Fathers are unspeakably important. Not only did they help create us all, but they have also inspired some of the greatest art in history. Unfortunately, a lot of that art was triggered by the dad being a total deadbeat -going heavy on the sauce, being an overbearing overweight chump, or stepping out for a pack of cigarettes and never coming back. Whatever the case, the music world owes more to terrible dads than to good ones, so this Fathers Day we’ve deicided to lovely offer up this playlist for people with daddy issues. See you all in therapy!
“Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by The Temptations
Let’s get things started off with this sprawling sh-tty dad epic from some of Motown’s finest. He cheated, robbed, conned, and had a side family with another woman. Hell, they didn’t even get a chance to see him. Somebody call Jerry Springer! Oh wait, the dad’s dead.
Most Troubling Line: “Folks say Papa never was much on thinking / Spent most of his time chasing women and drinking”
“My Dad Sucks” by The Descendents
These So Cal proto-pop punkers must have had an interesting conversation with their parents when this record came out.
Most Troubling Line: “Because he’s just a pain in the ass / He’s a thorn in my side / Why can’t he leave me alone? / Instead of running my life?”
“Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)” by Usher
Lyrics like “tonight we’re gonna do a lot of sexin” should make it clear that this song is not about that kind of daddy. And yet…
Most Troubling Line: “Just poke that bottom up in the air”
“Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin
Even bad dad songs can make us cry! This poignant piece from the late folk-singer chronicles a little boy’s transformation into his absent father. Ugh, guts is every time.
Most Troubling Line: “When you comin’ home, Dad? / I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then”
“My Old Man’s A Fatso” by Angry Samoans
Many a child has heard the refrain “As long as you live under my roof, you live by my rules.” And many a Dad has been cursed behind closed doors after saying those exact words
Most Troubling Line: “My old man’s a fatso / He’s got a potbelly for a mouth / Baby, my old man’s a fatso / But you know he owns this house”
“Daughters” by John Mayer
What seems like a kind request to ensure the next generation of women come from supportive families is clearly just a selfish way to bypass any head cases on Tinder. “Fathers be good to your daughters” so they don’t have too much baggage when John starts dating them.
Most Troubling Line: “Oh, you see that skin? / It’s the same she’s been standing in”
“Papa’z Song” by 2Pac
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’Pac starts things off trying to let his absent old man know that the family is getting along fine without him, but he throws some particularly wounding barbs with his verses.
Most Troubling Line: “Please send me a pops before puberty / The things I wouldn’t do to see a piece of family unity”
“My Dad’s A F-ckin’ Alcoholic” by Frantix
Not sure if this song is Al-Anon approved though the first stage of forgiveness is acknowledgement, right?
Most Troubling Line: “Every f-ckin’ night / My Daddy’s a sight/Gotta have his fix / He’s gotta be a f-kin’ drunk pr-ck”
“Oh Daddy” by Fleetwood Mac
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A song that’s too sensual to really be about a parent-child relationship.
Most Troubling Line: “And I can’t walk away from you, baby.” (Wait, are we still talking about dads here?)
“Father Of Mine” by Everclear
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This one is almost too raw and real for this list. Lead singer Art Alexakis ran through a laundry list of horror stories courtesy of dear old dad, who left his mother early on. The financial strain forced the family to move to a rough housing project, resulting in an even more different childhood than he would have already faced without a father.
Most Troubling Line: “Father of mine / Tell me how do you sleep? / With the children you abandoned / And the wife I saw you beat”
“Mad Man” by DMI
The only song on the list that features an actual recording of an angry Dad, but heck, if you came home after a hard day’s work and found a hardcore punk band practicing in your house you’d be pissed too.
Most Troubling Line: “He’s old and cranky and he’s got white hair / He yells at us in his underwear / He’ll attack you like a crazed bear”
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A tribute to the tough dad-ager that raised her. This track from Beyonce’s first solo album is even funnier in retrospect. Does she still feel this way after her daddy fathered a child with another woman? How about after the allegations that he stole some of her money? After she fired him? In 2014 it’s safe to say Jay Z has become the “daddy” she’s most interested in (see: “Partition”).
Most Troubling Line: “No one else replace my daddy…”
“I’m Bugged At My Old Man” by The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys took a break from their fun-in-the-sun themes to sing about literally the worst father of all time. Seriously, he locks you in your room, sells your surfboard, denies you food, and cuts your hair off when you sleep. The diddy served as a not-so-subtle jab at Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson’s father (and Mike Love’s uncle) Murry Wilson, whom the group had recently fired as their manager. Tales of his cruelty are legendary, including the story that Brian’s deafness was a result of a blow from Murry as a child. Maybe the song isn’t so bad ,after all…
Most Troubling Line: “I wish I could see outside / But he tacked up boards on my window”
“Mother” by John Lennon
Written in the midst of his Primal Scream therapy immediately following the demise of the Beatles, Lennon revisited the pains of his tragic childhood. Left by his father, his mother put him in the care of his aunt and barely saw him. By the time they reconnected when John was a teenager, she was struck by a car and killed. This song (as well as the rest of the album, 1970’s stunning John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band) served as a release valve for his pent-up grief. Don’t let the title fool you, he has a few jabs at his father Alfred -who only reached out after his son became world famous.
Most Troubling Line: “Father, You left me but I never left you / I needed you but you didn’t need me”
“The End” by The Doors
The ultimate Oedipal rock song, and not for nothing, but you should hear what he said to his Mother.
Most Troubling Line: “Father / Yes son? / I want to kill you”
[Photo: Getty Images]