The connection between a parent and a son is one of the strongest relationships in this world. That’s probably why numerous artists try to immortalize this connection by writing multiple songs about sons. If you’re looking to cherish this connection as well, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some of the best songs that talk about the relationship between a son and a parent, written and sung by the best musicians of all time.
1. “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens
This song is a conversation that occurs between a son and his father, albeit fictional. The son in the song wants to leave home, explore the world, and try out a lot of different things. However, his father tells him that the path to happiness is by staying at home, finding a girl, and settling down.
The song was inspired by Stevens’s relationship with his father who was running a restaurant. His father wanted him to run the diner after him, thinking it was the path that’ll guarantee Stevens’s success. However, Stevens chose to become a musician instead.
2. “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton
This is probably one of the saddest songs you could ever listen to in your life. Eric Clapton wrote the lyrics to the track after the death of his son, Conor, who died at the age of four after falling from an apartment in New York.
Having left him at such a young age, we find Clapton asking his son whether or not he would know his name if they meet in heaven. Clapton was initially hesitant to release the song because of how personal it is, but Lili Zanuck convinced him to do so because she said it might help someone going through the same thing.
3. “Boy” by Lee Brice
Sons often look to their fathers for advice about a lot of things. That’s where the song “Boy” revolves around. It’s also a conversation between a father and his son, and the father talks about how to treat people the right way and what it’s like to grow up in a man’s world.
Although it was written by Jon Nite and Nicolle Galyon, Lee Brice said that the lyrics resonate with him because that’s how his dad raised him. Additionally, he said that the song also makes him think about how he acts as a father to his two sons, Ryker and Takoda.
4. “The Circus Left Town” by Eric Clapton
Even though “Tears In Heaven” was the one that really took the limelight, Eric Clapton wrote a couple of songs about sons, another one of which is “The Circus Left Town” which was also written after Conor’s death.
In this song, we find Clapton mourning for his son whom he regards as the light and source of happiness for a lot of people, likening him to the circus. Additionally, the day before his son died, Clapton was with him at the circus, which means it’s the last good memory he had of him.
5. “I Got You” by Ciara
The gift of a newborn son is one of the most magical things in the world. It brings about countless emotions that sometimes drive us to be the best we can be. This is what Ciara sings about in her song “I Got You.”
She wrote it for her son Future Zahid Wilburn. In the song, she talks about being the best mother that she could be by protecting her son and providing for him. There’s a lullaby part in the song, and Ciara says that it’s her way of calming her son down whenever he’s frustrated or crying.
6. “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon
It’s not just mothers who try to be the best versions of themselves for their sons; fathers, too. When John Lennon got together with Yoko Ono, they had a son in 1975 named Sean. To celebrate being a father and to promise his child of his love, Lennon wrote the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”
In one part of the song, Lennon sings, “Every day, in every way, it’s getting better and better.” This is a nod to Paul McCartney and the rest of his friends from The Beatles who wrote, sang and recorded the song “Getting Better,” which talks about how life will just keep getting better. Perhaps Lennon acknowledges it more after the birth of his son.
7. “Like Father, Like Son” by The Game
On June 30, 2003, Game’s then-partner, Valeisha Butterfield, gave birth to their son. It was the first time that Game becomes a father. His song, “Like Father, Like Son” talks about the fifty minutes that occurred after hearing the news that Butterfield was giving birth and up until her childbirth.
8. “Lullaby For Wyatt” by Sheryl Crow
As the title suggests, Sheryl Crow wrote this song and dedicated it to her son Wyatt. Crow said that she wants to protect her son and raise him in a loving environment. However, she also noted that she wants her son to be whoever he wanted to be, which means letting them go when the time comes.
9. “Sail To The Moon” by Radiohead
In 2001, Thom Yorke’s partner gave birth to their son Noah Yorke. The band then wrote an ode to dedicate to the young one called “Sail To The Moon” with an alternate title of “Brush The Cobwebs Out Of The Sky.”
The song is about being hopeful that his son grows up to be a good man who does good things despite the cruelness of the world sometimes.
10. “Watching You” by Rodney Atkins
Being a father is indeed joyful for a lot of musicians and non-musicians alike. However, there’s no denying that it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. This is what Rodney Atkins sings about in “Watching You.”
It’s a song about how he needs to do a lot of things with his son around. Consequently, his son starts learning the idiosyncrasies of the father just by watching him.
11. “Anything Like Me” by Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley’s album American Saturday Night is about who he became after everything that happened in his life since he was little. His song “Anything Like Me” talks about him being a father, although it’s also more about his second son Huck.
