make ends meet.

The kid doesn't fully accept Mom's boyfriend yet and tries to provide unnecessary reassurance that "I don't call him daddy, but he takes care of things." His busy dad, however, is at least glad that there is a stable male presence in the child's life. Even if you're a guy who is not a child's father, extended relative, or step-father, you can still make a difference in his or her life by being a steady, positive male influence.

14. "I Loved Her First" by Heartland

This song actually had two runs on the country chart. It was also the only hit by the band Heartland, making them a one-hit wonder. In 2006, the tearjerker of a ditty topped the country charts, subsequently crossing over to the mainstream pop charts. Then, in 2015 it climbed the country charts again, following a viral video of a dad singing the song at his daughter's wedding.

The lyrics describe a man who confides in his future son-in-law how he's having trouble letting go of his adult daughter. The father is amazed that the bride-to-be is the same freckled faced kid who once asked him to read fairy tales to her and tuck her in at night. Now, she's dancing with the new man in her life:

From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first.

15. "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" by James Brown

Does your father still do a version of the Running Man to every song? This 1965 R&B Grammy Award winner features an exuberant Godfather of Soul celebrating the fact that he's found a brand new way of approaching music (a "new bag") by punctuating it on the downbeat. (He refers to himself as "Papa.") It mentions several popular dances, as they were always integral to his high energy performances.

"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" was Brown's first mainstream top ten song, and it was named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." James Brown recorded this song in just one take.

"A father carries pictures where his money used to be." - Steve Martin, American comedian

"A father carries pictures where his money used to be." - Steve Martin, American comedian

16. "Watching You" by Rodney Atkins

Role model reminder! Don't forget that the kids are watching and listening to everything you do. They absorb more than you think. The dad in this 2006 country song hits his brakes too hard, and when his toddler's chicken nuggets go flying in the backseat, he discovers that the youngster has picked up a potty word. The child proudly tells the dad he learned it from him.

To balance out the negatives, however, the son has also been watching him pray at night, eat well, and fix things around the house. The tune is a great reminder that fathers are role models even when they don't know the little ones are paying attention.

17. "He Didn't Have to Be" by Brad Paisley

Whether through death, divorce, or other personal circumstances, biological fathers cannot always be present in a young person's life. If a child is fortunate, they will have a stepfather to nurture them to adulthood and provide strong masculine guidance and support.

The narrator of this 1999 country song met his stepfather when he was a boy of five. From the outset, his stepfather included him, and the three of them soon became a family. As the narrator starts a family of his own, he values even more the contributions of the selfless man who was the father figure throughout his life.

18. "Thank You for Being My Dad" by Jon Barker

If it's been a while since you've expressed your love and appreciation to your dad, then consider dedicating this simple, heartfelt folk song from 2010 to him. From father to son, this narrator's message exudes gratitude. The narrator values the guidance, support, and bedtime stories that his father has provided him over the years. He perceives his dad as an extraordinary man and hopes that his father, in turn, is proud of the man he has become.

19. "Seein’ My Father in Me" by Paul Overstreet

In some ways, you can't really help who you are. Whether it's by influence of nature or nurture, you'll notice the impact of your parents in your life. The guy in this upbeat 1990 country song describes how he sees a continuous thread of some characteristics pop up from his father to himself and on down to his kids, from mannerisms to appearance. Do you notice that too?

20. "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw

As he prepares to let go of his nearly grown daughter, the daddy in this 2006 country song reminisces about raising her. Beautiful from the outside in, she has always captured his heart, even when she was mischievous and misbehaving. It seemed like just yesterday that she was a sweet bundle of joy they brought home from the hospital. Now, she's almost ready to leave home and chase her dreams. She'll always be his little girl.

"Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song." - Pam Brown, Australian poet

"Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song." - Pam Brown, Australian poet

Even More Songs About Fathers

Know a song about fathers that should be on this playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comments Section below!

