67 Father-Daughter Songs That Just Might Start the Waterworks

We're not crying, you are

You've gone back and forth with your partner for the last couple of months deciding on the best song for your first dance and landed on something show-stopping. But, you're still at a loss for your special father-daughter number. Where to start...? Is dad a fan of smooth jazz or is he more of a country guy at heart?

From hip hop chart toppers like "Daughters" by Nas or "Mockingbird" by Eminem to classic rock jams like "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison or "She's A Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones, there's a little something for everyone on this list. Country. Blues. Pop. Jazz. Spotify is your oyster. (You can even see our dedicated playlist here.) Some of the 67 best father-daughter songs will have you shedding a tear or two, while others will have you putting on your dancing shoes, but all of them will make you want to run home and hug your dad.

The 75 Best Gifts for Dad That He'll Actually Use (and Won't Abandon in the Garage)

1. “Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon

  • Release Year: 2006
  • Genre: rock, pop
  • Run Time: 4:11

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)

  • Release Year: 1991
  • Genre: jazz, R&B
  • Run Time: 3:30

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 (for Gia Louise)” by Gil Scott-Heron

  • Release Year: 1980
  • Genre: jazz, funk, soul
  • Run Time: 3:16

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

  • Release Year: 1972
  • Genre: R&B, soul
  • Run Time: 2:58

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

  • Release Year: 2005
  • Genre: alternative, indie
  • Run Time: 2:38

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

  • Release Year: 1992
  • Genre: piano rock, alternative, indie
  • Run Time: 5:42

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

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Genre: country
  • Run Time: 5:48

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

  • Release Year: 1976
  • Genre: R&B, soul
  • Run Time: 6:34

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 & the Pips

  • Release Year: 1997
  • Genre: funk, soul
  • Run Time: 3:43

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

  • Release Year: 1975
  • Genre: funk, soul
  • Run Time: 4:38

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

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Genre: country
  • Run Time: 3:16

“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

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Genre: R&B
  • Run Time: 4:58

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

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Genre: country
  • Run Time: 3:40

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 & Daughters” by Michael Bolton

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Genre: pop/rock ballad
  • Run Time: 3:29

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

  • Release Year: 1998
  • Genre: alternative, indie, pop
  • Run Time: 4:01

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

  • Release Year: 1993
  • Genre: pop rock
  • Run Time: 3:34

The ‘Piano Man’ memorializes his love for his daughter with this touching lullaby: “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

  • Release Year: 1998
  • Genre: vocal pop
  • Run Time: 3:30

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 The Chicks (2016)

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Genre: pop, folk, world & country
  • Run Time: 4:47

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

  • Release Year: 1993
  • Genre: pop ballad
  • Run Time: 4:17

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

  • Release Year: 1999
  • Genre: alternative rock, folk rock
  • Run Time: 3:38

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

  • Release Year: 2004
  • Genre: rock, pop
  • Run Time: 3:02

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

  • Release Year: 1988
  • Genre: pop ballad
  • Run Time: 4:53

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

  • Release Year: 2009
  • Genre: electronic synth-pop
  • Run Time: 4:29

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

  • Release Year: 2007
  • Genre: folk, country blues
  • Run Time: 3:32

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)

  • Release Year: 2002
  • Genre: easy listening, traditional pop, jazz
  • Run Time: 3:44

The lyrics “You’re sugar, you’re spice, you’re everything nice,” might be lacking in originality, but Michael Bublé 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

  • Release Year: 1967
  • Genre: rock, funk, soul
  • Run Time: 3:03

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)

  • Release Year: 2019
  • Genre: pop ballad
  • Run Time: 3:48

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

  • Release Year: 2006
  • Genre: folk rock, country rock
  • Run Time: 2:09

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

  • Release Year: 1969
  • Genre: psychedelic rock, classic rock
  • Run Time: 4:11

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

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Genre: jazz
  • Run Time: 3:29

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

  • Release Year: 1983
  • Genre: vocal pop
  • Run Time: 3:30

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

  • Release Year: 1998
  • Genre: pop rock
  • Run Time: 2:54

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

  • Release Year: 2007
  • Genre: funk, soul, pop
  • Run Time: 2:24

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

  • Release Year: 1991
  • Genre: funk, soul
  • Run Time: 4:23

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

  • Release Year: 2004
  • Genre: hip hop, rap
  • Run Time: 4:10

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

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Genre: big band, swing, vocal
  • Run Time: 3:21

