Your family is often the most influential people in your life, whether that be for good or bad. The dynamics of family relationships teach you how to form those bonds with others, often coming in the form of unconditional love and support. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 41 best songs about families of all time and the impact they have on our lives.
1. I’ll Be There – Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 might not have meant for I Will Be There to be about family, it mostly seems like a reassuring love song. However, the sentiment of the track perfectly describes what it’s like to have a supportive family around. You always have someone to reach out to for help, they’re always there to comfort you, and the love between you is something that will never fade away.
2. We Are Family – Sister Sledge
Sister Sledge’s We Are Family is probably the most famous—and obvious—choice for a list of songs about family. It was a huge hit from the disco era of the 80s, but it underscores the importance of non-blood families. The “sisters” in the track are likely meant to be talking about the other band members, highlighting the importance of the family you find and what a good influence they can be in your life.
3. Teach Your Children – Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
Teach Your Children is a wonderful song that describes the dynamics of a family. The track’s beginning essentially instructs parents to teach their children by using their own life experiences, helping them avoid the same mistakes and pitfalls the parents fell into. The second half of the song reveals that parents learn from their children almost as much as children learn from their parents, drawing a clear line around how important the relationship is in both directions.
4. The House That Built Me – Miranda Lambert
Written about a return to one’s childhood home, The House That Built Me is a prime example of how inanimate objects can be used to represent a sense of family. Miranda Lambert has many fond memories of the house growing up; learning to play the guitar, painting her hands on the front step, and even the memory of burying her childhood dog in the yard. Everything that occurred in that house “built her” into the person she is today.
5. Count On Me – Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars’ Count On Me is another great song about how your family is often the people you can count on. No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, no matter how lost you feel in life, they’re going to be there to help you find your way and give you what you need.
6. A Song for Mama – Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men’s A Song For Mama is another tribute to the mother’s out there who are always there for their children and truly raise them as they should. A mother is often the most caring person in your life, offering love, support, and guidance that you won’t find anywhere else.
7. Daughters – John Mayer
While families are often a person’s biggest source of support, they can also be their biggest source of trauma. John Mayer took that thought and applied it to his problems with women in relationships, believing their trust issues were the result of daddy problems. Not the best take, but the song at least does offer decent advice for fathers to be good to their daughters, as they will always compare love to the way their father treated them.
8. Dear Mama – 2Pac
Mothers get a lot of credit, but they absolutely deserve it because they’re one of the most important people in a child’s life. They often struggle and sacrifice for their children, something that sometimes goes unappreciated or understood by their children. Not so here, as Tupac Shakur wrote Dear Mama as a way to thank his mother for all she had done for him growing up.
9. You’ll Be In My Heart – Phil Collins
You’ll Be In My Heart is one of those amazing songs that saw Phil Collins absolutely kill a film soundtrack single. This one might be from the animated movie Tarzan, and his family might have been a bunch of apes, but he would always be loved by them despite being different in so many ways. It’s a beautiful track and one of the best in the entire film.
10. Little Bird – Jonas Brothers
Having a child changes people, and most of the time, that change is for the better. It’s hard to not look at a newborn baby—that’s yours—and not be overwhelmed by emotions. This Jonas Brothers song, Little Bird, captures a lot of those feelings well. You want to protect them, care for them, and love them. And it was written when one of their daughters was born.
11. Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder may be blind, but that didn’t stop him from taking in every moment he could with his daughter as a baby. Isn’t She Lovely was written when he was a new father, listening to and recording the baby noises his daughter was making and falling ever more in love with the little girl in his arms.
12. The Best Day – Taylor Swift
Released on Taylor Swift’s original Fearless album, The Best Day is one of the few songs from the album that does not deal with the topic of romance. In fact, it is a tender, sentimental track written by her to show how grateful she was for her family’s support of her music career.
The song is full of childhood memories ranging from being a mere five years old in the fall, all the way to her age at the time the track was written in 2008. The music video for the updated “Taylor’s Version” of the song also features a compilation of home videos from her youth of her family.
13. 7 Years – Lukas Graham
Written by Danish soul-pop band Lukas Graham, 7 Years topped numerous charts in 2015 upon its release. Opening at a faster pace to emphasize how quickly life moves, it speaks of childhood and youth and the freedom of being young. As the song progresses it slows, singing of the hopes and goals for the future. The narrator tells us how important family is with the realization that being a father is one of the most important things.
14. Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna
At some point, everyone is going to strive for independence. Moving away from your parents and handling life by yourself is a landmark time in everyone’s life. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to them in a time of need. Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach discusses her own yearning for independence, yet knowing she can always turn to her father for help.
15. Family Affair – Sly & The Family Stone
Sly & The Family Stone was a huge success, and their biggest hit came with the song Family Affair. While they were a strong functioning family to the outside world, this track told the story of the dysfunction and problems that can arise in a family unit. The song served as both a warning to listeners and a foreshadowing single of what eventually befell them.
16. Cat’s in the Cradle – Harry Chapin
Cat’s In The Cradle is a very famous song, but it’s a lot more sad than most people realize. In it, a busy father pushes his son off quite often, not realizing all the important things he’s missing. Despite this, the son wants to be just like him, and he eventually is. Once he’s grown up and the father is old, he doesn’t have time for his father, just like his father didn’t have time for him. It’s a sobering reminder to be present for your children because they’ll be just like you one day.
17. Don’t Forget to Remember Me – Carrie Underwood
Don’t Forget To Remember Me is a beautiful song but it’s especially poignant for parents. One day, all the children go up and move away. You just have to hope you instilled the proper things in them and that they’ll remember that you will always have their back and support them in any way you can.
18. Who Says You Can’t Go Home – Bon Jovi
Who Says You Can’t Go Home is another amazing song about how you can always find acceptance with your family. For a lot of people, the world is a cold and cruel place. Finding your place in the world is hard and you’ll be met with a lot of rejection, but there’s no rule that says you can’t go try your luck out there and eventually come back to a place where you’re welcomed and loved.
19. Don’t Blink – Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney underscores the importance of taking time to enjoy your family while you have them because time is always moving, and it passes you by without you realizing it. Don’t Blink covers several big moments in his life, from his relationship to watching kids grow up. But it’s more than that. It discusses how quickly those moments will slip by and reminds listeners to be present for them because one day they’ll be behind you.
20. All-American Girl – Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood sings All-American Girl from the perspective of a daughter talking about her father being there for her. It might be a typical situation on the surface, but it underscores how important that relationship was for her and how it ended up shaping the way she saw the world and allowed her to take chances because she had a place to come home to.
21. Hey Brother – Avicii
Avicii’s Hey Brother is an awesome reminder that we will do anything for the family that we love. No matter how far away we go in the world or what troubles pop up in life, our family is a support system that we can count on every day of the week.
22. My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton wrote My Father’s Eyes to discuss the relationship between fathers and sons. He grew up without a father, so when he had a son, it was a totally new experience for him. The track itself talks about the importance of relationships across generations and how good support it can be to have those familial ties.
23. Family Business – Kayne West
Kanye West’s Family Business is his perspective on family. All kinds of families are included in this nostalgic song, from blood relatives to friends and even work colleagues. He used accounts from his own crew and relatives to come up with the scenarios that play out in the track, giving a first-person perspective from the people who are close to him.
24. Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
Luther Vandross waxes on about his relationship with his father in Dance With My Father. It covers the important little moments that made him feel loved. But his father is now gone and he yearns for one more of those moments with him, simultaneously appreciating what he had and wishing to experience just one more time.
Recommended: Funeral songs for dads
25. Father Figure – George Michael
George Michael knows something about having a good father figure around. This song is about stepping into the role of a father figure and doing whatever it takes to give someone the example that they deserve. It’s also a great way to tell someone you love them and that your love will never desert them.
Recommended: Songs about fathers
26. Keep the Family Close – Drake
Friendships can fall apart in life, but a good family will always be standing by you. Drake knows a little bit about backstabbing and fake friends, but he realizes his mistake a bit too late. Keep The Family Close is a bit of a warning to listeners to prioritize their family over friends who may prove to be untrue or untrustworthy.
27. Family – the Chainsmokers And Kygo
The Chainsmokers and Kygo got it right when they discussed family. It’s not always your blood that becomes your best support or the people you can rely on the most. Sometimes, it’s the family you make with the people you care about that serves you in that role the best.
