How do you feel about this CD collection called Dad Rock? I guess it depends on how old you feel.

The Now That’s What I Call… compilation series, which stretches all the way back to 1983, has always been commercially successful. Wildly, phenomenally so, in fact. There are dozens and dozens of these CDs. However, one such disc first released in June is getting some renewed attention because of its subject matter.

Okay, fine. Dads love music, too. And yeah, dads can sometimes be all Homer Simpson about what they believe to be great music. But if we look at the tracklisting for this disc, I wonder how many of the included acts appreciate being lumped into a category that is synonymous with “uncool.” How many of these tracks would you classify as “Dad Rock?”

1. “We Will Rock You” – Queen (Yep)
2. “Start Me Up” – The Rolling Stones (Maybe)
3. “With Or Without You” – U2 (This is more Mom Rock, don’t you think?)
4. “Livin’ On A Prayer” – Bon Jovi (Yep)
5. “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons (Possibly)
6. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers (What?)
7. “Dakota” – Stereophonics (You’re kidding, right? Maybe if dad was a British indie kid.)
8 “Take Me To Church” – Hozier (What’s this even doing here?)
9. “Rockstar” – Nickelback (Definitely)
10. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd (Slam dunk)
11. “More Than A Feeling” – Boston (Ditto)
12. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ – Blue Oyster Cult (Ditto again)
13. “Bat Out Of Hell” – Meat Loaf (I suppose…)
14. “Ace Of Spades” – Motörhead (If Lemmy were still alive, he’d come round and smash every one of these discs personally.)
15. “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” – The Clash (Perhaps)
16. “The Jam” – Town Called Malice (Only if dad was a mod)
17. “Two Princes” – Spin Doctors (Yes. But no one should have to listen to this song. Ever.)
18. “She’s So Lovely” – Scouting For Girls (Okay…)
19. “Chelsea Dagger” – The Fratellis (No!)
20. “Rocks” – Primal Scream (Absolutely not! Unless dad was a hardcore raver back in the day.)
21. “Africa” – Toto (100%)
22. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds (We can debate this one.)
23. There She Goes – The La’s (No. Just no.)
24. “I Wanna Be Adored” – The Stone Roses (Depends. Does dad have some baggy trousers at the back of the closet?)
25. “Everybody’s Changing” – Keane (More Mom Rock)
26. “How To Save A Life” – The Fray (See above)
27. “Hold Back The River’ – James Bay (Are you freakin’ kidding me?)
28. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers (Was dad a hippie?)
29. “All Right Now” – Free (Agreed)
30. “Smoke On The Water” – Deep Purple (I’d be shocked if this song wasn’t here.)
31. “Search And Destroy” – Iggy & The Stooges (Was dad into PCP in the day? Then yes.)
32. “Are You Gonna Go My Way” – Lenny Kravitz (You can make the argument.)
33. “Walk This Way” – RUN-DMC feat. Aerosmith (This was probably the song that introduced dad to hip-hop.)
34. “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” – The Beastie Boys (Or maybe it was this one.)
35. “Stacy’s Mom” – Fountains Of Wayne (If so, don’t ask dad about his adolescent years. You’ll be scarred by the truth.)
36. “Buck Rogers” – Feeder (Odd choice)
37. “All The Small Things” – blink-182 (Is there an old skateboard in the garage? Then yes.)
38. “Crazy Crazy Nights” – Kiss (There are better dad rock songs from their catalogue.)
39. “Addicted To Love” – Robert Palmer (No question.)
40. “The Final Countdown” – Europe (Oh, yes.)
41. “Teenage Dirtbag” – Wheatus (Well…)
42. “Kids” – MGMT (What? No!)
43. “In Too Deep” – Sum 41 (How old is dad?)
44. “America” – Razorlight (Another odd choice.)
45. “Complicated” – Avril Lavigne (What the F**K is this doing here?)
46. “Torn” – Natalie Imbruglia (And THIS!)
47. “The Sound” – The 1975 (A little current to be actual Dad Rock, no?)
48. “Pompeii” – Bastille (Same here.)
49. “Naive” – The Kooks (If so, then your dad is pretty cool.)
50. “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” – Deep Blue Something (Come ON!)
51. “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” – Bachman – Turner Overdrive (Nailed it.)
52. “I Shot The Sheriff” – Eric Clapton (The original Bob Marley version would have been a better choice.)
53. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” – REO Speedwagon (I’m guessing this was on the radio when your dad first made out with your mom.)
54. “Maggie May” – Rod Stewart (If dad is in his 50s, he had this on his stereo back in the day.)
55. “Sharp Dressed Man” – ZZ Top (A standard at wedding receptions. So, yes.)
56. “Born To Be Wild” – Steppenwolf (Quintessential dad rock.)
57. “Here I Go Again ‘87” – Whitesnake (Did dad ever sport a mullet? Then yes.)
58. “Eye Of The Tiger” – Survivor (Wait. This is the quintessential dad rock song.)
59. “Love Is The Drug” – Roxy Music (Well, the song is from 1975…)

