There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.
Dads often share a deep yet complex bond with their children.
Musicians all over the world, from almost every genre, have paid tribute to fathers. In this article, we’re sharing with you a compilation of some of the best songs about dads.
Many of these tracks are about the love, gratitude, and admiration for dads and father figures. Other tracks express the joy of being a father.
Meanwhile, we’ve also added a number of songs that offer catharsis for a difficult or non-existent relationship with one’s father.
Whether you’re looking for a song to honor a dependable, loving, and supportive father or a song that encapsulates the painful emotions caused by an absent dad, read on to check out what we’ve rounded up for you.
1. Song for Dad, Keith Urban
“And I only hope when I have my own family that every day I see a little more of my father in me.”
First off is this 2002 song from Keith Urban’s Golden Road album. This is a loving tribute to fathers who are good examples to their sons.
If you are looking for a great song that shows appreciation for fathers, this is a good track to consider.
“And now, all of a sudden, oh it seems so strange to me. How we've gone from something's missing to a family. Looking through the glass, I think about the man that's standing next to me. And I hope I'm at least half the dad that he didn't have to be.”
First released in 1999, this song was inspired by the real-life experience of one of its co-writers.
It is narrated from the perspective of a single mother’s son. The son experienced having a father figure in the man his mother was dating.
This man eventually becomes the boy’s stepfather. This song expresses the son’s gratitude and admiration for the man who stepped up and became his father when “he didn’t have to be.”
“Never settle. Make your mark. Hold your head up. Follow your heart.”
In this song, a father dispenses some life advice to his son. The song is also about recognizing that succeeding generations will carry the legacy of the previous one forward.
“And I don’t wanna miss a thing.”
Some fathers are sentimental about witnessing their children grow up. This sentimentality is evident in Aerosmith’s song that is part of the soundtrack for the movie Armageddon.
In this song, a doting father wishes to savor every moment that he can with his child.
“Good morning, son. In 20 years from now maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers. And I can tell you 'bout today and how I picked you up and everything changed.”
Parents often face difficulties in parenting their teenagers. With teens undergoing so many changes and facing issues in finding their identities, they can feel misunderstood even by parents with the best intentions.
Ben Folds dedicated this song to his adolescent son. It shares some of the realities of growing up.
This song is a reminder that Ben Folds will always be there for his son, and that he looks forward to the day when the two of them can share a drink and reminisce about how life has been.
“They don't make 'em like my daddy anymore.”
This track was first released in 1974. It is about a child’s adoration for her exceptional father.
The song describes the father as a strong-willed, hardworking man. He is devoted to his family, protecting them from the dangers around their home and providing for their needs the best way he can.
The narrator laments that it’s now rare to see a man like this father.
“I think I'll color this man father. I think I'll color him love.”
First released in 1969, this song made the Billboard Hot 100 that year. It is dedicated to stepfathers who treated their stepchildren as their own.
In the song, a widowed woman with seven children doesn’t think she will ever love again. Then she meets a man who willingly takes care of her and her children, loving them as his own.
The narrator sees that the man loves him and the rest of the family. This song is an expression of the stepson’s love for and gratitude to his stepfather.
“This is the story of my old man. Just like his father before him. I'm telling you, do anything you can so you don't end up just like them. Like them.”
While there are fathers who are devoted to their families, there are also dads who—for whatever reason—leave their families and never initiate contact when the kids are older.
This song is a reflection on a complicated father-son relationship. It also explores the legacy left behind by an absent parent.
According to studies, the absence of fathers in children’s lives has long-term and widespread negative impacts, including increased risk of low self-esteem, behavioral problems, poor performance in school, health problems, and lowered life expectancy.
The narrator in this song barely knew his father, who abandoned the family years before. Nevertheless, the son struggles to avoid becoming like his father, probably because he knows he has inherited some of his dad’s destructive behavior.
This song is a heartbreaking chronicle of how pain can be passed down through generations.
“Daddy gave me a name. (Then he walked away).”
