Music Monday: Do You Know Your Parents’ Favorite Music?

I’ve been writing my Music Monday column for about a year and a half, and it’s been a chance for me to share the music of both my favorite artists as well of artists that are new to me.

Since my family reads my blog posts (well at least they tell me they do), I would think they have a pretty good idea of who my favorite musical artists are as well as what a couple of my favorite songs are. Plus, they’ve lived with me for 20-30 years and have heard the same music over and over during that time (I’ll share my favorites at the end for the rest of you who may not know).

But for some reason a thought popped into my mind this week – could I name my parents’ favorite musical artists and songs?

And I realized I only had a vague idea of what kind of music they liked, but I’ll share what I remember from my days growing up.

For my dad, I had the sense that he liked any song sung by Julie Andrews. He was a fan of the movie Sound of Music and loved the play Camelot.

So here’s a song from Camelot, sung by Julie:

I also remember watching, listening, and singing along with Mitch Miller:

But if I had to guess his favorite song, I’d have to go with The Impossible Dream, as sung by Robert Goulet. The song is from the play The Man of La Mancha, which is based on the book Don Quixote, which several years later, became one of my all-time favorite books. My dad liked the song so much that he told the younger of my two sisters, who was about ten years old at the time, that if she learned how to play the song on the accordion we had in the basement, he would buy her a piano. She did, and he did, and my sister went on to become an amazing piano player. (I never really knew why we had an accordion in the basement).

As for my mom’s favorite artists and songs, this is a bit harder. She used to go around the house all day singing Irish songs (she was born in Ireland and moved to the U.S. when she was 21). A couple of songs I remember her singing were My Wild Irish Rose (which I later learned how to play on the piano) and Shoe the Donkey (which my youngest son, when he was about four years old, thought was Shoot the Donkey…).

It’s funny how the words just came right back to me – at least the chorus.

When my mom started singing this song she always tried to get us to dance with her.

One other song that comes to my mind, and I seem to recall my dad singing this song a couple of times to my mom, whose name was Peg, is the following:

Listening to these songs brings back a lot of great memories of my parents and my childhood.

And just to be sure that our kids know a couple of favorites of my wife and me:

My wife:

favorite artists: Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, Harry Chapin

favorite songs: Let it Be (The Beatles), You’ve Got a Friend (Carole King), Forever Young (Joan Baez)


favorite artists: Bruce Springsteen, Tim Moore, Jimmy Buffett, The Eagles

favorite songs (it’s really hard to just pick a couple): Thunder Road (by Bruce), Peaceful Easy Feeling (The Eagles)

*image from the Impossible Quiz Fandom Wiki


18 thoughts on “Music Monday: Do You Know Your Parents’ Favorite Music?

  1. My parents’ favorite music? I’m not completely certain, but they grew up in the Big Band era, so I would guess people like Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and Tommy Dorsey. I do remember they liked Mitch Miller as well. My mother was a fan of musicals such as The Sound of Music.

    My wife and adult son share similar musical tastes as they are both big fans of country music. I’m more of a rock/pop fan. My wife likes some of the old time performers like Merle Haggard. That kind of music never appealed to me. It is interesting for me to listen to them talking about some of today’s country music performers since I’ve never heard of most of them.


    1. I’m trying to learn more about country music, since it is such a big part of America. I’ve taped the Ken Burns series on it, but have not yet watched it.


  2. Your wife and I have very similar music tastes. Except I’d have to throw in “Purple Haze” by Jimi for spice. My mother used to sing “Ol’ Man River” in the kitchen but listened to ballads. I feel like all the Frank Sinatra hits are in my DNA. My son has Led Zeppelin and the Doors in his.


    1. Jimi can spice up anything! Nice to have Sinatra and your DNA, and your son is lucky for what he has! Our kids grew up to Springsteen and the music of the seventies…


  3. My parents listen to such varied music. My dad loves classical music, musicals and opera. My mom who is close to Dave in age listens to different music to him. I would guess The Beatles for her as well as musicals. Dave loves Queen and so do I. But I leave him to listen to Black Sabbath alone. My favourite song is The Rose and I walked down the beach to get married to it.


    1. that is quite the difference in musical tastes between your parents. I’m with you on Queen and Black Sabbath. And your wedding sounds like a fairy tale!


  4. I think music is a great way to get to know your parents better and get closer to them! I know there are a couple songs that instantly remind me of good memories from my childhood!


  5. my parents: it was clear as they had dueling music playing on our stereo. my dad – wes montgomery, dave brubeck. my mom, tom jones. they did not really meet in the middle )


  6. This was such a fun and entertaining post, Jim! It made me think back to all the music that filled my house. A mother (also called ‘Peg’ by friends) who filled the house playing classical piano music, a father who grew up in WV and never left those country roots, and siblings who made sure I heard all the best of the music from the years before I was born. You brought back some very fond memories for me and I thank you for that, my friend! 🎵🎶🎹🎼


  7. My parents favourite song was “Things” by Bobby Darin. They met at a dance. I am not sure they danced to that song but they might have. But it was certainly “their song”. I remember the beginning of it…. “Every night I sit here at my window, Staring at the lonely avenue, Watching lovers holding hands and laughing, And thinking about the things we used to do…”


  8. I think it’s easier for our kids to relate to our music because we are listening to the same genre and ‘our songs’ are still played on their stations. And in the case with my kids, many of our favorite bands and songs are the same. Of my parents music, the only band I can name is Herb Albert and that’s only because there was an album cover with a naked woman covered in whipped cream on the cover.

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    1. that makes sense about our kids being familiar with our music. As to my parents music, I remember Mitch Miller, Doris Day, and perhaps a couple others but not off the top of my head.

      I can see why you would remember Herb Albert!


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