The term brother has come to encompass a host of relationships and symbolic bonds, which is why our 10 best songs about brothers list includes far more than simply lyrical salutes to male siblings. Brothers are our champions, our defenders, our moral compasses, and even our partners in mischievous crime, whether they share a genetic link or not. In fact, our first selection shares its title with a motto the charitable organization, Boys Town adopted in the early 1940's.
- "He Aint Heavy, He's My Brother" (The Hollies, 1969.) The Hollies’ hit is probably one of the most common first responses in terms of naming brother songs, if not one of the most famous songs about brothers. It peaked at #7 on the Billboard charts in 1970. Throughout the 70's and into today, other artists such as Cher, The Osmonds, Olivia Newton John, Barry Manilow, and Rufus Wainwright have recorded the song.
- "Two Little Boys" (Rolf Harris, 1969.) Originally written in 1902, the Rolf Harris version became a #1 hit in the UK in 1969. Numerous other artists such as The Irish Rovers, Kenny Rogers, and Roger Whitaker have recorded it. It can also be heard sung by Hartlepool United football fans during games. Originally written about two childhood friends during the Civil War, this is one of many songs about brothers that speaks to brotherhood, rather than siblings.
- "Me and Baby Brother" (War, 1971.) As with many songs of the era, the term brother means far more than just a male sibling. War is most famous for their song Low Rider, but many fans claim Me and Baby Brother as their true favorite, both in terms of songs by War and songs about brothers.
- "Big Brother" (David Bowie, 1974.) Who can forget George Orwell’s" Nineteen Eighty Four" a novel that forever changed the perception of a protectorate big brother? In 1973, David Bowie planned to produce a musical based on the novel, for which this song was to be the theme. Instead, it became a part of his Diamond Dogs album the following year. It provides a different twist to songs about brothers.
- "7 Chinese Brothers" (REM, 1984.) Reportedly, this song is loosely modeled after a classic Chinese tale about five brothers, each with special powers. Again, in terms of songs about brothers, the theme focuses on the bonds between men, rather than just siblings.
- "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" (Public Enemy, 1990.) Featured on the album Fear of a Black Planet, each song highlighted the social issues facing the African-American community of the day. This song, in particular, highlighted empowering the community to address such issues themselves.
- "Brother" (Alice in Chains, 1992.) Written by Jerry Cantrell, this song was an effort to repair his relationship with his estranged brother. The two brothers had spent several years apart after their parents’ divorce.
- "Dream Brother" (Jeff Buckley, 1994.) According to fan reports and industry buzz, this song was written as something of a reply for a friend struggling with personal issues.
- "My Brother" (Wishbone Ash, 1999.) Written by Martin Turner, My Brother was a tribute to Turner’s younger brother, Kim. Kim was also involved in the music industry, but died at a young age. It is one of the few songs about brothers truly written from a sibling perspective.
- "Alien" (Thriving Ivory, 2008.) Scott Jason wrote this song as a tribute to his own brother. It was released on the band’s self-titled studio album, but is absent from the indie version. Again, this is another of the few songs about brothers written from a sibling point of view.
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