The future of music

25 Best Songs About Family

December 7, 2023
Songs about family

I’ve selected the best songs about family, each one a beautiful testament to the bonds, love, and complexities that define our closest relationships.

This article is a musical homage to the irreplaceable role of family in our lives, through songs that speak to the heart.

Top songs about Family

  • Sister Sledge – “We Are Family”
  • Cat Stevens – “Father and Son”
  • The Cranberries – “Ode to My Family”
  • P!NK – “Family Portrait”
  • Sly & The Family Stone – “Family Affair”
  • Eddie Vedder, Olivia Vedder, Glen Hansard – “My Father’s Daughter”
  • Eminem – “Mockingbird”
  • 2Pac – “Dear Mama”
  • Paul Simon – “Father and Daughter”
  • Madonna – “Papa Don’t Preach”

1. Sister Sledge – “We Are Family”

We’re starting out with a familiar tune and a timeless disco hit.

“We Are Family” was released in 1979 by the American group Sister Sledge.

The group consisted of four sisters, so it’s no wonder they wrote one of the most popular songs about family love.

They recorded “We Are Family” in one take, and explained that they had a lot of fun meanwhile, which can indeed be heard in the atmosphere of the song.

“All of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose.”

2. Cat Stevens – “Father and Son”

Parent-to-child songs are often quite emotional and delicate, and Father and Son by Cat Stevens is no different.

The song is a conversation between a father and a son.

The father suggests his son to find a girl and settle down, and the son is feeling unheard and wishes to leave.

It’s a classic family story, but Cat Stevens brings it up with a down-to-earth honesty that makes this song so likable and genuine.

“It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know

3. The Cranberries – “Ode to My 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.”

“Ode To My Family” is a beautiful rock ballad released in 1993 by The Cranberries.

Similar to the Cat Stevens song, the song talks about the misunderstanding between parents and a child about certain life decisions.

The lead singer Dolores O’Riordan explained it was inspired by her choice of pursuing a music career.

These kinds of situations are always hard, but they can often be resolved with honest conversation and enough time.

4. P!NK – “Family Portrait”

“Family Portrait” by Pink is one of the songs about broken families.

In her 2009 track, Pink talks about a tough situation at home and parents who are on the verge of divorce.

The song also tackles the problem of children often blaming themselves for their parent’s problems.

In essence, Family Portrait is a cry for help and a wish to turn a happy family portrait into a reality.

 “It ain’t easy growin up in World War III
Never knowin what love could be, well I’ve seen
I don’t want love to destroy me like it did my

 5. Sly & The Family Stone – “Family Affair”

Without a doubt, this is one of the best funky songs about family.

This 1971 hit is about a mother’s love towards her children, no matter who they are.

It’s a family affair.

The band consisted of two brothers and a sister, besides other musicians, so it’s only logical they wrote one of the best family songs.

“Mom loves the both of them
You see, it’s in the blood
Both kids are good to mom
Blood’s thicker than the mud.”

6. Eddie Vedder, Olivia Vedder, Glen Hansard – “My Father’s Daughter”

“My Father’s Daughter” is a recording debut of Eddie Vedder’s daughter Olivia Vedder.

The song was released in the summer of 2021, and it will be featured in Sean Penn’s film “Flag Day”.

Pearl Jam’s star and Sean Penn have been friends and collaborators for a long time, including the memorable collaboration on the film “Into The Wild”.

And Olivia Vedder seems to successfully follow her father’s steps.

“Never gonna leave him
Despite the rights or wrongs
I got you and I hope that you know.”

7. Eminem – “Mockingbird”

“Mockingbird” is definitely one of the most emotional Eminem’s songs.

Eminem is known for rapping about his personal life, but “Mockinbird” hits differently, probably because it sounds like an apology to his children.

In this 2004 track, Eminem talks to his daughters Hailie and Alaina.

He mentions his absence and difficult relationship with their mother.

And with the title referring to Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, he proved once again how much meaning he puts into his music.

