32 songs that remind us of our dads | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

record player
Photo by Travis Yewell via Unsplash

Some of the best memories can be relived through the songs that play in the background



A father’s love and an appreciation for music are two things many people can relate to. This Father’s Day, we asked people: what song reminds you the most of your dad? Here is a sentimental list that overlaps generations and genres that brings back some incredibly priceless memories.

READ: An ode to my dad’s old shopping habits and all the different ways his memory lives on in his wardrobe

Listen to the full playlist here:

“Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates

“You’re a rich girl, and you’ve gone too far
‘Cause you know it don’t matter anyway
You can rely on the old man’s money
You can rely on the old man’s money”

“My dad and I were listening to this song in the car and he told me the song was about me. He is my wallet and he knows it.” — Andrei Yuvallos, junior content creator

“Change the World” by Eric Clapton

“And I can change the world
I would be the sunlight in your universe
You would think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could change the world”

“So my father, a musician and a music executive/extraordinaire, named me after Eric Clapton himself. Clearly he had big dreams for me to follow in his footsteps (I was crap at learning the guitar or piano sadly) but he did pass on to me a genuine appreciation for music. For as long as I can remember, Eric Clapton’s ‘Change the World’ was one of the songs he played at home and jammed to—it even reached the point when I got sick of it because I kept hearing this song all the time. But this song perfectly encapsulates my father because he had the uncanny ability to play music by ear and do his own rendition of guitar solos (whether on acoustic or electric guitar or even bass)—just like Eric Clapton did. He consumed classic rock and blues and in turn, the music would consume him too, as I blissfully, secretly looked in awe at how he was lost in the music. That’s heart and soul right there.” — Eric Nicole Salta, senior editorial manager

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

“You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere”

“On drives home from grade school, Dad and I listened to Magic 89.9’s Friday Madness segment. We belted 70s disco bops, 80s ballads, and 90s hiphop. But, when familiar guitar strumming came on the radio, Dad turned the volume up and “shhh’d” me. “You got a fast car / I want a ticket to anywhere” he mouthed the lyrics, while I looked out the window. I didn’t understand the song’s appeal when I was 11. At 25, I see the comfort and thrill of endless drives with the right person riding shotgun.” — Madeleine O. Teh, contributing writer

“Lovesong” by The Cure

“However far away, 
I will always love you
However long I stay
, I will always love you
Whatever words I say
, I will always love you”

“One day many years ago I was watching an Adele concert on TV with my dad and when she performed a cover of this he started singing along to it. He was never the type to break out into song so it is a core memory that I’ve always remembered. Now that he’s no longer around, the lyrics of this song just hit differently. It may have been originally written about a husband and wife relationship but if you interpret it from another perspective it just talks about having someone that takes you back to your innocence and feeling that unconditional love. I would give up so much for one more chance to be alone with my dad and feel whole once again. My home and my heart will always feel incomplete without him around.” — Angela Go Agustin, managing editor

“No Good (Start The Dance)” by The Prodigy

“You’re no good for me
I don’t need nobody
Don’t need no one that’s no good for me!”

“Music plays such a big part of my life. From my earliest conscious memories growing up, I was always sure that my life would orbit around music one way or another; and I have my Dad to thank for my passion for it. It was through his CD collection I discovered two groups that make up the foundation of my musical preferences: Linkin Park and The Prodigy. Everything else I’m in to today were natural discoveries I made from years and years of going down the rabbit holes these two groups opened up for me. During my earliest sets around Manila, I always made it a point to play out one track from the Prodigy as a nod to my Dad. This track in particular became a crowd favorite, so not only does it remind me of my Dad but also of my humble beginnings here in the local underground scene. Never forget where you came from!” — Carlos Bondoc, DJ & venue manager

“Batang-bata Ka Pa” by Apo Hiking Society

“Palagi niya pinapatugtog ‘to ‘pag may long drive kami. Iniisip ko baka siguro gusto niya pakinggan ko yung lyrics ng song since bata pa ako noon, pero na-realize ko, baka para sa kaniya rin ‘yun dahil siguro ngayong kahit tumanda na siya, hindi niya parin naiintindihan ang buhay at hindi mawawala yung pagkabata niya.” — Zild Benitez, musician

