Donielle Flynn

Classic rock Dad songs celebrating our wonderful dads! Doni and her Dad attend a Tigers game together. Circa 2006

I was blessed with a good dad.  Not a perfect dad, but a very good dad and a much better dad to me than the dad he had.  I think that’s how evolution works.  We should always strive to be better parents, but the struggle can be very real. Parenting is tough, but the rewards are infinite.  In honor of Father’s Day, I give you 14 classic rock songs for Dad. But first, of course, we need to discuss Mom.

There are a ton of fun “mom” songs.  Whether you’re keepin’ time with “Mama Kin” or just letting her know that “Momma I’m Coming Home,” there are a lot of emotionally connected and/or fun songs for Mom.  Then there’s Dad… What about classic rock Dad songs?  Phhheewww… it’s a rougher roll for Dad.  The first song most people think of for Dad is “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”

Did you Know “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” Is a Cover?

Another cover song.  No big surprise there. It was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Undisputed Truth for their album, Law of the Land.  The album peaked at #62. (from americansongwriter.com) The Temptations recorded it later that same year (1972) and it was an insanely big smash for them. It not only hit #1, but The Temptations also won 3 Grammies for the song.  Here’s the original by Undisputed Truth:

Papa was a rolling stone
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone

The song is amazing, but it’s not exactly showcasing Dad’s merits.  There are some truly magnificent dads in this world.  On Father’s Day, we celebrate those dads making a difference.

One of my Power Lunch listeners, Andy, is an example of a magnificent dad.  He lost his wife about ten years ago and has raised his daughter on his own.  Andy’s daughter recently graduated high school and attended prom.  Andy told me how proud he is of his daughter.  The struggle must have been real for both of them.  Losing a parent early in life is so hard for the child, but it’s also difficult for the parent.  They’re morning the loss of their partner while having to keep it together and support their child in their time of grief.  Hearing the pride in Andy’s voice when he speaks of Helena is a wonderful thing.

Whether the following songs celebrate the father and child bond or work more as a cautionary tale, here are some classic rock Dad songs.  I also found some pretty sweet Dad Joke T-Shirts, if you want to check those bad boys out, CLICK HERE.  Please join me for Over Easy on Father’s Day from 7-10am.  I dug up every dad-related song that I felt made sense for the vibe of Over Easy.  Here’s to our wonderful dads!

Classic Rock Dad Songs

  • "Father and Daughter" - Paul Simon

    This song is uplifting. Paul Simon can write a song and tell a story that speaks to us like no other and that’s what he does in “Father and Daughter.”  Talk about a love letter to your child.

    I’m gonna watch you shineGonna watch you growGonna paint a signSo you’ll always knowAs long as one and one is twoThere could never be a father loved his daughterMore than I love you

  • "Landslide" Live - Fleetwood Mac

    Sometimes it just takes an intro. “This is for you, Daddy.”  For the Story Behind “Landslide,” CLICK HERE.  It’s hard to believe how young Stevie Nicks was when she sang about “getting older.” Just a stellar song.

    Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
    ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Even children get older
    And I’m getting older too

  • "Daughters" - John Mayer

    John Mayer’s “Daughters” is more of an advice song from a younger man who is not a dad.  Sometimes I think John Mayer can be a bit of pompous ass, but this isn’t one of those times.  It seems like an honest real reminder to parents about how important it is to love and support your children and treat them with kindness. It prepares them in life for how to be an adult capable of the love, support, and kindness they grew up with.

    So fathers be good to your daughtersDaughters will love like you doGirls become lovers who turn into mothersSo mothers be good to your daughters, too

  • "Cat's in The Cradle" - Harry Chapin

    “Cat’s in The Cradle” is a cautionary tale of putting career before family.  It is not always easy to find time for those we love the most, but it still needs to be a priority.  Harry Chapin isn’t taking dads to task.  I think it’s more of a song of lament.  A father who wishes he had made more time for his son.  He pays the price when, in turn, his son doesn’t make time for him.

    My son turned ten just the other dayHe said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s playCan you teach me to throw, I said-a, not todayI got a lot to do, he said, that’s okayAnd he, he walked away, but his smile never dimmedIt said, I’m gonna be like him, yeahYou know I’m gonna be like him

  • "Father & Son" - Cat Stevens

    Cat Stevens has some of the most emotionally in-touch music I have ever heard, but it seems like he has always been searching for something himself.  I hope he found it.

    This wasn’t one of Cat Stevens’ (Yusuf) biggest songs but it’s had a resurgence since it was used in the Guardians of The Galaxy series.

