These songs are dedicated to the most important people in the whole world: your family. We literally wouldn’t be here without our families. Some of our strongest bonds with people are with family members, whether it be our parents, children, spouse, siblings, cousins or others.
These songs encompass every definition of “family”, from the family you’re born into (your parents and siblings), to the family you create (your spouse, children and even dear friends). Everyone is included in this giant family tree. These awesome tunes are not only great to play during family gatherings and reunions, but they’re also something you can play to reflect on your love for your family.
1. Sister Sledge — We Are Family
Quite possibly the most famous “family” song in history, this upbeat tune never fails to have the family dancing and clapping their hands to the rhythm. It’s great for parties, reunions, gatherings and road trips. This song is a must-have in your family playlist.
2. Josh Groban — You Raise Me Up
This famous song by Josh Groban is a more melodramatic song than the last track, but it’s just as uplifting. It feels more expressive in conveying gratitude for a parent and other loved ones who have “lifted” us during our lowest moments.
3. John Mayer — Daughters
As the name suggests, this is a great track to dedicate to your daughter, or if you’re a daughter, it’s something you can play for your parents. The song summarizes the important dynamics between a daughter and her parents: “Fathers be good to your daughters / Daughters will love like you do / Girls become lovers who turn into mothers / So mothers be good to your daughters too…”
4. Grover Washington, Jr. feat. Bill Withers — Just the Two of Us
This classic song is a great one to dedicate to your child or parent. In fact, the sentiment is universal so you can dedicate it to just about anyone. It’s a great track that makes you appreciate your relationship with a certain someone.
5. The Temptations — Papa Was a Rolling Stone
The Temptations have classics upon classics, and this one has inspired countless covers and renditions by other musicians. This is a reflective song about a father who was always away. If you have a dad who’s always traveling, this is a song that you might be able to relate to.
6. 2pac — Dear Mama
There’s a reason why this song by the late-great Tupac Shakur is played every Mother’s Day on hip-hop stations around the world: it’s simply timeless. This is one of the all-time classics of the genre and the poet-turned-rapper articulates an honest love letter to his mother. The music video released after his murder and makes the song even more iconic and heartwrenching.
7. Lynyrd Skynyrd — Simple Man
Speaking of mothers, this gem of a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd will remind you of all the lessons your own mother taught you. It is a deep and introspective track that reminds us of our roots and the lessons our mothers instilled in us. When you’re far from home and you feel like you’ve become a person who’s different from the one your mother raised, this song will make you pause and reflect on her wisdom, and the fact that all moms ever ask for is that we be good, decent people.
8. Bill Withers — Lean on Me
Another Bill Withers classic on this list, “Lean on Me” is a famous track that is known throughout the world, across generations. It’s universal because of its simple, yet genuine message. It’s a song you can dedicate to any of your beloved family members, because anyone can lean on us when they’re in need and we surely can lean on them as well. After all, that’s what family is for.
9. Bon Jovi — Who Says You Can’t Go Home?
The title says it all. When you’re far away from home — literally or figuratively — you must remember that you can always find your way home. It’s the place where you can get back in touch with your roots and spend time with family, the people who will always be there when you need help.
10. The House That Built Me — Miranda Lambert
This is a great song to reflect on your childhood and the people who raised you. The family unit, or the household, is the most influential aspect of our growth. The home is the incubation chamber where we learn lessons from parents and bond with siblings. No matter where we end up in life, home is a place we’ll always carry with us, because it’s what built us.
11. Everclear — Father of Mine
This song is a great song to dedicate to your father even though the lyrics are somewhat sad. The song is about a father who left and is about the sometimes-complicated relationships we have with family. However, don’t let that stop you from enjoying this song. Even if you can’t relate to the particular situation this song articulates, it's still an amazing song to listen to while reflecting on your relationship with your father.
12. Mariah Carey — I’ll Be There
This song can apply to literally any loved one, but is even more meaningful when you dedicate it to your family. You’ll always be there for them and vice-versa. It’s also a great song to sing along to during family karaoke nights or family road trips.
13. Kanye West — Family Business
One of the most influential artists of the 21st century had humble beginnings in Chicago. In his groundbreaking debut album, The College Dropout, pre-megastar Kanye reflects on funny and heartwarming memories of his family. Even those who are not fans of the genre, or are turned off by Kanye’s controversial actions over the years, will surely find something to relate to in this classic track by the polarizing musician.
14. Lee Ann Womack — I Hope You Dance
This hit by Lee Ann Womack is a great tune to play at a family gathering or a celebration of your parents’ anniversary. It’s a brilliant track that you can dedicate to your parents or other family members.
15. Rod Stewart — Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
While this track may be about romantic love rather than familial or platonic love, the sentiment is universal. Saying those three magical words to someone is important. It’s not something you say nonchalantly just to anyone. On the other hand, if you haven’t said it to a loved one lately, then this song is a good reminder.
16. Keith Urban — Song for Dad
This is definitely a good song for dad. It’s a track you can dedicate to your dad on Father’s Day, or simply play for him randomly to let him know how much he means to you. He will love the surprise.
17. Carrie Underwood — Mama's Song
Now that we have a song for dad, don’t forget about Mama! This other country hit will make your wonderful mom shed tears of joy. Let your mother know how much you mean to her with this beautiful song.
18. John Lennon — Beautiful Boy
Dedicate this song to your wonderful son on his birthday or graduation, or simply play it for him to remind him how much he is loved. This classic song by the late, great John Lennon is a track that should always be in your playlist.
19. Stevie Wonder — Isn't She Lovely
A great Stevie track for a female member of your family. It’s a timeless song that can be played at parties. Show your loved one that you appreciate their beauty inside and out, and that they bring a brightness into your life.
20. Carole King — Child of Mine
This song is another great track to dedicate or play for your children. Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life, and raising children to become amazing human beings is a tremendous accomplishment that every parent should be proud of. This is an awesome song to play on your child’s birthday or celebration.