Father and Daughter dancing at wedding

Unique Father-Daughter Dance Songs

The father-daughter dance is one of the most emotional moments in a day filled with emotional moments. However, if we’re being honest, the song selection for the father-daughter dance can be a little sappy. We say that without judgment; we love sappy stuff at weddings. However, if sap is not your thing, check out this selection of non-traditional father-daughter dance songs.

Selecting your wedding music is deeply personal. For example, the father-daughter dance song typically evokes their relationship, sets a mood, and conveys emotion. Traditionalists may only consider “slow” songs for the father-daughter dance. However, there’s no paint-by-numbers depiction of a father-daughter relationship. So, for those who like to color outside of the lines, here are some unique father-daughter songs.

Rock father-daughter dance songs

“Sweet Child O’ Mine,” performed by Guns and Roses

Axl Rose, the lead singer of Guns and Roses, wrote the lyrics as a poem for Erin Everly (daughter of Don Everly, one half of the legendary Everly Brothers). The two eventually married, and, hey, let’s pretend everything worked out happily for them (it did not).

Regardless, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is a glam rock-era classic (from a band that was anything but glam rock). The opening guitar riff is an insistently recognizable classic that lead guitarist Slash wrote to make the other band members laugh (he considered it “circus music”). When the band went to the studio, the song had no conclusion. So, Axl improvised and made the subtext text by repeatedly singing, “Where do we go now?”

Long story short: the song should not have worked, but it did: massively. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was the first song to surpass one billion plays on Spotify and the first 80s music video to hit one billion views on YouTube. Plus, it’s one of the best father-daughter rock songs. What father can hear these lyrics and not think of his daughter?

Sample lyrics:

She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky.
Now and then, when I see her face,
She takes me away to that special place,
And if I stare too long, I’d probably break down and cry.

(If you’re a fan of the tune but not entirely comfortable playing the original at your wedding, there are a jillion cover versions, including a slow jam by Taken by Trees and an instrumental by Vitamin String Quartet.

“She’s a Rainbow,” performed by The Rolling Stones

The psychedelic “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” the album featuring “She’s a Rainbow,” is a creative zigzag for The Rolling Stones that doesn’t really fit with the rest of their musical catalog. (The album’s title is a spoof of a British passport’s opening sentence, “Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests.” Hopefully, the joke played like gangbusters across the pond.) The eight-month-long recording sessions for “Their Satanic Majesties Request” were such a nightmare that the band’s manager and producer quit before the group finished (at least, it was one reason he parted with the group).

Regardless, “She’s a Rainbow” is something special. The song opens with tinkling piano and closes with discordant orchestral notes (arranged by future Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones). In between, the song includes some of the most evocative lyrics ever featured in a Stones song, surprise, bongos, fuzzy electric guitar, beautiful cello, a Mellotron, and sped-up backing vocals recorded by the band (minus Charlie Watts).

The final result is an enigma of a song that stops and starts while flowing seamlessly with nonsensical lyrics that perfectly describe every father’s daughter.

Sample lyrics:

Have you seen her all in gold,
Like a queen in days of old?
She shoots her colors all around,
Like a sunset going down.
Have you seen a lady fairer?

Alternative father-daughter dance songs

My Darling (alternate, 2020 remaster),” performed by Wilco

On paper, “My Darling” is a dreamy, longing lullaby. However, the version on Wilco’s 1999 album, “Summerteeth,” is much less straightforward. Opening with a tinny piano (and harpsichord, maybe) straight from a 1920’s jazz album, the song soon evolves into something surreal and somewhat haunting.

Lead singer Jeff Tweedy and the background vocalists (with a chorus of “ba ba bah bas”) are fuzzy and distorted while the flutes, piano, electric guitar, and drums build a dissonate wall of sound. The result is beautiful but unsettling. It’s somewhat similar to how it doesn’t take too long to realize that Lou Reed has a different definition of a “Perfect Day” than most people.

So, for your perfect day, we recommend Wilco’s 2020 remastered alternate version that replaces the musical dissonance with acoustic guitar, piano, and light drumming. With the filters and “ba ba bah bas” removed, Jeff Tweedy’s rough but warm voice shines through to highlight the song’s enchanting lyrics.

Sample lyrics:

Grow up now.
Please, don’t you grow up too fast,
And be sure
To make all the good times last.
Because we made you, my darling,
With the love in each of our hearts.
We were a family, my darling,
Right from the start.