Here’s another song about a father who abandons his family. This song is based on Everclear’s Art Alexakis’ personal experience of being abandoned by his father when he was 10.
“Daddy, slow down some 'cause you're makin' me run. Oh, daddy, don't you walk so fast.”
This song is about a husband and father who is about to leave home for good because he feels that there’s no more love between him and the mother of his daughter.
However, the little girl follows him out the door and chases him, begging him not to walk fast because she can’t keep up. It’s because of his daughter that he reconciles with the girl’s mother.
“If I could get another chance, another walk, 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, ooh.”
This is a touching tribute to a beloved father from a son who looked up to him.
When Luther Vandross was still a child, his father passed away due to complications from diabetes. In the song, the narrator recalls how his father showed his love to his family.
The narrator recalls that his father would dance with his mother, creating a happy and loving atmosphere for the rest of the family.
This is one of the most popular songs with which to pay tribute to a loving father.
“You can let go now, daddy. You can let go. Oh, I think I'm ready to do this on my own.”
This song is a daughter’s recollection of the times her father was by her side. She remembers how her father has always been a constant presence in her life—from when she was a child until she was a bride.
She still has her father by her side as he walks her down the aisle.
“Being your daddy comes natural. The roses just know how to grow. It's easy to see that you'll get where you're going, but the hard part is letting you go…”
Here’s a song from the perspective of a father raising his child.
For him, it’s fairly easy to watch his kid grow. However, once they are grown, the father has a hard time letting them go to start life on their own.
14. My Dad, Davy Jones
“He isn’t much in the eyes of the world. He’ll never make history. No, he isn’t much in the eyes of the world. But he is the world to me.”
If you’re looking for a sweet song about the love and admiration of a son for his dad, you might want to listen to this track by Davy Jones.
In this song, the dad is a fairly ordinary man. However, to his son, the father is someone he looks up to, and who means the world to him.
“Oh, he was good at business, but there was business left to do. He never said he loved me. Guess he thought I knew.”
Throughout the years, there have been fathers who weren’t very close to their children.
They may be hardworking men who provided for their family’s needs, but they still have strained or nonexistent relationships with their children.
In this song, a daughter laments her father’s emotional unavailability while she was growing up. When he dies, she voices her wish that she’d known him better.
“And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little boy blue and the man on the moon. When you comin' home? Son, I don't know when. We'll get together then. You know we'll have a good time then.”
This song is about a father who barely has time for his son while the boy is growing up. Everything comes full circle when the man retires and his son is now the one who doesn’t have time for him.
“There is no power on earth like your father’s love.”
This song was featured on the soundtracks of the 1998 film Jack Frost, starring Michael Keaton. It is about the power of a father’s love that transcends even death.
“Oh, don't worry dad, you know it don't matter what we do, 'cause I don't call him daddy, he can never be like you.”
In this song, a father who is separated from his son’s mother tries to connect with his son. But the child’s mother already has a new boyfriend.
In the son’s eyes, however, the new man in his mother’s life can’t measure up to his real dad.
“My son calls another man daddy. He'll ne'er know my name nor my face. God only knows how it hurts me. For another to be in my place.”
This song is about an incarcerated man who laments the painful situation he’s in. While he’s in prison, the mother of his son finds someone else to love. The boy calls this man daddy.
Because of his prison sentence, it’s likely that the father won’t be seeing his son for a long time. By then, the boy will have forgotten him, considering he has a new father figure in his life.
20. The Box, Randy Travis
“I guess we always knew it but ‘I love you’ was hard for him to say. Some men show it easily and some just never seem to find the way. But that night I began to see a softer side of someone I had lost. I saw the love he kept inside the first time when we opened up the box.”
Here’s a song about a dad who finds it difficult to show his feelings, especially his love and affection for his family.
However, his son discovers how much his father treasures his loved ones when the family finds a box filled with precious mementos.
“I'm seein' my father in me, I guess that's how it's meant to be. And I find I'm more and more like him each day.”
In this touching song, a son recognizes that he’s becoming more and more like his father as he gets older—in the way he looks and the way he acts. The son is happy with this realization, proud that he bears his father’s legacy.