“Two little beautiful girls
Looking puzzled, in a daze
I know it’s confusing you
Daddy’s always on the move
Mama’s always on the news.”

8. 2Pac – “Dear Mama”

“You always was committed
A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how you did it
There’s no way I can pay you back
But the plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated.”

This popular song by Tupac Shakur shows the singer’s appreciation for his mother.

“Dear Mama” is a beautiful tribute to all single mothers, but it’s also a touching song about the absence of fathers and tough situations some kids end up in.

9. Paul Simon – “Father and Daughter”

We can’t skip Paul Simon’s folk-rock song “Father and Daughter”.

It’s one of the sweet songs about family love and a simple expression of parents’ love.

Every parent wants to be there for their children forever and always, although that’s not entirely possible, and this song portrays this feeling through a gentle, calm sound.

“I’m gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you always know
As long as one and one is two

10. Madonna – “Papa Don’t Preach”

Another all-time hit among songs about family is “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna.

In a nutshell, this pop classic talks about teenage pregnancy, but it’s also about being independent and making decisions despite parents’ opinions.

In one of the interviews, Madonna said that “Papa Don’t Preach” is about standing up to male authorities, which opposes some of the critics’ claims about anti-abortion propaganda.

“You always taught me right from wrong
I need your help, daddy please be strong
I may be young at heart
But I know what I’m saying

11. Fleetwood Mac – “Family Man”

“Family Man” was released on Fleetwood Mac’s album “Tango in the Night” in 1987.

The song definitely has that 80’s vibe, and it’s very easy to listen to.

Although it’s not one of the band’s most famous songs, it’s a nice and catchy family-themed tune.

“Walk down this road
When the road gets rough
I fall down
I get up
I am what I am
A family man

12. Coldplay – “Daddy”

Coldplay’s Chris Martin explained that “Daddy”, released in 2019 on the band’s album “Everyday Life”, was inspired by several things.

Essentially, it’s a song about all the fathers who left, but also about Chris being away from his family a lot.

Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful piano-driven song that remains one of Coldplay’s less popular gems.

13. Alicia Keys – “Blended Family (What You Do For Love)”

“Blended Family” by Alicia Keys is inspired by the singer’s situation of having children from her husband’s previous relationship.

Families come in different shapes and versions, and that’s the message this uplifting track successfully conveys.

On her website, Alicia wrote about the song: “The understanding, compassion, and support we’ve found is a powerful testament to the healing that comes when we choose to love. Especially for the kids… the most important part of our lives.”

14. Eric Clapton – “My Father’s Eyes”

Needless to say, fathers play a crucial role in our lives, regardless of the relationship we have with them.

In “My Father’s Eyes”, Eric Clapton clearly respects his father, but it also talks about his absence.

This soft rock track was released on Clapton’s album “Pilgrim” in 1998, and it soon became one of the most familiar rock songs about parents.

“Where do I find the words to say?
How do I teach him?
What do we play?
Bit by bit, I’ve realized
That’s when I need them
That’s when I need my father’s eyes.”

15. John Mayer – “Daughters”

“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…”

These lyrics portray the message that John Mayer tries to convey in his 2003 song called Daughters.

The message is quite clear – in most situations, parents are role models, and the way they behave affects how their children act as well.

This is an important (yet delicate) song for parents because it reminds them that the most effective learning is by example, and that’s exactly what all kids are doing.

16. Celeste – “Father’s Son”

“Father’s Son” by the soul and R&B singer Celeste is another song about absent fathers.

When writing this tune, the singer was inspired by her own situation at home.

Among other things, “Father’s Son” talks about not being able to ask your father a question when you feel like it, and that’s an effective way of showing how complex yet raw these feelings can be.

17. Depeche Mode – “Precious”

“Precious and fragile things
Need special handling
My God what have we done to you?”

“Precious” by Depeche Mode is probably one of the most powerful songs about broken families.

The song was released in 2005 on the band’s album “Playing the Angel”, and it became one of their signature songs.

Precious was recorded in the time of the songwriter Martin Gore’s divorce, and it’s an honest depiction of the bad way his children felt during that period.

