It’s Father’s Day this weekend (I hope you haven’t forgot, if you have and you’re booking a stag do this month you can take him along for free), so I thought it would be the perfect time to celebrate one thing that you will probably remember quite well from your childhood; your dad’s taste in music.
Whether you loved everything he played you, or couldn’t believe that he liked the artists he did, there is no mistaking that your parent’s taste in music can play a part in your life. For me, being handed a stack of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Anthrax tapes from my old man was a defining moment (although I didn’t know that at the time).
So, as we celebrate a day dedicated to the all the dads out there, I felt it was only right that I put together a definitive playlist of Dad Jams; the songs that almost everyone will remember hearing in their youth. Let's get started...
Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple
This is a real classic, and when that guitar riff kicks in I always feel a little bit nostalgic. Deep Purple are one of my dad’s favourite bands, and I know this because whenever Christmas comes around and there has been any Deep Purple reissues he’ll ask me for these over anything else.
Don’t Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
Don’t Fear The Reaper is a song that I would often hear and think ‘I always hear this, who is it?’ I love it still, especially now I know who performs it. This song was also on the video game Rock Band, which was always loads of fun to play, unless it was on expert in which case I lost count of the amount of times my guitar controller nearly went out the window or through the TV screen when I failed to complete the song.
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
Everyone likes at least one Dire Straits song, whether they realise it or not. You’ve most likely heard Money for Nothing (fun fact that may come up in a pub quiz; Money for Nothing was the first music video aired on MTV Europe when it launched. Fun fact #2, that’s sting singing ‘I want my MTV’ at the beginning of the song), but for me Sultans of Wing reminds me of lazy Sundays at home, so it trumps Money for Nothing and makes the list.
House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
Another riff that you will have heard countless times unless you’ve been living under a rock (lizards, worms and the like excluded) your entire life. I’ve heard countless cover versions of this and I will happily listen to each and every one, The cover that Muse put out as a B-side is one of my favourites.
Sunshine of your Love - Cream
Oh Mr Clapton, you and your bandmates really nailed it with this one, especially that riff. As you can tell, I am quite partial to good riff. I think it was once proven, scientifically, that 99.95% of dads like Eric Clapton and Cream. Don’t quote me on that though.
Baggy Trousers - Madness
Not your typical Dad Jam, if ever there was such a thing as a ‘typical’ Dad Jam, but Madness remind me of my childhood an awful lot. My parents had a VHS tape of Madness music videos, and I’m pretty sure I stretched the tape through watching the Baggy Trousers and House of Fun videos before rewinding it back to watch it over and over again. And yes, I did try to copy Suggs’ ‘dancing’ in this video, nor have I ever wanted a harmonica more than I did then.
Paint it Black - The Rolling Stones
Everyone likes the Rolling Stones, well, not everyone but they should. The impact the Stones had, not just musically but culturally becomes even more evident by the year in my opinion. My dad wasn’t a massive Stones fan, but this one still got regular rotation on the old record player / tape deck.
Black Dog - Led Zepplin (Live - How the West was Won)
What can be said about Led Zepplin that hasn’t been said before? Not a lot, I assure you. Another band that made an incredible impact and influence that can still be felt today, in fact you could quite comfortably say that they influenced bands such as Deep Purple, who I featured earlier in the list. I’ve chosen this live version from this exact album because I bought it for my dad for Father’s Day back when it was released.
I Can’t Dance - Genesis
I Can’t Dance is another song, much like Baggy Trousers, that I can remember copying the walk / dance from the video all around the house, at all hours of the day. Along with Madness I think this was probably the song that I requested my dad play more than any other.
So Lonely - The Police
It’s tough to choose just one song from the Police, as they have so many great singles. Message in a Bottle, Roxanne, and Every Breath You Take are probably the most popular, but I always enjoyed So Lonely more than those three. Although I do remember my dad trying to sing Roxanne, which may have been what put me off the song (sorry dad).
I Get Around - The Beach Boys
I’m going to nerd out a bit here and say that I love the harmonies in this song so, so much. However, when I was a kid I doubt that was the reason I like this song so much. I think everyone needs The Beach Boys in their life, to the point where it should piped into everyone’s brains when the sun in shining (which would amount to 7 hours per year in the UK).
I am the Walrus - The Beatles
I always remember my introduction to The Beatles because I’d been listening to an Oasis cover of I Am the Walrus and my dad dug out his copy of The Blue Album on vinyl so that I could listen to the original version. I didn’t really understand the lyrics at first, but the background behind the song is quite interesting. The thing I loved about that vinyl copy of The Blue Album was that it still had a price sticker on it; £3.99! For a double vinyl LP! Those really were the days, shame I wasn’t around for them!
Master of Puppets - Metallica
This one has to be in here, there was just no way it couldn’t make it in. My dad is a metaller first and foremost, and I’m so glad he got me into this band, especially their early albums that I might’ve otherwise missed for years. One thing that my dad always reminds of is that he was fortunate enough to see Metallica perform at Donnington with the late Cliff Burton, who tragically lost his life in a tour bus accident in 1986. You get some cool points for that one dad.
Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, it’s the Exorcist theme, and you would be right. Still a pretty cool track though, and one that I remember being played at home quite a lot when I was growing up. There isn’t really much else to add here!
The Boys are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy
My dad bloody loves Thin Lizzy, and so do I now, especially this song and Whiskey in the Jar (Metallica’s cover of this Irish Folk song is also pretty awesome). Frontman Phil Lynott is another musician who was unfortunately taken from us too early, but his legacy lives on to this day and will continue to do so for years to come. This is a song that I would always make my dad play on the car stereo.
So these are 15 songs that say to me ‘Dad Jam’ (I had to omit soooooo many more), but the jams your dad, uh, jammed could well be different. So why not comment with some of your favourite dad jams, or even better, create your own dad Jams playlist and tweet us the link. We’ll give it a listen in the office, we promise.
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