“How You’ve Grown,” performed by 10,000 Maniacs

Natalie Merchant, the lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs, is a passionate storyteller. Her voice, both fierce and delicate, rises and falls to the rhythms of her tale. Whether she’s singing about a Beat poet or a Spanish bullfighter, her tone is empathic and rich (while the songs are frequently open-ended). 

From the band’s 1992 album “Our Time in Eden,” “How You’ve Grown” perfectly captures the strange dichotomy of parenthood. Watching wholly dependent children grow into fully independent adults is extraordinary, and it hurts like heck when it happens.

Sample lyrics:

Because we can’t make up for the time that we’ve lost,
I must let those memories provide.
No little girl can stop her world to wait for me.
Every time we say goodbye, you’re frozen in my mind
As the child that you never will be,
You never will be again.

“Such Great Heights,” performed by The Postal Service

Such Great Heights,” performed by Iron & Wine

The Postal Service is an independent pop group formed by Ben Gibbard (better known as the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (the electronic DJ known as Dntel). Busy with other projects and separated by a couple of states, Tamborello would mail techno tracks to Gibbard, who added vocals and additional instrumentation and shipped them back. Hence, The Postal Service.

“Such Great Heights” was the first single from The Postal Service’s 2003 debut, and only, studio album. The song is a poppy mix of techno blips and beeps combined with whimsical, romantic lyrics. Perhaps the song’s greatest trick is using first- and third-person pronouns to make it feel personal to every listener.

If you like the song but prefer slower indie father-daughter dance songs, we suggest the cover version by Sam Beam, who is better known as Iron & Wine. Where the original sounds like a declaration of rebellion, the cover is more like a lullaby. Beam adopts a leisurely pace, replaces the robot music with acoustic guitar, and substitutes Gibbard’s jaunty tone for sleepy singing. The result is two songs that are similar, different, and individually beautiful.

Sample lyrics:

They will see us waving from such great heights.
“Come down now,” they’ll say.
But everything looks perfect from far away.
“Come down now,” but we’ll stay.

Unconventional father-daughter dance songs

Punk Rock Girl,” performed by The Dead Milkmen

The origin of The Dead Milkmen” is even more punk rock than their sound. While living in Wagontown, Pennsylvania (the heart of Amish country), friends Rodney Linderman (aka Rodney Anonymous) and Joe Genaro (aka Joe Talcum) created comedic tapes and a newsletter extolling the exploits of a fictional band. After becoming friendly with some members of an actual punk band, they joined forces to bring the fictional one to life. (However, according to the band’s website, the group was spurred by “Talcum’s decision, in the late 1970s, to create a band based entirely upon a group of woodcuts he discovered in the basement of The Vatican.”)

Regardless of which origin story you choose to believe, one consistent element is the band’s sardonic and comedic nature, which is on full display in the lyrics of “Punk Rock Girl.” Fair warning: the song is no slow waltz. This is definitely one of those father-daughter dance songs upbeat tunes. You can expect a fast two-step for two and a half minutes and be pretty exhausted by the end.

No milkmen were harmed in the production of this song.

Sample lyrics:

We got into her car, away we started rollin’.
I said, “How much you pay for this?”
She said, “Nothin’ man. It’s stolen.”
Punk rock girl,
Eat fudge banana swirl.
Punk rock girl,
We’ll travel round the world.
Just you and me,
Punk rock girl.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” performed by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

Have you ever been at a party where someone pulled out a ukulele and watched the room empty? Well, IZ Kamakawiwo’ole’s ukulele playing provokes the exact opposite response. If you haven’t heard the song, we don’t blame you for being skeptical. After all, it’s an acoustic version of a Kermit the Frog song accompanied only by a ukulele. However, Kamakawiwo’ole’s lovely voice and melodic strumming create a beautiful ode to dreaming big and life’s potential. In fact, it’s so gorgeous that we believe it’s one of the best walking down the aisle songs, as well.

If your goal is to leave no one with dry eyes, you can’t do much better than IZ Kamakawiwo’ole’s poignant rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Sample lyrics:

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.

We hope you agree that these father-daughter dance songs rock! We can’t wait to hear the unique father-daughter dance songs that our guests select. Please, contact us here to schedule a tour of our Dallas wedding venues. Our experienced event planners are excited to show you everything we can do for your wedding day.