LISTEN: 10 Songs About Dads
Sunday is Father’s Day, when some folks will be putting together playlists while Dad fires up the barbecue.
There is no shortage of songs from male artists singing about fatherhood (see Will Smith’s “Just The Two Of Us” and Phil Collins’ “Father to Son”) and a handful with rather dark themes (see Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” and Elton John’s “The Last Song”) — but surprisingly few that really celebrate dads.
Sadly, a lot of songs were written about a dad who's gone (see The Temptations' "Papa Was A Rolling Stone").
Whether you’re lucky enough to celebrate Father’s Day with your pops or you can only reflect on the life he lived, these are 10 songs that will surely touch your heart.
Owl City — “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”
In his ode to his papa, Adam Young sings: “Some folks don’t believe in heroes because they haven’t met my dad.” It’s true that not all heroes wear capes (and let’s face it, most dads shouldn’t wear tights either).
Luther Vandross - “Dance With My Father”
This emotional ballad, written by Vandross and Richard Marx, was inspired by Luther Vandross Sr., who died when Luther was only 7 years old. What made this song even more poignant was the fact that when it was released, Vandross was hospitalized after suffering a stroke.
Sarah McLachlan - “Song For My Father”
Canada’s Sarah McLachlan paid tribute to her father in this song from her 2014 album Shine On. She sings: “Your light buried the dark / A constant unwavering heart … You have carried me though more than you could know.”
Miley Cyrus - “I Learned From You”
This song has a bit of a Canadian connection because Miley Cyrus spent her early years living in Toronto, where her dad Billy Ray Cyrus worked on the TV series Doc. “I learned from you that I do not crumble / I learned that strength is something you choose / All of the reasons to keep on believin’ / There’s no question, that's a lesson, that I learned from you,” she sings.
Beyoncé - “Daddy”
Beyoncé Knowles honoured her father Mathew with this song from her Dangerously In Love album. It was written by Knowles with Mark Batson.
Holly Dunn - “Daddy’s Hands”
Country singer Holly Dunn, who died last year at 59, said she wrote this song as a Father’s Day gift to her dad. She sings: “Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’ / Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I'd done wrong / Daddy’s hands weren't always gentle but I've come to understand / There was always love in daddy's hands.”
Reba McEntire - “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”
“Ev'rything he gave to us took all he had,” is one of the powerful lines from country superstar Reba McEntire’s song about not connecting with the man who “lived just down the hall.” The heartbreaking ballad ends with: “He never said he loved me. Guess he thought I knew.”
Asher Roth - “His Dream”
Rapper Asher Roth’s father died at 56. “How big of a responsibility it is to be a good husband and care for your kids,” he says in this song from his 2009 debut album. “Never miss an event, helping them with their homework / Discipline to prevent things when they're older.”
Eric Clapton - “My Father’s Eyes”
Eric Clapton never met his father, who died in 1985. He wrote “My Father’s Eyes” was inspired by that and the death of his own son Conor, who fell from an apartment window at the age of 4. "I tried to describe the parallel between looking in the eyes of my son, and the eyes of the father that I never met,” Clapton wrote in his memoir.
Mike and the Mechanics - “Living Years”
Released in 1988, this emotional song is about regretting not having a better relationship with one’s father. “I wasn't there that morning / when my father passed away,” sings Paul Carrack. “I didn't get to tell him / all the things I had to say.”