47 Best Songs About Family

Songs about family members


That one word can bring a lot to mind.

For some it will be feelings of joy, nostalgia, love.

For others it will be feelings of frustration, sadness, skepticism.

There’s no right or wrong way to feel about your family – after all, your experiences are unique to you.

But it is fair to say there are plenty of great songs about family.

Here are 47 songs for your enjoyment.


“We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

Song year: 1979

With all the modern interpretations of “We Are Family” by the likes of The Spice Girls, most people have heard this timeless dance hit at one point or another.

This catchy tune reached number one on the Billboard Dance Club songs and was composed by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers.

Overall, this is a positive song – not just about family but also about life in general.

Take this lyric, for instance:

“Living life is fun and we’ve just begun/To get our share of this world’s delights/(High) high hopes we have for the future/And our goal’s in sight.”

Personally, I can’t help but feel this is an empowering song about the strength that can be found in a solid family relationships.

If you’re ready to get up and sing, this song is for you.

“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” by Bon Jovi

Song year: 2005

Bon Jovi has always had a slight country/western twang to their music, and those inclinations emerged in full on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” which gave them space to venture out into crossover success.

The song describes someone who wanders through the world like a gypsy looking for something they can’t find.

In the end, they conclude:

“I been all around the world and as a matter of fact/There’s only one place left I wanna go/Who says you can’t go home?”

Perhaps not everyone can relate to the idea of wandering the world.

But most can relate to the sentiment of going home – even if it’s just after a long day of work.

“Who says you can’t go home?”

No one.

You can go home when you want to go home.

“Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin

Song year: 1974

Depending on your age, you might be more familiar with Ugly Kid Joe’s version of “Cat’s In The Cradle.”

Every parent can relate to this song, which chronicles the development of child – from the moment he’s born to the moment he has his own children.

This is a song about generational legacy.

It’s how our kids grow up to be just like us.

If you’ve got a “cat in the cradle” you’ll appreciate the sentiment this song embodies.

“Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle

Song year: 1995

If you were listening to Christian/Gospel, Country or even easy listening radio in the 90s, it was hard to get away from this song.


It certainly was.

But maybe now that some time has passed, you can appreciate it more.

This is a song about the miracle of parenthood.

The narrator can scarcely express his appreciation for his daughter:

“Oh, with all that I’ve done wrong/I must have done something right/To deserve a hug every morning/And butterfly kisses at night.”

Much like “Cat’s In The Cradle”, this is a song about a daughter growing up and getting married.

If you love your child, you can’t help but be touched by this song and maybe you’ll even thank God for them.

“Father Of Mine” by Everclear

Song year: 1997

Not all songs about family are positive.

Many of us have had parents, siblings or other relatives who didn’t exactly treat us well.

And, if you were expecting a positive song about family from the quintessential 90s teen angst band, Everclear, you’ve come to the wrong place.

“Father Of Mine” is a song about a father who walked away from his family.

The narrator clearly misses his dad, but he’s also sure that not having his dad around didn’t exactly lead to an easy life:

“I will never be safe/I will never be sane/I will always be weird inside/I will always be lame.”

He also vows to never let his children experience the same fate.

If there are family members that made you want to be a better person, you’ll appreciate this tune.

“Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer

Song year: 1992

Again, not all songs about family are heartwarming.

But sometimes that’s what makes them real.

Although it sounds somewhat poetic/abstract, the story behind “Say It Ain't So” is that singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo was recounting a time in high school when he came home, saw a beer in the fridge and concluded that the reason his parents divorced was because his father was an alcoholic.

The song goes onto speculate that his mother’s relationship with his stepfather would end much the same way.

All around, “Say It Ain’t So” is a bit of a gloomy song but if you think of it as an emo/grunge song you can still appreciate its moments.

“Arms Wide Open” by Creed

Song year: 1999

Creed may have become a bit of an easy target of ridicule (for altogether too many reasons), especially since they played no small part in ushering in the era of the Nickelbacks, Defaults and Theory of Deadmans of the world.

