There are thousands of songs out there about falling in and out of love that they often overshadow the most important love of all – love for our family. The family is the most basic unit of the community. It’s through our family that we learn our values, our culture, and in part, our identities. Our families hone us and shape us in a way that can determine our future.
Admittedly, not all families are perfect. In fact, most families have their own flaws and quirks. But its these flaws and quirks that help shape who we are. And while our families may not have been like the picture perfect families we see in movies and TV, we have to admit that they are the foundation for who we are.
So let’s take a moment to celebrate our love for our family, imperfect and perhaps dysfunctional as they may be. Let’s create a playlist that we can play as we take a moment to reflect on how our family had an impact on who we are.
Here are some songs about family that you might enjoy.
Songs about Fathers
What is a father? The father is the protector of the home. Oftentimes, he’s the provider that we can lean on. Fathers may sometimes be stern and strict, but it’s often because they want to protect us from the world – hence the daddy’s girl trope we often see. Here are a few songs you might want to play for your dad to show your love.
Luther Vandross – Dance with My Father
Luther Vandross’ hit song is a tribute to his own father. Vandross’ father died of complications from diabetes when he was only seven. He recalls how his father would lift him up high and dance with him and his mother. And in this song, he wishes he could relive that memory one last time.
Lyrics for dad: If I could steal one final glance
One final step
One final dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
Cause I’d love, love, love to
Dance with my father again
Cat Stevens – Father and Son
Fathers and sons often have a complicated relationship. They usually have similar traits but very different priorities in life. In Cat Stevens’ Father and Son he sings about a dialogue between a man and his song. The father wants him to settle down and take things slow, but the son wants to discover the world for himself. In the song you’ll see both perspectives, which can help you empathize with both the father and son.
Lyrics for dad: It’s not time to make a change
Just sit down, take it slowly
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to go through
Phil Collins – You’ll Be in My Heart
While You’ll Be In My Heart was originally written as a song about Disney’s Tarzan and his adoptive gorilla mother, you can’t deny that it can also apply to a father’s relationship with his children. Fathers are naturally protective of their children, and the song is about keeping them safe at all times.
Lyrics for dad: For one so small, you seem so strong
My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm
This bond between us can’t be broken
I will be here, don’t you cry
Harry Chapin – Cat’s in the Cradle
Too often we see the trope of the absent father who is physically there but too busy providing for the family. Cats in the Cradle is about a man who reflects on his relationship with his son. When the narrator’s song was younger, he idolized his father even if he’s too busy to actually spend time with his son. Later on, their relationship grows more and more distant as the father realizes that his son is becoming more like him.
Lyrics for dad: I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”
Songs about Mothers
Where would we be without our mothers? They’re our first windows into the outside world. They’re the ones who were always there for us when we were little, and even as adults they always insist on making sure we’re okay. When we’re sick, lonely, afraid, or in pain, isn’t it always our mother’s comforting touch that we look for?
Spice Girls – Mama
There are many girls out there who have complicated relationships with their mothers, and the Spice Girls are no different. In an interview, Melanie C explains, “”Mama’s all about how you’re such a cow to your mum when you’re going through that rebellious teenage stage. Then when you get a bit older, you realize that whatever she was doing, she was only doing it for your own good. And you think: ‘God, I was really horrible.'”
Lyrics for mom: But now I’m sure I know why, why you were misunderstood,
So now I see through your eyes, all I can give you is love
Backstreet Boys – The Perfect Fan
If the Spice Girls had a song for mothers, their contemporary the Backstreet Boys also had one. If there’s one thing true about most mothers it’s that they often treat us like babies even when we’re all grown up. And even though the Backstreet Boys have become successful pop stars with millions of fans, it’s their mothers who hold the place as their number one fans.
Lyrics for mom: You showed me when I was young just how to grow
You showed me everything that I should know
You showed me just how to walk without your hands
‘Cause mom you always were the perfect fan
Ozzy Osbourne – Mama, I’m Coming Home
Even rock god Ozzy Osbourne can’t help but have a soft spot for his mom. True enough, when we’ve been away for a while (as Ozzy often is when he’s touring with his band), there’s always that one person we want to see when we get home – our moms. Hence the saying, home is where mom is.
Lyrics for mom: I’ve seen your face a hundred times
Everyday we’ve been apart
I don’t care about the sunshine, yeah
‘Cause mama, mama, I’m coming home
Meghan Trainor – Mom
If you’re looking for a song to dedicate to an awesome mom, this might be it. Meghan Trainor’s Mom is an upbeat, catchy song that you can play for your mom on a special event or just when you feel like showing your mom some love.
Lyrics for mom: Her love’s ’til the end, she’s my best friend
Ain’t nobody got a mom like mine
Boyz II Men – A Song for Mama
The boys of Boyz II Men also have a song for their mothers. A Song for Mama is their tribute song for their mothers, who were always there through the good times and bad times. If your mom is into more mellow tunes, this could be the song you can play for her.
Lyrics for mom: Your love is like tears from the stars
Mama I just want you to know lovin’ you is like food to my soul
Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U
While it might not explicitly be a song for mothers, O’Connor’s rendition sealed it as a tribute song to mothers. O’Connor’s mother died in a car accident in 1985, and this triggered genuine tears in the recording of the music video in 1990.
Lyrics for mom: All the flowers that you planted, mama
In the back yard
All died when you went away
The Beatles – Let It Be
A lot of people interpret this to be a religious song, but songwriter Paul McCartney insists that it’s not. The Mother Mary figure in the lyrics refers to his late mother, whom he would sometimes see in his dreams. This inspired him to write about how his mother would be there for him in spirit during rough moments in his life.
Lyrics for mom: When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be
Songs about the Family
Families are often messy, sometimes dysfunctional, and almost always complicated. But we love our family anyway. Here are a couple of songs that show different facets of family life.
Blink-182 – Stay Together for the Kids
Two members of Blink-182 experienced how their parents went through a divorce, so they decided to create a song about the experience. Stay Together for the Kids is a song about a child witnessing the demise of his parents’ marriage. According to bassist Mark Hoppus, “The thing you realize as you get older is that parents don’t know what the hell they’re doing and neither will you when you get to be a parent. You’ve just got to understand that people are human and they make mistakes.”
Lyrics for the family: I see them every day
We get along, so why can’t they?
If this is what he wants, and it’s what she wants, then why is there so much pain?
The Cranberries – Ode to My Family
Ode to My Family is a song written by The Cranberries frontwoman Dolores Riordan. In it she reflects on her childhood and how she yearns for the innocence of childhood after being a successful musician. It just goes to show that no matter how far we’ve come in life, we’ll still miss the simplicity of being a child in our parents’ arms.
Lyrics for the family: Unhappiness where’s when I was young,
And we didn’t give a damn,
‘Cause we were raised,
To see life as fun and take it if we can
John Mayer – Daughters
John Mayer is no stranger to singing about his lovers. But there was one lover who inspired him to create this song about how one’s relationship with their family affects their future relationships. In it, he sings to fathers and mother about being good to their daughters because it’s this foundation that impacts how their relationships with men will be.
Lyrics for the family: Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too
Sister Slegde – We Are Family
Let’s end this list with one of the catchiest songs about family out there. And while families may not always be composed of the traditional mom, dad, and kids, the definition of “family” can also extend to close friends and band members.
Lyrics for the family: We are family, I got all my sisters with me
We are family, get up ev’rybody and sing
Show your love for your entire family by playing some of these songs for them today!