“Cry” by Godley & Creme

“I was on my way to work – directing a fashion show – when I learned of my Father’s death. It was all too late for me to withdraw from the commitment. Coincidentally, this was the opening song. I remember telling all the models: “Please no stopping, no hands on waist, and no smiling.” I was crying silently behind my eyeglasses during rehearsals because I kept my Father’s passing a secret until after the show.” — Melvin Mojica, creative consultant

“Cielito Lindo” by Marta Gomez

“Not just one song but an entire playlist. But if I were to select one it would be the first one: Marta Gomez’s rendition of Cielito Lindo. My dad loves that version and he’s loved so many versions of that particular song. He’s more of a hummer than a belter and that’s one of his favorites to hum. The first time I played him the Marta Gomez version he didn’t hum along to it but was silent. We were in the car and he usually says if he likes something or not. Or if he really likes it, he’ll hum along. Not usual for him to keep quiet. But for this one, he kept quiet. When it ended, he asked if I could play it again. Even when we got home, he asked me to play it one more time before getting out of the car… I didn’t have to look but I knew he was in tears. We’re not really criers but what else can you do right? Haha.” — Erwin Romulo, writer, editor, music producer, and creative consultant

“Don’t Do It” by New Order

“For as long as I can remember, my dad has owned a set of continuous mix CDs to listen to in the car. One of his favorites is a new wave mix, and almost every time “Don’t Do It” comes on, he’ll say something like, “Lagi yan pinapatugtog sa disco dati. Ganito sayaw niyan, oh.” And he’ll do a little dance and laugh. It’s a little surreal, growing up and realising your parents are only human. They, too, did and felt everything that comes with being young. My dad had an entire life before me that I’ll never fully get to know about. But when a song triggers a memory, I get to sneak a little glimpse.” — Lee Sy, voice actor & radio DJ

“Space Oddity” by David Bowie

“For here I am sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do”

“One day when I was 13 my dad came into my room with 2 CDs. “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” and “Space Oddity.” I put them with the rest of my discs but didn’t listen to them for 2 years. When I did I was humming “Space Oddity” at the dinner table and my dad smiled and said “you finally listened to them? It’s been 2 years? Yeah that’s roughly when I thought you’d listen to it”. He was always patient with me and we always bonded over music and art, but he also gave me so much space and time to discover things myself” — Sam Boughton, strategist and huge nerd based in London

“With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles

“What would you think if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key”

“There were a lot of questions that I never got to ask my dad. One of them was “Why do you love the Beatles so much?” Their songs were part of almost every long drive and every little errand. He would point out how the songs always had a story to tell and made countless analogies about life through their music. Needless to say, I learned a lot from them. Dad may not be with me anymore, but maybe the music may still teach me a thing or too.” — Simon Te, creative director

“Whip It” by Devo

“He has always done the dance of this song ever since we were kids. I think he’s pretty proud of it and it’s nice to have always shared a little piece of the 80s with him from a very young age. Now I, too, know how to dance to Devo!” — Miko Tiu Laurel, model and photographer

“I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman

“This has been my dad’s song for me ever since I was young. Every time I hear it, I remember how much he’s made it his mission for me to know he will always be there for me. It’s even more memorable for me now because Gary V sang it live for our father-daughter dance at my wedding, which was my surprise to him.” — Ella Pangilinan Miranda, creative consultant

“Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra

“This song reminds of my dad because he plays it all the time in our family dinners as background music. Frank Sinatra was a legend during his time. The 50s and 60s were a time where he was enjoying his best golf as an amateur representing the country. It was the prime of his life.” — Paolo Prieto, president of Inquirer.net

“Dito” by Pops Fernandez

“Bakit, kung ika’y wala na
At di na magbabalik pa
Ba’t kita naririnig, nakikita

At bakit ikaw ay narito lang sa tabi
Magkaakbay, kausap, kaulayaw sa tuwina
Ba’t kapiling pa kita

Dito’y kapiling ka”

“Two songs of mine remind me of my father Eddie Fernandez: Little Star and Dito.” — Pops Fernandez, singer and entertainer

“Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko” by Rey Valera and “Yesterday” by the Beatles

“There are actually 2 things that remind me of my dad – OPM song by Rey Valera “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko” and Beatles “Yesterday”. We both like to listen to OPM and music of the past. Makes me sentimental in a sad and good ways. Overall, they remind me of all our years together. And to clarify, he’s still alive and loving his life at the age of 76!” — Gino Cruz, H&M’s media and operations manager for Southeast Asia

“Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole And Natalie Cole

“Unforgettable in every way
And forevermore (and forevermore)
That’s how you’ll stay (that’s how you’ll stay)”

“I lost my father, Julius T. Limpe, almost ten years ago, but the memories, lessons he shared with me, the love and care he showed me are deeply etched in my heart and mind and will remain unforgettable for as long as I live.” — Olivia Limpe – Aw, Chairman and CEO of Destileria Limtuaco

“Take Me Home, Country Road” by John Denver

“Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, growin’ like a breeze
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain mama
Take me home, country roads”

“My father is a nature lover and he used to bring us to UP Diliman on Sundays to explore the Sunken Garden and other small parks.” — Kelvin Ngo, Owner of Merry Moo Ice Cream

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman

“When the road looks rough ahead
And you’re miles and miles
From your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you’ve got a friend in me”

“Looking back, although we spent a lot of time playing, making dioramas, and him teaching me math, there were several times too when I felt like my papa was almost like a stranger. Probably because of how he disciplined me, there was a time when I was a teenager that we grew apart (I’m not sure if ok to say this, papa). Perhaps it was because he got super busy or maybe it was my teenage angst and heightened emotions. But now, as an adult (although I am far from being a parent), I kind of understand now why he was the way he was. He just did the best he could at that time. Thinking of a song for my father, the lyrics “You’ve got a friend in me” first came into mind because even if we are geographically apart (he is based in Singapore, and I in Manila), I somehow know I can count on him despite the distance. He literally is just a chat away.” — Ayka Go, visual artist

Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland

“Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dream of
Dreams really do come true-ooh-ooh
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops that’s where
You’ll find me, oh”

“My dad passed away a few months after my graduation in UP Diliman. I remember him attending my college commencement ceremony seated on a wheelchair right next to a parked ambulance. At that time, his cirrhosis of the liver was severe beyond cure. In one of our conversations during his final months, I remember him telling me that he hoped to see me grow up to become a good, honorable, and compassionate human being. Since the foundational years of my childhood coincided with the peak of his 18-year-long substance abuse, I felt that what he truly meant was he didn’t want to die knowing that I hold a grudge against him or that I have become bitter towards him for all the childhood trauma caused by the darkest chapter of his life. As strange as it may seem, these lyrics make me feel that my dad’s dying wish for me, perhaps, had finally come true. That somewhere over the rainbow, there is a place where all our troubles and past hurts melt like lemon drops.” — Patrick de Veyra, visual artist and curator

“You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor

“You just call out my name
And you know, wherever I am
I’ll come runnin’
To see you again”

“My dad used to always sing this song to us and while he was singing I could feel that he meant every word. It’s about being there for you no matter what.” — Kevin Ty, commercial model and actor

“Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan

“I was listening to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” when I got a call from my younger brother that my Father was fighting for his life at the hospital back 2017. Listening to this song until now almost always make me shed a tear. I remember Dad’s life lessons of resilience, which we, as his family saw Him lived through challenges, hardships, and heartaches in life. I will always cherish these from Him: Integrity. Hardwork. Honesty. Love of God and Country. I think living our lives with what He taught us growing up is the best way to honor Him. I love you Dad! Happy Fathers Day in heaven.” — Jay Taruc, journalist

I’ll Be There (For You) by Martin Nievera

“When you wake up each morning
And you feel like calling
I’ll be there for you
When the road seems uncertain
And you can’t stop the hurting
I’ll be there for you”

“My 96 year old dad Jose Hizon has taught me to always have a positive attitude in life, to be determined, resilient, to be honest, kind and respect everyone. He’s always been there for me in my highs and lows. He says never give up on anything, when one door closes, a new one will open. I am who I am because of my dad. I thank the Lord everyday that he is my father and for his good health.” — Rico Hizon, news anchor

“Top of the World” by The Carpenters

“I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I’ve found, ever since you’ve been around
Your love’s put me at the top of the world”

“I grew up during the time of Laser disc and microphones being plugged into the sound system of the TV. I vividly remember my dad singing this. Coming from a traditional Chinese household, my dad does try to be a little bit cool, but of course the traditional bits are difficult to remove. He openly showed his love for my mom, my brother, and I. He passed away in July 2022, days leading up to Father’s Day. I am now unable to show him the growth of Booya Bagels and EAPPOC Pizza. This song keeps playing over in my head the last couple of weeks leading up to his death anniversary, maybe dad you are looking down from above. And yes, we are doing it.” — Aaron Lau, head chef and founder of Booya Bagels and EAPPOC Pizza

