In honor of Father’s Day, I asked BuzzFeed writers to share a song that reminds them of their dads. Here are some of their memories.
1. Tracy Clayton: Sheena Easton, “A Dream Worth Keeping”
I met my dad when I was very young, somewhere between 5 and 7 (I think). I was a shy kid and didn’t open up quickly, so things were very formal between us for a long time; the easy affection that flows from parent to child took time for us. Going to the movies was one of the things that seemed comfortable enough for us to do together — the dark hours made for relaxing time without pressure for much small talk. We went to see FernGully when it was in theaters in 1992, and he held my hand through the movie, and I think that’s the first time we’d ever held hands as father and daughter. He still remembers it, and when he mentions it in conversations I can feel him glowing through the phone.
Sheena Easton’s “A Dream Worth Keeping” was in the movie, and when I hear it, I think of my dad and that day.
2. Matt Kiebus: Bruce Springsteen, “Born To Run”
The second concert I ever went to was a Bruce Springsteen show at Giants Stadium with my dad. I was probably a freshman or a sophomore in high school, and although I’m from New Jersey and Springsteen is my dad’s favorite musician I probably only knew the chorus to “Born to Run” and “Dancing in the Dark” back then. At the time, my MP3 CD player (remember that shit?!) was playing mostly Jay Z, Nas, Eminem and 50 Cent — like any other suburban white kid that played basketball. Since I only vaguely knew the songs I simply absorbed the scene and watched my dad’s earnest excitement. I particularly remember during “Born to Run” when my dad giddily sang along to all the non-lyric parts of the song, like when Springsteen counts, grunts, or simply yells “oohhhhhh.” Since then I’ve gone to seven Springsteen shows (two or three of them with my dad) and I’ve become your atypical Springsteen-obsessed person from New Jersey — for which I’m forever grateful.
3. Chelsea Marshall: B.B. King, “Please Love Me”
When I was little I was OBSESSED with B.B. King, in large part because of my dad. We would listen to him on repeat whenever we’d drive somewhere. I don’t have a specific song because it was just all of his CDs in constant rotation. B.B. King was the first concert I remember going to and is still one of my favorite memories.
4. Krutika Mallikarjuna: Phil Collins, “You’ll Be In My Heart”
While The Jungle Book is by far my father’s favorite Disney soundtrack (which he ranks by a very complex and intricate system know only to him), “You’ll Be In My Heart” from Tarzan is the one song that instantly reminds me of my Dad. It’s one of the few English songs he knows every single word to, and definitely the only English song that’s guaranteed to get him to burst into song (and if we’re super lucky, dance). It’s also led him to a lifelong Phil Collins addiction that frankly, suits him in all his charmingly cornball glory. Stay rad Dad.
5. Summer Anne Burton: Rilo Kiley, “With Arms Outstretched”
My dad always had rad taste in music — he introduced me to Liz Phair and Alanis Morrisette, and by the time I was in high school, I would run into him at shows, and for awhile he would say his favorite album was the Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible. So it’s hard to pick just one song, but the one that I thought of first is Rilo Kiley’s “With Arms Outstretched.” I introduced my dad to the band, and it was so often the other way around that it was a pleasure that he actually LOVED their album The Execution Of All Things. We spent many afternoons talking about what a great songwriter Jenny Lewis was and debating about which were the best songs on the album. One day when we were talking about it he told me in seriousness that he would really like for “With Arms Outstretched” played at his funeral, and now I can never listen to that beautiful song without crying. “Some days they last longer than others.”
6. Anita Badejo: Funkadelic, “One Nation Under a Groove”
When I was little, my dad would often play Funkadelic’s One Nation Under a Groove album in the car. I always loved staring at the cover sitting out on the console, mostly because the background was colorful and predominantly pink. He would begin listening to the cover song by bobbing his head in the way only he can and his intensity usually picked up quickly, when he would sing the lines, “This is a chance / this is a chance / to dance your way / out of your constrictions.” The artists he listened to — Funkadelic, Fela, Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau — were always so full of energy. He’s not someone who dwells a lot — the opposite of my mom and I —a quality that has always manifested itself to me in his music.