“My father's eyes. I looked into my father's eyes.”
This song was inspired by sorrowful events in Eric Clapton’s life. He never met his father, who passed away in 1985.
The song is about getting to know his father and feeling the bond between them when he looks at his own son’s eyes.
Tragically, Eric Clapton’s own son passed way in an accident when the little boy was four years old.
“Been crazy all day long and it's only Monday, Mr. Mom.”
This song is about a stay-at-home dad doing his best to keep his kids clean, safe, and fed while also keeping the house in order.
In a way, this song is also a tribute to stay-at-home mothers, who are rarely acknowledged for their hard work.
“Well, it might as well be China or the dark side of the moon. There's no way I can be there every Friday afternoon.”
In this song, listeners get to know a father who is faced with the challenge of seeing his son again. His ex-wife has custody, and she decides to move to Boston, taking their child with her.
The father isn’t exactly well-off, and laments the distance and other challenges he faces in his effort to still be part of his son’s life.
“Yeah we're just alike, hey ain't we, dad? I wanna do everything you do. So, I've been watching you.”
In this song, listeners are reminded how adults’ actions have a significant influence on children’s lives. A son learns a couple of things from his father. He looks up to his father and declares that he wants to be just like his dad.
“I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band.”
This song was first released in 1981 and is a tribute to Dan Fogelberg’s father, Lawrence Fogelberg. The song focuses on the connection between father and son. It also conveys a son’s gratitude for the father’s love and support.
Only a few months after the song was released, Lawrence Fogelberg passed away.
“And I wish I knew back then what I know now. He was saying “I love you,” the only way he knew how.”
As mentioned earlier, some fathers are not demonstrative, struggling to show their affection and love for their families.
In this song, a father shows his love not through words, but through acts of service, such as fixing his son’s car and doing repairs at his son’s new house.
At first, the narrator doesn’t understand his father’s love language. Eventually, he gets it and appreciates his father’s way of saying, “I love you.”
“They may not have much but he gets what they need, with the hands of a working man.”
This man describes the aspirations and reality of a hardworking father. He doesn’t make much, but he’s willing to do anything to ensure his family has everything they need to live a comfortable life.
“Whatever you are, I'm here by your side. My life is a rope that won't come untied. Oh, I'm going to stand by you right or wrong. These are the words within my father's song.”
Looking for a song tribute to a wonderful father from a daughter’s perspective? Here’s one from Barbra Streisand.
First released in 1975, this song is about a father who is loving, devoted, and supportive of his daughter.
“There was always love in daddy's hands.”
First released in 1986, this song was a Father’s Day gift for Holly Dunn’s father. It is about a daughter’s pride, love, and devotion for the man who loved her and raised her well.
“But bein' a dad takes more than a tad of good luck and divine intervention…”
This hilarious track is about the challenges a father faces when raising his kids from babies into adolescents.
The dad talks about having to feed, clothe, and read stories to very young kids, as well as laying down rules and curfews.
A couple of perks of fatherhood, according to the song, are receiving nice presents on special days of the year and witnessing the kids reach milestones, such as graduations.
“Thank you for shaping my life. Thank you for teaching me all you can. You are no ordinary man, no no. You make me everything I am.”
In this song, a son expresses gratitude to his father. The son recognizes the guidance and lessons the father gave him as being instrumental in making him the man he is now.
“My old man. I hope he's proud of who I am. I'm trying to fill the boots of my old man.”
This song is a tribute to the narrator’s father, from whom he learned a lot of life lessons. The narrator wants his father to be proud of how he’s living his life, applying the lessons he learned from his dad.
34. Papa Was a Rolling Stone, The Temptations
“Papa was a rolling stone (my son). Wherever he laid his hat was his home.”
While we’ve seen a lot of examples of songs that are about fathers who are good examples to their children, here’s a song about a father who wasn’t there for his children.
In this song, the father was a philanderer and wanderer. The son becomes aware of this after his father dies and he confronts his mother, asking for the truth.
