Time to thank dear ol’ dad with a Father’s Day Playlist featuring some of country music’s best odes to fatherhood.
In honor of Father’s Day on June 20, we put together a list of more than a dozen songs that pay tribute to the paternal bond between fathers and their children. Before you hit “play” on our playlist below, check out the backstory on a few of our favorite daddy ditties.
‘A Boy Named Sue’ – Johnny Cash
Sure, it’s not your typical loving ode to dad, but “A Boy Named Sue” sure is entertaining. Penned by the great Shel Silverstein, “A Boy Named Sue” was recorded live by Johnny Cash on his 1968 album, At San Quentin. Johnny scored a No. 1 hit with the tongue-in-cheek tale in 1969. It has since become one of Johnny’s three Gold-certified singles, along with “Ring of Fire” and “Hurt.”
‘Love Without End, Amen’ – George Strait
George Strait notched his 18th No. 1 hit with “Love Without End, Amen” in April 1990. Songwriter Aaron Baker penned the heartwarming ode after a soul-searching conversation he had with his 16-year-old son, who had broken house rules and wrecked a car. Aaron stayed up all night and composed the hit about unconditional love, using an instance from his own childhood (fighting in school) to start the song. The tune spent five weeks at No. 1, becoming George’s first multi-week chart-topper.
‘Drive (For Daddy Gene)’ – Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson paid homage to his late father, Eugene Jackson, with his sentimental fan-favorite hit in 2002. Not only does the nostalgic song reference Alan’s childhood memories of his father letting him drive a boat (first verse) and truck (second verse), but Alan brings it full circle in the third verse by teaching his young daughters to drive his Jeep. The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in May 2002, and stayed there for four weeks.
‘Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore’ – Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton’s poignant tune, “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore,” was featured on his 2015 debut album, Traveller. The Kentucky native penned the song—in about 10 minutes—based on a real-life experience he had with his father in the late 2000s. Chris’s father passed away in 2013.
“My dad was a straight arrow, who’d say grace before every meal we ever had,” said Chris during my interview with him in 2015. “I came home for a holiday, and he didn’t say grace for one reason or another. He was either tired or forgot, it really struck me—he said grace many times after that—and I wrote that song afterwards. There was a demo of it, it’s six or eight years old.”