For Father's Day, Ten Classic Songs From Dads to Their Kids

Most of us can only imagine what it’s like to be the son or daughter of a revered rock star. Yes, the perks would be plentiful — you get to hang backstage at concerts, meet your dad’s famous friends, and score some pretty hot dates with hardly any effort at all. (“Hey, you wanna meet my dad? Yeah, his name happens to be Paul McCartney!”) Pretty cool, eh?

Likewise, you might find yourself the subject for his songs. That’s the kind of bragging rights most of us will never know.

With that in mind, and as we approach Father’s Day, here's a selection of 10 classic songs composed by famous fathers in honor of their offspring. (Warning: Hankies strongly recommended!)

10. John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”
There is, of course, a certain poignancy present here, not only in the heartfelt sentiment Lennon expresses but also in the sad irony that follows. Despite the reassuring tone, Lennon’s days of being with his boy were limited and doomed to draw to their conclusion shortly after the song’s release. Taken from his final album, Double Fantasy, it finds Lennon’s paternal instincts reignited as he readies his devotion to family and fatherhood after it eluded him in the past. A stirring song made all the memorable for that last lingering impression.

9. Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
Wonder, a man who’s been blind nearly since birth, can still marvel at the beauty of his newborn baby. And who better to express this joy than Wonder himself, an artist known as an eternal optimist? Catchy and concise, it’s Wonder at his most wonderful, an uplifting hymn filled with elegance and elation.

8. Clarence Carter, “Patches”
There’s a sense of sadness in this lyric that details a dying father’s plea to his son to carry on his role by taking care of his family. “Patches, I’m dependin’ on you, son/To pull the family through/My son, it’s all left up to you.” Wow, that’s a pretty tall order for a kid who hasn’t even reached puberty. But it still makes for one heck of a soulful serenade.

7. Loudon Wainwright, Various Songs
Wainwright’s family was about as dysfunctional as anyone’s you could imagine, yours included. You may think you had it bad, but he had to deal with divorce, rebellious kids who became rebellious musicians, and a daughter with a dirty mouth. Ah, what better inspiration for singing their praises and discussing their perversity? Two of his tunes include "Rufus Is a Tit Man" (a reference to his son’s penchant for breastfeeding) and the sentimental "A Father and a Son,” both dedicated to his eccentric son Rufus Wainwright, who’d later became a star in his own right. Loudon turned his attention to his daughter when he wrote "Pretty Little Martha” and "Five Years Old” during her childhood; he later composed "Hitting You,” a not so subtle reference to her difficult teenage years.

6. Eric Clapton, “Tears in Heaven”
Clapton composed this heartfelt paean to his 4-year-old son Connor, who, on March 20, 1991, fell from a window of a 53rd-floor New York apartment building owned by a friend of the child’s mother. Originally envisioned for the soundtrack of the film “Rush,” the song was co-composed by lyricist Will Jennings, who then faced the formidable task of trying to put Clapton’s grief into words. Knowing the circumstances, it’s hard to hear it without being profoundly moved by the supreme tragedy that surrounds a young life caught short.

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Lee Zimmerman