There are few relationships as important and influential as the one between a parent and child.
Over the years, many musicians have taken the time to honor their parents in song, crafting beautiful and emotional tributes that capture the love, appreciation, and respect they have for the people who brought them into this world.
In this list, we’ve compiled some of the best songs about parents of all time, from classic hits to more recent releases.
These songs cover many emotions, from the joy and pride of being a parent to the pain and heartache of losing a parent to the gratitude and appreciation for everything our parents do for us.
No matter your relationship with your parents, these songs are sure to strike a chord and bring a smile to your face.
1. “Song For Dad” by Keith Urban
Have you ever wondered if you were resembling your old man when you looked in the mirror? Right. Likewise, Keith Urban.
“Lately I’ve been noticin’, I say the same things he used to say,” he wrote in “Song For Dad.”
Because of this, we ought to love and respect the present generation while also showing empathy for and understanding the previous generation.
2. “The Story of My Old Man” by Good Charlotte
The “Story of My Old Man” is a song on the 2002 album The Young and the Hopeless by the indie and punk group Good Charlotte.
The album’s name, according to some fans, is a parody of the same-named soap opera.
The cover image depicts a family viewing what appears to be a 1980s film about dystopian Cold War shopping.
The song is an emotional ballad that tells the story of the relationship between a father and his son.
It addresses themes of family, love, and growing up and reflects on the narrator’s memories of his father and the impact he had on his life.
The lyrics explore the complexities of fatherhood and how fathers can shape the lives of their children.
3. “My Mom” by Eminem
This parenting thing is complex.
Our “caregivers,” the important adults in our lives, have a great deal of influence over us as children.
That might be the reason Eminem wrote his song’s lyrics, and this time, they are personal.
“My mom, There was no one quite like my mom. “I know I should let bygones be bygones, but she’s the reason why I’m high on what I’m high on.”
4. “Mother” by Pink Floyd
The Wall is a concept album that centers on the alienated rock artist Pink. Pink (Roger Waters) and his mother seem to be speaking to each other in the song “Mother” (David Gilmour).
It could be interpreted as a reflection of how our parents shape our attitudes toward issues such as sex.
In an interview with Mojo, Waters stated that single mothers of boys in particular tend to make the topic of sex more difficult than it needs to be.
5. “Father And Daughter” by Paul Simon
“Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon is one of the greatest songs about parents.
The Wild Thornberrys Movie inspired the creation of “Father and Daughter.”
The exceptional talent of singer and songwriter Paul Simon served as the inspiration for this song, which was based on a father’s love for his daughter.
According to the story, he asked his 10-year-old son Adrian to provide harmony to the choruses after he heard him sing.
This is the song that many father-daughter wedding dances have started with.
6. “Dear Mama” by 2Pac
American rapper 2Pac’s third studio album, Me Against the World, features the song “Dear Mama.”
It was released on February 21, 1995, as the album’s lead single.
This song of appreciation was written by Tupac Shakur in honor of his mother, Afeni Shakur, who raised him.
There’s no way I can repay you for trying to raise two problematic children on your own, but I want to let you know that I understand.
7. “Daddy” by Beyoncé
“Daddy” by Beyonce is yet another beautiful song about parents.
A lot of things come together to create a phenomenon like Beyoncé.
And one of them was Mathew Knowles, the singer’s manager, and father.
From the legendary artist’s 2003 album Dangerously in Love, the song “Daddy” was written by Beyoncé and Mark Batson.
She claimed that her father’s loyalty and love for his family served as the inspiration for the song.
8. “Father Of Mine” by Everclear
Everclear’s rock song “Father of Mine” comes from their album So Much for the Afterglow, which was released in 1997.
Art Alexakis, the lead singer for Everclear, wrote and sang this autobiographical song that serves as a warning.
There is both positive and negative news.
Your child grows into a wildly popular, successful, and affluent rock star.
