I know – as a mum I’m qualified to say this, it happens to me ALL the time – that mums will shed a few tears when a song comes on the radio that’s about a mother’s love for a child. But do dads well up in the safety of their own car when listening to some touching lyrics about fatherly love? Yep. They just don’t admit it.
So in honour of Father’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of 10 songs that sum up a father’s relationship with his children and will make even the most macho man well up. Put him to the tear test with these little beauties, and don’t let him tell you he’s got something in his eye.
1. My Hero by the Foo Fighters
The message is simple. You don’t have to be anyone special to be a child’s hero. To them, you are special: “There goes my hero, watch him as he goes. There goes my hero. He’s ordinary.”
2. Glory by Jay Z
Jay Z details the experience and happiness of becoming a dad to Blue Ivy. The song samples his daughter’s heartbeat and cry and she is even credited for her ‘lyrics’.
3. Daughters by John Mayer
The singer/songwriter tells fathers to “be good to your daughters” because “daughters will love like you do”. Can’t argue with that.
4. I Learned From You by Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus
Recorded before Miley’s half-naked bod gyrated on stage at various music awards, Billy Ray and his daughter sang of their mutual admiration for each other. But would the same song be recorded now? Hmm. Still, it’s nice for Billy Ray to have this reminder of how his girl was once sugar-sweet.
5. Song For Dad by Keith Urban
Keith sings of how he jingles the car keys just like his dad – wonder if that gets on Nicole’s nerves? – but the lyrics are heartfelt: “I only hope when I have my own family, that everyday I see a little more of my father in me”.
6. Soliloquy from Carousel
A lover of musical theatre, my dad used to sing this to me. It’s from the musical Carousel and perfectly sums ups the nerves, excitement, concerns and pride a man feels when he finds out he’s going to be a father.
7. The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics
This Grammy-nominated tear-jerker is about a son’s regret over unresolved conflict with his now-deceased father. It’s a good reminder that life’s too short, so don’t leave it too long to visit or phone your loved ones.
8. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own by U2
Bono sang this at his father’s funeral in 2001. Written especially for him, a note from Bono at the start of the music video says “he had a lot of attitude, he gave some to me – and a voice. I wish I’d known him better.” It seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree: “And it’s you when I look in the mirror and it’s you when I go pick up the phone”.
9. Only One by Kanye West, featuring Paul McCartney
Another tribute, this time to Kanye’s daughter North.
10. Daughter by Loudon Wainwright III
I first heard this on the Knocked Up soundtrack. The lyrics are simply beautiful and express a dad’s pride: “Everything she owns I bought her, everything she knows I taught her, every time she fell I caught her”.
If you have run out of time to get your dad or father figure a gift for Father’s Day, don’t fret. Just show him this. These clever songwriters have done the hard work and made it easy to express your gratitude. You’re welcome.