7. Conz Preti: Frank Sinatra, “My Way”
My dad taught me I can be anything I want to be if I stay true to myself and give it my all. Not for nothing the song that reminds me of him is “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. I remember him passionately singing in the house/car/anywhere it played. He always thought he could’ve been a singer; to his defense he has a great voice.
8. Julia Pugachevsky: Radiohead, Bjork, Depeche Mode
My dad has waaaaay better taste in music than I do, and introduced me to Radiohead, Bjork, Depeche Mode, A-ha, The Cure, Led Zeppelin, Sinead O’Connor, and many more bands that people are always impressed that I like.
9. Julie Gerstein: The Beatles, “A Day In The Life”
On my 13th birthday, my dad got me two CDs — one was the Eagles’ Greatest Hits, which is total dad rock. The other was The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. He told me that “A Day In The Life” was one of the best songs ever recorded. It IS a great song, and one I’ve always associated with my dad.
10. Katie Heaney: Queen, “Seven Seas of Rhye”
I could really say that any song by Queen reminds me of my dad, but I’ll pick “Seven Seas of Rhye” because it’s not in the top few most known Queen songs, I think, but it’s one of my favorites, and that can only be thanks to him. He’d play his music in the house on weekend mornings while my brothers and I did chores, or in the car driving us somewhere. I always really liked riding in the car with him, especially on the rarer occasions it was just us two and I could ride in the passenger seat. There was this period of my young life (maybe ages 10-13) where I was a little girl wearing a backwards baseball cap and huge flannel shirts and listening pretty much exclusively to Queen and, like, Rush. All the girls my age were like, “Hanson!” and I thought I was soooo cool, because I thought my dad’s music was so cool.
11. Deena Shanker: Willie Nelson, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”
When we were on a family trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, we did some karaoke and my dad chose this song. He’s a big Willie Nelson fan in general, but I think this song hits a special chord with him, especially the chorus: “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys / Don’t let ‘em pick guitars or drive them old trucks / Let ‘em be doctors and lawyers and such.” My dad is a veterinarian who sometimes pretends he’s a cowboy. His Jewish mother never would have let him be a cowboy.
12. Scott Bryan: Sheryl Crow/Alanis Morissette/Bruce Springsteen
Every traffic jam has been accompanied with Sheryl Crow / Alanis Morissette / Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA album. Just these three albums. Never a different one. For 10 years. Every car drive. For hours.
13. Emily Hennen: Manfred Mann, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”
My dad is a little bit older, so we grew up listening to bands like The Supremes and The Monkees. He used to drive us to school every morning and we’d listen to the Golden Oldies station on the radio. I will never hear “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” by Manfred Mann and not think of my dad; we’d always sing the chorus together. It’s still one of my favorite songs to this day.
14. Arianna Rebolini: LL Cool J, “Mama Said Knock You Out”
My dad used to have a makeshift gym set up in our unfinished basement, and my older sister and I used to hang out down there when he would work out. Now it seems like it must have been super boring, but at the time — I was probably around 5, my sister 9 — it was like being invited to an exclusive club, and it was one of our favorite things to do. We’d bring chalk down and write on the cement walls while he was punching a heavy bag, and sometimes we’d get to try on the gloves and mess around. The whole thing made him seem kind of like a superhero. But he always had music playing too, and one of his favorites (oh god I hope I’m not embarrassing him) was “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J. Now when that song comes on at a party in the middle of a ’90s hip-hop playlist, I always reflexively say something about how it reminds me of my dad, and everyone is confused.
15. Ashley Ford: The Temptations, “Silent Night”
“Silent Night” is the song that reminds me of my father.
He’s been in prison since I was 6 months old, but we’ve communicated through letters my entire life. I’ve seen him in person twice that I can remember, the first time being when I was 12. My uncle picked my brother and me up for a surprise Christmas visit to my dad. I’d been singing “Silent Night” to myself and my uncle said I had a pretty voice and I should sing that song to my dad when I saw him. So, in the visiting room, in front of all those strangers, I sang to my father. And he cried. It’s the only time we’ve heard music in the same space at the same time. Every Christmas I think of that moment. It gives me a lot of joy.