The bad news is that your son has just revealed that you were a deadbeat dad in a hit song.
9. “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” by James Brown
“Papa Don’t Take No Mess” is a song written and recorded by James Brown.
It was released as a single in 1974.
The shorter version of “Papa Don’t Take No Mess,” a funk masterpiece recorded by the incomparable James Brown, was the legendary performer’s last number-one R&B hit.
The nearly 14-minute full-length version can be found on the Hell double album.
10. “Family Portrait” by P!nk
This is one of the popular songs about bad families.
“Family Portrait” is a song by American singer-songwriter Pink (whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore).
The song was released in 2002 as the third single from Pink’s second studio album, Missundaztood.
The song was written by Pink and Linda Perry and produced by Perry.
It is a ballad that reflects on Pink’s tumultuous relationship with her father and the difficulties she faced growing up in a dysfunctional family.
The song’s lyrics describe the pain and hurt that Pink experienced as a result of her father’s absence and the resulting estrangement from him.
11. “Poppa Was a Playa” by Nas
The many contradictory demands of authenticity, loyalty, family, and autonomy are the subject of Nas’ profound study, as is the allure of the ladies.
In “Poppa Was A Playa”, he beautifully expresses his ambivalent respect for his father.
you listen, consider lines like “A child’s early years are the most important time to be there. That’s why he stayed until we grew up; respect is still here.”
12. “We Exist” by Arcade Fire
“We Exist” is a song by the Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire.
It was released as the lead single from their fourth studio album, Reflektor, in 2013.
The song was written by the band’s lead vocalist and principal songwriter, Win Butler, and was inspired by his experiences at the Coachella Music Festival.
The song explores themes of identity and self-acceptance, and the chorus includes the lyrics, “We exist / We exist / Just like the stars in the sky / We exist.”
The song’s lyrics describe the experience of telling one’s father they are gay.
13. “Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin
This is one of the best parental songs with a great message.
“Cat’s in the Cradle” is a song written and performed by Harry Chapin.
The song is about a father who is too busy with work to spend time with his son, and about his son, who grows up and becomes too busy to spend time with his father.
It is a poignant and emotional song that speaks to the difficulties of balancing work and family life and the regret that can come from putting one’s career ahead of one’s relationships.
The song was released in 1974 and became one of Chapin’s biggest hits, reaching the top of the charts in the United States.
14. “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn
“Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn is one of the best songs for parents.
A song named “Daddy’s Hands” might have taken a bizarre, gloomy turn in less competent hands than Holly Dunn’s.
Do not be worried; this song is a beautiful tribute to a dedicated parent.
“I recall daddy’s hands working until they bled, Sacrificing unselfishly just to keep us all fed,” she sings.
15. “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash
“A Boy Named Sue” is a song written by Shel Silverstein and performed by Johnny Cash.
It was recorded live at the San Quentin State Prison in 1969 and released on Cash’s album At San Quentin later that year.
The song tells the story of a man named Sue, who was named that by his father as a way of toughening him up.
Sue sets out on a quest to find his father and confront him about the name, and in the process, he gets into several fights and learns to be tough and resilient.
The song was a hit, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and it has become one of Cash’s most well-known songs.
16. “A Song For Mama” by Boyz II Men
“A Song for Mama” is a song by the American R&B group Boyz II Men.
It was released in 1997 as the lead single from the group’s album Evolution.
The song was written and produced by Babyface and features a sentimental, emotional message about the importance of mothers in people’s lives.
In addition to its success on the charts, the song has also been covered by numerous artists and has become a popular choice for mother-son dances at weddings.
17. “My Father’s House” by Bruce Springsteen
“My Father’s House” is a song by Bruce Springsteen, released on his album Nebraska in 1982.
The song is a reflection on Springsteen’s relationship with his father and the complicated emotions he feels toward him.
In the song, Springsteen sings about his longing to return to the “house” of his childhood, where he experienced both joy and pain.