SongArtistYear Released

21. There Goes My Life

Kenny Chesney

2004

22. My Old Man

Zac Brown Band

2017

23. Father to Son

Queen

1974

24. Daddy's Hands

Holly Dunn

1986

25. Song For My Father

Sarah McLachlan

2014

26. With You Daddy

Sawyer Brown

2005

27. Unforgettable

Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole

1991

28. My Daddy Knows Best

The Marvelettes

1963

29. My Father's Eyes

Eric Capton

1998

30. Let Me Be The Man My Daddy Was

The Chi-Lites

1969

31. Daddy Could Swear, I Declare

Gladys Knight and The Pips

1973

32. That's My Job

Conway Twitty

1987

33. Beyoncé

Daddy

2003

34. Papa's Don't Take No Mess

James Brown

1974

35. Cat's in the Cradle

Harry Chapin

1974

36. Dance Like Yo Daddy

Meghan Trainor

2016

37. I Learned From You

Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus

2007

38. Anything Like Me

Brad Paisley

2010

39. Papa Don't Preach

Madonna

1986

40. Color Him Father

The Winstons

1969

41. A Love Without End, Amen

George Strait

1990

42. He Walked On Water

Randy Travis

1989

43. Life of a Salesman

Yellowcard

2003

44. Drive (For Daddy Gene)

Alan Jackson

2002

45. Just Fishin'

Trace Adkins

2011

46. Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind

Confederate Railroad

1994

47. Boy

Lee Brice

2017

48. Papa Was a Rolling Stone

The Temptations

1972

49. Till I Was a Daddy Too

Tracy Lawrence

2007

50. A Boy Named Sue

Johnny Cash

1969

51. Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)

Rodney Atkins

2007

52. I'm Already There (Message From Home)

Lonestar

2003

53. The Best Day

George Strait

1994

54. Mr. Mom

Lonestar

2002

55. Tough Little Boys

Gary Allan

2003

56. Father's Love

Bob Carlisle

1996

57. Father's Day

Weddings Parties Anything

1992

58. The Living Years

Mike + The Mechanic

1988

59. Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast

Wayne Newton

1972

60. Winter

Tori Amos

1992

61. My Dad

Davy Jones

1965

62. Everything I Own

Bread

1972

63. You Can Let Go

Crystal Shawanda

2008

64. Stick Around

Luckas Graham

2018

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 28, 2020:

Denny - Oh my goodness. Thank you for the suggestion. Adding it! Love those children and be safe in this pandemic with your family!

Denny Ivan on April 27, 2020:

You forget "You Can Let Go" by Crystal Shawanda.

I'm a father of 2 and I cried the first time I listened to that song.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 10, 2020:

Peggy - I'm so glad you enjoyed these! They are indeed some emotional and special songs. I love the Luther Vandross song in particular.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2020:

Some of these are so touching! "Dance With My Father" is one that makes me wish I had another chance to do just that. The Reba McIntire song is a sad one. "Beautiful Boy" is a good song that makes me think of John Lennon. Good list as always!

Robert Sacchi on June 12, 2019:

Thank you.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 11, 2019:

Bob - Thank you for stopping by. Have a great Father's Day this weekend.

Robert Sacchi on June 11, 2019:

Another great list. Lots of memories through the decades.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 28, 2019:

Genna - Thank you for such a kind comment. That song exudes such love for a son. Have a wonderful week ahead!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 28, 2019:

Dora - It is a lovely song. I'm sure if your father had lived long enough for you to have know him, he would have been so proud of you.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 27, 2019:

"Dance with My Father" by Luther Vandross is one of my favorites. I used to imagine that if my father lived long enough for me to know him, he and I would have a similar dance. Happy for all those who could relate.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 26, 2019:

Hi Flourish...

I love peeking in on your articles on Sundays -- a day with a few precious hours to myself that are dedicated to reading and music, and your hubs always deliver both is such great ways. John Lennon always captures my heart with Beautiful Boy. Thank you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 25, 2019:

Linda - Thanks again for being such a good sport and reading even though you don't know the songs. I appreciate you. Have a wonderful weekend!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 23, 2019:

I don't know any of the songs, but as always I enjoyed reading your article. A good father is special and should be celebrated.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 23, 2019:

Heidi - Some memories never disappear. I still recall listening to my old cassette takes as a teen, but I don't think any of them were singing about fathers. Unique addition! It's funny how vinyl is back. We couldn't get away from it fast enough back in the day.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 23, 2019:

Jason - Thanks for your kind comment. Have a wonderful week!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 23, 2019:

Lots of country boys in this list! Not surprised.