    Look at me
    I am old, but I’m happy
    I was once like you are now
    And I know that it’s not easy
    To be calm
    When you’ve found something going on
    But take your time, think a lot
    Why, think of everything you’ve got

    A father’s advice to his son as he looks back on his own life and prepares his son for the father’s “departure.”  Dude.  I get emotional just wrapping my head around that.  Cat Stevens has given us some truly standout songs.

  • "My Father's Eyes" - Eric Clapton

    Eric Clapton was raised by his grandparents… and no one told him that until he was in his teens.  There’s definitely a sense of sadness in this song pertaining to the loss of not knowing his father.  Eric’s dad never tried to contact him (until after Eric was famous).  When Eric looked into his son, Conor’s eyes, and realized that they were his (Eric’s) father’s eyes, he felt like he finally knew his father.

    As my soul slides down to dieHow could I lose him?What did I try?Bit by bit, I’ve realizedThat he was here with meAnd I looked into my father’s eyes

  • "The Living Years" - Mike + The Mechanics

    This song just punches me in the gut: a son looks back on his life experiences and the impact his dad had on his life. But he is also lamenting over not having told his dad what he meant to him in “The Living Years.”

    I know that I’m a prisoner
    To all my Father held so dear
    I know that I’m a hostage
    To all his hopes and fears
    I just wish I could have told him in the living years

  • "My Father's House" - Bruce Springsteen

    Bruce Springsteen has a distant relationship with his father.  According to Songfacts.com, during a Los Angeles concert in 1990, Springsteen introduced “My Father’s House” with this story:

    “I had this habit for a long time: I used to get in my car and drive back through my old neighborhood in the town I grew up in. I’d always drive past the old houses that I used to live in, sometimes late at night. I got so I would do it really regularly – two, three, four times a week for years. I eventually got to wondering, ‘What the hell am I doing?’

    So, I went to see the psychiatrist. I said, ‘Doc, for years I’ve been getting in my car and driving past my old houses late at night. What am I doing?’

    He said, ‘I want you to tell me what you think you’re doing.’

    I go, ‘That’s what I’m paying you for.’

    He said, ‘Well, something bad happened and you’re going back thinking you can make it right again. Something went wrong and you keep going back to see if you can fix it or somehow make it right.’

    I sat there, and I said, ‘That is what I’m doing.’

    He said, ‘Well, you can’t.'”

    I walked up the steps and stood on the porch
    A woman I didn’t recognize came and spoke to me through a chained door
    I told her my story and who I’d come for
    She said “I’m sorry son but no one by that name lives here anymore”

  • "Father of Mine" - Everclear

    This is a really catchy tune ripping lead singer, Art Alexakis’ deadbeat dad a new one.  Art said in an interview that he doesn’t know if his dad has heard the song, but he does know that his stepsisters (who were raised my Art’s dad) weren’t too pleased.

    Daddy gave me a name
    My dad he gave me a name (then he walked away)

  • "Good night" - The Beatles

    “Good Night” is the last track on The White Album.  John Lennon wrote it and Ringo Starr sang it.  John wrote it as a lullaby for his son, Julian.  Julian didn’t know this fact until 12 years after The White Album was released.

    Good night sleep tight
    Dream sweet dreams for me (dream sweet)
    Dream sweet dreams for you

  • "Junior's Eyes" - Black Sabbath

    This song was dedicated to Ozzy’s father who passed away the year before Never Say Die was released.  Ozzy had a tight relationship with his dad and his dad supported Ozzy’s musical career.  Ozzy’s dad was the one who had crosses made and gave them to each member to use.

    Junior’s eyes, they couldn’t disguise the pain
    His father was leaving, and Junior’s grieving again
    Innocent eyes watched the man who had gave everything
    Junior’s sorrow, who knew what tomorrow would bring?

  • "Here For You" - Neil Young

    A song from father to daughter: Neil Young wrote this song for his daughter, Amber Jean when she was 21 and in her final year of college. I love the sentiment of never wanting to hold her back but always being there “Just close your eyes and I’ll be there.” A really beautiful and touching song.

    In the spring, protective arms surrounding you
    In the fall, we let you go your way
    Happiness I know will always find you
    And when it does, I hope that it will stay

  • BONUS TRACK: "Carry On Wayward Son" - Kansas

    I made this a bonus song because it’s not really about Dad. The song has obvious parental themes, but in this case, the parent seems to be God.  The song is spiritual in nature, but according to author, Kerry Livgren, “the song was not written to express anything specifically religious, though it certainly expresses spiritual searching and other ideas.” (from songfacts.com)  I figured we’d end on a high note. 🙂

    Carry on, my wayward son
    There’ll be peace when you are done
    Lay your weary head to rest
    Don’t you cry no more

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