He sings about how his father’s influence has shaped his own life and how he struggles to come to terms with the distance between them.
18. “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross
One of the best songs about parents is Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father.”
It was released as the lead single from his thirteenth studio album of the same name in 2003.
The song was co-written by Vandross and Richard Marx and produced by Vandross and Marcus Miller.
The song is a nostalgic tribute to Vandross’ father, who passed away when Vandross was a teenager.
It speaks of the strong bond between father and child and how the memory of dancing with his father has stayed with him throughout his life.
19. “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood
“Mama’s Song” is a song written and performed by American country music artist Carrie Underwood.
It was released as the third single from her second studio album, Play On, in 2010.
“Mama’s Song” is a tribute to Underwood’s mother, who has played a significant role in her life.
It speaks of the love and support that a mother provides to her child and how that relationship changes as the child grows up and becomes an adult.
The song has a sentimental and emotional tone, and its lyrics reflect the special bond between mother and child.
20. “Mama Said” by The Shirelles
Our mothers teach us so much. “Always wear clean underwear,” “please,” and “thank you” are magic words.
They contain troves of knowledge.
Were there ever wiser words said than those found in “Mama Said?” “Mama said there’ll be days like this. There’ll be days like this, mama said.” That is utterly solid as a rock.
21. “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations
“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” is a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records’ The Temptations.
The song was released as a single in 1972 and became one of the group’s biggest hits, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and winning three Grammy Awards in 1973.
The song is known for its funky, upbeat sound and its socially conscious lyrics, which tell the story of a man who abandoned his family and led a life of promiscuity and deceit.
The Temptations’ version of “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
22. “Father” by Demi Lovato
Lovato’s “Father” is one of the top songs about bad relationships with parents
“Father” is a song by American singer Demi Lovato.
It was released as a single in 2020 and is featured on Lovato’s seventh studio album, Dancing with the Devil: The Art of Starting Over.
The song is a personal and emotional ballad that reflects on Lovato’s troubled relationship with her estranged father, whom she has described as an abusive and neglectful parent.
In the song, Lovato sings about the pain and resentment she has felt toward her father and how his actions have affected her life.
23. “When Doves Cry” by Prince & The Revolution
Ever questioned whether you might have inherited more than just your mother’s or father’s chin or eyes?
Do you possess some of their characters?
“Maybe you’re just like my mother. She’s never satisfied. Why do we scream at each other?” the singer sings in the song “When Doves Cry.”
24. “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast
“Ms. Jackson” is a song by the American hip-hop duo OutKast, released in 2000 as the lead single from their fourth studio album, Stankonia.
“Ms. Jackson” is a song about the breakdown of a relationship and the impact it has on the families involved.
It was inspired by the real-life experiences of OutKast member André 3000, who wrote the lyrics to the song.
The song features a catchy, upbeat melody and a smooth, laid-back rap performance by André 3000, and its lyrics address themes of love, heartbreak, and family relationships.
25. “Mother-In-Law” by Ernie K-Doe
There is a good probability that your partner has a different set of parents than your own.
Allen Toussaint wrote and produced Mother-in-Law, a humorous polemic and cry to the skies, which was released by Ernie K-Doe in 1961.
A chord was struck when the song debuted at the top of both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard R&B charts.
26. “Father-Daughter Dance” by Kesha
Imagine a singer-songwriter writing a song about a woman who was raised by a strong single mother.
In the song “Father-Daughter Dance,” the singer discusses and analyzes her feelings while wondering about a different scenario and what her life may have been like if her absent father had been more present.
27. “Father’s Eyes” by Amy Grant
“Father’s Eyes” is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Amy Grant.
It is among the top songs to dedicate to your parents.
It was released on her 1979 album, Amy Grant.
The song is a ballad that reflects on the relationship between a child and their father and how a father’s love and guidance can shape a person’s life.
The lyrics describe the narrator’s father as a strong and loving presence who always had time for his children and who provided the guidance and support they needed to grow and thrive.