If you love these bands, more power to you.

The point is that despite the Eddie Vedder copping Scott Stapp and the still developing guitar of Mark Tremonti, the band had the right mentors and they ended up releasing some great songs.

“Arms Wide Open” is one of them, and it was a big hit.

This is a song about becoming a father and welcoming a child into the world.

It’s about wishing and hoping for the best for your child, a sentiment many parents can relate to.

“Lean On Me” by Bill Withers, A Song About Family

Song year: 1972

Bill Withers is responsible for plenty of soul and R&B hits.

And, the torch of “Lean On Me” has been carried by acts like Club Nouveau, Michael Bolton and even Glee.

This is an uplifting song, not just about family, but about helping those who are going through tough times.

As the chorus says:

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong/I’ll be your friend/I’ll help you carry on/For it won’t be long/’Til I’m gonna need/Somebody to lean on.”

We all go through tough times and we all need a friend.

Whether you’re facing challenging times now or you’re helping someone else through a dark moment, this song can only leave you feeling encouraged.

“Daughters” by John Mayer

Song year: 2003

“Daughters” is a song about appreciating the women in our worlds.

As Mayer explains: “Girls become lovers who turn into mothers/So mothers be good to your daughters, too.”

This song reminds us that no one is unimportant – we all impact each other.

“Don’t Forget To Remember Me” by Carrie Underwood

Song year: 2005

There are plenty of great songs from the perspective of the parent.

But what about songs from the perspective of the child?

“Don’t Forget To Remember Me” by Carrie Underwood is exactly that.

It tells the story of a girl who turns 18 and is leaving home.

This song is also about the joys of reuniting with family you haven’t seen in a while.

“Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn

Song year: 1986

Do you have fond memories of a parent?

“Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn is a country song about a father the narrator remembers lovingly:

“Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’/Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong/Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand/There was always love in daddy’s hands.”

There are some things you can only see in retrospect about your parents.

Sometimes they do things and you don’t understand why.

But looking back, you can sometimes see there was love in their actions.

That’s what this song is about.

“My Father’s Eyes” by Eric Clapton

Song year: 1992

Here’s another song that was hard to avoid on 90s easy listening radio.

The meaning is a little cryptic, however, unless you understand where Clapton was coming from when he wrote it.

Clapton was raised by his grandparents – something he didn’t know until he reached his teens.

Clapton therefore didn’t know his father and that sentiment is reflected in this song.

But there is a bit of a deeper meaning if you choose to read into it.

Clapton could be talking about meeting his father in heaven.

Either way, those who’ve experienced fatherlessness might be able to relate to this song.

“316” by Van Halen

Lyrics for parenthood

Song year: 1991

“316” by Van Halen is a bit of a detour for the Pasadena hard rock band.

First, there are no lyrics or vocals to the song, let alone bass or drums.

Second, the guitar sounds like an acoustic guitar – if not that, a heavily effected clean, electric.

Third, the title is kind of cryptic.

Fourth, the music only lasts for about 1:28.

As it turns out, “316” is a personal song about the birth of guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, and the number relates to his birthday.

Sometimes music says more than words.

“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” by U2

Song year: 2004

At first glance, it appears as though this song could be about any relationship.

It is, however, a song about Bono’s distant and difficult relationship with his dying father.

Despite the difficulties, the narrator declares:

“I know that we don’t talk/I’m sick of it all/Can you hear me when I/Sing, you’re the reason I sing/You’re the reason why the opera is in me.”

Sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

This song reminds us of the importance of building a connection with our family.

“Somebody’s Hero” by Jamie O’Neal

Song year: 2004

Have you ever thought of your parents as heroes?

It doesn’t matter whether they’ve accomplished anything extraordinary.

They’ve made a difference just by being in your world.

That’s what “Somebody’s Hero” is about.

“Never Gonna Be Alone” by Nickelback

Song year: 2008

As with most Nickelback songs, this one is a little vague.

It could be about any relationship.