16. Rachel Zarrell: “Out Tonight” from Rent
This is a weird choice, I know. There are a lot of songs that remind me of my dad, especially Broadway songs, because our love for musical theater is our primary feature in common. My dad raised me on the Rent soundtrack after he and my family saw the original cast, so that I grew up knowing all the words but not the (often inappropriate for a 7-year-old) meanings behind them. When I got a little older, we went to see the show together like 10 times. This is his favorite song in the show, but only when sung by original cast member Daphne Rubin-Vega, who was the best at going, “Meow — HA” – naturally, his favorite part.
17. Julia Furlan: The Beatles, “All My Loving”
My dad would always sing to me that Beatles song “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you, remember I’ll always be true…”
The thing is, he always sings it with his Brazilian accent, and although he has a really beautiful voice, he can’t really carry a tune. When I think about my dad and about that song, I can’t help feeling nostalgia for the times he would take me home from soccer games and we would sneak to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal even though my mom disapproved. He’s the best dad in the entire universe.
He would also always sing the “Star Spangled Banner” with a slightly changed lyric that I didn’t understand until much later, but which I now realize is ACE-level word play: “Oh say can you see, oh say are you blind?”
18. Adrian Carrasquillo: Eddie Palmieri, “Vamonos pal Monte”
We lived on the third floor of a house in Queens, New York, and had family who lived on the first floor. We would have gatherings on the weekend and invite a bunch of people for barbecues on the terrace and the soundtrack would be my dad blasting and singing various salsa songs.
I actually called my dad to ask which songs he would sing.
“Eddie Palmieri, ‘Vamonos pal Monte,’ if I was in a salsa mood,” he said, cherishing the topic. “El Gran Combo, ‘Teléfono’ too.”
Then he sang it on the phone.
“Teléfono, suena, suena, suena.” Which means, “Telephone, rings, rings, rings.” Lol.
“Gran Combo is a staple, like steak and potatoes,” he said. “And Hector Lavoe. If you’re gonna have a salsa party you need El Gran Combo and Hector Lavoe.”
That’s my dad. Has lots of opinions but likes to have a good time. I’m going to be in Miami for work on his bday a couple days before Father’s Day, the first time I celebrate his bday with him in a few years and I’m happy about that.
19. Cates Holderness: Johnny Cash, “You Are My Sunshine”
When I was a kid, when my dad tucked us into bed he’d always sing “You Are My Sunshine.” It’s such a simple, sweet song, and I can’t hear it without immediately thinking of my dad and getting a bit choked up.
20. Whitney Jefferson: The Velvet Underground, “Sunday Morning”
I was home on break from what was probably my freshman year of college listening to The Velvet Underground & Nico in the room I grew up when my dad knocked on the door. He paused after entering and asked, “Kids don’t still listen to this song and actually do heroin, do they?” I shook my head. He laughed and said, “Different times, then.” This simple exchange blew the lid off of my 19-year-old mind: Had my father’s taste in music actually been cool all along?! The answer was and still is yes.
From this point on I had a new hobby: making mix CDs for my father that were filled with all that indie rock had to offer in the early 2000s. It was the perfect Father’s Day, birthday, and Christmas present — and whenever I had an album I really enjoyed I’d burn him a copy. Our mutual respect for each other’s taste in music continues to grow. I mean, how many of your friends’ fathers have had “a spiritual experience” at a Jens Lekman concert in Brooklyn back in 2010? My point exactly.
21. Tasneem Nashrulla: Sudesh Bhonsle, “Jumma Chumma De De”
It’s the early ’90s and my dad had just bought a television with this cool new feature called Surround Sound. He was reallllly kicked about Surround Sound. We were watching the Bollywood movie Hum on our new TV when the song “Jumma Chumma” came on featuring Amitabh Bachchan and his gang pelvic-thrusting with mugs of beer-less foam. My dad yelled at me to turn on the Surround Sound. Late at night, in our very quiet neighborhood, “Jumma Chumma De De” (Give me a kiss on Friday) blasted from our TV as my dad ecstatically sang (shouted) along in his completely tuneless voice. He made me play the song four times on Surround Sound.
I will never forget the words to that song and I will never forget the sheer joy on my dad’s face as he sang it.
22. Mackenzie Kruvant: James Taylor, “Sweet Baby James”
There is no place in the world that my dad loves more than the Berkshires in Massachusetts. It also happens to be James Taylor’s favorite place as well. Every July 4 he plays a concert at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and when he sings “Sweet Baby James” the whole crowd (filled with old school hippies) sings along with the line “Now the first of December was covered with snow and so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston.” It is one of my favorite moments of the year because the smile that creeps across my dad’s face is pure joy. I can’t hear the song without thinking of that excitement and how lucky I am to get to spend that moment with him every year.