28. The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga
The Edge Of Glory was written the night Lady Gaga’s grandfather passed away and was meant to be a triumphant celebration of his life and the lives we all lead. Our lives have a huge impact on our family and we’ll never be forgotten by them as long as they live.
29. Father and Daughter – Paul Simon
Parents believe in their children more than anyone else possibly could. And Father And Daughter by Paul Simon illustrates that almost perfectly. If she ever feels afraid or lost, he’s there to guide and guard her. It’s a pretty song about the love of parents and marks an important dynamic of family relationships.
30. My Little Love – Adele
Adele went through a pretty nasty breakup and divorce that tested her as a mother and gave her a deep understanding of the importance of parents. My Little Love is a song that draws on her experiences as she tries to answer her son’s questions about a painful separation and how difficult it was to explain things to him. It’s a track that resonated with millions of fans as well.
31. Be Alive – Beyoncé
Being there for your family and happily being with them gives you reasons to stay alive. It’s something Beyoncé tackled in her single Be Alive, a song that describes how much farther you can go for and because of your family in life.
32. Family Tradition – Hank Williams Jr.
Hank Williams Jr. grew up with a famous father and had quite a lot to live up to when he decided to become a recording artist in his own right. Family Tradition cemented his legacy as an “outlaw” country singer because he was different frpm the other artists in his genre at the time. When questioned about his behaviors, he relayed that he was just doing the same things his family had for a long time.
33. She Lays Down – The 1975
Matt Healy wrote She Lays Down about his mother’s postnatal depression after he was born. No matter the instinctual love you have for children, depression can ruin the relationship and cause it to not go the way it should. His mother had a hard time loving him but never gave up and eventually found her way out of the darkness.
34. Mockingbird – Eminem
Eminem’s Mockingbird is one of his most famous songs and one that lies closest to his heart. It’s an ode to his daughter, who had to live with a mother battling drug addiction while her father was on the road touring. In a way, it’s an outpouring of love and praise for a daughter he feels he failed.
35. Daddy Sang Bass – Johnny Cash
Having a family around can make the hard times seem easier, even if it does mean uniting under a lot of stress. Johnny Cash’s song Daddy Sang Bass is almost a gospel hymn about a family coming together to get their work done and make it through a rough time. It’s him remembering the times he spent with his mother singing gospel hymns as they worked in cotton fields.
36. Remember When – Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson’s song Remember When is another track about appreciating the little moments in life with your family. It mostly deals with his relationship with his partner, though it also discusses his kids growing up, all the fights they had—and the makeups—and growing old with a person he loves. It’s a nostalgic song about the family he built and how it was a good part of his life, even when things weren’t going particularly well.
37. Hey Jude – The Beatles
Hey Jude is widely considered one of the greatest singles of all time, but it’s also one of the best representations of both the family you build in life and the one you’re born into at the same time. Paul McCartney wrote the song as a way to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, as, at the time, Lennon was going through a divorce and seeing a new woman and the band members were all going through differences as well.
38. Oh Mother – Christina Aguilera
Not every broken family tie is a bad thing. Of course, they’re always painful, but it takes a lot of courage and strength to leave a bad situation. Oh Mother is a song about those times when you come out of an abusive relationship stronger and create a better situation for yourself. The track is written about her mother leaving her father when she was only eight years old.
39. Father and Son – Cat Stevens
Part of growing up is breaking free of familial expectations. Cat Stevens captured this perfectly in his song Father And Son. It describes a father and son who both want different things for the younger one’s life. Both become frustrated and angry with each other, thinking they know what the best path would be. In the end, it’s something a lot of parent-child relationships have to go through and is easily relatable for fans.
40. Family Portrait – P!nk
Dysfunction in a family always has the biggest impact on the children. Whether it’s an abusive relationship, a hard divorce, or simply a lack of supportive love, it’s the kids that suffer the most. P!nk’s song Family Portrait was one she hesitated to release, as it describes the story of her parents getting divorced when she was nine and all the feelings she had about the entire situation.
41. Family Line – Conan Gray
Some people are drawn to their family’s traits. Sometimes, this is a good thing, but for others, this can lead to bad or destructive behaviors. Family Line is a song about the latter, seeing Conan Gray sing about his genetic disposition towards the wrong choices in life.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.