But the music video makes it clear that this song is about a parental relationship.

If there are any other hints it would be these lyrics:

“I’m gonna be there all the way/I won’t be missing one more day/I’m gonna be there always/I won’t be missing one more day.”

If you care deeply for your child, no doubt you can relate to this song.

“Coat Of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton

Song year: 1968

“Coat Of Many Colors” is a touching song about how a mother makes a coat for her daughter from rags of various colors.

The parallel to the Biblical story of Joseph isn’t accidental and the song even refers to it.

The song is also about poverty, but as the narrator shares:

“That one is only poor/Only if they choose to be/Now I know we had no money/But I was rich as I could be/In my coat of many colors/My momma made for me/Made just for me.”

“Daddy’s Little Girl” by Michael Bolton

Song year: 2003

The lyrics and music to this song were originally written by Robert Harrison Burke and Horace Gerlach in 1949.

“Daddy's Little Girl” is typically played at weddings as the bride dances with her father.

And, of course, it has been recorded by many artists.

But no father who’s given their daughter away in marriage can leave feeling untouched by this song.

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by The Hollies

Song year: 1969

Even if you can’t place the song or the band, you’ve probably heard this song before, especially since it’s been recorded by the likes of Neil Diamond and other known acts.

The song speaks of a strong relationship – it could be between brothers, siblings, friends or otherwise.

It’s about walking through tough times together.

“Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter To Father)” by Lindsay Lohan

Song year: 2005

The title of the song evokes plenty of images and thoughts all its own.

This bit of melodrama (which seems like a good fit for a band like Evanescence) is about a man who leaves his family.

Fatherlessness is a real challenge today and this song brings this important issue to light.

“Father To Son” by Queen

Song year: 1974

A song about generations, “Father To Son” makes several references to war.

It’s not certain whether this is meant to be taken literally or metaphorically.

But I can certainly appreciate the idea that my father had to fight to give me the life I now have.

Either way, it’s a Queen song and it’s cool!

“Blessed” by Elton John

Song year: 1982

“Blessed” is a song about a child that has yet to be born.

It could even be a song about a child that has yet to be conceived, except in the mind of the narrator.

Many of us dream of one day becoming a parent and walking alongside a child.

This song is both about the hope of parenting as well as the anxiety of not being able to pass on your legacy.

“Breathing” by Kate Bush

Song year: 1980

It’s immediately apparent that this is a bit of an odd number.

But it’s also clear that it’s a song from the perspective of a baby in a mother’s womb.

Some have claimed it’s an ode to motherhood, but a closer examination of the lyrics reveals something more sinister, with mentions of “nicotine”, and of course the repeated calls of “Let me breathe!”

Now, of course we know that a child’s DNA is a product of her parent’s.

But this song is hinting at so much more than that.

This is a strange yet wonderful entry via Kate Bush.

“Family Portrait” by P!nk, A Popular Song About Families

Song year: 2001

Another angsty song from the punk-rock pop princesses (did you expecting something else?).

“Family Portrait” paints the picture of a family that’s falling apart.

Sung from the perspective of a child, the narrator repeatedly calls:

“Can we work it out, can we be a family?/I promise I’ll be better, mommy I’ll do anything/Can we work it out, can we be a family?/I promise I’ll be better, daddy please don’t leave.”

Again, this is not the most uplifting song about family, but if you grew up in a home that was far from perfect, you’ll relate.

“Family Is Family” by Kacey Musgraves – A Country Songs About Family

Song year: 2015

“Family Is Family” offers what is perhaps one of the most realistic views of family.

The chorus sums it up nicely:

“Family is family, in church or in prison/You get what you get, and you don’t get to pick ‘em/They might smoke like chimneys, but give you their kidneys/Yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family.”

Musgraves is right.

Family is family.

“Kooks” by David Bowie

Song year: 1971

You can’t expect a song by David Bowie to be “normal”, even if it is about family.

On the surface, this seems to be a lighthearted if absurd song about childhood experiences.

But if you read into the lyrics a little, another story emerges.