23. Sarah Karlan: The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields”
My dad is responsible for most of my music taste; he would constantly be playing me songs – anywhere from Janis Joplin to Ray Charles. When we were little he would put me down for naps by playing “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles. To this day, if I hear any Beatles song, but particularly that one, I always think of my dad and that happy calm space right before you fall asleep.
24. Krystie Yandoli: Jackson 5, “I Want You Back”
On long car rides when we were little, my dad played the same Motown hits over and over again and introduced me to the Jackson 5. “I Want You Back” is still one of my favorite songs of all time.
25. Kayla Yandoli: Darlene Love, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
My dad watches Darlene Love perform it every year on David Letterman, and still plays it year round… it’s definitely become more than a Christmas song in my house. I took my dad to see Darlene Love at B.B. King’s this past December, and now I only associate this song and everything Darlene Love with my dad.
26. Justine Zwiebel: Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”
I always think of my dad when I hear “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones and can picture him singing it while doing his impression of Mick Jagger dancing. (Dads!) Also, when my sister and I were little and being brats about something he was known to break into a chorus of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” highly unamusing as a 5-year-old, but funny in retrospect.
27. David Bertozzi: The Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling”
My dad’s taste in music is super refined. A typical Sunday morning for him is reading the Boston Globe, drinking coffee and listening to jazz or classical symphonies that I don’t understand. That being said, when he comes by a pop/rock song he loves, he never shuts up about it. He’s still (incorrectly) singing “I’ve Got A Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.
28. Raymond Sultan: R.E.M., “It’s the End Of The World”
When I was in first grade – this would’ve been in 1988, I think – my family lived in Atlanta for the year. R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” must’ve been in heavy rotation at that point, because I have this very clear memory, formed over many Saturday mornings, of watching my dad shave while that song played through the little plastic radio he kept on the bathroom sink. I remember Michael Stipe’s voice and the smell of the shaving cream and the funny way my dad pulled down his upper lip to better get at his mustache; I remember the towel draped around his waist and the steam from the shower condensing on the mirror and lots of words I couldn’t follow. Sometimes now I play it when I shave too.
29. Erin Chack: Grateful Dead, “Casey Jones”
Really any Grateful Dead song will make me think of my Dad, but “Casey Jones” is especially memorable for me because when I was a kid and I used to sing along with him, he never had the heart to tell me the lyric is “Drivin’ that train / high on cocaine” and not “high on propane” like I thought.
30. Kate Aurthur: Gladys Knight and The Pips, “Midnight Train to Georgia”
My father, who died when I was 9, was a huge jazz person. I have NOT inherited that. But outside of lots of hellish jazz, I have several clear memories of him singing “Midnight Train to Georgia” — but as one of the Pips, not the Gladys Knight part. There was an elaborate dance routine involved, which I now realize was very Pip faithful.
31. Alexis Nedd: The Police, “Man in a Suitcase”
I remember being grumpy at a neighbor’s party one night when I was around 10, so my dad took me home early. I thought I would just have to go to bed while I waited for the rest of my family to come home but Dad let me stay up and listen to The Police albums with him. We were up for hours air-guitaring and jamming to songs like “Walking on the Moon” and “Man in a Suitcase.” I got to jump around on the couch and dance all over the place. I’m still really into The Police… and staying up late.
32. Tasmai Uppin: Kishore Kumar, “Zindagi Ek Safar”
My dad always played this song “Zindagi Ka Safar,” which is a Hindi song. It means this “Life is a Journey.” He’d always play it on road trips. This became my family’s travel anthem. It’s uplifting and is a very nostalgic tune.
33. Mariah Summers: The Rolling Stones, “Sweet Virginia”
The Rolling Stones are my favorite band by miles and miles; same goes for my dad, who, of course, got me into them. “Sweet Virginia” is his favorite song, and it’s off of Exile on Main St., our shared favorite album. He loves to tell me all the time about what the lyrics mean (got to scrape that shit right off your shoes = black tar heroin, etc.). My dad and I have spent many hours listening to, discussing, debating, and even playing (him on harmonica “blues harp” as he calls it, and me on piano) Rolling Stones songs, and in late 2012 we went to see them in concert, which remains one of my favorite memories with him. This photo is with my sister and him from a bar before the concert, and I will always love how much my dad taught me about music, and especially, the Rolling Stones.
