A father-daughter dance is your opportunity to have a special moment with one of the most important people in your life. It provides a sweet moment of family connection, and it’s important to make that memorable. Both dads and daughters will forever cherish this, so they must pick the perfect song that will evoke their special bond.
To help you find songs that will be appropriate and enjoyable (and without the romantic undertones), we’ve compiled this list of the top 19 father-daughter dance songs that are unashamedly sentimental and symbolize the love that you feel for each other as father and daughter.
Find the right song and make your father-daughter dance one you won’t forget.
Top 19 Father Daughter Dance Songs
1. My Girl by The Temptations
My Girl is one of the most popular and traditional father-daughter dance songs. It’s simple, memorable, and appropriate as a dance song with your dad. From the 1965 album The Temptations Sing Smokey, My Girl was a chart-topping single and became one of the keystone soul songs of the ’60s. It is still regarded as one of the best songs of all time, more than 50 years after its release. The song became a classic and is still popular enough to make regular appearances on wedding playlists today.
2. Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman
When Steven Curtis Chapman released his ode to his daughters, it quickly became a must-have for special occasions with dad and daughter dances. Chapman wanted to remind himself to cherish the moments he could with his daughters, no matter how brief they might be. This song speaks to a lot of father and daughter relationships, making it one of the perfect choices for a father-daughter dance song.
3. Wildflowers by Tom Petty
This 1994 classic by Tom Petty would make a wonderful father-daughter dance song. An uplifting track with a folk-rock sound, Wildflowers has now become one of Petty’s most popular tunes. The lyrics are simple and beautiful, plus they have a nice big finish to them that is sure to get you both on your feet. There’s no question that you can have a memorable dance together with Wildflowers.
4. Forever Young by Bob Dylan
In Forever Young, Dylan sings a song that is gentle, vulnerable, and brimming with raw emotion about fatherhood. In the lyrics, he fights his fear for his child and, more profoundly, how he wants him to stay with the optimistic childlike nature that keeps you forever young. It opens with the lines, “May God bless and keep you always / May your wishes all come true,” which echoes the lines from the Old Testament’s Book of Numbers that begin with “May the Lord bless you and guard you / May the Lord make his face shed light upon you.” Dylan wrote this song in 1966 for his son Jesse and it will always tugs at your heartstrings every time you hear it. Despite it having a deeply personal meaning, the brilliant songwriter managed to keep the song universal that can also apply between a father and daughter.
5. You’ve Got a Friend by James Taylor
While Carole King wrote this song, James Taylor’s soulful voice paired with a delicate piano melody makes it a beautiful slow dance song. The song has become a classic, and the lyrics go deep into the core of what a friend really is: someone who will be with you through thick and thin. Your dad can be a father and friend in one, making it one of the most beautiful songs to dedicate to him while you dance together.
6. You’ll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins
This is a sweet song that fathers and daughters can listen to together, and it’s also a great dance song for anyone to play at a wedding or other formal events. The lyrics tell of everlasting love and commitment, so you can be sure you will have special memories of dancing with your father with this tune. The melody matches up perfectly, making it one of those songs that hits your heart in just the right way. This song was written for Disney’s 1999 animated feature Tarzan and won Academy Award for Best Original Song and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
7. Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder
When Wonder released this in 1976, it became a huge hit and continues to be one today. The song has since become a jazz and pop standard, with many artists covering the song. It’s hard not to sing along when you hear those opening notes. Here, Wonder sings for his daughter Aisha, making it a perfect choice if you want something sentimental yet lighthearted to dance to during your father-daughter dance.
8. Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
This song has long been a father-daughter favorite, and for a good reason: It’s lyrically meaningful and touching. This song is about how fathers see their daughters growing up and flying out of their arms into womanhood. But it’s okay because they can always hold them close like butterfly kisses in flight. You can tell that Bob Carlisle is a dad just by listening to his lyrics. This song will remind you of what a precious moment every father-daughter dance is. It’s definitely one of your top choices if you’re looking for more traditional father-daughter dance songs.
9. You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash
With its slow tempo and memorable lyrics, this 1940s classic is a perfect song for your slow dance with your dad. The song’s original version was recorded by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939, and there are versions by numerous other artists. You Are My Sunshine has been covered by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and others. In 2002, Cash’s version was inducted into the National Recording Registry of the United States Library of Congress. You Are My Sunshine is perfect for a father-daughter dance with its slow and sweet melody.
10. Daughters by John Mayer
It’s difficult to hear John Mayer sing any song and not be moved by his raw, emotional voice. This is one of Mayer’s earlier songs, but it still resonates deeply with people looking for a sweet father-daughter dance song. Daughters has excellent lyrics that many dads and daughters can relate to. The entire tone of Mayer’s voice is nostalgic, so you get a warm feeling every time you listen to it—plus some misty eyes if you get too attached.