It would appear the parents are a little nuts:

“Will you stay in our lover’s story?/If you stay you won’t be sorry/’Cause we believe in you/Soon you’ll grow so take a chance/With a couple of kooks/Hung up on romancing.”

Yeah, okay.

Most of Bowie’s songs are about some form of insanity, and I wouldn’t come at this one any differently although I can see how the music might have you fooled.

“I’ll Always Love My Mama (Part 1)” by The Intruders

Song year: 1973

Here’s a song you can take at face value.

“I’ll Always Love My Mama (Part 1)” is a song about – what else – how awesome mothers are.

If you want to celebrate your mother, put on this song and dance along to the early disco beat.

“Family Affair” by Sly & The Family Stone

Song year: 1971

This mellow disco tune is far from a celebration of family.

Rather, it paints a realistic picture of challenging family dynamics:

“One child grows up to be/Somebody that just loves to learn/And another child grows up to be/Somebody you’d just love to burn/Mom loves both of them/You see it’s in the blood.”

I’m not sure what the point of the song is, as it doesn’t carry any message specifically, except to say that family can be difficult.

“Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross

Music about siblings

Song year: 2003

A simple, heartfelt song about fathers who’ve passed.

Some of us would love to go back in time and connect with our departed fathers.

As the chorus goes:

“If I could get another chance/Another walk/Another dance with him/I’d play a song that would never ever end/How I’d love love love/To dance with my father again.”

I’m not sure if I’d want to dance with my father for eternity but I know that’s not what the songwriter meant.

A good song to put on if you want to remember your dad.

“Family Man” by Fleetwood Mac

Song year: 1987

“Family Man” is a catchy, funky and groovy tune written and sung by Fleetwood Mac’s singer and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

I could read into it, but I don’t think there’s much of a point to the song.

If you’re a family man, listen with pride.

“Baby Girl” by Sugarland

Song year: 2004

A song about a girl who grows up and strikes out on her own.

The narrator is writing home to her parents, asking them to send her money, assuring them that everything is going to be fine (the contradiction, I imagine, is intentional).

The girl eventually finds success, but she concludes riches mean nothing compared to her parents:

“And there are fancy cars and diamond rings/But you know that they don’t mean a thing/They all add up to nothing compared to you.”

So, it seems to be a song about how material wealth means nothing if you don’t have your family.

“Keep It Together” by Madonna

Song year: 1990

This funky song’s message is essentially same as “Baby Girl” by Sugarland.

A girl strikes out on her own, achieves big time but still finds it lonely.

This is a song about keeping things tight with your family, no matter what you go through.

“Father And Son” by Cat Stevens

Song year: 1970

A song in which a father tries to pass on his knowledge and wisdom to his son.

It is clear, however, that there is some conflict between the two.

The son is trying to solve problems on his own.

The father is trying to offer some helpful advice.

I’m sure there are plenty of parents that are familiar with this type of exchange.

“Oh Mother” by Christina Aguilera; One Of My Top Songs About Family Members

Song year: 2007

Christina Aguilera‘s “Oh Mother” tells the story, from the perspective of the child, a mother who was abused by her partner.

The narrator expresses appreciation for the mother that gave birth, hung on and finally made the decision to leave her husband.

This is the story of a dysfunctional family unit that withstood adversity and challenge.

“Daughter” by Pearl Jam

Song year: 1993

A song about a child that’s having trouble learning.

Unfortunately, until learning disabilities were properly understood, kids that had them weren’t always treated well.

They often came across as being uncooperative or indifferent about learning something new when they were having real trouble grasping the material.

One can certainly sympathize with the frustration the parents experienced.

But it can’t possibly be any easier for a child that had to endure a lashing from their parents.

“Mama Said” By Metallica

Anthems for brothers and sisters

Song year: 1996

In most families, sons typically have more affinity with their mothers.

And, daughters tend to have more affinity with their fathers

Of course, this isn’t always how things work out.

