Just in Time for Father’s Day: 10 Songs About Dads

[How timely!  A new list from special correspondent Brent Chittenden. – AC]

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday and what better way to celebrate then with some awesome tunes about Dads. Keep in mind, these song Dads might not be the best dads in the world… in fact most of the songs on this list are almost depressing but at least they make for good tunes.

10) Everclear – “Father of Mine”

Taken from Everclear’s Art Alexakis’s own life, the song is about a father abandoning his family and how Art won’t do that to his own kids.


9) Pearl Jam – “Alive”

Eddie’s song about discovering his dad wasn’t really his dad and his biological father had passed away. [A messed-up childhood helps an album sell more than 15 million copies. – AC]


8) Eric Clapton – “My Father’s Eyes”

Eric Clapton’s song that’s about how he never knew his own father and the passing of his own son.


7) Johnny Cash – “A Boy Named Sue”

Wow, talk about a son of a bitch.  Not only did this dad leave, he named his son for the sole purpose of trying to toughen him up.


6) Alice in Chains – “Rooster”

This entire song is from guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s version of his dad’s time in Vietnam.  Mr. Cantrell–nicknamed “Rooster”–wonders if he might make it through to see his boy at the end of it.


5) The Temptations – “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”

While the song is originally by another Motown group called The Undisputed Truth, it’s the Temptations version everyone knows. Simple but awesome bass line is what makes it for me.


4) Mike and the Mechanics – “The Living Years”

A song about the unresolved issues between a son and father after the father has passed away.


3) U2 – “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”

I’m not a huge fan of U2’s current output but there’s something about the power of Bono’s song about his father’s death that just strikes a chord in me.


2) Simon and Garfunkel – “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”

A song about a father planning on protecting and guiding his song through life. Art Garfunkel doesn’t get a lot of credit for his vocals but on this track, most of those complaints have to go away.


1) Harry Chapin – “Cat’s In The Cradle”

Probably the ultimate song about a father not being there for his son.

A great list of songs but rather depressing on a whole. And there’s tons more where those came from. What songs did we miss? What songs should have been added? Leave suggestions below and we’ll see what changes will be made next year.

In the meantime, I had to post something in honor of my Dad who introduced so much music into my life including Stevie Ray Vaughn. Happy Father’s Day Dad!

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.

3 thoughts on “Just in Time for Father’s Day: 10 Songs About Dads

  • June 17, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Stevie Ray is a great gift, wish I'd seen him more than once — such a great live performer.

  • June 17, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Nirvana, Serve the Servants with Kurt Cobain singing the lyrics "I tried hard to have a father but instead I had a dad" is powerful for me.

    I tried hard to have a father
    But instead I had a dad

    I just want you to know that I
    Don't hate you anymore
    There is nothing I could say
    That I haven't thought before

    ……. of course the legendary divorce line cuts deeply too.

  • June 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Was (Not Was), Hello Dad…I'm in Jail.


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