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

  • Release Year: 2007
  • Genre: hip hop, funk, soul
  • Run Time: 4:32

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

  • Release Year: 2012
  • Genre: surf pop rock
  • Run Time: 2:55

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

  • Release Year: 1976
  • Genre: pop rock
  • Run Time: 4:28

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

  • Release Year: 1987
  • Genre: hard rock
  • Run Time: 5:56

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

  • Release Year: 1991
  • Genre: folk, world & country
  • Run Time: 3:29

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

  • Release Year: 1968
  • Genre: jazz, blues
  • Run Time: 2:19

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

  • Release Year: 2001
  • Genre: folk, world & country
  • Run Time: 3:31

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

  • Release Year: 1992
  • Genre: funk, soul, R&B
  • Run Time: 2:24

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

  • Release Year: 2004
  • Genre: country, folk
  • Run Time: 5:02

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

  • Release Year: 2006
  • Genre: pop rock
  • Run Time: 3:23

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

  • Release Year: 2012
  • Genre: hip hop
  • Run Time: 3:20

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

  • Release Year: 1994
  • Genre: rock
  • Run Time: 3:10

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

  • Release Year: 1965
  • Genre: funk, soul
  • Run Time: 2:45

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

  • Release Year: 1957
  • Genre: funk, soul
  • Run Time: 2:53

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

  • Release Year: 1981
  • Genre: pop ballad
  • Run Time: 4:46

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

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Genre: country
  • Run Time: 3:35

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

  • Release Year: 2007
  • Genre: electronic, rock, pop
  • Run Time: 3:40

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

  • Release Year: 1976
  • Genre: soft rock
  • Run Time: 3:35

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

  • Release Year: 1971
  • Genre: country
  • Run Time: 3:00

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

  • Release Year: 2002
  • Genre: country, rock, folk
  • Run Time: 3:56

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

  • Release Year: 2000
  • Genre: country
  • Run Time: 3:24

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

  • Release Year: 1997
  • Genre: hip hop, electronic
  • Run Time: 5:15

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

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Genre: rock, blues
  • Run Time: 3:57

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

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Genre: hip hop, funk, soul
  • Run Time: 4:26

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.

61. "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan

  • Release Year: 1997
  • Genre: rock, blues
  • Run Time: 3:31

This Dylan ballad speaks to the ache in a parent's heart when their child is going through something difficult and the lengths they would go to protect them and make it better, providing love and safety when everything seems bleak.

62. "My Girl" by The Mamas and the Papas

  • Release Year: 1967
  • Genre: pop rock, folk rock
  • Run Time: 3:33

Even though we've already included "My Girl" by The Temptations on this list, it would be a crime to not include The Mamas and the Papas cover of this song. It's groovy, twinkly and perfect for getting the crowd to bop along. If the ‘70s is more your speed, this song is the perfect marriage of dad's old-school taste and your timeless nostalgia.

63. "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart

  • Release Year: 1988
  • Genre: pop rock
  • Run Time: 4:08

Originally released by Bob Dylan in 1966, "Forever Young" was written as a lullaby for his son Jesse. It centers around a father who hopes his child will be resilient and happy despite the trials and tribulations that life throws at them. This Rod Stewart version is perfectly synth-y as any good ‘80s track would be.

64. "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)" by Marvin Gaye

  • Release Year: 1965
  • Genre: funk, soul, R&B
  • Run Time: 2:57

A Motown classic that's all about how comforting it is to be able to come back to your person. The one who will always be there for you no matter the struggles you're facing. Sounds like 'Dad' to us.

65. "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers

  • Release Year: 1972
  • Genre: funk, soul
  • Run Time: 4:18

If your dad's your rock and your go-to person for everything, "Lean On Me" makes so much sense. For obvious reasons.

66. "You're My Best Friend" by Queen

  • Release Year: 1975
  • Genre: pop rock
  • Run Time: 2:50

As we grow up, sometimes our parents become out best friends. Queen knows that all too well with this rock number.

67. "Child of Mine" by Carole King

  • Release Year: 1970
  • Genre: folk rock
  • Run Time: 4:02

We owe a lot of what we know to our parents, but we might see things differently as we get older. King's song is an ode to those growing pains and appreciating those differences. "Although you see the world/ Different than me/ Sometimes I can touch upon/ The wonders that you see/ And all the new colors/ And pictures you've designed," she sings.

If you'd like to take a peek at all the songs in one place, we've gathered them in a convenient Spotify playlist for easy listening. Now take that well deserved bow.

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