28. “Parents Just Don’t Understand” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
“Parents Just Don’t Understand” is a song by American hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (Will Smith and Jeff Townes).
It was released on their 1988 album, He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper.
The song is about the misunderstandings and disagreements that can occur between parents and children.
Particularly in the context of growing up and trying to navigate the changing expectations and responsibilities of adolescence.
Despite these disagreements, the song ultimately celebrates the enduring love and connection between parents and children.
29. “Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud?” by Elliott Smith
“Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud?” is a song by American singer-songwriter Elliott Smith.
It was released on his 1998 album XO.
The song is characterized by its acoustic guitar accompaniment and Smith’s emotive vocals.
It is a nostalgically tinged reflection on the past, with Smith singing about how his mother would feel about his life and accomplishments if she were still alive.
30. “Father To Son” by Queen
In this power ballad, a father tries to impart his hard-earned wisdom to his son through a letter that he writes to him.
The letter’s wisdom and teachings are ignored by the son once he reads it.
The scene is then repeated, with the son playing the part that his father had played with his son through the generations, and so forth.
31. “Loves Me Like A Rock” by Paul Simon
“Loves Me Like a Rock” is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon.
It was released in 1973 as the lead single from his second solo album, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.
The song is a soulful ballad that celebrates the enduring love and support of a mother.
It features a prominent piano melody and prominent horns, as well as a prominent backing choir.
32. “Hey Mama” by Kanye West
“Hey Mama” is a song by American rapper Kanye West, released in 2005 as the third single from his debut studio album, The College Dropout.
The song was produced by Kanye West and features vocals from Dwele.
“Hey Mama” is a tribute to Kanye’s mother, Donda West, who passed away in 2007.
The song features a sample of “Mama’s Gun” by Erykah Badu and includes lyrics that express Kanye’s love and appreciation for his mother.
The song was a commercial success and received positive reviews from critics for its emotional lyrics and production.
33. “A Mother Like You” by JJ Heller
“A Mother Like You” is a song about parents sung by American singer-songwriter JJ Heller.
The song is a tribute to mothers and the love and care they provide for their children.
It speaks to the special bond that exists between a mother and her child and how a mother’s love can be a constant source of support and comfort.
The lyrics of the song express appreciation and gratitude for all that mothers do for their children and offer a message of hope and encouragement to mothers everywhere.
34. “Oh! My Papa” by Eddie Fisher
“Oh, My Papa” is a popular song written by Swiss composer Paul Burkhard with lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons.
It was originally recorded and released by Eddie Fisher in 1953.
The song became a hit for Fisher, reaching the top of the charts in the United States and remaining there for nine weeks.
It also became a popular standard and has been covered by numerous artists over the years.
The lyrics of the song describe the singer’s love and admiration for their father, with the chorus containing the lines “Oh! My Papa, to me, was so wonderful, Oh! My Papa, to me, he was so good.”
35. “Mom” by Megan Trainor
“Mom” is a song by American singer-songwriter Megan Trainor.
It was released in 2017 as a single from her album Thank You.
The song is an upbeat and catchy tribute to Trainor’s mother, who played a significant role in her life and career.
It features lyrics that express Trainor’s love and appreciation for her mother, and the chorus includes the lines “Mom, you’re my favorite girl/You know I love you more than pearls.”
The song received positive reviews upon its release and has become a popular choice for Mother’s Day celebrations.
Songs About Parents – Final Thoughts
In conclusion, the 35 best songs about parents of all time are a diverse and emotional collection of tracks that capture the many different facets of the parent-child relationship.
From songs of love and gratitude to songs of loss and longing, these songs reflect the complex and deeply meaningful bond that exists between parents and their children.
Whether you are looking for a song to celebrate your parents or simply want to pay tribute to the role that parents play in our lives, these 35 tracks are sure to provide inspiration and comfort.