Father’s Day has been celebrated in the United States since 1910. Country music writers have drawn on the subject of fathers and fatherhood in numerous hit songs. Merle Haggard drew on the inspiration of his father when he wrote “Okie From Muskogee.” Dolly Parton wrote “For Daddy,” but the hit was recorded by Emmylou Harris. Hank Williams Jr. has made a career singing about his famous father, with one of the biggest being “Family Tradition.” Putting together a Top 10 list of country songs for Father’s Day is a very subjective thing. There are a lot more that didn’t make the list. But here are just ten of the best:
10: I Don’t Call Him Daddy: Kenny Rogers originally recorded this song, but the #1 hit was by Doug Supernaw in 1993. It was one of the first country songs to deal with the subject of step fathers.
9: So Much Like My Dad: George Strait recorded several songs on the subject of fatherhood during his career. This one was from 1992. Willie Nelson originally recorded the song in 1986, and it was written by Chips Moman and Bobbyy Emmons.
8: You Should Be Here: Cole Swindell’s father died unexpectedly in 2013. At the time, Cole was on the road, experiencing his success in country music for the first time. The tragedy inspired this song, and it became a #1 hit in 2015. The moving video recreated the funeral.
7: Seein’ My Father In Me: Paul Overstreet had two solo careers. One before his songwriting success with Randy Travis, and one after. His second career featured songs about his family, and he’d often bring them on stage during his show.
6: He Walked On Water: In real life, Randy Travis had a complicated relationship with his father. But when this song, written by Allen Shamblin, came to him, he knew he had to record it. It went to #1 in 1990.
5: He Didn’t Have To Be: This was Brad Paisley’s first #1, based on the real life experience of his friend and co-writer Kelley Lovelace, on becoming a step-father. The song is written from the perspective of a single mother.
4: The Greatest Man I Never Knew: Reba McEntire recorded this song after the plane crash that killed most of her band. It was based on the real life experience of songwriter Richard Leigh.
3: Love Without End, Amen: This was a five-week #1 song for George Strait in 1990. He didn’t write it, but he personalized it by changing the second verse to include his own son’s birth in 1981.
2: That’s My Job: Recorded by Conway Twitty in 1987, and written by Gary Burr, who wrote it after his father passed away in 1986.
1: Drive (For Daddy Gene): The song was inspired by Alan Jackson’s father, who did in 2000.
Bonus: “Song For Dad” by Keith Urban, “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins, “The Walk” by Sawyer Brown, “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw, “Watchin’ You” by Rodney Atkins, and “Tough Little Boys” by Gary Allan.