The 20 greatest rock daddy songs of all time
By Will Brewster
From Steely Dan to the Steve Miller Band, we go through the years with these classic daddy rock jams.
This Sunday marks a special day for many of us here in Australia: Father’s Day.
For many of us, this is a good time to sit down and recollect fond memories of the old man, or if you’re lucky, hang out with the guy and chat about mowing the lawns or the maintenance of the car.
To coincide with this holy day for dads, we’ve been racking our brains to think of the 20 greatest rock daddy songs of all time, just to help get you in the mood for some fatherly fun this Sunday. Rock On!
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‘Reelin’ In The Years’ – Steely Dan
Musically, ‘Reelin’ In The Years’ is one of rock’s biggest fans. This guitar solo is on the next level, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more poignant refrain for the screaming old guy, reliving his glory days thanks to the sonic genius of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.
While we are on the Dan I would also like to give ‘Peg’ a cry to be the funkiest father’s jam around.
‘Layla’ – Eric Clapton (MTV unplugged version)
The Derek & The Dominoes version of ‘Layla’ with Duane Allman on slide guitar is one of the greatest songs of the ’70s and a premium jam in its own right, but there’s no denying that Eric Disconnected version wins well in the dad department.
Slow-burning guitars, smoky vocals, an acoustic timbre – it’s daddy rock through and through. Some say that the success of Eric Clapton Disconnected only pushed the kids back then further into alternative music, so I guess we have to hand it over to Slowhand for that one.
“Smooth” – Santana and Rob Thomas
An aging guitar superstar and one of the best frontmen in soft rock teaming up for a spicy Latin rocker; What’s not to like?
‘Smooth’ is certainly far from Rob Thomas or Santana’s best track, but there are few tracks that epitomize a summer barbecue like that bad boy – dude, it’s a hot track.
‘Better Man’ – Pearl jam
Pearl Jam is essentially the flagship of the next generation of rock daddy; the one who avoids cans of lager and cigarettes in favor of craft beers and fruit vape pens.
“Better Man” represents the softer side of seminal Seattle rockers, and it’s too easy to imagine a young generation of hip dad swinging towards it and remembering a time when Eddie Vedder and co. reigned over the airwaves.
“Power and Passion” – Midnight Oil
It’s easy for dads to get a little whimsical after listening to The Oils after a few Brewskis and arguing that there aren’t any “real” rock bands doing songs like this anymore.
Honestly, he’s probably right: “Power And The Passion” is a top-notch slammer, and anyone who says otherwise is probably just an avid voter for the ALP.
“Horse without a name” – America
Any song about horses from a band called America is guaranteed to be a hit with dads.
There is a iconic scene of breaking Bad where this song literally triggers Walter White – perhaps the most critically analyzed onscreen father of the modern era – to get cheeky with a police officer and ultimately take a dose of pepper spray as a result. Do whatever you want with it.
“Girl with Brown Eyes” – Van Morrison
How many of our parents do you think you had a boogie to this one at their wedding? I know that at least one of my coworker’s parents did, and I’m willing to bet some cash that I could find several more hiding there.
To be fair, this riff is timeless, and it’s a really sweet song, so we won’t be dragging Van too hard for this one.
‘Sultans Of Swing’ – Dire Straits
Honestly, Dire Straits rocks. Mark Knopfler is a shitty guitarist, and there are so many great songs in this band’s back catalog that still haven’t received their due.
That being said, “Sultans Of Swing” is rock from the ground up – if there’s one track your old man can whistle the note-for-note guitar solo on, I think it probably would be this one.
‘New Kid In Town – Eagles
The pioneers, the gifts, the OG of dad sway. The Eagles are titans of daytime radio, and you can pick any song you want to fill that spot.
However, “Hotel California” sucks and is one of the most overrated, overplayed, and bloated songs of all time, so we’re going to go for “New Kid In Town” instead. Happiness!
‘What A Fool Believes’ – The Doobie Brothers
You all knew this one was coming. The Doobies could be the ultimate daddy rock band, and “What A Fool Believes” could be one of the best daddy rock songs of all time. It’s a wonderfully composed and produced piece, and sits on the border between cheese and steeze so thin it must be tasty.
