60 Father-Daughter Songs That’ll Make You Want to Hug Your Dad
It took you 30 days of back and forth with your husband-to-be to land on your first dance pick. Now, you need to start the process all over again but with your doting dad in mind. Is he all about the classic ballads or country rock? Either way, we’ve found the 60 best father-daughter songs—and one will certainly fit the bill. Some will make you want to dance; others will bring tears to your eyes...but all of them will make you want to hug your dad.
1. “Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon
Paul Simon’s soothing, velvety voice lends depth and a nostalgic quality to this simple tune about a father’s unabiding love.
2. “Unforgettable” by Natalie Cole (ft. Nat King Cole)
The silken voices of Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole make an unforgettable impression in this dreamy duet, which pays tribute to the father-daughter bond. It’s like a warm blanket and a glass of wine all rolled up into one song.
3. “Your Daddy Loves You” by Gil Scott-Heron
Stripped-down and honest, Gil Scott-Heron’s voice shines in this touching tune about the challenges of marriage and the strength of parental love.
4. “You are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder (1972)
Stevie Wonder hits all the right notes (as always) when singing about the apple of his eye. Although the song was inspired by his wife at the time, the heartfelt lyrics fit the father-daughter theme just fine.
5. “Gracie” by Ben Folds (2005)
Maybe it’s the melodic piano or perhaps the tender and earnest singing—all we know is that Ben Folds brings us to tears with this open letter about a father’s love for his daughter.
6. “Winter” by Tori Amos (1992)
Tori Amos conjures childhood memories whilst paying tribute to fatherly wisdom in this soft and dramatic tune.
7. “I’ll Be Your Man” by Zac Brown Band (2015)
The acoustic guitar and subtle country twang will lure you in, but brace yourself for the power ballad level of emotion when Brown sings the chorus: “I thought I knew love before you came into my life.”
8. “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder (1976)
Stevie Wonder wrote this song to express the awe and delight he felt upon the birth of his daughter, Aisha and, as you’d expect, this declaration of love has lots of soul.
9. “Daddy Could Swear, I Declare” by Gladys Knight and the Pips (1973)
Gladys Knight, one of the R&B greats, paints a portrait of a charming and lovable man in this upbeat ode to daddy. Spoiler: This one will make you want to dance—great for getting more feet on the dance floor.
10. “You’re a Big Girl Now” by the Stylistics (1971)
Turn up the Philly sound with this smooth track from the Stylistics, which is packed with all the sentiment you’d expect from a song about a father watching his little girl become a woman.
11. “You Are my Sunshine” by Johnny Cash (1969)
“You are my Sunshine” became popular 30 years prior to this recording, but Johnny Cash does the song justice like no other. The lyrics here suggest more of a romantic love—but when it comes to the chorus, you’d swear it was a father singing to his little girl.
12. “Daddy” by Beyonce (2003)
Beyonce recounts fond childhood memories while singing the praises of her papa for the love he gives in this subdued, but poignant ballad. Bottomline: This lowkey listen hits all the right notes.
13. “September When It Comes” by Rosanne Cash ft. Johnny Cash (2003)
Family and mortality are the subjects of “September When It Comes”—the last duet Rosanne Cash recorded with her legendary dad before his death. The result is a heart-wrenching and beautiful goodbye that will bring you to tears.
14. “Fathers and Daughters” by Michael Bolton (2015)
No one can belt out the sentimental stuff quite like Michael Bolton. Case in point: This moving ballad about a father-daughter relationship, which he wrote for the motion picture of the same name.
15. “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant (1998)
That’s right, one of Natalie Merchant’s biggest hits is in fact a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to her dad for the generous love he has given—and it’s hard not to sing the same tune.
16. “Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)” by Billy Joel (1993)
The ‘Piano Man’ memorializes his love for his daughter with this touching lullabye: “Someday we’ll all be gone / but lullabies go on and on / they never die/that’s how you / and I will be.”
17. “It’s for My Dad” by Nancy Sinatra (1998)
There’s personality and poignancy in this cheeky and oh-so tender love song and—Nancy Sinatra’s characteristically seductive singing voice notwithstanding—there can be no confusion about who it’s for.