11. Daughter by Loudon Wainwright III
Your heart will melt as you listen to Loudon Wainwright’s sweetly sentimental tribute to his daughter. This song is a fine example of a father-daughter dance song that moves beyond silliness or sentimentality and speaks directly to your heart. A nostalgic song about being wrapped around his daughter’s finger, this song speaks from a father who loves his little girl unconditionally.
12. In My Life by The Beatles
In My Life is a lovely choice for father-daughter dance songs. It’s also a song of timeless beauty and has powerful lyrics that speak to life and love. The song was written by John Lennon, who had lived life—and loved deeply—for 25 years when he wrote it. Because of its mature feel, In My Life is best suited for fathers with older daughters. It also fits those who want to share their recollections of happier times with their children before raising them up into adulthood. A gentle guitar backs vocals as dreamy as any recorded in rock history, while a simple set of lyrics ask one big question: What are my memories made of?
13. Father and Daughter by Paul Simon
Paul Simon’s Father and Daughter is a good father-daughter dance song. This song tells the story of a father who always wants his daughter to be happy and protected from everything. The lyrics are sweet, and the tune is easy to listen to. Paul’s daughter, Lulu, was only seven years old when her father finished the touching song. Simon also enlisted his then-ten-year-old son, Adrian, to sing with him on the vocals, making the song even more heartwarming.
14. What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
Nothing says classic quite like a song from Louis Armstrong. Written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, What A Wonderful World was released in 1967 and quickly became an American hit. While it has been covered by multiple artists over the years, Armstrong’s version is, without a doubt, still one of everyone’s favorites. This song goes great with any slow dance you use as your father-daughter dance number.
15. You’ve Got A Friend In Me by Randy Newman
There are few things more important than friendship in this world, and this song reminds us of that. Sung by Randy Newman in Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, this tune is one of cinema’s most beautiful theme songs. It also fits for a father-daughter dance number. It’s catchy, it’s timeless, and if you’ve ever seen that movie with your dad, you know just how special it is. On its own, You’ve Got a Friend in Me has some appeal for all ages thanks to Newman’s charming vocal performance.
16. When You Need Me by Bruce Springsteen
When You Need Me is one of Bruce’s most heartfelt ballads. This song is even better as a father-daughter dance song because Bruce sings it straight from his heart. His daughter Jessica was struggling in high school at the time, and he wanted her to know she could always come back home whenever she felt like she needed him. If there ever was a love song written just for fathers and daughters, Bruce Springsteen delivers with When You Need Me.
17. My Little Girl by Tim McGraw
My Little Girl by Tim McGraw is another great choice. This sweet ballad is perfect for a father-daughter dance at a wedding reception. In this song, McGraw talks about how he will always love his little girl no matter what age she gets to. For him, she will always be his little girl. Tim McGraw poured out his sentimentality in this song. Many fathers will be reminded of their girls, their baby’s childhood memories, and how they protected their daughters. My Little Girl is simply one of the best songs written about a loving father and his daughter.
18. You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder
You Are the Sunshine of My Life is a 1973 single released by Stevie Wonder. The sunshine of Stevie Wonder’s life when he wrote this song was Syreeta Wright, whom he married in 1970. Here, Wonder expresses his devotion as a husband looking upon his now-familiar wife and remembering why he loves her and always will. Although originally meant as a romantic song, it still remains a heartfelt expression of undying love, making it fitting for a father-daughter dance. This song is a good choice for weddings, proms and other special occasions where a father would dance with his daughter.
19. Daddy’s Little Girl by Michael Bublé
For a sweet, tender dance with that special father-daughter bond, you can’t go wrong with Michael Bublé’s tender song, Daddy’s Little Girl. It’s about a dad appreciating his daughter as his precious gem and the treasure he cherishes. The lyrics perfectly capture those special moments when a father would simply admire his daughter, making it an appropriate choice for a father-daughter dance. This classic song is often performed at weddings during the dance of the bride and her father. Robert Harrison Burke and Horace Gerlach wrote the lyrics and melody for the song in 1949.
When selecting a father-daughter dance song, there are a few things to keep in mind. Slower songs generally work better because they allow you to actually talk instead of rushing through them quickly. Lyrics are important too. The chosen song must express the love and care between a father and daughter in front of all their family and friends, so be sure to pick a song that conveys those feelings well.
Hopefully, you were able to find some good songs on our list. We know that personalities differ, and so do tastes in music. But as long as it is meaningful for both the father and daughter, it will be a great dance song for the memorable event.