Keep It In The Family…

I’m taking this free online course right now (through in Songwriting.  I really just wanted to see how coursera worked, and there was this class that was offered through Berklee College of Music, and I thought, “OH, MY! What a cool way to get a hang of this online class endeavor!”

So, I’m watching all of these videos that this professor has given, and the lectures are pretty useful (especially if one is not a songwriter), but this guy is almost always talking about writing songs about love for an (in)significant other. I’ve certainly written songs about love in this way. I’ve almost exclusively written songs on the subject of romantic love (having it, losing it, wanting it, fighting it, etc.).

I’m in Tracy Newman’s band, and when she began writing songs, again (after a long career in writing for TV), one of the first songs she wrote was about her sister, Laraine Newman. The song is quite aptly called Laraine.

Many of Tracy’s songs are written about love regarding the prospect of being in or out of a romantic relationship, but there are so many songs she’s written about other kinds of love, such as the song about her sister. She’s written songs with, for, and about experiences with her daughter, as well… and it got me thinking about family songs.

Concurrently, among my curiosities that have been piqued, in the recent past and present, has been genealogy. I was reading my mother’s family tree and genealogy, and also using online resources (such as, and began to compile a list of my favorite 50 songs about family.

Hopefully, this can inspire me? If not, it’s something to do, and maybe it’ll get YOU in a good some kind of mood about your family. This list is in no particular order, besides alphabetical…

Beautiful Boy – John Lennon
Because of You – Kelly Clarkson
Best of You – Foo Fighters (written for Dave’s sister)
Carpool (It’s All Coming Back To Me Now) – Tracy Newman
Cat’s In the Cradle – Harry Chapin
*Coat of Many Colors – Dolly Parton
Daughters – John Mayer
Dear Mama – 2Pac
Don’t Cry Over Me – Anna Montgomery
Find Your Song – David Lucky (featuring Maude Maggart)
Gone Daddy Gone – Violent Femmes
Hey Daddy – Shelby Tieg and Tara
Homeward Bound – Simon & Garfunkel
If It Were Up to Me – Tracy Newman
Julia – The Beatles
Laraine – Tracy Newman
*A Little Birdie Told Me So – Rodgers and Hart
Mama – Spice Girls
Mama, I Know You Ain’t Santa – Tracy Newman (this song made Dolly Parton cry!!!)
Mama Said – Shirelles
Mama Tried – Merle Haggard
The Man Who Taught Me – Tina Ferguson
Mother – Tori Amos
Mother, We Just Can’t Get Enough – The New Radicals
*My Grandmother’s Love Letters – Maury Yeston
Negative Child – Anna Montgomery
*No Way Jose – Babbie Green
One Less Thing – Shaun Cromwell (mislabeled as “One Last Thing”)
*Our Love Is Here To Stay – George & Ira Gershwin (Ira wrote the lyrics to this song right after his brother, George, died)
Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna
Papa Was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations
Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – James Brown
Princes Familiar – Alanis Morissette
Rock a Bye Baby – by Jean Schwartz, Sam M. Lewis, and Joe Young (sung by Banu Gibson here)
Real Good Man – Gregory Porter
*Runs in the Family – The Roches
Sisterwoman – The Gentle Waves
Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
A Song For A Child (Working Title) – Paula Fong
Song for Momma – Boyz II Men
Still Fighting It – Ben Folds Five
Take Your Mama Out All Night – Scissor Sisters
Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
That’s All Right, Mama – Elvis Presley (written by Arther “Big Boy” Crudup)
Tie Your Mother Down – Queen
Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid (written by Alan Menkin and Howard Ashman)
Waffle Boy – Tracy Newman
We Are Family – Sister Sledge
Winter – Tori Amos
Your Mother Should Know – The Beatles

*Songs performed in Maude Maggart‘s show in 2009, called “Parents and Children.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s