12 Best Songs to Honor Father and Son Relationships
This playlist is a dedication to the complicated and beautiful relationships of fathers and sons expressed through song. Here you'll find twelve of the best songs to describe a father and son relationship. The words to the songs are touching, and many of the songs you may already know well.
This page creation was inspired by a song/poem, and now Video Poem I wrote called "When a Son Loses his Father." It has since expanded from a theme focused on the loss of a father, to father and son related songs for multiple occasions.
As a mother of four sons, and a sister to two brothers, I can safely say, I understand a little bit about the relationship between a father and a son.
When all is said and done, and the problems are washed to the side, what's left are a father and his son standing face to face, with these six words summing it all up: "There is such beauty in it."
Best Father and Son Songs Describing Multiple Types of Relationships
- "Father and Son" by Cat Stevens - Father trying to Explain Life to a Son
- "A Song for Dad" by Keith Urban - Honoring Dad
- "Letter to Me" by Brad Paisley - Older Self Message to Younger Self
- "If I Could" by Barbra Streisand - A Loving Life Message for a Son
- "He Didn't Have to Be" by Brad Paisley - Honoring Step-Dad
- "My Father's House" by Bruce Springsteen - Strained Unresolved Relationship
- "Dance with Me" by Luther Vandross - Son Reflecting Mother and Father Dancing
- "Hell Yeah" by Neil Diamond - Wanting to Be Remember for a Life Well Lived
- "Dear Father" by Neil Diamond - Reflecting on Life Dreams
- "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney - Remembering Someone Who Died too Soon
- "Father and Son" by Phil Collins - A Father who is passed on leaving a message for his son
- "Cats in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin - A song about a dad who put off spending time with his son, and now his son, a grown man, has become his father
1. "Father and Son" by Cat Stevens
Album: Tea for the Tillerman
This song will make you cry.
The song is a message from dad trying to help his son understand that the trials in life don't have to define him and that he'll be ok. He's encouraging him to be secure in the journey.
When he says to his son, "look at me, I am old, but I'm happy", that's the result of the journey he wants his son to comprehend. In the end, to keep yourself together and to know that first and foremost, hold onto inner peace.
How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again
It's always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go
2. "A Song for Dad" by Keith Urban
Album: Golden Road
The words are perfect blend of a sons reflection on how he is becoming more like his dad. It's moving to listen to Keith Urban describe a respect and understanding that a son learns he has for father. The lyrics describe how "everyday I see a little more of my father in me". If you appreciate descriptive story telling lyrics, you'll love this song.
The older I get
The more I can see
How much he loved my mother and my brother and me
And he did the best that he could
And I only hope when I have my own family
That everyday I see
A little more of my father in me
3. "Letter to Me" by Brad Paisley
Album: 5th Gear
Although this song is not directly about a father and son, it still has a powerful message in the lyrics. Its about what a grown man would write to himself at 17. As we get older, our perspective changes, and yes we grow wiser; and this life story from boy to man is written in a way that, as an adult, we can relate to. It's a goose-bump song.
And oh, you got so much going for you
But I know at seventeen
It's hard to see past Friday night
She wasn't right for you
But still you feel like there's
A knife sticking out of your back
And you wondering if you'll survive
But you'll make it through this and you'll see
You're still around to write this letter to me
4. "If I Could" by Barbra Streisand
Album: Higher Ground
As I understand it, Barbra Streisand dedicated this song to her son. You'll appreciate the way love is expressed in these lyric. Although it's sung by a woman, the words easily translate to a message a father would give to his son. Personally, it's my favorite song for my own sons. The lyrics say it all.
If I could
I would try to shield your innocence from time
But the part of life I gave you isn't mine
I've watched you grow
So I could let you go
5. "He Didn't Have to Be" by Brad Paisley
Album: Who Needs Picture
Oh my goodness, get out the tissue for this one! With so many step families today, this song pays tribute to all the first rate step-dads out there. Again, another set of lyrics that sketch out a life story as if you've lived it.