34. Rachel Sanders: Willie Nelson, “Georgia On My Mind”
When I was little, my dad had an elaborate system for waking me and my brother up for school in the mornings; a multi-stage process involving lights, gentle nudging, and — most importantly — a rotating selection of soothing-but-also-you-have-to-get-up-now cassette tapes (including but not limited to Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson, and Carole King). The song that sticks with me is Willie Nelson’s version of “Georgia on My Mind.” My dad would sometimes sing it to us, just because. I found this deeply embarrassing then (what kind of parent just BURSTS into SONG for NO REASON?) which, when I think about it now, was terrible of me. It’s a beautiful song, and he loved it, and he loved us.
35. Javier Moreno: Elton John, “Your Song”
When I was little, my dad had a phonograph and vinyls from when he was in college. He had a study in our house which shared a wall with my room. Every morning he would either play records or cassettes that I could hear through the wall. My favorite was Elton John’s second self-tilted album. My favorite track off that album was “Your Song.” It is still one of my favorite songs to this day. When it came time for me to take off to college I took the album with me, and the saga continued. No other song reminds me of my father more.
36. Jaimie Etkin: James Taylor, “Fire And Rain”
Though my dad would always let my sister and I listen to whatever we wanted to in his car growing up (and very patiently allowed us to play our Ace of Base CD single of “The Sign” on repeat during four-hour drives), I also loved listening to his Motown, James Taylor, Carly Simon, and Carole King CDs on occasion. Eventually, I fell in love with James Taylor and my dad I would listen to Sweet Baby James every time we were in the car together. “Fire and Rain” particularly reminds me of those drives and when I was in college, we went to a James Taylor concert together and both got a little choked up during that song. It will always make me think of him.
37. Sapna Maheshwari: Billy Joel, “For The Longest Time”
Growing up, my parents — and in turn, my siblings and I — mostly listened to Hindi music in the house and in the car; I imagine it was a valuable piece of familiarity for them in the suburbs of Connecticut. (Both immigrated from India in their twenties.) But there were a handful of American CDs in our house that were alluring for their scarcity; oddly enough, they were more exotic to me than the music from India. My dad loved Billy Joel’s album An Innocent Man, in particular, and I vividly recall sitting on the floor by the stereo with him, listening to “Uptown Girl,” and his favorite — “For the Longest Time.” Billy Joel was an artist my friends at school recognized, and as I got older, a bit of pop culture that I was able to share with my dad, even though he grew up so many miles away from where I grew up.
38. Abe Greenwald: Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
One song that reminds me of my dad is the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” When I was little and would whine to my parents about a new Transformer toy or something that I wanted, he would launch right into the chorus “You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes well you might find / You get what you need” which definitely annoyed me as a kid, but now that I’m an adult… I’m hard-pressed to think of any better advice for life than those lyrics. Thanks, Dad!
39. Alison Willmore: Simon & Garfunkel, “Homeward Bound”
Thanks to my dad, I know every Simon & Garfunkel song by heart. On quiet nights at home, he’d put on his records and we’d listen to “Sound of Silence,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Scarborough Fair,” and “The Boxer.” “Homeward Bound” I know best of all, and it’s the song I remember listening to the most, though now I’m not sure if it was my favorite at the time or his. At that age, I don’t think I made much of a distinction between the two.
40. Naomi Zeichner: Bob Dylan, “Not Dark Yet”
1997’s Time Out Of Mind is at the top of zero definitive Bob Dylan album rankings, but that’s the Dylan album my dad has had on rotation in his car for more than a decade. Dylan was 56 at the time — not near as old-seeming as he’s become, but already brutal as fuck: “Feel like my soul has turned into steel,” he sang on the single. “There’s not even room enough to be anywhere / It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.” Weird, because my dad’s not really a dark guy. So I’m not sure why he loves Time Out Of Mind, and honestly, I don’t know a ton about the music he loves. He kept those stories close to his chest, or I didn’t ask enough. But he always cared about the music I was excited about, and I feel really close to him when I think about those songs. Like “Ani Ve Ata,” a shmaltzy Hebrew folk song, and Coldplay’s “Yellow,” which he let me play loud with the car’s sunroof down. Or Outkast’s “Rosa Parks,” which he sang along with in his strange, Israeli approximation of a Southern accent. He learned that song because it made me happy. That’s love.