18. Ernie K. Doe – “Mother in Law”

Among songs about family, there has to be one about the mother-in-law.

The figure of mother-in-law is a common stereotype and inspiration for many comic (and sometimes tragic) situations in television and music.

In his 1962 track, Ernie K. Doe talks about his mother-in-law in a rather goofy way.

But just because it’s an easy blues song, it doesn’t make its any less mean.

So, perhaps you would want to avoid this song at your wedding!

19. Avicii – “Hey Brother”

When it was released in 2013, “Hey Brother” by Avicii became a huge radio hit.

The music video directed by Jesse Sternbaum depicts two brothers growing up in wartime America.

Despite the touching message and the video, the song is very energetic and uplifting.

“Hey brother
There’s an endless road to re-discover
Hey sister
Know the water‘s sweet but blood is thicker

20. Pink Floyd – “Mother”

The theme of complex family relations didn’t bypass Pink Floyd either.

“Mother” was released on their iconic album “The Wall” in 1979.

The song is clearly about over-protective mothers and their need to be right all the time.

Well, a lot of people probably find this song relatable, but it’s important to understand that it all often comes from the best intentions.

Roger Waters was inspired by his mother to write this song, and in one of the Mojo interviews, he admitted: “My mother was, to some extent, a wall herself that I was banging my head against.”

21. Beyonce – “Blue”

“Blue” is perhaps one of Beyonce’s most sweet hidden gems.

The song is dedicated to Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy Carter who is also a part of the song’s music video.

It’s one of those songs about love for a child that will make you all warm and fuzzy but in Beyonce’s familiar style.

These walls seem to cave in on me
But when I look in your eyes
I feel alive

22. Arcade Fire – “We Exist”

Although “We Exist” by Arcade Fire is about equality and empowerment, it’s also a family-themed song.

The music video featuring actor Andrew Garfield depicts a trans person going out and being treated badly on his way to a final appearance on the big stage.

As the band’s lead singer Win Butler confirmed, “We Exist” is about gay kids coming out to their straight families.

It’s a delicate and important topic, and this song portrays it through a powerful sound and heartfelt lyrics.

“They’re walking around
Head full of sound
Acting like
We don’t exist

23. Kacey Musgraves – “Family is Family”

„Family is family, in church or in prison
You get what you get, and you don’t get to pick ’em
They might smoke like chimneys, but give you their kidneys
Yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family.“

Witty lyrics and an uplifting yet easy melody make “Family is Family” one of the most beloved country songs about family.

In this 2015 tune, young Kacey Musgraves sings about all the things your family can do wrong, but you’ll still love them no matter what.

Well, it’s a universal truth – family is family!

24. Jackson 5 – “I’ll Be There”

Although it’s also considered a love song, “I’ll Be There” by Jackson 5 seems appropriate for a list of songs about family.

It’s a popular hit recorded in 1970 when Michael Jackson was only 11.

It’s a heartwarming, innocent tune about love, protection, and support.

And that’s exactly what family should be all about.

“I’ll reach out my hand to you
I’ll have faith in all you do
Just call my name and I’ll be there

25. Bob Marley – “One Love”

We want to finish this musical journey with the absolute love anthem.

“One Love” by Bob Marley was released in 1965, and it’s still a popular hit around the world.

Although Marley wrote “One Love” during the turmoil of the Jamaican elections, so the song contains a rather deeper message, many associate this song with love, friendship, and family.

After all, Bob Marley’s music was indeed about love, peace, and unity, and “One Love” is a perfect embodiment of his ideas.

Songs About Family – Final Thoughts

Songs about family depict so many different stories, and they often convey the message in a very touching way.

Ultimately, all the songs on our list are about love, whether it’s about its importance or the lack of it.

These songs are proof of how different families can be, but they also talk about some situations and feelings we can all relate to.

In the end, families offer (or should) provide unconditional love and support, and they make you who you are.

We hope this article reminded you of some familiar tunes, and if you liked it, you can check out our other similar articles.

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Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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