Fatherhood has been the inspiration for some of the most iconic songs of all time. Check out this list of some of our favourite tributes to fathers of all types!
Father’s Day | Weddings Parties Anything | 1992
All dads love a bit of Aussie pub rock, right?
Father’s Day tells the story of a separated dad and how seeing his son means everything to him. He’s not in the best headspace and he’s not looking after himself. Even so, he tries not to dwell on past relationship problems because his main concern is being the best dad to his son.
“But I try not to think of what went wrong / ‘Cause if I say that I was right / She might say that she was right / And the only rights I care about are visiting rights”
Released on the 1992 album Difficult Loves, Father’s Day was voted 1993’s Song of the Year at the ARIA awards
Father and Son | Cat Stevens | 1970
The man formerly known as Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam being his legal name since 1978) released this song on the 1970 Tea for the Tillerman album.
As the title suggests, Father and Son is about generational differences between a son and his relaxed, wiser and older father. The son wants to make his own way in life while the father wants him to settle down, as evident in lyrics like
“It’s not time to make a change / Just relax, take it easy / You’re still young, that’s your fault / There’s so much you have to know”.
Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own | U2 | 2004
Bono’s tribute to his late father, Bob, it tells how so much of our identity comes from our father, despite the fact that sons and fathers often come into conflict. Ultimately, love and the family bond help overcome all differences.
Bono wrote an early version of the song in 2000 when he learnt that his father was dying from cancer. Originally titled Tough, the band sat on the song before tinkering with it for the 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. After spontaneously adding a new chorus, it became Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own. It was released as a single in 2005 and became a number one hit.
He Didn’t Have to Be | Brad Paisley | 1999
Ok, country music isn’t for everyone. Even so, hopefully you won’t mind seeing this one on the list. That’s because it deals with a topic that doesn’t get covered that much in popular music: specifically, the relationships between sons and stepfathers.
When Paisley sings
“I met the man I call my dad when I was five years old / He took my mom out to a movie and for once I got to go” he’s actually recounting a story from his own upbringing.
“And then all of a sudden ah it seemed so strange to me / How we went from something’s missing to a family / 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”.
It’s uplifting stuff and it became Paisley’s first number one single.
Unforgettable | Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole | 1991
Natalie Cole released a cover of the song on her album Unforgettable… with Love (1991). The song was remixed as a “virtual duet” with her late father, Nat King Cole, which is why in our minds at least, this song will always remain a celebration of fatherhood.
“Unforgettable / In every way / And forever more / That’s how you’ll stay