Father\'s Day Special: Building a Better Dad Rock Playlist

The Byrds, courtesy of Pixabay

Father's Day Special: Building a Better Dad Rock Playlist

by Adam Bulger | Featured | Jun 16, 2017

Father’s Day is Sunday, which means it’s time to fire up the grill and blast the dad rock. And while the hot dogs and burgers are fine, the tunes are getting old. This year, give Creedence Clearwater Revival and Led Zeppelin the day off. Freshen up the dad rock playlist by sprinkling in some deep cuts and newer tunes.

Sir Lord Baltimore, “Master Heartache”


Black Sabbath is eternally great but you’ve got to mix up the boozy power riffage sometime. Unfairly forgotten ‘70s Brooklyn power trio Sir Lord Baltimore are about half as good as Ozzy-era Sabbath, which makes them five times better than most bands.

Cactus, “Evil”


The opening riff of “Evil” rocks hard enough to knock the top off of Dracula’s tomb. Creem magazine called Cactus “The American Led Zeppelin.” Carmine Appice’s drum attack and blazing blues riffs make the comparison not just apt but obvious.

Budgie, “Breadfan”

Ever wondered what Rush would sound like if they dropped nerd shit and just rocked out? Enter Budgie. Despite being shamelessly stolen by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the intro of “Breadfan” hits like a shot of cheap whiskey.

Thin Lizzy “Ballad of a Hard Man”


The thing about this song is that it fucking rules. Phil Lynott snarls over a bed of tough guy guitars. It’s such a banger that you’re never gonna want to listen to anything but Thin Lizzy. Follow with “The Rocker and “King’s Vengeance.”

Roxy Music “Mother of Pearl”

We need to transition this energy and get closer to the heart. Bryan Ferry spends the first minute and a half spazzing out and It’s good fun. But then he hits that “out of reach glowing, very holy grail” groove and it’s transcendent.

David Bowie “Modern Love”


Bowie’s the only guy who could have ever stood toe to toe with the peculiar genius of Ferry. This is a high energy rocker dragging us kicking and screaming into the ‘80s. Catching the paperboy’s not a bad way to live, my dude.

The Parliaments, “Testify”


With members of the band that would later form the first incarnation of Funkadelic, George Clinton stole the melody of a gospel song and laid down heartstopping lyrics like, “once I was a hollow man, and in a lonely heart did dwell, and love came sneaking up on me bringing life to an empty shell.” Clinton was funky before discovering acid and his band was tight as hell.

Spoon, “Underdog”

We hop into the wayback machine and travel closer to the present day. Picture yourself in the living room, pipe and slippers set out for you. Spoon’s biggest hit is over 10 years old, meaning kids conceived to its bounce on college radio are in fourth grade today. Welcome to dad rock, guys.

Pavement, “Range Life”


Let’s crack open the door for a little wistful melancholy. You’ve been going full tilt for a long day–time to settle down. The song’s got a goofball, fall apart any second vibe that’ll feel like a Saturday morning cooking eggs while the kids play with dolls and trains. Don’t worry. We’re in no hurry.

Okkervill River, “A Stone”


The sun’s gone down and so has the line on the bottle of wine. Ease into the sad bastard hours with this weepy acoustic gem. The song’s a slow rising hill you’ll want to climb a couple of times. Once you start catching snatches of lyrics, you’ll realize it’s almost too well written.

The Byrds, “Wasn’t Born to Follow” and “Get to You”


You’re probably good and drunk and sentimental, so settle into a nice groove with this smooth round trip from The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Then get to bed–your kids are gonna wake up early tomorrow. They always do.