If you’re a father, you should probably keep a box of tissues handy while listening to the 10 best songs for dads. The intense emotional content of these songs can bring a tear to the eye of even the most stoic parents.
- “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle. As balladeer Bob Carlisle’s only major hit, this 1997 song provided wedding dance material for thousands of dads across the country. It’s a father’s bittersweet tribute to a loving daughter who has come of age. The lyrics “Does my wedding dress look pretty, daddy? / Daddy, don’t cry” express a father's undying love.
- “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. After its release in 1974, this song for dads quickly became a folk rock standard. Its heart-wrenching lyrics tell the tale of a dad who’s just too busy to spend time with his son and grows to regret it.
- “Daughters” by John Mayer. This Grammy-winning song from the 2003 album “Heavier Things” is a sentimental masterstroke. The lyrics hold a cautionary tale for all parents of girls: The relationship you have with your daughter as a child directly affects her relationships as an adult.
- “Watching Scotty Grow” by Bobby Goldsboro. As the elder statesman of the ten best songs for dads, this tune dates all the way back to the 1970 album “We Gotta Start Lovin.” With lines like “I’ll stay here and say a little prayer before I go / Me and God watching Scotty grow,” this song is bursting with emotion.
- “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart. As the father of eight children, Rod Stewart knows a couple things about being a parent. His 1988 album “Out of Order” contained this song for dads, a sentimental list of life mantras for a happy childhood.
- “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith. Having parents who are split up can be an uncomfortable situation for any child, but Smith eloquently handles the reassurances in this 1998 song. With lyrics like “Love, knowledge, discipline too / I pledge my life to you,” it’s a dad’s soothing letter to his son.
- “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed. Expectant dads had a new theme song with the release of this 2000 tune from the album “Human Clay.” The lyrics feature Scott Stapp’s musings on his impending fatherhood, and the resulting feelings of inadequacy.
- “I Loved Her First” by Heartland. Another wedding dance staple on the list of the ten best songs for dads, this syrupy 2006 ballad is a must-listen for all fathers who have daughters. The lyrical content is a declaration of a dad’s love, reminding a soon-to-be son-in-law that there was a male presence there way before him.
- “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw. As far as country songs for dads go, this 2006 single from the album “Tim McGraw Reflected: Greatest Hits Volume 2” is a real heavyweight. In a poetic statement of adoration, McGraw encapsulates a dad’s love for his daughter with the lines “Go on, take this whole world / But to me you know you’ll always be my little girl.”
- “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics. With a viewpoint differing from the rest of the ten best songs for dads, this 1988 tune offers a sorrowful declaration of a son’s inadequacy. The lyrics depict a man realizing he didn’t have a chance to make peace with his deceased father: “It’s too late, when we die / To admit we don’t see eye to eye.”
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