In this song, he’s both terrified and hopeful that his son grows up to be like him. Well, given the things we go through when we’re trying to figure life out, we understand where Paisley is coming from. His son staying out late or driving over the speed limit are just some of the things he talks about in the song.
12. “Kooks” by David Bowie
On the 30th day of May 1971, David Bowie was listening to Neil Young when he got the news that his wife Angie is giving birth to their son. After their baby boy’s birth, Bowie contributed to the growing list of songs about sons and wrote his own. He was inspired by Neil Young at the time which is why he composed it in Young’s style.
Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, went on to attend film school and became a director.
13. “My Little Love” by Adele
It’s inevitable that children will ask the most difficult questions. However, when you’re divorced from your son’s father, some questions become too hard and too personal that they can shatter your soul. That’s what Adele experienced when she wrote the song “My Little Love.”
At one moment, her son Angelo asked him if she could see him, to which Adele replied yes. However, Angelo then said that he can’t see his mother. That’s because even though Adele was physically present, the divorce consumed her.
She fell apart after this conversation with her son, and she wrote the song to document what she went through, as she feels it might help others who are going through the same things. We guess songs about sons aren’t always as endearing as we want them to be.
14. “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts’s song “My Wish” has two explanations. According to the band’s bassist, Jay DeMarcus, the song was written by Jeffrey Steele for his daughter who is about to graduate. However, when you listen to the song and read the lyrics, it’s also about Steele’s son.
That is also what a lot of people believe. Steele’s son, Alex Levasseur, died after losing control of the car he was driving. Alex was only 13 at the time, and followers of the band believe that “My Wish” details Steele’s wishes for Alex, wherever he may be.
15. “He Gets That From Me” by Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire is almost always honest when it comes to writing and singing her songs. She doesn’t hold back with her sentiments, and we hear that in her song “He Gets That From Me.”
The song is basically an ode to Shelby Blackstock, a race car driver, and her son. McEntire talks about anything and everything she knows about her son, from his physical features to his personality and how Blackstock gets all of that from his mother.
16. “That’s No Way To Get Along” by Robert Wilkins
This song is largely based on a fable from the bible, The Prodigal Son, which is also its alternate title. It’s about the youngest son of one father who’s demanding his share of the inheritance. The son then goes on to lavishly spend his wealth before coming home to ask his father for forgiveness.
The Rolling Stones made a cover of this song in their album Beggars Banquet. However, it appeared with the title “The Prodigal Son,” and without writing credits to Robert Wilkins.
17. “To Zion” by Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill married Bob Marley’s son, Rohan. Their relationship blessed them with a few children, the first of which is Zion David Marley. This song, as the title suggests, is a dedication to Hill’s first son.
She talks about how she was initially uncertain about her life choices, being heavily focused on her career but suddenly getting pregnant. However, she then discovers that the joy of being a parent to her son is worth more than anything in the world.
18. “When You Need Me” by Bruce Springsteen
A lot of children are raised by a single parent, which is especially true for children of musicians. Being very busy with their art, touring the world, and meeting a lot of people, these artists keep growing, and sometimes that means having to split with their partners.
However, in “When You Need Me,” Bruce Springsteen reassured his son that no matter what happens, he will stick around and be with his children whenever they need him. The song is also influenced by traditional Irish folk music and is quite popular in wedding ceremonies when the mother dances with her son.
19. “You Had To Be There” by Tim McGraw
While a lot of the songs about sons on this list are inspired by musicians becoming parents, Tim McGraw takes us for a spin with a fictional story in “You Had To Be There.” The song is about a young boy finding out that his father received a court judgment that he would have to stay in prison for longer.
20. “A Song For My Son” by Mikki Viereck
We seek our parents for pieces of advice on the things we’re setting out to do. Sometimes, and especially when it’s quite personal and sentimental, we go to our mothers. Well, that’s what “A Song For My Son” by Mikki Viereck is.
The song is a tale of a mom talking to her son who is about to get married. She tells him what he needs to do and be while also talking about how despite getting married, he will always be her son who filled her life with joy.
21. “Father, Son” by Peter Gabriel
Not all sons grow up having an intimate relationship with their fathers. Sometimes, men don’t talk about what they feel, which sometimes leads to unresolved conflicts that ruin the relationship. While we don’t know if Peter Gabriel experienced this, he said that he wasn’t particularly close to his father.
However, when he developed a disability, he and his father renewed their relationship and became more open with one another. Gabriel’s song “Father, Son” is quite personal, but really speaks to a lot of young adults out there who are quite distant from their parents.
22. “Father Son Blues” by Booker T
“Father Son Blues” is one of the few songs about sons that are instrumental, so there aren’t any lyrics to it that you might relate to as a son or as a father. However, it’s definitely worth listening to, especially if you’re having a good conversation with your children or parents while sipping whiskey.
