June 20 is Father’s Day, so we pulled a list of songs that focus on fatherhood. Whether honoring these men for the task of raising children, acknowledging the complexities of father-child relationships, or exploring the pain of absentee fathers, these tracks span the spectrum of the vocation.
'Glory' by Jay Z
Jay wrote the deeply emotional and revealing track — which kicks off with the sound of his daughter’s heartbeat — about Blue, his first child with Beyonce. On it, he raps: “The most amazing feeling I feel / Words can’t describe the feeling for real / Baby, I paint the sky blue / My greatest creation was you.”
'7 Years' by Lukas Graham
Frontman Lukas Forchhammer says the death of his father inspired the band’s song “7 Years.” He explained this, saying. “It’s a song about growing older. I’m also coming to a realization that being a father is the most important thing. My biggest dream is not to be some negative old dude, but to have my kids’ friends say, ‘You’re going to visit your dad? Say hi! He’s awesome.’ I had a perfect father.”
'Daddy Lessons' by Beyoncé
Beyoncé and her father Mathew Knowles had a rocky relationship in the past, but she still decided to honor him with Lemonade's "Daddy Lessons." The swinging country tune is perfect for reminding your old man that you actually did listen to all the things he taught you.
'Father to Son' by Queen
Written by guitarist Brian May, “Father to Son” is written from the perspective of a father speaking to his son.
'Piece By Piece' by Kelly Clarkson
Written about her absentee father, “Piece by Piece” is an ultimately uplifting track as Kelly notes her father’s neglect influenced her to be a major force in her daughter’s life.
'Daughters' by John Mayer
“Daughters” acts as a call to both mothers and fathers to “be good to you daughters.”
'I Learned From You' by Billy Ray & Miley Cyrus
“I Learned From You” is a song sung by both Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter, Miley, about the various things both of them have learned from each other.
'Song For Dad' by Keith Urban
“Song For Dad” is a touching tribute to Keith’s late father. On it, he sings, “The older I get / The more I can see / How much he loved my mother and my brother and me”
'Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)' by Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay wrote the emotional track as a letter to her father, Michael Lohan, who was arrested and charged with a DUI following a car crash.
'Cat’s in the Cradle' by Harry Chapin
We’d be remiss to ignore Harry Chapin’s 1974 classic, where he asks his father, “When you coming home, dad? / I don't know when / But we'll get together then.”
'Father' by Demi Lovato
Demi’s tumultuous relationship with her late father inspired the biting track, which explores her conflicting feelings about him: “You did your best or did you? / Sometimes I think I hate you / I’m sorry, dad, for feelin’ this / I can’t believe I’m sayin’ it.”
'Father of Mine' by Everclear
One of the most biting songs about abandonment released in the ‘90s, “Father of Mine” details the pain of growing up without a father but still having those early memories before he left the family: “My daddy gave me a name / Then he walked away.”
'My Father’s Eyes' by Eric Clapton
The rock legend wrote the track about his father, who he never met. The track also references Eric’s late son, Connor, who died when he was four years old after plummeting from a high-rise apartment building window.
'The Best Day' by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s “Best Day” is really written for her mom, but she shouts out her dad with this lyric: “I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger.”
'Papa’z Song' by Tupac
Tupac wrote the searing track — which features a guest verse from the late rapper’s stepbrother Wycked — about his absentee father, rapping, “Had to play catch by myself, what a sorry sight / A pitiful plight, so I pray for a starry night / Please send me a pops before puberty / The things I wouldn't do to see a piece of family unity.”
'My Old Man' by Zac Brown Band
The ballad acts as a tribute to the relationship between Zac Brown and his father, and how it inspired the way he raises his son: “My old man / I know one day we’ll meet again as he’s looking down / My old man / I hope he’s proud of who I am / I’m trying to fill the boots of my old man.”
'Like Father, Like Son' by The Game feat. Busta Rhymes
The Game wrote the loving track — which details the birth of his son — for his kid, Harlem Caron Taylor: “My son’s ultrasound the closest I ever been to heaven.”
'He Didn’t Have to Be' by Brad Paisley
The touching country track explores the relationship between Brad Paisley and his stepfather: “Lookin' back all I can say / About all the things he did for me / Is I hope I'm at least half the dad / That he didn't have to be.”
'Just The Two Of Us' by Will Smith
This sweet spin on the Bill Withers' classic was a dedication to Smith's eldest son Trey: "You're living proof that dreams do come true / I love you and I'm here for you."
'First Man' by Camila Cabello
Cabello sang this endearing tune to her father at the 2020 Grammy's. The modern classic brought everyone to tears with lyrics like, "You don't even know how much it means to me now / That you were the first man that really loved me."