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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Songs about Love for Friends and Family

last updated February 26, 2021

photostock for 

posted by Catharine Hannay

Here's the latest in the popular series of song playlists for values-based teaching, including compassion and gratitude.  This time, the focus is on love for our families and friends.

As always, please read the full lyrics and watch the full video before deciding what to share with your class.  

Child of Mine, Carole King
lyricsvideo (audio + album cover)
"Although you see the world different from me, sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see... The times you were born in may not have been the best, but you can make the times to come better than the rest."

Count on Me, Bruno Mars
lyricsofficial video (audio with album cover); video of cover by Goodnight Fellows; video of American Sign Language interpretation by Soph 1951

"Find out what we're made of when we are called to help our friends in need.  You can count on me like one two three.  I'll be there.  And I know when I need it I can count on you like four three two.  You'll be there, 'cause that's what friends are supposed to do."

Daddy Loves You, Lil Crazed
lyrics; official video
"The eyes of his mother, the ears and nose of his father, and a heart inside that doesn't need to grow larger. 'Cuz the love he gave off from that very night was enough love to last an entire life."

Dance with My Father, Luther Vandross
"Back when I was a child before life removed all the innocence.  My father would lift me high, and dance with my mother and me.  And then spin me around 'till I fell asleep.  Then up the stairs he would carry me.  And I knew for sure I was loved."

Daughters, John Mayer
lyrics;  video
"Oh, you see that skin?  It's the same she's been standing in since the day she saw him walking away... So fathers, be good to your daughters.  Daughters will love like you do."

Everything (You're Still Here), Alanis Morisette
lyricsofficial video (There's one potentially-offensive word in the first line.) 
"You see everything, you see every part.  You see all my light and you love my dark.  You dig everything of which I’m ashamed.  There’s not anything to which you can’t relate.  And you’re still here."

Family, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

"You don't choose em, you can't lose em. We all have a song to sing. Some are crazy, some are amazing. All got a little bit of everything... Family, all in this together. Family, taking a chance. Family, like birds of feather. Family, kick off your shoes and dance."

Friend, Ahn Jung Jae and Sungha Jung
Video of two musician friends playing guitar together
instrumental guitar music

Friendship, Chris Stapleton
lyrics; video (audio + album cover)

"We got friendship. The kind that lasts a lifetime. Through all the hardship, you know you're a friend of mine."

The Greatest Man I Never Knew, Reba McEntire
lyrics; audio + album cover

"The greatest man I never knew lived just down the hall, and ev'ry day we said hello but never touched at all... He never said he loved me. Guess he thought I knew."


Hey Brother, Avicii

lyricscover by siblings Jada and Kyson Facer; official video (story of an older brother who dies while serving in the military); tribute concert after Avicii's death from suicide

"Hey Brother, do you still believe in one another?
Hey Sister, do you still believe in love I wonder?
Ooooh if the sky comes falling down, for you
There's nothing in this world I wouldn't do."

Hold My Breath, Verona Blu
video (lyrics not available)
A father raps about his love for his little boy.

I Miss You, Peter Boxell

video of The Missing People Choir

I Won't Let Go, Rascal Flatts
lyrics; video of live performance
"I will stand by you.  I will help you through.  When you've done all you can do.  If you can't cope, I will dry your eyes.  I will fight your fight.  I will hold you tight, and I won't let go."

I'm Gonna Love You Through It, Martina McBride
lyricsofficial video (song is intercut with women talking about how their loved ones supported them through cancer treatment)
"She dropped the phone and burst into tears.  The doctor just confirmed her fears.  Her husband held it in and held her tight...  He said, "I know that you’re afraid and I am, too.  But you’ll never be alone, I promise you."

It Won't Be Like This For Long, Darius Rucker
"He didn't have to wake up.  He'd been up all night... listening to his newborn baby cry... And just watching her it breaks his heart 'cause he already knows it won't be like this for long.  One day soon that little girl is gonna be all grown up and gone.  This phase is gonna fly by.  He's trying to hold on.  It won't be like this for long."

Jealous, Labrinth
lyricsofficial videovideo of cover by Josh Daniel dedicated to his best friend, who died at age 18 in a car crash (on The X Factor UK; worth watching until the end to see fellow judges wondering how to comfort Simon Cowell, whose mother died a month earlier)
"I wished you the best of all this world could give, and I told you when you left me there's nothing to forgive... It's hard for me to say, I'm jealous of the way you're happy without me."

Mama, This One's for You, Beth Hart
lyrics; official video (live performance intercut with film clips of mothers and daughters) 
"For all the things I never said, I’m sorry that I never did.  I thank you for your precious time.  For teaching me how to climb... You’ve been such a good friend of mine... I learned to love because of you."

