If you want to find some music about your relationship with your son, it will be an interesting journey. Finding the best songs about sons might not be as easy as you might think. There are not as many options as there are for songs about other relationships.
The relationship between parents and their sons can be fraught at times. If you have a son, you will know what I mean. You desperately want the best for them. So, you try to steer them away from the potential problems you may have experienced. It is never easy.
Mark Twain made a wonderful observation. He said, “At 15, I realized my father knew nothing. At 21, I was surprised at how much he had picked up over the last few years.”
Twain was right…
Sons go through a stage when their parents’ advice means nothing. But, they also reach a stage where they realize that perhaps they were right all along. As parents with a son, we need to just get them to that stage.
- They Live In A Different World
- Top 14 Best Songs About Sons
- Beautiful Boy by John Lennon
- Father, Son by Peter Gabriel
- Monsters by James Blunt
- A New Day Has Come by Celine Dion
- Lullaby For Wyatt by Sheryl Crow
- Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Child of Mine by Carole King
- Hey Jude by The Beatles
- The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack
- Mother by Pink Floyd
- Good Night by The Beatles
- Blessed by Elton John
- Father And Son by Cat Stevens
- Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin
- Looking for More Awesome Songs?
- Best Songs About Sons – Final Thoughts
They Live In A Different World
The world they inhabit is vastly different from the world you experienced at the same age. There are different rules and distractions. The education and work opportunities are different. Life can change so much through just one generation.
We think they don’t understand, but perhaps it is us who do not. But, all we want is the best for them. Sometimes, they will take a path that we might not understand.
It is a subject that some songwriters have caught hold of. They can put into words and music what sons mean to both mother and father. Let’s have a look at some of the greatest songs about sons.
Top 14 Best Songs About Sons
Beautiful Boy by John Lennon
John already had a son, Julian, from his marriage to Cynthia. His second son, Sean, was born some years later with Yoko Ono, and he wrote this song to him. It shows a soft side to John that did not appear very often.
The song is almost a lullaby in its sentiment and style. The lyrics are just a father speaking to his son to comfort him and melt away any fears.
In this song, John makes one of his profound statements when he sings at the end of the song, “Life is what happens to you/When you are busy making other plans.” How true that is.
Father, Son by Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel is an interesting character who usually slips under the radar of musicians that make a difference. He found early recognition as the lead singer of Genesis until 1975, when he left to pursue a solo career.
He is best known musically, other than for his work with Genesis, for his two popular singles, “Solsbury Hill” and “Sledgehammer.” In serious music circles, he is best known for his Real World Music record label and studio. Which he set up to promote music from different cultures from all around the world.
He admits to having a difficult relationship with his father. Many boys and young men do. Maybe we don’t get as close to our fathers as we could.
The Women Are Just Better At It
The male species are notorious for not being able to confide innermost thoughts to their fathers. The female species are much better at that than we are, as they are at most emotional things.
Gabriel admits that he was not that close to his father until health problems brought them closer together. The father had a very painful back problem, and it helped to sit back-to-back with someone. Peter took on that role, and they became close and confided in each other, possibly for the first time.
The lyrics of the song are quite personal and show the extraordinary amount of love that he had for his father. But, those words can also speak volumes to fathers and sons who may struggle to create a close relationship.
It is a song about fathers and sons that, whilst being personal, offers advice to break down the barriers and find a way to form that closer relationship.
Monsters by James Blunt
James Blunt, or Blount to give him his real name, has taken some stick over the years since his successful song, “You’re Beautiful,” which reached #1 in both the UK and America.
But, James Blunt is more than just a singer-songwriter. He followed his father into the army and served with the Life Guards in Bosnia. His father served with distinction as a cavalry officer in the Royal Hussars and later as a helicopter pilot.
The family can trace their history of military service back over 1000 years. The army is very much a family tradition.
This song, released in 2019, is about his father, Charles, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and needed a transplant. He says the inspiration for the song came from his father’s illness and how we can suddenly realize the mortality of those closest to us.
“Monsters” is a simple song with no flattery or a big production. Just a song about a son talking to his father. The music video is very touching and almost feels like he is saying goodbye to his father.
Making a difference…
James donated all the proceeds from the record, video sales, and royalties to two British charities, Help For Heroes and The Royal British Legion.
Postscript – Charles got the kidney transplant he needed and, when last heard, was on the mend. That alone makes it one of the best songs about sons.
A New Day Has Come by Celine Dion
Celine Dion took a well-earned rest from music in 1999. In 2001, she gave birth to her first son, Rene-Charles, and this song is written for him. This was the first single from the album released in 2002. It was taken from her seventh studio album of the same name, A New Day Has Come.
