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Top 10 Father’s Day Songs

Harry Chapin

Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The best Father’s Day songs are written in times both good and bad. At heart, they’re about the figure who provided guidance as we attempted to navigate the oft-confusing real world. Here is our list of the Top 10 Father’s Day Songs that, for better or for worse, were all inspired by a dad:

Paul Simon - Father and Daughter
10

‘Father and Daughter’

Paul Simon
Wedding DJs all have to keep a copy of this one on hand for the all-important father/daughter dance. Dedicated to ‘daddy’s girl,’ Paul Simon remembers the days “when we counted every falling star” and uses his fatherly instincts to advise his favorite girl to “trust her intuition” as she moves through the world.
Pearl Jam - Alive
9

‘Alive’

Pearl Jam
Within ‘Alive,’ Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder spins the tale of a son who discovers that his stepfather is not his real father, and that his actual father has passed away. Vedder later revealed that the song was autobiographical, based on the aftershocks dealt by tension in the relationship with his stepfather.
Eric Clapton - My Father's Eyes
8

‘My Father’s Eyes’

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton laments his lack of a relationship with his father, whom he never knew. Having a son of his own for the first time, Clapton realized that he could see sparks of the traits his father handed down to him, in his new son’s eyes.
Jane's Addiction - Up From the Catacombs
7

‘Had a Dad’

Jane’s Addiction
Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery co-wrote this Jane’s classic with frontman Perry Farrell. The singer helped to illustrate lyrically the feelings that emerged when Avery discovered that his dad was not his biological father.
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
6

‘My Father’s House’

Bruce Springsteen
A distant relationship with his father inspired Bruce Springsteen to write this song. His father was not enthralled by his son’s musical leanings and famously spoke about “that goddamn guitar” to Springsteen, a moment that was later immortalized as an onstage story from Bruce leading into ‘Growin’ Up.’
Alice in Chains - Rooster
5

‘Rooster’

Alice in Chains
The song title stems from the nickname given to Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s father during the Vietnam war. Overall, it’s a dark remembrance that Cantrell says was a “healing” experience for both he and his father, who described his time in Vietnam as a “weird” and “sad.”
U2 - Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
4

‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’

Bono wrote this as a letter of sorts to his dad. It details the push/pull relationship that exists between a father and his children, while taking stock of the characteristics that are passed down from father to son. Ultimately, we’re reminded of the importance of the relationship that exists between the two.
Crosby, Stills and Nash
3

‘Teach Your Children’

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Graham Nash wrote this tune, featuring a pedal-steel guitar contribution from Jerry Garcia, about the troubled relationship that he had with his father — putting an interesting spin on its lyrics. Nash notes that it started out as a folk song when he was in the Hollies before Stephen Stills put more of a country feel into it, and it wound up on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s ‘Deja Vu’ album.
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
2

‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’

Simon & Garfunkel
This song’s image of a “bridge” fit so beautifully with the gentle hand of a father, guiding his young offspring through the opening steps of life. Simon & Garfunkel‘s tune suggests that the support will be constant and that any worries can be put to rest with the knowledge that any obstacles can be dealt with together.
Harry Chapin - Verities and Balderdash
1

‘Cat’s In The Cradle’

Harry Chapin
‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ is a song about the lessons in life that we often learn too late. The tune is partly based off of a poem that was written by Harry Chapin’s wife to “zap” him for not being home at the time that his son Josh was born. It’s a reminder to remember the importance of family vs. career.

Next: Awesome Rock Dads

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