“When he looks in my eyes, I hope he can see that my dad's a hero to me.”
In this song, listeners are introduced to a father who was very involved in his son’s life while he was growing up. The son pays tribute to his father, whom he loves very much and considers to be the hero in his life.
“Daddy doesn't pray anymore. I guess he's finally walking with the Lord. He used to fold his hands and bow his head down to the floor. But daddy doesn't pray anymore.”
This song honors a father who was prayerful in life but has now passed away. The son contemplates on his father’s faith and believes he is now in a better place.
“You should be here, standing with your arm around me here. Cutting up, cracking a cold beer, saying cheers, hey y'all, it's sure been a good year. It's one of those moments, that's got your name written all over it.”
We never get over losing our parents. In this bittersweet song, a son expresses his love for a father who’s already long gone.
He reminisces about the times when his father was still with the family. He recalls the things his father used to say and do during family events.
“With you daddy, take me with you daddy. Everywhere you're going to, I just wanna be with you. Right with you daddy. Don't leave me daddy. Don't you know that's right where I belong?”
This song is about a son who learns his father has a terminal illness, likely caused by smoking. The son recalls the final moments of his father’s life.
He begs for his father not to leave him. In the end, however, the son is able to accept his father’s demise.
Nevertheless, he still wants to be with his father wherever he has gone.
39. Oh Father, Madonna
“Maybe someday when I look back, I'll be able to say you didn't mean to be cruel. Somebody hurt you too.”
Here is a song filled with bitterness. This is a story of a daughter who is estranged from her abusive father. She tries to understand why her father hurt her the way he did, even wondering if he never truly loved her.
However, she eventually escaped his cruelty and now she’s living her life the way she wants.
In the end, the daughter is able to understand that her father’s cruelty was the result of him being raised by abusive people, too.
40. I Learned From You, Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus
“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.”
In this song, a daughter acknowledges she’s learned important life lessons from her father. She is headstrong, but knows that she can be strong in her decisions because her father taught her well.
41. He Walked on Water, Randy Travis
“And if the story was told, only heaven knows. But his hat seemed to me like an old halo. And although his wings, they were never seen. I thought that he walked on water.”
Children often idolize their parents. They are in awe of the primary caregivers in their lives, viewing their parents as heroes or saints.
This song is about a son’s reverence for his father, who was a hardworking and loving man. To the boy, his father appears saint-like and capable of miracles.
42. The Best Day, George Strait
“Dad, this could be the best day of my life. I've been dreaming day and night about the fun we've had. Just me and you doing what I've always wanted to. I'm the luckiest boy alive. This is the best day of my life.”
This song is a father reminiscing about his son’s younger years. He feels lucky that his presence in his son’s life resulted in the son telling him that he wants to be like his father.
43. Father’s Day, Wedding Parties Anything
“On any other day, I might care what you say. But every Saturday is Father's Day. And you might call it sad. You might call me mad. But I've got one who calls me ‘Dad’.”
Here’s a song about a father who shares custody of his child and looks forward to every Saturday visit. For him, being with his son on those days makes him feel like it’s Father’s Day.
“Just 'cause I'm leavin', it don't mean that I won't be right by your side when you need me.”
This song highlights the close bond between a father and his son.
There are three scenes in this song. In the first one, the father is about to leave for an overseas assignment in the military, and the son begs him not to go.
In the next scene, the son himself joins the military. He shows vulnerability when he expresses that he’s anxious about being separated from his family.
The final scene is at the father’s deathbed. He assures his son that although he won’t be there physically, his love for his son endures.
45. Forever Now, Michael Bublé
“But I hope you'll always understand that I'm always gonna lift you up and I'm never gonna let you down. No matter what you do, I'm forever proud of you. I love you forever now.”
In 2016, Michael Bublé’s son Noah was diagnosed with cancer. Noah’s illness gave Michael Bublé a reason to reassess what was important to him.
This song is a tribute to fatherhood and the love that a dad feels for his children.
It is also an invitation for listeners to reflect on what’s most important in life.
Today, after undergoing treatment, Noah is free from cancer!
