If there’s one thing that this list of ten songs about fathers shows, it’s that dads get a bad rap. There are plenty of songs about how much various musicians love their mommas, but with a few exceptions (here represented by Will Smith) song writers seem to have it out for their old men. Read on for further evidence.
- “Cats In The Cradle” Harry Chapin. This song is first on the list of songs about fathers because, let’s face it, it is the unmistakable anthem of several generations of men with absentee dads. If you’re a drunk guy at a karaoke bar and you have daddy issues, you are going to sing this song.
- “Just The Two Of Us” Will Smith. Enjoy this warm, sentimental song by Will Smith about the joys of newfound fatherhood, because it’s all downhill from here. Hey, he’s such a good dad he even got his son the lead part in the “Karate Kid” remake. That’s love.
- “Had A Dad” Jane’s Addiction. A recurring motif in songs about fathers is the fathers going away and leaving their children behind. This song by Jane’s Addiction is a prime example. “I had a dad, big and strong; I turned around, I found my daddy gone.” One can only assume this led to lead singer Perry Farrell dressing up in drag and shoplifting from the local supermarket.
- “Father Of Mine” Everclear. Now here is the essential '90s song about absentee dads. It’s angry and it has a catchy yet easy-to-learn guitar hook. It also has all the subtlety of a brick to the face. Yes, it was tailor-made for the era of radio-friendly angst.
- “The Father Who Must Be Killed” Morrissey. Speaking of subtlety, the title of this Morrissey song certainly won’t keep you guessing about the song’s content. Morrissey has always been cleverly ghoulish, though, and this song is no exception. It even has a children’s chorus at one point. It also falls into the “evil, abusive stepfather” subgenre of daddy songs, which we will explore further with the next song.
- “Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod” The Mountain Goats. “The Sunset Tree” is an album devoted almost entirely to John Darnielle’s relationship with his abusive stepfather, and so it is hard to pick one track from the album to use for this list. The lyrics in “Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod,” though, are particularly haunting. In it, Darnielle sings about waking up his drunk stepfather while listening to music on his headphones, and the abuse that ensues. You might flinch just listening to it.
- “Just Like My Father” Violent Femmes. This song is about perpetuating the cycle of abuse as a son takes on the same bad qualities as his father. “He hurt my mother; I hurt her worse.” You can’t help but feel bad for that guy’s mom.
- “My Father” King Missile. The world may have long since forgotten the oddball, spoken-word musical stylings of King Missile, but spend enough time searching on Google for songs about fathers and you’re bound to eventually come across this bizarre gem. “Speaking of testicles and clitori, about five years after he died, my father wrote a play and the main characters were named Testicles and Clitorus.” Need we say more?
- “Come To Daddy” Aphex Twin. This song may be about a father in only the loosest sense, but it sure is scary. And really, who hasn’t been utterly terrified of their father at some point? You know, with all the stealing of souls and what not.
- “My Dad’s Gone Crazy” Eminem. You might think this song is about Eminem’s dad going crazy. You’d be wrong, though. Maybe he is the rare musician who saved most of his vitriol for his mom, because this song is all about Eminem himself going off the deep end. His poor daughter is going to be the one who needs a lifetime of therapy.
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