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Bringing Together The Best Songs About Family


by Amy Gold

Songs about family are numerous and especially popular around the holidays. What other subject can evoke so many different emotions and open up so many different avenues of inspiration and thought? Family, in most cases, is the single most important factor in our lives, something that forms us and helps us to become the people we are. If not for their families, most songwriters would not have the fuel it takes to drive their creative engines.

And so songs with family in the title or revolving around the subject of family have existed from the earliest days of songwriting. From sentimental ballads to celebratory anthems, family has been the inspiration for so many well-loved songs. And even as the definition of what constitutes a family has changed, the love and connection that bond evokes remains the same.

Songs about family can focus on a particular relationship, such as that between father and daughter, or can evoke a larger concept of the family unit, beyond the nuclear family to the family of man. In the early days of songwriting, pieces like "Home, Sweet Home" spoke lovingly of the pull of family and home on the heartstrings. Many a bride has danced to "Daddy's Little Girl" by the Mills Brothers with her father on her big day.

As society grew and changed, so, too, did the songwriters approach to the idea of family. Pop groups like Sister Sledge gave us a rallying cry with songs like "We Are Family, which has been stretched to fit many different interpretations of the word. And songs like Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown" evoke the idea of home and family as encompassing more than just a single household.

Perhaps no other genre has taken to the subject quite like country music. Many country songwriters have given us heartfelt tunes about the love only a family can give. Still others have painted bleaker pictures of the hard lives with little money that can often bring families to the breaking point.

Many modern songwriters have taken a more down to earth approach to the subject, not backing away from the tough end of things when it comes to songs with family connections. Others have been able to look back on their families as adults and gained new perspective about what we can learn from one another. Songs like Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Teach Your Children" exhort us to keep the concept of family alive for generations to come.

Whether they're upbeat, teary-eyed or even tough talking, songs about family can reach us all and open our eyes and hearts like no others. It is a subject that is impossible to avoid for any of us and one which can cause a great deal of emotional turmoil, but in the end nothing stands the test of time quite like family.

Look into family-related songs and you'll find a treasure trove of hits. There will be something to satisfy every taste and express every conceivable emotion. Be it ever so humble, there is nothing quite like family and no better subject to sing about.

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