41. Emily Orley: Van Morrison, “Brown Eyed Girl”
From the time I can remember, my dad worked to ensure I knew all the music greats and could recite the names of all four Beatles at the drop of a hat. But through all the literal noise, Van Morrison always stood out. “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Moondance,” “And It Stoned Me,” among many others of his classics, were constantly playing throughout our home and if I couldn’t identify one of his songs when it came on the radio, my dad would shake his head and laugh. This past winter, my dad and I went to a Van concert together. It was my first and at least his fifth. After decades of listening to these songs and learning the lyrics, I finally realized where my dad’s love for Van’s tunes stems from. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our mutual love for Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” When I was 10 years old, I wore a denim ball-gown to my brother’s Bar Mitzvah and my dad picked “Tiny Dancer” to play, probably because it starts with “Blue jean baby,” but also probably because it’s a really great song.
42. Catherine Bartosevich: Cat Stevens, “Moonshadow”
My dad was a great ambassador to the essentials growing up. Dylan, Lennon-McCartney, Joni, Janis, etc. But the song that will always make me think of him is “Moonshadow” by Cat Stevens. My dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was just a baby, and he never let the disease break his spirit or hinder his witty outlook on life. When “Moonshadow” would come on in the car, he would always turn up the volume for the part, “And If I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan and I won’t beg / If ever lose my legs, I won’t have to walk no more.” He passed away when I was a senior in college, and I only hope to be half as cool and wise as him one day.
43. Driadonna Roland: Justin Timberlake, “SexyBack”
My Dad has very eclectic tastes in music, so everything from Jamiroquai to George Michael makes me think of him! But I remember one time, a few years ago, when I was home blaring the radio and Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” came on. Dad was in the living room and I came out of the kitchen to see him doing his signature dance in the middle of the floor; it’s kind of a shuffle, like chacha-cha-cha-cha. Also, this past Mother’s Day weekend, “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea came on in a store, and I thought my dad was asleep until I heard him hum the opening notes. The man has good taste, I tell you!
44. Susie Armitage: Tin Pan Alley, “Hello! Ma Baby”
My dad is 77 and never really listened to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or other bands from that era. The songs I associate with him are much older.
He did play the piano all the time at home when I was growing up. (He’s since moved up to an electronic keyboard.) He loves playing ragtime music, and when I hear Scott Joplin’s songs — “The Entertainer,” “Maple Leaf Rag” — I always think of my dad.
When I was really little, he would sing me a song that was popular in England when he was young, called “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.” It’s also in The Lion King, but I remember it from my dad, who probably saw it on The Billy Cotton Band Show.
He also used to sing me an old Tin Pan Alley song called “Hello! Ma Baby”:
Hello! ma baby
Hello! ma honey
Hello! ma ragtime gal
Send me a kiss by wire
Baby, ma heart’s on fire!
45. Keely Flaherty: Frank Sinatra, “You Make Me Feel So Young”
“You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra — my dad is a huge Sinatra fan. I have really vivid memories of driving around in my dad’s busted-up navy blue Volvo with the windows rolled down (the AC was broken) listening to all the Greatest Hits albums. My dad’s a really great singer, so he would sing along, and I would make up words and sing along with him. The only song I knew the words to were “You Make Me Feel So Young,” so whenever it came on he’d say, “This is our song!” Probably because it’s the only song I knew the words to. But it still makes me happy whenever I hear that song.
46. Jessica Lima: Ricardo Arjona, “Ella y El”
My dad passed away when I was 17, but he loved music more than most things in this world. He had a guitar and would play so many songs for my family while I was growing up. One song that always reminds me of him is “Ella y El” by Guatemalan singer, Ricardo Arjona. My dad loved and admired Arjona so much, but he loved this particular song the most. The song is about an unlikely love story between a Cuban woman who didn’t know English and an American guy who didn’t speak Spanish but somehow they fell in love and they ended up living a happily ever after. My dad was a romantic at heart, although he seemed like a tough guy to most people. Every time I hear this song it reminds me of some of the best memories from my childhood that I was lucky enough to share with him.
