There’s nothing quite like the special bond that siblings share. Who knows us better than family, right? A brother or sister can be a trusted confidante, a shoulder to cry on, or the perfect person to help us out of a jam. Siblings can also defend and protect us – or they can drive us crazy.
In an effort spread some love for National Siblings Day on April 10, we’ve created our list of best songs to celebrate siblings.
13. “When We Grow Up” – Diana Ross
This sweet song originally appeared on Marlo Thomas’ 1972 album Free to be… You and Me” and Ross included on the expanded edition of her 1973 Billboard 200 Top 5 album, Touch Me in the Morning. In the track, Diana Ross entertains childhood dreams of her future self: “When we grow up, will I be pretty?’/Will you be big and strong?”
As kids, siblings share lots of dreams with each other and if we’re lucky, our siblings will be there to celebrate when we make them come true.
12. “Boss of Me” – They Might Be Giants
Let’s face it, at one time or another sibling BFFs might even spark a little rivalry, as is evidenced in the infectious chorus for They Might Be Giant’s Grammy-winning single “Boss of Me.” The song was notably featured as the theme song for the 2000 Fox hit comedy series “Malcolm in the Middle.”
“You’re not the boss of me now, and you’re not so big/You’re not the boss of me.”
11. “Highway Patrolman” – Bruce Springsteen
Nobody paints a picture of a complicated but loyal relationship between brothers than Bruce Springsteen in his 1982 song “Highway Patrolman.” The song is about a highway patrolman named Joe who covers up for his brother Franky constantly gets in trouble.
Franky enlists in the army in 1965 and returns home after three years, picking up his troubled ways. Joe loves him despite his flaws and still remembers their fun times “laughin’ and drinkin’.” When Joe is caught up in a car chase with his brother, he ultimately “pulls over” to let him cross into Canada and get away.
10. “Little Sister” – Elvis Presley
The late, great King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley drove all kinds of women and their little sisters wild with his flirtatious Billboard Hot 100 1961 single “Little Sister.”
Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman co-wrote the track in which Elvis falls for his cheating ex-girlfriend’s little sister and implores her not to kiss him “once or twice/then say it’s very nice/and then you run/Little sister don’t you do what your big sister done.” It’s so hard to imagine anyone would want to love and leave a heartthrob like Elvis. Little sisters everywhere likely dreamed of having him turn to them to nurse this kind of heartache …
9. “Sister Christian” – Night Ranger
Anyone with younger siblings can probably attest to how hard and yet amazing it is to watch them grow up. Night Ranger drummer Kelly Keagy was thinking about this when he wrote the band’s 1984 power ballad “Sister Christian” for his younger sister Christy. Fans and critics alike loved the song so much that it ranked No. 40 on the Year-End US Top Pop Singles Chart for Billboard in the year it was released.
8. “What’s Happening Brother” – Marvin Gaye
Legendary R&B singer Marvin Gaye was inspired to co-write this song when his brother came home from Vietnam. Sadly, many soldiers had a hard time readjusting to civilian life after the war and Gaye tells their story from his perspective in “What’s Happening Brother.” The track appears on his critically-acclaimed 1971 concept album What’s Going On. Among its many accolades, Rolling Stone ranked the album at No. 6 on its 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
7. “Sweet Creature” – Harry Styles
Harry Styles made a huge impression on fans and critics with his chart-topping self-titled debut solo album. The former One Direction member pays sweet homage to his older sister Gemma as he recalls how they started out as “two hearts in one home” “running through the garden.”
Anyone who is anchored by their sibling’s unconditional love can relate to his declaration that “When I run out of road, you always bring me home.”
6. “Castle on the Hill” – Ed Sheeran
Many can fondly remember carefree childhood days of running and playing with our brothers or sisters. Pop superstar Ed Sheeran shares one indelible memory of breaking his leg as a youngster while “running from my brother and his friends” in his smash hit single “Castle on the Hill.” Sheeran pays tribute to his brother, family, and friends who helped shape him while he grew up in Suffolk, England. The track hails from Sheeran’s 2017 chart-busting, record-breaking album ÷.
5. “Never Grow Up” – Taylor Swift
This sentimental track from Taylor Swift’s 2010 award-winning album Speak Now is just so sweet. Many of us are protective of our siblings and “Never Grow Up” speaks beautifully about that innocent time before we grow up and become subject to all sorts of hard times and heartbreaks. Swift promises, “I won’t let nobody hurt you/won’t let no one break your heart.”
Though she’s gone on record that the song is dedicated to her friend Jaime King’s son Leo, it could also easily apply to her younger brother Austin – and brothers and sisters everywhere can lovingly dedicate it to each other.
4. “Daniel” – Elton John
Elton John and Bernie Taupin co-wrote this epic ballad for John’s 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player. Many people have siblings who have served or are serving in the military and understood all too well how hard it is to miss them.
Elton John sings, “Lord I miss Daniel, I miss him so much” and adds, “Daniel my brother you are older than me/ Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal?”
The song pays another tribute to a Vietnam veteran who is returning home from war. He doesn’t want any attention – he just wants to get back to his normal life. The track marked John’s second No. 1 single and remains one of the most beloved songs among his loyal legion of fans.
3. “Come Dancing” – The Kinks
The Kinks released this single in 1982 as part of their album State of Confusion. Frontman Ray Davies wrote the song in memory of his older sister who tragically died while dancing. She had notably given Davies his first guitar as a gift on his 13th birthday. Overall, the song takes a nostalgic look back at Davies’ childhood.
2. “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” – The Hollies
The Hollies 1969 original recording of this song notably featured Elton John on the piano. Many other cover versions followed, including Neil Diamond and the famous Utah native heartthrob brothers, The Osmonds.
It pays such a beautiful tribute to the way siblings are there for each other, come what may. No matter the burden, a brother is never too “heavy” to carry, no burden is too big for a sibling to bear. Siblings can lift each other up and carry each other in the toughest of times – and this song expresses that strong bond and love so well.
1. “We Are Family” – Sister Sledge
Sister Sledge’s upbeat R&B tribute to family tops our list because it’s just so much fun! And, above all else “we are family” when all our sisters and brothers are in the house! Written by Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards, the chart-topping song earned many accolades, including reaching No. 20 on Billboard’s ranking of the 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.