But I've got one that really digs into the archives. Davy Jones--yes, the Monkees singer--had a song on his solo debut album "David Jones" from 1965 titled, My Dad. And, yes, I had the album. That's why I remember it.

Nice list for upcoming Father's Day!

Jason Behm from Cebu, Philippines on May 23, 2019:

This is perfect list for upcoming father's day.

I really never thought that there is a long list of songs for father until I read this article. Amazing as always.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Yves - I look back at the days long ago just after my daughter was born and the photos of my husband show he was having an adjustment problem probably as much as I was (and I had really been through it with the baby). It's true that the years do fly. And those Dad sayings. I'm not sure how they learn those. Men must get an automatic download of all the Dad sayings when they become fathers.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Clive - That's very sweet. There's nothing like a good father.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Liz - I appreciate your kind comment. I enjoy coming up with these playlists.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Eliza - Aww, that's an especially sobering one. Thank you for that addition!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

James - Trying to give people a little bit of everything and maybe stretch some musical boundaries. Give your dad a big hug for being awesome!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Linda - That's so sad, and I'm sure you never stop missing him. My dad is one of my favorite people. I'm glad your dad stays with you even to this day.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Bill - Looks like that's called "The Only Child." Hope you're doing well, Bill. Take care of yourself in the heat if your weather is anything like ours.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Pamela - So often in the press the older son of Will Smith is not mentioned. I understand they've renewed their relationship after years of strain.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

Louise - Hope you give him a big hug for no reason!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2019:

John, Thank you for your kind comments and these additional song recommendations that reflect a variety of father/child relationships, including those that are less than ideal. I appreciate your reading and following. Have a wonderful week!

Yves on May 22, 2019:

Hi Flourish......In case you're keeping count, my vote goes to Darius Rucker. Just love the play on words....It Won't Be This Way For Long.....yet as time goes on, a good father realizes just how sad he will feel when, one day, he has to let his child go, at least enough to let him or her grow and become his or her own person. A lovely song. A beautiful sentiment.

Appreciate your applauding all fathers who go the distance and do the best they know how to do.

By the way, love, LOVE the Dad sayings. So perfect! So loving!

"I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it." (LOL). Any well loved kid knows this is code for "I love you so much I can hardly see straight." For real.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on May 22, 2019:

My father...I love you so much. Good songs

Liz Westwood from UK on May 22, 2019:

This is another great playlist. You never fail to amaze me with the number of songs you can find on a topic.

Eliza Day on May 22, 2019:

Just one more song: Winter by Tori Amos. For me - the most beautiful one - from daughter to father. I always have tears in my eyes, when I listen to this one.

Oh, and maybe - Take Good Care of My Baby (originally by Bobby Vee?) - from father to son-in-law.

James A Watkins from Chicago on May 22, 2019:

You certainly have a wide range of musical tastes. I enjoyed your Hub. And my father is an awesome dude.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 22, 2019:

Flourish, what a sweet and timely hub. I lost my Dad in 1981; he died the day after my husband and I returned from our honeymoon. He was my hero and I still miss him terribly. I regret that he never got to see my children, but he taught me much about being a caring loving parent.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 22, 2019:

The only one I could think of isn't on your list...a song by Jackson Browne...can't remember the title, but it begins with the words "Boy of mine"....now that I see your list I'm groaning.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 22, 2019:

This is a wonderful selection of ons, The video in Will Smith's song and Luther's song touched my heart. I really enjoyed this music about fathers, and all the information you provided.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on May 22, 2019:

There are some lovely songs here about Fathers. I have a wonderful Father. =)

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 21, 2019:

What a fantastic collection of songs about fathers, Flourish. Many I had not even heard before so I am glad you shared them. A couple more excellent "father" related songs are "Father's Day" by Weddings, Parties, Anything, and "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics. Oh, and "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast" by Wayne Newton.