Songs For Dad

My dad was passionate about many things, and in my memory, he’s defined by two of them: c0llecting vintage toys and loving music.   Earlier today, my mother and I attended Toy Story 3.  He loved the first two films, and it was a way to get closer to him in spirit this Father’s Day.

I couldn’t let this day end without using my humble little corner of the internet to celebrate some of his favorite songs.  A love for country music was something that my father shared with my mother, and thanks to long car trips as  child, this love eventually rubbed off on me.  This morning, my mother put on the country classics Music Choice channel and it was playing their song: “Blanket on the Ground” by Billie Jo Spears.


It’s one of those songs that always seemed to be on the mix tapes that my parents listened to.  But there are a wealth of country hits that I associate with just Dad.  Some of them I always loved. Some of them I didn’t care for at the time. Some I openly disdained and wished he’d never play again.  All of them are now among my favorites because they remind me of him.

So in honor of Father’s Day, here are some of my Dad’s favorite country songs.  Share your dad’s favorites in the comments!

Alan Jackson, “Livin’ On Love”

From my mom’s point of view, K.T. Oslin’s “Hold Me” perfectly encapsulated their marriage.  For my dad, it was “Livin’ On Love.”


Clint Black, “Nobody’s Home”

My dad loved Clint Black, especially his first two albums.  This was the hit he played to death when Killin’ Time was his album of choice.


Johnny Cash, “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”

Sure, my dad loved “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Five Feet High and Rising.” But he also loved Cash’s campier hits, like “One Piece at a Time” and this chestnut.


Dixie Chicks, “Travelin’ Soldier”

No matter what was going on in the room, my dad would stop what he was doing to watch this video.  As a Navy veteran, this song really hit home for him.


Dwight Yoakam, “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”

Another guy that Dad couldn’t get enough of.  This was a song that I thought he played too much, never caring for it at the time. Now it’s one of my favorites of his.


John Anderson, “Seminole Wind”

He bought the album for “Straight Tequila Night”, but this quickly emerged as one of his all-time favorite songs.


John Conlee, “Common Man”

I do believe that I’d never have discovered this great vocalist if his greatest hits set wasn’t one of the very first CDs my father purchased. I still remember the “Priceless Music Priced Less” logo on the front.


Johnny Horton, “Sink the Bismarck”

Another hits collection dad played the heck out of. I always thought this was Horton’s biggest hit because Dad played it so much. I remember being shocked to find “Honky Tonk Man”, which I knew as a Dwight Yoakam song, was on there, too.


Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”

He didn’t care for the man’s love songs or most of his pop hits, but he had this album on vinyl and I only remember hearing him play the title track.


Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard, “Pancho and Lefty”

Another one of Dad’s first CD purchases. I always thought the opening music sounded like a TV theme song.


Marty Robbins, “Big Iron”

Dad loved the Western subgenre of country music, at least as performed by Marty Robbins.


And finally, it’s not a country song, but it was his favorite song, and I’ll forever associate it with him. Amazing how I used to groan when I heard him playing it on our living room jukebox again, and now I never get tired of it because it’s him.

The Beach Boys, “Sloop John B.”



  1. But there are a wealth of country hits that I associate with just Dad. Some of them I always loved. Some of them I didn’t care for at the time. Some I openly disdained and wished he’d never play again. All of them are now among my favorites because they remind me of him.

    That perfectly describes how I feel about the songs that my dad loved as I was growing up.

    On another note, it’s funny that you didn’t like that Dwight song growing up. I don’t know how you felt about him when you were younger, but I didn’t like him at all. Now, I can hardly recall why, since he’s one of my very favorites.

  2. Nice writeup, Kevin. My dad’s not a big music guy, so it’s nice that you have these songs to bring you back in time whenever you want. I do have a few associated with my mom though.

    I saw Toy Story 3 yesterday too. Excellent film.

  3. I wish I had a better Dad story, but my Dad isn’t quite as much into country music as I am. He likes some modern mainstream country, but he will often denounce a song as being “too country.” He likes fiddles, but he’s not big on steel guitars.

    Like your dad, my dad is pretty big on the Dixie Chicks, and he also loves “Travelin’ Soldier.” He likes some Faith Hill (“Breath,” “The Way You Love Me”), Jo Dee Messina (“Bring On the Rain”), Sara Evans (“Suds In the Bucket”), and others. I’ve looked through a few of his old CDs, and I’ve been surprised to find a few by Ricochet, K.T. Oslin, Suzy Bogguss, and Kathy Mattea. Maybe he likes country more than he’s willing to let on!

  4. Oh, by the way, I also saw “Toy Story 3.” My sister and I went with a group of about 30 friends. I wouldn’t have missed it. The original Toy Story was the first movie I ever saw in theaters (I was 3 or 4), and I saw the second one twice. The third might have been the best of all.

  5. A Thousand Miles From Nowhere by Dwight Yoakam was our theme song in our Junior-Senior Promenade before. This song is very memorable for me. I like the meaning of the lyrics. Love it.

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