It’s also worth noting that this song won both Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 1978 Grammy Awards, making it, statistically, the most lauded daddy jam ever. .
“Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen
There would be more than a few Bruce Springsteen tracks eligible to enter the hallowed halls of rock daddy fame. “Born To Run” is right up there, and “Born In The USA” would be an easy choice – hell, even the hottest moments from The Boss could take a look here.
For me, however, it’s the punchy drums and powerful synths of “Dancing In The Dark” that take the cake this time around, but the Boss has so many classics that I think anything will do here.
‘Free Bird’ – Lynyrd Skynyrd
In all sincerity, (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd’ Skin-‘nérd) is a hell of an album – “Simple Man” is an amazing song that really shines a light on each member’s instrumental talents, and “Gimme Three Steps” is top notch rock ‘n roll.
‘Free Bird’, however, is one of the most iconic songs of its ilk, and it would be a huge omission not to feature this nine-minute two-part epic on a daddy rock list; Plus, this guitar solo is an absolute stonker.
‘Harvest Moon’ – Neil Young
For all of Neil Young’s gnarly proto-grunge and wall-hanging moments in his back-catalog, I can guarantee you there’s a tasteless ballad like “Harvest Moon” to match it.
I love to imagine this song playing in the background while mum and dad are slowly dancing in the kitchen after a few too many glasses of shiraz on a Saturday afternoon – I’m sure we’ve all seen it happen at some point.
‘The Joker’ – Steve Miller Band
This is not very common, but there is a sub-branch of dads who never really gave up on devil’s lettuce when it came time to settle down and have children.
I can almost guarantee that when these so called dads get together in the back shed to chop, roll and smoke, they detonate “The Joker” as they cough and make their way through the biggest spliff known to daddy. God bless them !
‘Khe Sanh’ – Cold chisel
You all know it, we all love it. This sad song about the struggles facing returning Vietnam veterans has become one of the greatest Australian rock tracks of all time, and to be honest, it’s a wonderfully written and composed song.
I’ve been fortunate enough to witness gangs of old footy dads screaming that latest chorus in the pub like it’s their last day on earth, and it’s times like these that really remind you of the unbridled power of the daddy rock.
‘Roxanne’ – The Police
ACAB, but the police rule. ‘Roxanne’ is an absolute masterpiece, and while it’s a little more new wave than some of the other tracks on this list, I’m sure there are quite a few of our fathers who rocked this one at their peak.
On that note, I wonder how many fathers out there know the “Roxanne” drinking game?
‘Howzat’ – Sorbet
Look, I know Daryl Braithwaite’s “The Horses” is a much more popular track in the bigger scheme of things, but I think “Howzat” cricket cross-call is a lot more appropriate for a rock daddy roster. .
I think everyone’s had a bit of horse fatigue the last few years from all those Dazza memes, and the guitar solo in ‘Howzat’ is an absolute shred festival – definitely a worthy choice.
‘Down On The Corner’ – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Does this need explanations? ‘Down On The Corner’ is an almost elusive example of John Forgerty’s simple songwriting genius, and the fact that it’s backed up by such a groovy bassline like this can’t hurt either. its cause.
Despite their huge commercial success, I would probably consider Creedence Clearwater Revival to be one of the most underrated and influential rock bands of all time, and their catalog of iconic tracks could possibly match the likes of Rolling. Stones – and will likely emerge victorious.
“Don’t Stop” – Fleetwood Mac
It was hard to determine which piece of Fleetwood Mac would cross it off this list, as honestly, any of them could have fit in fairly easily.
However, I think the carefree exuberance and screaming guitars of ‘Don’t Stop’ is probably the greatest daddy moment in Mac discography, and that playful Southern California groove can’t hurt either. .
“Cats in the Cradle” – Harry Chappin
It’s a sad daddy song, but hey, dads are sad too.
“Cats In The Cradle” tells the story of a father too busy to spend time with his young son, watching his relationship with his family drift further and further into nothingness over the cruel time.
Think of this one as an uplifting tale for dads because really, there is nothing more important in life than being a dad.
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