I met the man I call my dad when I was five years old
He took my mom out to a movie and for once I got to go
A few months later I remember lying there in bed
I overheard him pop the question and I prayed that she'd say yes
6. "My Father's House" by Bruce Springsteen
You'll notice the video I linked to here isn't the best quality, but the banter by Bruce at the beginning, before he sings, makes it worth listening to. It's a story of a son going back home to visit what was once his father's house. It's touching, and really grasps the journey we take through this life, and how holding onto what was, or letting go of what never was, no matter how wonderful or how bad, are painful dilemmas. In this case the son has to live with a relationship with a father that will never be resolved. It's too late.
I awoke and I imagined the hard things that pulled us apart
Will never again, sir, tear us from each other's hearts
I got dressed, and to that house I did ride from out on the road, I could see its windows shining in light
7. "Dance With My Father" by Luther Vandross
Album: Dance With My Father
I don't mean to keep making you cry, but good luck listening to this one without shedding a few "....cause I'd love my Mother to dance with my Father again...." "I prayed for her even more than me"....oh my gosh, how insanely moving are these words.
If I could get another chance
Another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never ever end
How I'd love love love
To dance with my father again
8. "Hell Yeah" by Neil Diamond
Album: 12 Songs
How do I start talking about this song.
If you're looking for a song where a man is reflecting upon his life, long lived, and filled with the lessons that age brings, this is your pick.
When my husband and I watched his special on CBS and this song began, we were both visibly moved by the song. In fact, my husband said, "when I leave this earth, play this song for me".
And I say it loud
I loved it all
And I'm not too proud
I freed my soul just let it fly
Hell yeah, this crazy life around me
It confuses and confounds me
But it's all the life I've got until I die
Hell yeah, it is
9. "Dear Father" by Neil Diamond
Album: Jonathon Livingstone Seagull
A life lived with dreams and moments of glory and pain. The words are uncomplicated as it's the dramatic music that gives this song it's moody feel. If you're looking for an orchestral song to honor dad, this one fits without speaking too many words. You can almost interpret it any way that fits your life story.
While we may
10. "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney
Album: The Road and the Radio
If you've lost a father too soon, this song asks the heartfelt question, 'who would you be today'. The song isn't specifically about losing a father, however it could easily be made to fit a situation where dad is being remembered and honored.
It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today
11. "Father to Son" by Phil Collins
Album: But Seriously
This song is exceptionally beautiful. It speaks about a father who passed early in life and he's giving life messages to his son left behind to grow up without him. Very very moving.
A word in your ear, from father to son
Hear the word that I say
I fought with you, fought on your side
Long before you were born
12. "Cats in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin
Album: Verities & Balderdash
Well the lyrics to this song, and this song, are infamous...and scary. The idea of a son following in his father's footsteps are frightening when painted by these words. The circle of life may need to be broken in this case. He's become his father, with no time for his dad now, as his dad had no time for him.
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you coming home, dad?
I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then
When A Son Loses His Father - A Video Poem about a Son Who Lost His Father
The Story Behind "When a Son Loses His Father"
When someone close to me lost their father, I felt very compelled to write a poem that would accurately describe and respect their relationship. Despite the imperfections in this relationship with his dad, he loved his father unconditionally, flaws and all. But in all honesty, he did not have a relationship with his father.
Funny thing was, when I was attempting to write this piece of work, I struggled the entire day to find the best words that would paint an accurate picture. Finally, at the end of the day, I gave up, left my office and computer and headed out on my front step with a nice cold glass of white wine, and no sooner did I sit down to enjoy just one sip, when a light bulb of words swarmed over me.
I headed back down to my office and wrote this entire poem in 20 minutes.
Poll - I'm a Dad and...
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Poll Question - My Father Passed Away and...
My Father Passed Away and...
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© 2007 Barbara Tremblay Cipak