We had to kick things off with Will Smith‘s 1998 single, “Just The Two Of Us”. Sampling Grover Washington Jr.‘s 1981 song for lovers, the Fresh Prince shifted the track’s message to one about a father and his son. The video stars Will’s son Trey, and features a glimpse of Jada Pinkett-Smith very pregnant with future action star, Jaden. Mike Meyers went on to parody the song in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, but even Mini Me doesn’t distract from the underlying sentimentality in celebrating the father-son bond.
Not all of us have dads that can write a song about us right after our birth, but then again, not all of us are as lucky as Blue Ivy Carter to have Hova as our father. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that with lyrics such as, “Baby I paint the sky blue / My greatest creation was you,” “Glory” is the perfect reminder of just how much Dad really loves you.
John Mayer, “Daughters”
John Mayer knows a little something about girls, and after a failed relationship with one that claimed to have had “daddy issues,” he wrote this song that eventually went on to win a Grammy Award for Song of the Year. It’s one of Mayer’s most successful singles to date, and also one of his most honest. This one goes out to all you dads, reminding you to treat your little girls with compassion and respect and, above all, to “be good to your daughters.”
Ben Folds Five, “Still Fighting It”
Songs are rarely as bittersweet as this one, which Ben Folds dedicated to his son, Louis. With messages about the inevitable pain and happiness of growing up, it’s a song that should resonate once you’ve moved on and had kids of your own. Even then, “Still Fighting It” is a gentle reminder to call your dad this Father’s Day.
Billy Ray Cyrus & Miley Cyrus, “I Learned From You”
They’re the biggest father-daughter duo in the spotlight since Joe and Jessica Simpson, and they know something about the push and pull of a parent-child relationship. Fathers and children can relate to its message of inspiring and teaching each other, especially when they sing “All of the reasons to keep on believing / There is no question that’s a lesson I learned from you.”
Alanis Morissette, “Princes Familiar”
Functioning as a lyrical response to John Mayer’s “Daughters,” this song is Alanis Morissette’s plea to her father to “love your princess so that she will find loving princes familiar.” It’s the perfect way to tell your dad just how much his love and attentiveness means to you.
John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”
From its light melody to his lilting voice, “Beautiful Boy” is literally a father’s lullaby to his son, made bittersweet by the fact that Lennon never got to see his own beautiful boy grow up. But it’s enough to make us remember and long for that time when Dad would carry us in his arms all the way to bed, where he’d whisper and tell us he loved us until we fell asleep.
Jessica Sanchez, “Dance With My Father”
We thought that the original version was moving enough, but somehow American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez managed to make Luther Vandross’ song dedicated to his late father that much more heartbreaking. Maybe it was because of how emotionally raw her voice got, or maybe it was because America saw how her father was there for her throughout the competition. But whatever the case, Sanchez’s rendition reminded us why “Dance With My Father” remains a poignant classic.
Eminem, “Hailie’s Song”
Eminem hasn’t shied away from his rough upbringing in his music. But the brightest part of his life has always been his daughter, Hailie, to whom this song is dedicated. It’s undoubtedly one of Slim’s most personal songs — he doesn’t even rap it; he sings it.
Beyoncé always kills those ballads, and this one about her daddy’s love is for the nostalgic part inside all of us. With lines such as, “There is no one else like my daddy / And I thank you for loving me,” this song commemorates a father’s undying strength and companionship, and it’s a way to show him that he’ll always be the greatest man in your life.
Loudon Wainwright III, “Daughter”
You probably remember this one from the end credits of Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up – and for good reason. It’s about Wainwright’s unconditional love for his daughter and the wonderful girl that she’s grown into. Dads everywhere, take heart; you’re not the only one who loves being a father above all else.