Top 20 Songs About Daddy Issues

Some people cringe when they hear the term ‘daddy issues’ since for whatever reason, this idea has become a term of embarrassment for some folks. There are a lot of reasons why that could be since the term is rather self-explanatory.

Songs about daddy issues are easy to find in pop culture as many artists either find the inspiration to come up with a ballad thanks to imagination or personal experience. The truth is that those who have moderate to major issues with their father and are songwriters or singers, or both, are bound to add their experience when penning a song.

There is a balance to such songs since even with a legitimate bone to pick with one’s old man, there are some songs that come off as a bit whiny and entitled. That sounds dismissive, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, the truth today is that while a lot of daddy issues are still very real, there are individuals out there in every industry that, lord knows why want people to think that their life has been difficult in some way as well. Most songs are legit when it comes to their content, but others are a bit suspect.



Top 20 Songs About Daddy Issues


1. Father of Mine – Everclear

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The main point here is that the kid’s father was never around. As the song goes on the narrator makes it clear that he won’t be the same type of man that his father was.

He was given a name before his father walked away, but he wants to do better.



2. Leonard Calhoun – Adam Calhoun

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This isn’t one of the most obvious songs about daddy issues. But it does go into detail about how the narrator’s grandfather stepped up when his father wouldn’t.

Because of that, the narrator has fond memories of his grandfather. This song has a new-school feel about a persistent old-school subject.



3. Cat’s in the Cradle – Harry Chapin

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It’s kind of depressing to realize how translatable some of these songs are to real life. This tune details how a father is too busy to spend time with his son.

When the father wants to spend more time with his son it’s shown that it’s simply too late.



4. Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations

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A lot of these songs deal with fathers that weren’t there or didn’t spend enough time with their kids. But this one in particular describes a man that attempted to be someone he wasn’t.

In other words, the father played at being a good man when he was a louse.



5. Blurry – Puddle of Mudd

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Sometimes it does pay to see the world from the eyes of the father since divorce still tends to favor mothers a lot more.

In this story, the father wants to be around his son, but it’s tough for him to see his kid, which is bound to create issues.

Recommended: 15 Best Songs About Being 21.



6. Had a Dad – Jane’s Addiction

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There’s a strong feeling to this song that can be found in the lyrics. The idea of your father not being your father, and then your father is gone, can truly mess a child up in several ways.

The anger left behind can fester for a while, obviously.



7. Because of You – Kelly Clarkson

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Kids that endure a divorce are affected in a lot of ways, but it becomes worse when their parents are anything but friendly.

It only compounds when their parents have no time for them, as feelings of resentment begin to build and fester over time until they come spilling out.



8. Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna

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Abortion has been a dirty word for a long time and is even still considered a sin by a lot of people.

But the story of a young woman who gets pregnant and refuses to get an abortion is one of the most recognizable songs about daddy issues to date.



9. Old Man – Red Light King

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The issue in this song is that the dad is a bit of a dreamer and not much of a realist.

One can see that he cares about his family, but he’s also more into the life he chooses at times, which causes a lot of problems with their finances.



10. Daddy Lessons – Beyonce

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This isn’t so much a song that deals with daddy issues as it is a song about a woman recollecting what her father told her.

It could be a tale of issues that her father foisted on her, but the inherently neutral to positive tones almost make this idea disappear.



11. No Son of Mine – Genesis

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The point of this song kind of goes beyond cruel since the main gist is that the son left home to get away from the madness.

When he comes home out of a sense of responsibility his father hits him with the title of the song. That’s kind of brutal.



12. Styrofoam Plates – Death Cab for Cutie

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Sometimes a song is straight to the point without any prevarication since this tune details a father that was a true piece of work.

It is an angry song, that much is evident, but over time the explanation has softened the impact to allow fans a greater understanding.

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13. Austin Powers – Daddy Wasn’t There

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So this is from a spoof movie and might not be taken seriously. But all the same, it is about daddy issues since Austin Powers’ father was never around.

He might have been a fun dad, but he wasn’t a good dad. It takes real effort to be a dad.



14. Adam Raised a Cain – Bruce Springsteen

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Even a righteous and noble father can’t always prevent his children from walking down a bad path. The issue, in this case, is that the kids want to follow a different course than prescribed, but it’s still a very big issue.

Parents and kids don’t always see eye to eye.



15. Old Man – Neil Young

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This isn’t exactly a song about daddy issues but it can be translated as such since the feel of the tune is a bit melancholy.

That can lead a lot of people to think that it’s about the comparison between a father and his son, as narrated by the son.



16. Family Portrait – Pink

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While it’s more about family dysfunction, Pink admitted that this song came from a poem that she wrote when her father left.

The pain and confusion this act leaves behind are more than enough to create daddy issues that eventually need to be expressed or suppressed depending on the person.



17. Janie’s Got a Gun – Aerosmith

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The subject matter of this song gets dark since it has to do about the incestuous advances of a father toward his daughter.

That’s a massive issue; it’s also one that a person can’t help but think would be the type that would only have a couple of expected endings.



18. Kings – Tribal Society

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This could be interpreted as a person with daddy issues that won’t admit to them. The idea of making yourself a king comes from somewhere, and it could be the absence of a strong father figure.

It’s up for interpretation, but it fits as fathers are role models for young men.

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19. Glamorous – Fergie

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This is a loose interpretation, but the father figure in this song is a little overbearing and could even create a positive outcome.

But the general idea is that the father figure in this song is being a little harsh even if he means well it could create an issue.



20. Mad Man – D.R.I.

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There’s not a lot of subtlety to this song since the lyrics go right into the issue and why it’s such a problem.

The father is made to sound like a tyrant and a monster, which definitely classifies any father as a major issue that the family has to deal with.




When all is said and done, songs about daddy issues can be fairly mundane to so over the top that one can’t imagine how those telling the story survived.

Of course, for all those that experienced the type of trauma that inspired their songs, one has to remember that many of these songs are from secondhand accounts or pure imagination.

It’s tough not to be impressed at any rate since the songs do create a great deal of emotion that people pick up on.


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Is a musician and journalist with over 13 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands. Ray loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.

1 thought on “Top 20 Songs About Daddy Issues”

  1. Pure Imagination….I think not!!
    Abuse comes in many forms..none of it is from imagination… it’s True -Dark-Hellish.. The outcome for the many who are abused are being Labeled as Weak- Liars- Attention Seekers. The Abused not matter what form or outcome they endured should be respected.
    There needs to be more Songs on this subject, A Whole Lot More.
    Thank you.


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