Daddy Lessons: Top 10 Father’s Day Songs
Check out our Top 10 Father’s Day songs on The Rockhaq Community! Yes, the world of music bows its collective head in deference to all fathers around the world today – and we are no exception.
Dads the world over have inspired or written many a rock and pop song about their kids. But instead of the usual cheesy Top 10 Father’s Day songs you’ll find on other websites, most of our anthems tell dark, mournful or grim tales of betrayal. Most, that is – not all. We have a few gems in here. Why not check out what made our Top 10 Father’s Day Songs list and see for yourselves?
Number 10: Glory – Jay Z
10. Glory – Jay Z, 2012
Jay Z kicks off our Top 10 Father’s Day songs. Who would have thought that a self-confessed former crack-dealing, death cheating, murdering gangster could turn to mush over the birth of his first child? Yet this is exactly what happened to Jay Z when Blue Ivy Carter was born in 2012. It’s not often that you hear a hip-hop mogul rap about the joys of fatherhood, so this was a revelation, not least because it tells the world that Beyonce suffered a miscarriage in the notoriously guarded couple’s relationship. The song is made all the more bittersweet as Jay Z had no relationship with his own father. Still, Glory is a humble effort and earns its place thanks to the goofy closing sentiment: “You’re a child of a child from Destiny’s Child.”
Number 9: Daddy Lessons – Beyonce ft. The Dixie Chicks
9. Daddy Lessons – Beyonce ft. The Dixie Chicks, 2016
Although her own relationship with her father and former manager Mathew Knowles has been fractured over the years, that didn’t stop Beyonce from penning this glorious country pop number with The Dixie Chicks. It opens rather typically with the strong independent woman angle “Came into this world/Daddy’s little girl/And daddy made a soldier out of me.” Although it tells a generic story of a father moulding his daughter into a strong woman, it’s still empowering at heart. Beyonce defers to the musical expertise of The Dixie Chicks and what could have been a disastrous failure becomes a bluesy, toe-tapping success.
Number 8: Frank Turner – Father’s Day
8. Father’s Day – Frank Turner, 2007
Anti-folk hero Frank Turner turns an eye on his own father’s mistakes, to a wonderful effect. Father’s Day is a gritty, funny, very down to earth statement on human nature and the rather high expectations we sometimes place on our dads. Turner is a genuine artist – building a wonderful narrative backed by a punk-rock acoustic guitar. The subject matter is rather grim – Turner’s own father effectively lived a secret double life via an extra-marital affair and child. He is scathing – asking why his dad couldn’t have the usual mid-life crisis involving “motorbikes and suspicious fashion decisions” – yet reflective, closing by admitting “I am turning into you.”
Number 7: JCB Song – Nizlopi
7. JCB Song – Nizlopi, 2005
Next up on our Top 10 Father’s Day Songs list is another of our Folky choices, the JCB Song. Although the track features a young boy (singer Luke Concannon) rumbling in a JCB with his dad, it covers dylexia, bullying and being protected from the bullies by mighty figures like B. A. Baracus and Bruce Lee. The overall impact is heart-rending. Concannon’s humble delivery and the stripped down, back-to-basics effect of a guy with a guitar just cannot be beaten. Nizlopi are a one-hit wonder but this song lives on, not least because a then unknown Ed Sheeran is huge fan of theirs and even became the band’s roadie for a while. Good on Ed!
Number 6: Beautiful Boy – John Lennon
6. Beautiful Boy – John Lennon, 1980
John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy is probably the cheesiest number in our Top 10 Father’s Day Songs, but it’s also rather interesting. Lennon wrote this song as an ode to his second son Sean – his only child with Yoko Ono – and five years after turning his back on music to become a full-time father. His relationship with his first son Julian – whom he wrote the song Good Night on The White Album for – could not have been more different. Both songs are cheesy, Good Night intentionally so. However Beautiful Boy shows Lennon as a protector, a nurturer, something he had not been before. It’s one of his final songs and features the well-known lyric: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”
Number 5: Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna
5. Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna, 1986
Always one to court controversy and challenge patriarchal figures rather than celebrate them, Madonna‘s hit single Papa Don’t Preach scores on both counts and makes number 5 on our Top 10 Father’s Day Songs list. It documents a teenage girl telling her father that she’s pregnant and will not have an abortion. Although the track was not written by Madonna, it fits in perfectly with her defiant stance of baiting The Pope, Catholic Church and other male dominated authorities. This one is about standing up and confronting your dad, folks!
Number 4: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations
4. Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations, 1972
From confrontation to questions, and little in the way of answers, Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone is an all-time classic Soul song about worthless absentee fathers. The Temptations covered this tune and made it a sinister number underscored by a throbbing, bluesy bassline, a lone sax and solitary strings. There are gritty vocals from all four Temptations – Edwards, Franklins, Street and Harris – who take it in turns to question their mother about who their father was. Her response, which forms the chorus and backbone of the track, is the eerie, guilt-laden: “Papa was a rolling stone/Wherever he laid his hat was his home/And when he died, all he left us was alone (a loan).” This was their last hit song and it’s proved to be both enduring and influential, leaving a lasting imprint on music.
Number 3: What Is It About Men? – Amy Winehouse
3. What Is It About Men? – Amy Winehouse, 2003
We all know that Amy Winehouse didn’t have the healthiest of relationships with her father Mitch – he advised her that she did not need help, as famously documented on her hit single Rehab. Similarly, he left the family when she was young, setting up home with another woman. This song from her debut album Frank explores a predatory Amy’s need to break up another couple’s relationship, recapturing the missing love from her father. Winehouse sings like a caged animal, trapped in a cycle of bitterness and solitude: “My alibi for taking your guy/History repeats itself, it fails to die.” This is an amazing piece of artistry that deserves much more attention.
Number 2: Changes – Ozzy + Kelly Osbourne
2. Changes – Ozzy Osbourne + Kelly Osbourne, 2003
Ozzy is probably one of the worst fathers in the history of rock music – a violent drug-abusing alcoholic, he has said he would have died if wife Sharon had not offered to manage him as a solo artist after he was fired from Black Sabbath. Changes was originally written for 1972’s Sabbath album Vol. 4 and documents a couple falling apart. Osbourne re-wrote the song to sing with daughter Kelly in 2003, changing lyrics to reflect their life together as father and daughter. It’s a moving, simple Piano ballad, totally unlike any of Black Sabbath’s other songs. The cover with Kelly, although a tad cheesier, doesn’t veer far from the majestic simplicity of the original.
Number 1: A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash
1. A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash, 1969
Like many others on this Top 10 Father’s Day Songs list, Cash was a poor husband and father at times. This song doesn’t care about things like that and wasn’t written by Cash, only covered and subsequently made famous by him. It’s a silly story about a son who’s named Sue by his dad, before the dad left home. The son, who suffers ridicule while growing up, swears to kill his father for giving him a girl’s name, should he ever find him. They meet and after a fistfight, the father explains that he gave him a girl’s name to force him to “get tough or die” in his absence. The comical song is a chaotic ride through the Country genre, and shows Cash pushing various musical and social boundaries – replacing lyrics with swear words, performing in a talking Blues style, having barely any accompaniment and singing to convicts (the song was recorded live at San Quentin State Prison). For us, it’s the best Father’s Day song around!
Do you think we missed any key father’s Day songs? Let us know!