18. “Daddy Lessons” by Beyonce and Dixie Chicks (2016)
Beyonce goes back to her Houston roots with this song about a gun-toting, but tender father figure and the wisdom he passed onto his little girl. The end result is a rollicking ode to dad.
19. “Hero” by Mariah Carey (1993)
This one is for all the dads who are heroes (and all the daughters who adore them)—just don’t try to sing it on karaoke night, ‘cause Mariah’s voice is no joke.
20. “My Darling” by Wilco (1999)
A jangly, dream-like lullaby with indie-music appeal, loads of father-daughter tenderness and lyrics any dad can relate to: “Grow up now / Please don’t grow up too fast / And be sure / To make all the good times last.”
21. “I Will Walk with You” by John Fogerty (2004)
A straightforward but powerful country ballad in which John Fogerty professes his undying love for his daughter, and vows to stand by her side through thick and thin.
22. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler (1988)
Bette Midler belts out a heartfelt expression of gratitude for the loyal hero who made her who she is...and that can only be dad, right?
23. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna (1986)
Alas, the story here doesn’t end with “you always taught me right from wrong.” File this one under difficult father-daughter talks.
24. “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright III (2007)
An uplifting chord progression, a dose of wry humor and lots of fatherly love are on the menu in this sweet ditty about a dad’s role in his daughter’s life.
25. “Daddy’s Little Girl” by Michael Buble (2002)
The lyrics “You’re sugar, you’re spice, you’re everything nice,” might be lacking in originality, but Michael Buble does score points for sentiment. Plus, he croons so beautifully here, you could mistake him for Bing Crosby.
26. “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison (1967)
If you ignore the part about making love in the grass, this Van Morrison classic has all the hallmarks of a touching father-daughter tribute, including fond memories of running, skipping and playing together. (Yeah, we’re a little confused, too, but hey, it’s a great song!)
27. “First Man” by Camilla Cabello (2019)
The pop star slows it down with a sentimental love song for her dad, complete with dramatic piano accompaniment and home video footage from her childhood.
28. “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee (2006)
This little number about familial love boasts lots of Americana charm and an upbeat melody that will put a swing in your step.
29. “She’s a Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones (1967)
The subject here is up for interpretation, but we think this cheery psychedelic track can easily pass for a father’s celebration of his daughter’s beauty.
30. “Cécile, Ma Fille” by Claude Nougaro (1962)
A beautiful chanson with a little swing to it, this French number is an ode to the love a (once-reluctant) father feels watching his daughter grow up—and it will make you swoon.
31. “Papa Can You Hear Me?” by Barbara Streisand (1983)
Bring out the tissues, friends: Babs’ piece de resistance from her title role in Yentl is a powerful lament that will make you want to call your dad.
32. “When You Need Me” by Bruce Springsteen (1998)
When it comes to putting fatherly love into words, the Boss nails it: “If you miss me, I’ll be there / to brush the sunlight from your hair / I’ll be there to guide you when trouble walks beside you / If you need me, I’ll be there.”
33. “To Know Him Is to Love Him” by Amy Winehouse (2006)
Phil Spector was inspired by the words on his father’s tombstone when he wrote this love song; Amy Winehouse’s soulful rendition is gorgeous tearjerker.
34. “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” by James Brown (1974)
James Brown touches on the flaws and strengths of his father with this funky and irreverent celebration of papas. The takeaway? “Papa got a whole lot-ta heart.”
35. “Mockingbird” by Eminem (2004)
It’s no secret that Eminem has a soft spot for his daughter, but his devotion to fatherhood is really on display on this track, in which he raps a heart-wrenching and thoughtful missive to both his biological and adoptive daughters. Cue the waterworks.
36. “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra (1964)
This one’s a go-to pick for the father-daughter dance at weddings, but the heartfelt sentiment will strike a chord on any occasion.
37. “Your Joy” by Chrisette Michele (2007)
The sparse acoustic guitar is an ideal accompaniment to Chrisette Michele’s soulful voice in this song, which explores both the changes in a father-daughter relationship. The one constant? “You’ll always be my father / and I’ll always be your joy.”
