A parent’s love is selfless and unconditional, especially when they are connected to another soul who happens to be their flesh and blood. It is a feeling greater than anything you could ever imagine. There are countless songs about a father’s love for his children, from Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” for his daughter Aisha in 1976 to Lenny Kravitz’s “Flowers for Zoë” in 1991, which he wrote for his daugher Zoë.
For Father’s Day, we wanted to celebrate more recent releases, ranging from Robbie Williams to J. Cole to Justin Timberlake. Find out what these songs were inspired by, but one thing is for sure – becoming a father is one of the most inspiring and humbling experiences in a man’s life.
Save them into your playlist and listen to them with your father or your children - you’ll definitely find at least one that resonates with the both of you. Music is a wonderful thing that connects us, no matter where it was written or made.
Muse: “Follow Me” (2012)
English rock band Muse teamed up with dubstep producer Nero for their 2012 single “Follow Me”, which contains instrumental elements from their albums Black Holes and Revelations, as well as The Resistance (which was inspired by electronic music). “Follow Me” kicks off with the heartbeat of frontman Matt Bellamy’s newborn son, Bingham, recorded on his iPhone. This track off their 2012 album The2nd Law was Bellamy’s ode to fatherhood. The instrumental version of this song was also featured in the the end credits of the movie World War Z.
Robbie Williams: “Go Gentle” (2013)
In an interview with Magic FM, ex-Take That member Robbie Williams mentioned that he wrote this song as a promise to his daughter, Teddy. Upon the arrival of his daughter, he realised he had a tiny person to take care of, and even admitted to being selfish for a major part of his life as a popstar. He said, “I'm doing a good job of being a dad but it's scary; you have to look after this person for the whole of their life, I'm not very good at even looking after me!” The single “Go Gentle” turned out to be a success and went on to receive two World Music Awards nominations.
OneRepublic: “I Lived” (2014)
In 2014, OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder wrote “I Lived” for his 4-year old son, but this song truly strikes a chord with everyone who listens to it. Tedder told People magazine, “So for every day that you’re on this earth, for every minute that you have, the whole idea is doing nothing less than exactly what you feel you're supposed to do and squeezing every last drop out of life every day, regardless of the difficulties or trials that you face,” in reference to the lyrics “With every broken bone / I swear I lived”. The idea was based on the idea of “carpe diem” (seize the day), as famously quoted by the late Robin Williams from the movie Dead Poets Society.
Chris Brown: “Little More (Royalty)” (2015)
At the end of 2015, Chris Brown released the video to the 14th song from his album Royalty, which is named after her daughter. “Little More (Royalty)” is commendable for being a song where Brown comes to terms with his responsibility, which was portrayed in the music video. From a nightmare of all-night schmoozing and boozing at parties, he wakes up to a little girl showing up in his bedroom in the morning. Confusion turns into clarity, and Brown is seen spending time and having so much fun with her in this video, which clearly shows his love for Royalty.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ed Sheeran: “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song)” (2015)
With a little help from Ed Sheeran on the soaring chorus over this rather chilled-out single, Macklemore dedicates this song “Growing Up” to his then soon-to-be-born daughter Sloane. It was filled with messages of his hopes and even fears of becoming a father with some advice for her. “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song)” features the lines “Find something that you love / And do it every day / Do that for the rest of your life / And eventually, the world will change” that is relevant any time of the day, whichever stage you may be in life.
J. Cole “4 Your Eyes Only” (2016)
Rapper J. Cole wrote the title track of his fourth studio album as a message to his son (which everyone actually thought was a daughter at first because of the cryptic lyrics peppering the album). The first three verses of “4 Your Eyes Only” sees him telling a story from his friend’s perspective, which is most likely the same friend he speaks about a lot in the album. Cole recalls the life of their friendship and falling for temptations, but he manages to get on the right path by himself. In the last verse, Cole reveals the whole album is about his friend’s life, in which he raps from his perspective to the friend’s daughter, which includes a dialogue with the friend.
John Legend “Right By You (for Luna)” (2016)
John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen are no strangers to the limelight, and their children Luna and Miles have been a big part of our social media lives too. From his album Darkness and Light, Legend wrote “Right By You” for Luna, who was born on April 14th, 2016. The slow song is his interpretation of what life would be when Luna grows up. The lyrics consist mostly of questions in a conversational tone, and in the chorus, Legend reassures Luna that he will be there for her no matter what.
Justin Timberlake “Young Man” (2018)
Silas Timberlake’s father, international pop icon Justin Timberlake, wrote him a toe-tapping, light-hearted song called “Young Man” to prepare him for the life he is about to encounter. During an interview on Beats 1 Radio with Zane Lowe, Timberlake said, “This was just my love letter to him that I felt like maybe this is something he can have as sort of a time capsule.” His son can also be heard in the beginning of the song, trying to say “dada” and as the song ends, he is finally able to say, “I love you, daddy.” Justin actually recorded his son saying “dada” when Silas was around four months old. The “I love you” happened on Timberlake’s birthday when he was working on the finishing touches of his fifth album, Man of the Woods.
To all the dads out there: Happy Father’s Day, and have a good one.
Cover Image: Chris Brown “Little More (Royalty)” / Youtube