The relationship between father and child is one of the most important of all human connections. It is filled with varying emotions, from love, trust and admiration to confusion, anger and hate. Children either want to be like their fathers, or be their complete opposites.
In honor of Father’s Day, here are 10 of the best songs about Father and Child that have been written over the years.
1. “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin
One of the most “guaranteed to make you cry” songs ever written, “Cats in the Cradle” tells an all-too-familiar story of a father too busy with work to enjoy those who mean the most. The song starts out with the son asking the father to spend some time with him, then comes full circle years later with the father asking the son to spend time with him. “And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me / He’d grown up just like me /My boy was just like me.”
2. “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith
This hit by Will Smith was inspired by Bill Withers’ and Grover Washington, Jr.’s love song of the same title. Will Smith’s version focuses on the relationship between a father and son instead of the love between a couple.”Then to my knees / and I begged the Lord please / Let me be a good daddy / all he needs / Love, knowledge, discipline too / I pledge my life to you.”
3. “Color Him Father” by the Winstons
Stepfathers often fill an evil role in books, movies, and music. This 1969 hit by the Winstons is a refreshing exception. This soul song is about a young boy’s love for his hard-working stepdad who married his widowed mother and took on the role of a loving Dad for seven children that were not biologically his. With so many step-families around today, the lyrics to this song are even more powerful today.”Think I’ll color this man father / I think I’ll color him love / Said I’m gonna color him father / I think I’ll color the man love / yes I will.”
4. “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics
Another tear-jerker, this 1988 ballad by Mike and the Mechanics is a gentle reminder to pick up the phone, or better yet, write a letter, to tell dad how much he means to you… while you still can. “I wasn’t there that morning / When my Father passed away / I didn’t get to tell him / All the things I had to say / I think I caught his spirit / Later that same year / I’m sure I heard his echo / In my baby’s new-born tears / I just wish I could have told him in the living years.”
5. “My Father’s Eyes” by Eric Clapton
Having never known his own father, and having experienced the death of his 4-year-old son, in this heart-breaking song, Clapton is singing of his longing for the experience of a father-son relationship. In his autobiography, Clapton shares that the song describes “the parallel between looking into the eyes of my son, and seeing the eyes of the father that I never met, through the chain of our blood.” “That’s when I need them / That’s when I need my father’s eyes.” “When the light begins to shine / And I hear those ancient lullabies… Bit by bit, I’ve realized / That’s when I need them / That’s when I need my father’s eyes.”
6. “Father to Son” by Queen
From Queen’s second album released in 1974, this song is sung from a father’s perspective as he tries to give advice to his son, even though he knows his son won’t listen: “A word in your ear from father to son / Funny you don’t hear a single word I say / But my letter to you will stay by your side.”
7. “Daughters” by John Mayer
In this Grammy-winning single, Mayer urges fathers to “be good” to their daughters while they’re young, so that they can have positive relationships with their loved ones both in the present and in the future. “Fathers, be good to your daughters / Daughters will love like you do / Girls become lovers who turn into mothers / So mothers / be good to your daughters too.”
8. “I Learned From You” by Billy Ray Cyrus & Miley Cyrus
This father-daughter duet speaks of those coming-of-age frustrations when a child thinks they know it all, but then realizes that daddy really does know best. “I’m grateful for all of the times / You opened my eyes / I learned from you that I do not crumble / I learned that strength is something you choose.”
9. “Daddy” by Beyoncé
In this beautiful song, Beyoncé recalls some of her fondest memories of being Daddy’s little girl. Although she is now an adult, Beyoncé still loves and honors that “man in my life that can’t be replaced. “And that’s why / I want my unborn son to be like my daddy / I want my husband to be like my daddy / There is no one else like my daddy.”
10. “Song for Dad” by Keith Urban,
In this Keith Urban hit, Urban sings of all the little things that he remembers in his father. He tells how as he grows older, he hopes to see even more of his dad in himself.” 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.”
What are your favorite songs about fathers and children? Let us know in the comments!