38. “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys (1966)
Though the lyrics are simple, you’d be hard pressed to find a better expression of the devotion and love a father feels for his daughter—and the melody is pretty hard to beat, too.
39. “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor (1971)
James Taylor gives voice to this sweet and sentimental number written by Carole King about unwavering friendship and support—you know, the kind a daughter gets from her dad.
40. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns n’ Roses (1987)
Axl may have written this about a girlfriend, but this track is ripe with expressions of love that fit the theme. Turn it on and rock out with your dad.
41. “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn (1991)
String instruments give an extra sentimental touch to this country song about the many ways in which a daddy’s hands work to give love, comfort and security to his daughter.
42. “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong (1967)
A wistful number full of quiet joy and fatherly musings: “I hear babies crying / I watch them grow / they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.”
43. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1990)
This cover from Hawaiian artist Israel Kamakawiwo’ole makes the melodic song from the Wizard of Oz sound like a lullaby sung by a father to his daughter.
44. “That’s How Strong My Love is” by Otis Redding (1965)
Per the usual, Otis Redding hits all the right notes with this song about boundless love. Father-daughter dance anyone?
45. “There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney (2004)
This song starts off with a man’s reluctance to embrace fatherhood. We’ll let Kenny tell you what happens next: “That mistake he thought he made / covers up the refrigerator / Oh yeah, he loves that little girl.”
46. “I Learned from You” by Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus (2006)
This pop-country ballad duet covers the valuable lessons Miley learned from her father as well as said father’s struggle to let go.
47. “Daughters” by Nas (2012)
Father-daughter relationships can be fraught during the teen years, but the love is always there. Don’t take our word for it, though—just ask Nas.
48. “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty (1994)
Tom Petty’s Wildflowers album has some sexier songs, but the title track isn’t one of ‘em: Sweet, wistful and upbeat, this carefree ditty sounds like it was written by a doting dad for his daughter (even if it wasn’t).
49. “My Girl” by the Temptations (1965)
A breezy, cheerful Motown classic that expresses the kind of tender love girl-dads feel on the regular.
50. “Ain’t That Love” by Ray Charles (1957)
The inimitable Ray Charles describes with swing and soul the love and protective instinct every father feels for his daughter.
51. “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers (1981)
This sweet and sentimental ballad has a romantic vibe, but as an ode to enduring love it fits the bill.
52. “Dance with My Daughter” by Jason Blaine (2015)
Get ready for a Canadian with a country twang to tug on your heartstrings with this number about wanting to cherish every moment with his daughter.
53. “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill (2001)
From the original soundtrack for Pearl Harbor comes this sweeping song about loss and the love that still remains.
54. “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by James Taylor (1975)
Another excellent option for a father-daughter dance, this uplifting song is all about ‘sweet love and devotion.’
55. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn (1971)
Here, a moving spoken-word account of a hard-working father who made sure his children were never wanting for love.
56. “Song for Dad” by Keith Urban (2002)
In this song, Urban sings about his late dad's positive influence, noting that he sees a "little more of [his] father" in himself each day. It’s a great way to show your dad gratitude for his wisdom and guidance.
57. “The Best Day” by George Strait (2000)
This feel-good tune tells a beautiful tale about a son’s relationship with his dad, but daughters will find this just as relatable. Strait sings, “Dad this could be the best day of my life / Been dreamin' day and night / About being like you / Just me and her / Watching you and mom I've learned / I'm the luckiest man alive.”
58. “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith (1997)
In this heartfelt tribute to his son, Trey Smith, Will raps, “If the world attacks, and you slide off track / Remember one fact, I got your back.” The music video, which features images of proud fathers bonding with their kids, will also melt your heart.
59. “Daughters” by John Mayer (2003)
This blues rock track is a call for all fathers to “be good to their daughters” while raising them, since it will impact their adult relationships. Not surprisingly, it earned Mayer a Grammy for Song of the Year.
60. “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross (2003)
Fair warning: This one’s a tearjerker, so you might want to keep some tissues nearby. Vandross wrote the song as a tribute to his late father, singing about his childhood and their most memorable moments together.