My Angel, Kellie Pickler
lyrics; video of cover by Brittany Mercedes, dedicated to her own grandmother who just passed away

"You were like my mother. You were my best friend. You were everything I want to be, and all the good inside of me. There's never been another that loved me like you did. My grandmother, my angel."

Not All Heroes Wear Capes, Owl City
lyrics; official video
"He doesn't fight crime or wear a cape.  He doesn't read minds or levitate.  But every time my world needs saving, he's my superman.  Some folks don't believe in heroes 'cause they haven't met my dad."

Once a Day, Michael Franti and Spearhead
lyricsofficial video, which looks like a crazy multi-cultural street party; alternate video of quieter live performance (song was written after his son was diagnosed with a serious illness)

"You got your friends, you got your money,  got your family, got your honey, you think you got a million days. But then life comes along, and it knocks you right down to the ground, and that's why I say,  Everybody oughta hug somebody, at least once a day ...  And everybody gotta love somebody, every day!"

Parents, Nothing More, Rosa Lee and Damon Timm
video: sign language (ASL) performance artist Rosa Lee Timm pairs up with her husband, musician Damon Timm, for a naptime recording of a song about the challenges of caring for a baby.

"We used to dream of touring... Now we don't dream of anything, 'cause we're never asleep that long.  But it's all right, 'cause we're parents, nothing more."

Pass It On, Kurt Hugo Schneider
Lyrics; Video
"Like a simple lullaby, or a kiss to say goodnight, some things are meant to share with the ones you love... And if there's a song in your heart...  If there's a smile inside then send it along. Take a little of your love and pass it on."

Ready, Set, Don’t Go, Billy Ray Cyrus
lyrics; video of cover by Mama Uke
"She's gotta do what she's gotta do, and I've gotta like it or not.  She's got dreams too big for this town, and she needs to give 'em a shot... She's waitin' on my blessings before she hits that open road... Baby, get ready.  Get set.  Don't go."

See You Again, Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

"First, you both go out your way and the vibe is feeling strong. And what's small turned to a friendship, a friendship turned to a bond... Hold every memory as you go, and every road you take will always lead you home. It's been a long day without you, my friend, and I'll tell you all about it when I see you again. We've come a long way from where we began. Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again."

She's Leaving Home, The Beatles
lyrics; video of cover by Andy Prasa
"Silently closing her bedroom door. Leaving the note that she hoped would say more... She's leaving home, after living alone for so many years."

Shower the People, James Taylor
lyrics (click on song title); video of live performance
"Tell me how do you stand there with your broken heart, all ashamed of playing the fool...  Oh, father and mother and sister and brother, if it feels nice don’t think twice.  Just shower the people you love with love."

This is Love, Walk off the Earth

"Your smiling face when you first said my name. A scene that I'll rеplay a million times. And every night I watch you closе your eyes. The greatest place on earth is by your side."

Two of Us, Louis Tomlinson
official video (lyrics in video description); 'Richard's Bucket List': Louis, who's grieving for his mom, teams up with an 83-year old widower for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure
"I will be the best of me, Always keep you next to me. I’ll be living one life for the two of us. Even when I’m on my own, I know I won’t be alone... I know you’ll be looking down. Swear I’m gonna make you proud. I’ll be living one life for the two of us."

Unsteady, X Ambassadors
lyrics; official video
"Mama, come here.  Approach, appear.  Daddy, I’m alone.  'Cause this house don’t feel like home.  If you love me, don’t let go.  Hold on to me 'cause I’m a little unsteady."

You Are My Friend, Ledisi
lyrics, video (audio with still photos and album cover)
"I am your friend. I will run to you. I'll be your shoulder to cry on when you're feeling blue. I'll be your shelter, through all kinds of weather. I'm here, yeah, 'cause you are my friend."

You've Got a Friend, Carole King
lyrics; video of live performance by James Taylor, video of cover by McFly, filmed with children in Uganda 
"When you're down and troubled, and you need some loving care, and nothin', nothin' is goin' right.  Close your eyes and think of me, and soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest night."

You've Got a Friend in Me, Randy Newman
lyrics; video of cover by ortoPilot
"When the road looks rough ahead, and you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed, you just remember what your old pal said. Yeah, you've got a friend in me... Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am.  Bigger and stronger too, maybe.  But none of them will ever love you the way I do."

Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
  • How is love for our friends similar to and different from love for our families?
  • How is love between grandparents and grandchildren similar to and different from love between parents and children?
  • What are some of the challenges of taking care of someone we love (a baby or someone with a severe disability or illness)?
  • Have you ever lost someone you loved?  How do you honor his or her memory?
  • If you wrote a song about friendship or family love, who would you dedicate it to, and why?