8 Songs to Play and Listen to on Father's Day

Cheerful father and daughter dancing in bedroom

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Father's Day is a special day to honor not only our dads but those who've been a father figure to us. In the United States, Father's Day falls on the third Sunday of the month of June.

It is believed that the idea for a "fathers' day" started in 1909 when Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, after celebrating Mass on Mother's Day, realized that fathers like her own dad, William Jackson Smart, should also be honored.

William Smart lost his wife after she gave birth to their sixth child. After her death, he raised his children as a single parent. It is because of William Smart's selfless love that Sonora thought of having a "fathers' day," and this idea spread throughout her Spokane, Washington, hometown.

On June 19, 1910, the first celebration of Father's Day occurred, which was also the birthday of William Smart. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge would further support this day, and in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared that Father's Day would be celebrated every third Sunday of June. Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon made Father's Day a permanent national observance.

To honor that special man in your life, here are several links to songs about and in honor of Dads with links to lyrics, music videos/samples, and sheet music. Happy Father's Day!

To Sons and Daughters Putting Together Song Lists

Don't forget—just because a song has "father" or "papa" in the title doesn’t make it an appropriate Father's Day song. For instance, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" may be a great song, but it’s not a song about a great dad; it’s about a dad who abandons his kids. 

'Father and Son': Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam)

Voted the best song about dads in a Rolling Stone poll, Cat Stevens' song "Father and Son"is about the lack of understanding between generations. In 2002, the Flaming Lips' song "Flight Test" was deemed so close to this song that Stevens receives three-quarters of the royalties earned by the song.

'Father and Daughter': Paul Simon

Paul Simon wrote "Father and Daughter" for the animated movie "The Wild Thornberrys." It received a nomination for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for best original song.

'Dance With My Father': Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father" is the anguish-filled, very personal title track to Vandross' 2003 album, which is filled with contributions from guest stars. The album came out while he was in the hospital recovering from a stroke. It won the 2004 Grammys for Best R&B Male Vocal and Song of the Year.

'Daddy Sang Bass': Johnny Cash

This list's first country entry comes from the inimitable Johnny Cash, with "Daddy Sang Bass," which is about love getting you through tough, dark times. It spent six weeks at #1 on the country music Billboard chart in 1969, 20 weeks on the chart overall. 

'Oh My Papa': Eddie Fisher

1950s crooner Eddie Fisher (father of actress Carrie Fisher) had a #1 hit in late 1953 and early 1954 with "Oh My Papa," a song about how he misses his late father. 

'Papa, Can You Hear Me?': Barbra Streisand

The Barbra Streisand song "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" was written for the soundtrack to 1983's "Yentl," her movie directorial debut, which was dedicated to her father. The song even makes an appearance in "The Simpsons" in season 16, episode 3.

'Just the Two Of Us': Will Smith

From the father's perspective to his child is "Just the Two of Us" by musician and actor Will Smith. Off his debut album, "Big Willie Style," the song spent 11 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in 1998 and reached #20.

'Color Him Father': The Winstons

The winner of the best R&B song Grammy for 1969, "Color Him Father" by the Winstons is actually about the love of a stepfather to a stepson. The 45 of this hit is likely more known for its flipside, though. A six-second drumbeat on the B-side of the single, "Amen, Brother," has been sampled nearly 3,000 times in contemporary rock, metal, rap, and R&B music.