47. Kristen McElhone: James Taylor, “You Can Close Your Eyes”
When my sisters and I were little, my dad sang us to sleep pretty much every night. He had a couple of his own songs in the rotation, but “You Can Close Your Eyes” by James Taylor was a staple. He raised us on all the greats and to this day still recommends new artists that I love, so most good music reminds me of him, but that lullaby will always be our song.
48. Hazel Cills: The Minutemen, “The Glory of Man”
There’s a lot of music I associate with my dad, because he exposed me to so many bands from Big Star to Portishead, but one band I always associate with him is The Minutemen, especially anything from their third album Double Nickels on the Dime. There is actually a Minutemen documentary with some footage of a concert they played at his college back in the ’80s, and he’s IN the footage, dancing like an inch from the stage. It was a reminder that no matter our age differences or taste in music, he freaked out to music the same way I do now. CIRCLE OF LIFE!
49. Maycie Thornton: NSYNC, “Bye Bye Bye”
I’m my dad’s only daughter (I also have two brothers) but growing up, my dad always made it a point to make sure we went on lots of father/daughter dates together. One of our dates that I will never forget, was when he took me to my first concert to see NSYNC in third grade. We sat in our lawn seats, and danced and sang the whole time! There’s not really one ‘NSYNC song in particular that reminds me of my dad, but when I hear their songs I think of my dad and that night, and what a good sport he was to take his 7-year-old daughter to a concert full of screaming girls! I am very lucky! :)
50. Ellie Hall: Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
My dad taught me to love Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band at an early age, and while most of their songs remind me of him, there’s one song in particular that always transports me to the front seat of my dad’s car, smiling at him as we drive with the windows down.
The version of “Thunder Road” from Bruce Springsteen’s Live at Hammersmith Odeon, London ‘75 album is slower than the famous version from Born to Run, which makes it more poignant, somehow. When I hear this song, I think of the sparkle in my dad’s eyes as he tells me about how he saw Springsteen and the E Street Band on this same tour in Norfolk, Va., — and sat in the same row as Clarence Clemon’s family. I think about how I surprised him with premium all-access tickets to Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball Tour’s D.C. show in 2012 and the amazing evening that we had together. My dad taught me to love the music that’s always been important to him and I’m so glad that we’ve always been able to share this.
51. Tanya Chen: Simon & Garfunkel, “Scarborough Fair”
My dad is kind of a goon. Outside of ’70s classic Chinese songs from his teenhood that he’ll still spin on rotation, his one and only favorite English song is “Scarborough Fair.” It’s also the only Western song he’s memorized all of the lyrics to, in part because it’s his go-to karaoke selection. He sings it very passionately and proudly and with a thick Chinese accent. He once sung it in our living room when my school friends were home. They giggled and I was mortified. It’s something I used to be painfully embarrassed by but that now I find incredibly endearing :)
He also recognizes Britney Spears’ “Toxic” because the strings remind him of the orchestral Chinese oldies.
52. Aylin Zafar: The Fugees, “Killing Me Softly”
I grew up with music always playing around the house, from Turkish pop and ’70s folk music to Mariah Carey and MC Hammer. But The Fugees’ The Score is probably the single album that I associate most with my dad and growing up. He bought the album when it first came out in 1996, and it pretty much played nonstop in our car for a few years. We’d take a lot of long drives as a family, and I began to anticipate certain streets and landmarks we’d pass by the timing of each song. He used to play Roberta Flack’s original version of “Killing Me Softly” in the car too, but we’d always go straight back to Lauryn Hill’s take on it, because, well, it’s better. My dad is a total tough guy about most things, but melts to jelly and cries at the drop of a hat at a piece of beautiful music, and that song was no exception. But when he’d drop me off at school he’d crank up “Fu-Gee-La” real loud and I’d pretend to be embarrassed, but really I thought we were SO cool.
My earliest musical memory, though, would be dancing with my dad to Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” as a 3-year-old in our living room. Thanks to old home videos, I can replay that scene in my head whenever I hear one of her songs now – me in my bowl cut hair and Pull-Ups, looking up at my dad with total admiration and awe as he taught me my first dance steps.