“Piece by piece, he restored my faith that a man can be kind and the father should be great.”
This is a very personal song for Kelly Clarkson. It’s about the pain she bears because of her father’s abandonment.
As a mother, she has put her faith in the father of her daughter, believing that he won’t abandon them as her father did.
“And if angels don't have answers to your prayers, oh, I will be there. Oh, I will be there.”
This song is dedicated to John Legend’s daughter, Luna. It is a father’s promise to always stand by his daughter, doing the best he can to make her happy.
48. Build Me a Daddy, Luke Bryan
“Could you build me a daddy? Strong as Superman. Make him ten feet tall with a Southern drawl and a crooked smile, if you can. ‘Cause I sure miss him. Maybe you could bring him back? If I walked in with him, it'd sure make mama happy. If you could build me a daddy.”
In this song, a boy who has lost his father asks someone to fashion him a new daddy with superhuman qualities.
If someone offered to make an action figure of your dad based on your specifications, how would you describe your father?
49. Winter, Tori Amos
“I get a little warm in my heart when I think of winter. I put my hand in my father's glove.”
Children who grow up with dads who are engaged and involved in their lives often exhibit a high level of self-confidence.
In this song, a daughter reminisces about the times when her father supported and protected her. Her dad’s gloves symbolize the feeling of security and comfort his presence gave her.
50. My Old Man, Mac Demarco
“Uh-oh, looks like I'm seeing more of my old man in me.”
Here’s a little background on Mac Demarco. His father, who suffered from substance abuse, abandoned Mac when he was five years old. They had a handful of meetings over the years as Mac was growing up.
In this song, Mac is horrified to realize that, as the years pass, he’s starting to resemble his father.
“I thought I saw you yesterday. But I know it wasn't you 'cause you passed away, Dad.”
In this song, a son reflects on his relationship with his father after he thinks he’s caught a glimpse of his dad. Unfortunately, it was just wishful thinking.
Towards the end of the song, it’s revealed that the son misses his father, who has passed away.
“Things dads do. You'll think it's crazy until you're one too.”
Here is another song about how children follow so much in the footsteps of their parents. In this song, a son reminisces about the things his father did for the family.
The son realizes that, now that he’s a dad himself, he’s started doing some of the supportive things that his father used to do for them.
53. Daddy, Coldplay
“Daddy, are you okay? Look, Dad, we got the same hair. And, Daddy, it's my birthday.”
This heartbreaking song is an appeal to absent fathers.
In it, a son calls out to his father who abandoned him and begs him to come home.
He notes that he and his father have physical similarities. He continues to plead for his father to return so they can spend even just one day together.
54. My Father’s Daughter, Jewel ft. Dolly Parton
“I am my father's daughter. I have his eyes. I am the product of his sacrifice. I am the accumulation of the dreams of generations. And their stories live in me like holy water. I am my father's daughter.”
In this song, a daughter expresses her pride at inheriting the stories and legacy of her father.
How about you? What trait or legacy was passed down from your father to you?
55. Hey Dad, Matt Stillwell
“Hey, dad. It's me, dad. Just wanted to tell you that I miss you bad.”
This song is about a son who misses his father after he has passed away. In an imaginary phone call, the son has a conversation with his dad where he hears him tell him how much he’s loved.
There you have it—a collection of songs about dads, describing the highs and lows of being a father.
We hope you’ve found a favorite or two to add to your playlist.
Fatherhood is a complex experience. While many feel exhilarated at being dads, there are also those who—for whatever reason—are unable to step up and be fathers to their children.
This collection has included some songs to help us process feelings of resentment for absent fathers. We hope this helps open the door to healing for those who are hurting, and even those who might feel that they hate their dads.
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out more collections of songs for specific topics:
- 61 Powerful Songs That Make You Cry
- 37 Best Songs About Heroes & Real-Life Heroism
- 25 Best Songs About Dealing with Strong Emotions
- 33 Best Songs About Family & Being with Loved Ones
- 35 Best Songs About Sons and the Parenting Relationship