Having a child brought her life and the life of her son into a new perspective. She was all too well aware of the problems that might befall him as he grows. The trials and struggles with growing up, education, and all that comes with it.
The song affirms her love for him and that she will always be there to guide him when he needs it. It is a touching song dedicated to sons that was written by Aldo Nova and Stephan Moccio.
Lullaby For Wyatt by Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow has been around for a while now. Starting her career as a backing singer, she soon established herself in her own right. And, to her credit, she has not restricted herself to a single genre.
Her songs cover everything from Rock to Country and everything in between. However, this is a gentle ballad with a bit of meaning behind it. It was taken from her 2008 album, Detours.
Hope for the future…
In 2007 she adopted a son, Wyatt. This is a song she has written for him. It is one of those songs with so much truth, emotion, and understanding in it. She talks about how she can stop him from losing his way, and how she can protect him from bad things.
She says she is not going to shape his mind, but to let him grow into who he will be. And, then the great sentiment, how she knows he will be hers, but “just for a time.” There is much truth in that statement. They are ours but not for very long.
A great song from a great singer and artist, that you could almost call a lullaby.
Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd was not a band known for their ballads. So, it is interesting to note that behind “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Freebird,” this is the band’s third biggest downloaded song.
It is a song written by Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington and was written about the death of Van Zant’s grandmother. It is also interesting that it tended to silence critics of the band who saw them only as just some “red-neck” Southerners. Not the case, as most people know.
Mama told me…
It is a song with a mother talking to her son and trying to explain things about life. Plenty of good things about the track, although I wouldn’t agree it is a “power ballad,” as some call it. It is just a ballad with the occasional distorted guitar. Not the same thing.
However, a great track and one that reminds us that Lynyrd Skynyrd was a very good band. And this is one of the best songs about sons.
Child of Mine by Carole King
After years of writing some great songs for other people, this is a track taken from her first solo album, Writer. It was the first of a string of albums that placed her as probably the best female writer of her time. This particular song she wrote with a long-time associate and fellow writer, Gerry Goffin.
She talks about all those important things we know as parents but find so hard sometimes to perform. She sings about watching a boy grow and not trying to force beliefs on him. Letting him find his own way.
A meaningful track and a forerunner of some of the great songs that were about to come from her.
Hey Jude by The Beatles
Let’s go back to The Beatles’ dramas. Especially those surrounding John Lennon. As we know, John and his first wife, Cynthia, had a son, Julian. They eventually split up, with John establishing a new relationship with Yoko Ono, from which came his second son, Sean.
The divorce from Cynthia was rather messy, as they often are. Julian was just five years old, an age where he would not have a clue what was happening. John wrote some songs for Julian, such as “Beautiful Boy,” which we have already looked at. Also, “Good Night” from The White Album, which I will take a look at later.
Dedicated to another man’s son…
“Hey Jude” was written by Paul McCartney as a comfort and support for Julian at this tragic time. It became one of The Beatles’ most loved songs.
Although, it is not strictly a parent-to-son song. It is included because it was a song that was written on behalf of his fellow band member and songwriting partner for his son.
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack
Ewan McColl, a British singer-songwriter who wrote most of his songs with a heavy political bias, composed this stunning song.
He wrote it in 1957 for Peggy Seeger, the half-brother of Pete, who had left America to live in the UK. They performed it together in British folk music clubs, and then, later on, they married.
It was Roberta Flack who took the song from relative obscurity and made it an international hit record. It reached #14 in the UK and America and sold well in other countries.
It is a song about a love affair. But, it has also been applied to a mother seeing her newborn for the first time. In that way, the title “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” becomes a new and treasured experience. It has been used in that context by other performers occasionally.
Interestingly, Ewan McColl had a section he created called “The Chamber of Horrors” in his record collection. In that section, he put all the covers of the song, including Roberta Flacks and Presley’s. He hated all of them.
Mother by Pink Floyd
Taken from their iconic album, The Wall, this is another Floyd song with so much inner meaning. And, as it is mostly Roger Waters, it’s full of personal experience.
The Wall is a part-biographical work. It features an imaginary Rock Star called “Pink.” The character is based partly on the departed Sid Barrett and partly on Roger Waters.
Pink’s father was killed in World War II, as was Roger Waters, and he starts to build a protective wall around himself. He is raised by his overprotective mother, and that forms part of his “wall.” That is what this song is about.
Something some parents exercise over their children. It is an understandable practice. We want to protect them and make sure they are going to be safe and secure. But, quite often, that can cause rebellion and mistrust in the boy, especially as he reaches his teenage years.
This song has the mother effectively telling her son that she is going to control every aspect of his life. Even down to choosing his girlfriends for him, decisions over which he has no choice himself.