“Mama Said” is essentially an autobiographical account of Metallica singer James Hetfield’s relationship with his mother, which was reportedly tumultuous.

His mother passed away of cancer when he was 16.

Family relationships aren’t always easy.

And, kids sometimes feel they need the space and freedom to become who they need to become.

That’s what this song is all about.

“Two Sisters” by The Kinks

Song year: 1967

A song about sisters who don’t get along.

One is jealous of the other for her freedom and ability to enjoy life.

As it turns out, the story is basically a metaphor for the real-life contrast in personality between brothers and band mates Ray Davies and Dave Davies.

“Brother” by Pearl Jam

Song year: 1991

Who hasn’t been asked the question, “if you could have another sibling, what would they be – older sister, younger sister, older brother, younger brother?”

And, many have answered, “older brother.”

Well, they’d probably think twice if their older brother was like the one portrayed in this song.

“Oh Daddy” by Adrian Belew

Song year: 1989

This song is like a conversation between a daughter and a father.

The child keeps asking her parent when he’s going to make it big in music.

Her farther tells her:

“Well, don’t hold your breath ‘cause it’ll make you blue/But the whole opera’s not over yet/And I aim to make the fat lady sweat.”

It’s an odd song, but what else would you expect from Adrian Belew?

“Remember When” by Alan Jackson

Song year: 2003

“Remember When” is a song about a couple’s journey through life.

We all go through hardships and difficulty.

Life is full of surprises.

But through it all, love can survive.

“You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins

Song year: 2008

“You’re Gonna Miss This” is told from the perspective of a father who encourages his daughter to savor every moment as she goes through several transitions – turning 18, getting married and having children.

You never know where life may lead.

It’s best to enjoy every moment, even when things seem difficult, because you never know what's going to happen.

“There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney

Song year: 2003

A song about a man who gives up his dreams in exchange for his family and eventually comes to embrace fatherhood.

His daughter, however, fulfills on his dreams of heading out to the coast.

“Something To Be Proud Of” by Montgomery Gentry

Song year: 2005

Thematically, this song is a lot like “There Goes My Life”.

The verses tell different stories about family.

But the chorus ties it all together:

“There’s something to be proud of/That’s a life you can hang your hat on.”

It’s easy to get caught up in living your dreams and trying to make it big not realizing you’re already a hero to the people in your life.

“The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert

Song year: 2010

Regardless of where we grow up, we all have a place we once called “home.”

Maybe our parents still own and live in that home.

Maybe they long since moved on.

Regardless of the situation, there are memories associated with that home.

And, while it’s not the home that ultimately built you, it’s the people surrounding you that did.

Put this song on when you’re feeling nostalgic for “the way things used to be.”

“Through The Years” by Kenny Rogers

Song year: 1981

A simple, moving song about a couple that stays together regardless of what comes their way and the gratitude they felt for having done so.

“Through the years/When everything went wrong/Together we were strong/I know that I belonged/Right here with you.”

“Family” by Rodney Atkins, A Song With Family In The Title

Song year: 2011

“Family” is a song about the joys of family reunions.

Sure, things may not go perfectly.

Your loved ones might take a few jabs at you.

Every year there may be new additions to the family.

But as the narrator says:

“But you gotta love ‘em, they’re family.”

“Thank God For Kids” by The Oak Ridge Boys

Song year: 1982

A simple song about how awesome kids are.

The Oak Ridge Boys begin the song by asking what the world would be like without kids.

Then they end the song by saying:

“Do you ever stop to think or wonder why?/The nearest thing to heaven is a child/When you get down on your knees/Tonight to thank the Lord for His guiding light/And pray they turn out right.”

Kids need to be appreciated and this is a wonderful song for showing that appreciation.

Top Songs About Family, Final Thoughts

It’s not all pretty.

But that’s all right.

Family is family.

Life is life.

As I said at the beginning, it doesn’t matter how you feel about them.

We all feel differently about our family members, and we’ve all gone through different challenges.

The important part is to recognize that we are all human and to appreciate the blood connection.

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