What makes the song even better is the story behind it. Booker T is one of the most legendary blues musicians of all time. While he was composing the tune, his son, Ted Jones, a soccer player at college, would take time off of his schedule to record “Father Son Blues” with his dad.
23. “Love Without End, Amen” by George Strait
Some songs about sons are parents talking to their children, while others are sons talking to their parents. Some songs would even have them answering one another in different verses. However, George Strait’s “Love Without End, Amen” shifts the narrative by beginning with a son talking about his father.
Later in the song, the son becomes a father himself. Strait even goes on to explore the different meanings of “father” by touching on the subject of theology, unconditional love, and God the father in the last parts of the song.
24. “Rufus Is A Tit Man” by Loudon Wainwright
The title itself is quite funny, and it might even sound downright silly to some. So, why did we include this on the list? Well, fathers don’t always talk about their sons in the most sensible ways. Funny, sometimes foolish moments, are all part of it too.
Loudon Wainwright, a comedic actor, sings about his son breastfeeding in his song “Rufus Is A Tit Man.”
25. “Daddy” by Coldplay
Not all fathers are present with their sons 24/7, especially when you consider the fact that they’re oftentimes the provider for the family. That’s why they’re always at work or away from home trying to earn a living while their family waits for them at home. This is also why you’d find quite a number of songs about sons where the father really misses his children, or the other way around.
Coldplay’s “Daddy” addresses this topic. Chris Martin said that because of being a touring musician, he’s frequently away from his family. While the lyrics aren’t based on personal experiences, the sentimental song is quite relatable for a lot of sons.
26. “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz
93 million miles is the geographical distance of the Earth from the sun. In Jason Mraz’s song, he talks about how even though we might be far from our physical homes, as long as we bring our parents’ wisdom with us, we will always be home, because home is where the heart is.
Ergo, the song talks about him being a son, remembering what his mother and father taught him.
27. “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion
Musicians, being as busy as they are, sometimes don’t have the luxury of time to spend with their children. However, Celine Dion made it a point that she could be with her son once in a while. That’s why she took some time off from performing, which then led her to write “A New Day Has Come.”
It’s dedicated to her son, and it talks about how uplifting it can be to be a parent. She sings about how her son was a miracle to her and how all her worries and pain were washed away by the light that came from her son’s eyes.
28. “Radiate” by Jack Johnson
Kids sometimes have the wildest imagination. Jack Johnson, being a father of two boys and one girl, wrote “Radiate” for one of his sons who loves drawing pictures and making up worlds with his hands.
He says that he would often just watch his son create a world on his own and walk into it, which is what we hear in the lyrics of the song. Jack Johnson also wrote a number of songs about sons and daughters that he dedicated to his children.
29. “Thank You Mom” by Good Charlotte
Sometimes, we’re too caught up with grand gestures that we fail to realize the little things our parents do for us. Good Charlotte reminds us to pay attention and appreciate the little things as well. In their song “Thank You Mom,” they talk about a son who appreciates and loves his mother for all the things she does.
30. “Lullabye” by Billy Joel
This sentimental song is often taken by listeners as a tribute or farewell to a deceased son or child. Well, given the wordplay on the title with “lullaby” turning into a “Lullabye” with the additional E, it does seem like it’s goodbye.
However, the song can also be listened to as the celebration of a son’s life, and how parents would do anything to be with their children.
31. “You Will Always Be My Son” by Anthem Lights
While it is certainly a beautiful thing to watch your son grow into the person he should be, it’s also bittersweet to say goodbye to the little kid he once was. That’s what Anthem Lights is singing about in their song “You Will Always Be My Son.”
It’s about a father who watches his infant son do all the things babies do, but also knowing that someday, he’ll grow up and will be quite a different person than he currently is.
32. “A Song For Dad” by Keith Urban
As the adage goes, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. That’s what Keith Urban is singing about in “A Song For Dad.” It’s about a son who’s slowly realizing that little by little, he’s becoming just like his father.
As the son becomes a father himself, he starts to realize more that his father has tremendous love and respect for the son’s mother, grandmother, and brother. The son then goes on to hope that when the time comes, he wants to be like him.
The parent-son relationship will almost always stand the test of time. That’s why these songs about sons are also still relevant no matter what timeline we are in. As we grow older, life will show us how much our parents loved their children.
Sons, despite sometimes being hesitant with their feelings, will always have a special space in their hearts for their parents. On the other hand, parents will always see their sons as these young boys who gave so much love and joy to their lives.
The next time you wish to celebrate the relationship you have with your son or your parents, be sure to include these songs about sons in your playlist!