Thoughts? And what’s missing?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

15 thoughts on “How do you feel about this CD collection called Dad Rock? I guess it depends on how old you feel.

  • April 6, 2021 at 10:35 am

    This is WAY too English. I love that fact that Stereophonics, Killers, The Jam, and Stone Roses are considered Dad Rock across the pond. Way to go, geezers!!!!

    Where’s the Van Halen? Dad’s love them some 1984! Et al. And no Zeppelin? Plus, I’m assuming a more American version of this would include some country stuff. Canadian version would MOST DEFINITELY have a Hip song or two… AND RUSH!

    I’ll say this… I’d rather go on a 4-hour road trip with a Dad playing this, then any teenager on the planet if they were in charge of the radio.

  • April 6, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Having just read another one of your articles today the name is in my head already but…No Bon Jovi? AC/DC and G’n’R should probably make the list too.

    • April 6, 2021 at 10:40 am

      Bon Jovi #4! Gun N Roses FOR SURE!!!

  • April 6, 2021 at 11:17 am

    It’s nice to see Millennials didn’t kill dad rock…we’re all old enough to add to it.

  • April 6, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Last weekend, a friend of mine sent a link to a Spotify playlist entitled “Songs That Excite The White Folk”. It was another interesting study in musical dodge-ball… as in taking a look at the vast list and seeing how many songs you DIDN’T have on your go-to lists. With songs like “Who Let The Dogs Out” (lol) littered throughout, I was proud – and relieved – to have only 11 songs on my Alpha List (which, incidentally is titled “The 1177” if anyone wants to check it out)

  • April 6, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    This is just a random collection of licensed music without any actual thoughtful curation.

  • April 6, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    Most of this list is poser FM rock at best.Complete trash . From a 55 year old

  • April 6, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    Nailed it with #14’s comment.
    Much of the rest I’m not sure qualify as rock at all?

  • April 6, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    56 here, and I think I own three of those tracks.
    Give me something modern and underground please.

  • April 7, 2021 at 11:33 am

    I’m dad age and i couldnt stomach most of that. Sounds like Boom97.3 in toronto. Repulsive.
    But I would take Stereophonics (especially live) over all of that list any day.
    And Boston. And Motorhead. And Feeder. And Blink. and Kooks.
    That is a very British list though – a lot of them still being regulars on Radio X

  • April 8, 2021 at 3:59 am

    “Dad Rock” is becoming “Great-Grandad Rock” in which lazy executives stick like glue to the “UK sales = taste” trope, with a few songs that are not remotely rock but still sold at the time, plus Soccer-AM Rock to make people think it’s contemporary and hip. No NWOBHM (Sabbath? Maiden? Saxon? wake the flunk up), No Zeppelin, *winds foward* no Van Halen, No Def Leppard, No G&R, No Metallica, Absolutely nothing that has changed, or will ever threaten to redefine what people expect of “yesterday” when that “yesterday” is almost 50. We’re losing generations of music to lazy crap like this.

  • April 8, 2021 at 9:32 am

    I’d rather listen to my Rock mix-tapes that I still have from the 80s and 90s, and converted them to digital, and always have them on my smartphone !


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