The Small Circle Song

“I love my parents in my own way, and I’m pretty happy and agreeable with how we were raised, but I wouldn’t say we had a typical family run. I just realized that music wasn’t a big part of our homely activities. In this context, the one song that I can associate with my father was the Small Circle song, or the Magic Pig song, as it is called in these parts of the global south. I remember him performing it (sang and drew) to me very awkwardly. It was a way of showing affection by someone who’s not affectionate. I could tell it was difficult for him and that it took a lot of effort- it was sweet, actually. I can’t remember how old I was but I definitely remember feeling that I was too old for nursery rhymes at the time! Maybe it was just me being cynical at a young age but that, I think, is why the whole thing was memorable for me.” — Kiko Escora, visual artist

“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers

“Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day…”

“Knowing how much our dad loved listening to music, my sister and I created a Spotify playlist of all the songs that remind us of him, and first on the playlist is “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. Whenever we hear this song, we remember our weekend out-of-town road trips, our dad driving, this song playing in the car, and us singing. What we wouldn’t do to go back to those moments. We might not have appreciated those lovely days as much as we do now, but it’s by listening to songs that my dad loved and reliving beautiful memories we have of him that we hope we are able to show how much we love and miss him every day.” — Marco Yulo, CrossFit and basketball coach

“Ever After” by Bonnie Bailey

“‘Cause life is a pleasure with you by my side
And there ain’t no current in this river, we can ride”

“The song reminds me of my father and how we listen to this song from road trips, to parties, up to this very day. A classic that brings back many happy memories.” — Justin Dee, Triathlete and founder of Orion Philippines

“Ikaw” by George Canseco and Louie Ocampo

“Ikaw ang bigay ng Maykapal
Tugon sa aking dasal
Upang sa lahat ng panahon
Bawat pagkakataon
Ang ibigin ko’y ikaw.”

“A few songs come to mind when I think of my dad. His all time favorite is “Ikaw” by George Canseco and Louie Ocampo. It’s his favorite song, which he always loves to sing to my mom. Any event where my dad is “forced” to sing, that song will always be his first choice. His 2nd choice would be “If We Hold on Together” by Diana Ross. Lastly, he has also updated his repertoire with a more modern song—“You Can Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. The opening lines of “Ikaw” are really powerful for me, especially when I hear someone like my dad, who is in his 70s, serenading their wife.” — Martin Honasan, visual artist

“The Twist” by Chubby Chekker

“Come on, baby
Let’s do the twist
Come on, baby
Let’s do the twist
Take me by my little hand
And go like this”

“My dad and I can’t be any more different when it comes to our musical taste. My mom was pretty much my sole music educator and influence when I was young. But my dad always showed his loving support to my being a musician, despite not understanding my world. He went through classified ads and chose my very first electric guitar for a 16th birthday gift, and he would also take me to music venues to watch grunge and rock cover bands for research. Most people think of my dad as a numbers guy who has no musical bone in his body, but if you find him in a party and the song “The Twist” by Chubby Chekker comes on, his body starts moving to the groove—He’s actually a great dancer! My dad dancing to “The Twist” is one of my most cherished moments with him.” — Barbie Almalbis Honasan, singer-songwriter

“Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg

“But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul…
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band”

“Leader of the Band by Dan Fogelberg’s always reminds me of my Tatay. Not only because this song (and the likes of it) was blasted in our household growing up but because of its all encompassing lyrics. We are in no way musicians but I always find these words both transformative and auspicious.” — Cyrus Cañares

“In My Life” by The Beatles

“There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain”

“Though not my favorite Beatles song, this song carries a big significance for me on a personal level. Just as the Beatles have profoundly influenced modern culture, my dad played a pivotal role in shaping my love for music on a more personal level. I vividly remember him teaching me the chords to this song. This sparked my love for music and art in general.” — Bryan Kong, restaurateur, photographer, and drummer of indie rock band Taken by Cars

“Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia

“Basically because that’s how my dad makes me feel – that I don’t have to worry, as long as he’s around. Also it’s a party song, my dad and I love to party together!” — Cesca Rivas Edmonds, president of 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub

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