The last lines of the song show his quiet desperation as he realizes her piece of the wall around him is getting higher. Too high. “Mother, does it have to be so high?” It is probably the finest concept album ever made with a very powerful message and warnings. “Mother” is just one.
Good Night by The Beatles
This is the final song from The White Album and has a few interesting facts attached to it. John Lennon wrote the song and told Sir George Martin he wanted it to be as corny as possible. Whether that influenced the maestro producer, I don’t know.
A John song that’s not a John song…
Sir Martin arranged and conducted the orchestra that played on the track, and it has the feel of a 50s Hollywood romance. Ringo takes the lead vocal and is the only Beatle who contributes in any way.
John wrote the song for his then 5-year-old son, Julian. It has the feel of a lullaby sung at bedtime. Perhaps that was John’s idea.
The evidence of Sir George’s involvement is very clear. Not only in the arrangement of the orchestra but the interludes and chords he uses, which are not typical of John at all.
The Track Placement
This is also interesting. I have already said that it is the last track on the album. It follows “Revolution 9”, one of the strangest. Did they place them both there one after another deliberately for contrast, or is there another reason?
The reason is unimportant in the context of the father and son relationship. It is a tender song from a father to a son with a great orchestration that is going to be nice for any young child to go to bed with.
Blessed by Elton John
Rather a biographical work by Elton John. He had gone through decades not wanting a child, but suddenly that changed.
This song talks about the excitement of wanting a child. He imagines it in his mind. And, he feels the love for the unborn infant even though he hasn’t seen them or without the child saying a word.
Perhaps, most importantly, he wants a child before he gets too old to make the most of the relationship that will develop. A song that will mean a lot to those who may be expecting a new arrival.
Father And Son by Cat Stevens
One of the classic songs about a father and son relationship. This song has its roots in Stevens’s relationship with his father.
The song is constructed as a conversation going on between father and son. Stevens was born into a Greek Cypriot family in London’s West End. The family owned and ran a restaurant business, The Moulin Rouge in Shaftesbury Avenue in the theater district.
All of the family worked in the restaurant, and it was assumed that Stevens would as well. That is the cultural practice of families from that part of the world. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Until someone wants something else.
A Good Attitude
The father must have been disappointed as he probably felt the business would help to provide for his son and his future family. However, he respected his son’s decision, and it didn’t affect their relationship.
What the father saw were his own desires when he was the same age. When he was young, he wanted to go out into the world and make his name. He was able to understand how the young musician was feeling and why he wanted to pursue his dream.
The emotion of the conversation comes through in the lyrics, as does the wisdom in the words.
“I was once like you are now,” the father says. “You will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not,” he reminds him in encouragement. A brilliant song by a brilliant songwriter, and easily one of the best songs about sons.
Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin
In my view, one of the great singers/songwriters/storytellers of the last 60 years. You could also refer to him in some circles as the greatest songwriter you have never heard of.
If there was ever a song that delivered a very clear warning about a father and son relationship, then it was this one.
Being A Good Provider
Most fathers want to be that. To be successful, to make sure that their child or children have everything they need and, in some cases, want. There is nothing wrong with that.
But, when that is isolating you from your child, and you no longer have any time for them, it all goes wrong. “Sorry, I am busy today,” is the reply to a request from the child.
Getting The Priorities Right
This song paints that picture very clearly. But, it also goes on to the ramifications. The father is retired, and the son has married and moved away. The father wants to spend time with his son, but the son is too busy.
Now, the son is doing what he saw his father do. He thinks that is how it works. Getting the priorities right is important.
So, when the father needs the son, the tables are turned, and the son has no time for him. The song closes with the father observing, “He’d grown up just like me.” It is a brilliant song that could make you change your priorities if that needs to happen.
Looking for More Awesome Songs?
We can help with that. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Friendship, the Best Songs About Having A Baby, the Best Songs About Brothers, the Best Songs About Romeo and Juliet, as well as the Best Songs About Heroes for some more fantastic song selections.
Also, you need to hear those tunes. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best JBL Wireless Headphones, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2022.
Best Songs About Sons – Final Thoughts
As we have said, and in some cases seen, the relationship can be fraught and difficult at times. There are always more arguments between families than between friends. It is an important area of our lives we ought to consider.
Sons rely on parents as an example. What they see us do, they are likely to do themselves. But, we mustn’t be controlling in our relationship. The son needs the room to grow and even to make mistakes.
Perhaps the parents’ role is to try to be a good example and then to pick them up when they fall. Because fall, at least once, they most certainly will. But that’s okay; it is part of the learning process. As long as they know, you will be around to patch them up after they have taken a knock.
We have seen with some of the meanings in the songs how the relationship between father and son can be. If there is one thing this list demonstrates, it is that this is a relationship to be treasured while you can still have it.
Until next time, happy listening.