Many, many musicians cite their grandparents as an influence. A living link to history, our grandparents have gathered a trove of wisdom and learned countless life lessons by the time we’re learning to hold up our own heads. Grandmothers in particular represent safety and warmth, and can often act as second mothers to their grandchildren, as is the case for many of the musicians on this list and the songs about grandma.
Most of us will experience losing a grandmother at least once in our lives, and it’s an incredibly difficult thing to navigate. There’s songs on this list to help you navigate that grief, and there’s also songs to help you celebrate all the wonderful things that grandmothers do for us. Here are our 10 best songs about Grandma.
In this tender ode to her grandmother, Marjorie, Swift recalls all the valuable lessons she taught her. She also reveals that despite how devastating the loss is, she still feels her grandmother’s presence in her everyday life and wishes she had made the most of her time with Marjorie.
Swift shares a special link to her grandmother that goes beyond blood – Marjorie Finley was an opera singer and had a successful musical career just like her granddaughter. Her vocals are even sampled in the track and she is credited as a backing singer.
Whilst he was making his third album ÷ (Divide), Sheeran’s grandmother passed away in hospital. “Supermarket Flowers” describes the aftermath of her death – not just the emotional act of processing it, but the physical act of organising her things and clearing out her hospital room.
“Supermarket Flowers” was originally written as a personal tribute to Sheeran’s grandmother, intended to be played at her funeral but not to be included on the album. However, after the funeral Sheeran’s grandfather urged him to include the song, and it became the album’s closer.
Keys gets everything off her chest in this track, which speaks directly to her grandmother during a long illness. Knowing that her grandma is approaching the end of her life, Keys expresses that she feels an urge to say everything she needs to before her grandmother passes away. The track isn’t your standard tearjerker – it’s urgent and passionate, capturing that frantic feeling of time running out.
Killer Mike tells his life story in “Grandma’s House”, whilst also paying ode to the woman who raised him. “A lot of our Grandmas was our Mamas” he raps, and describes the safety that his Grandma represented after he was dragged into a life of crime at a young age.
The verses of “Grandma’s House” take us all over America as Mike describes events in California and Las Vegas, but time and time again he comes back to his Grandma’s house for advice and support. It’s a reminder of the grounding impact that grandmothers can have.
“Grandma’s Hands” sees soul singer Bill Withers describe the impact that his grandma had not only on his life but on his wider community. His grandma’s hands are a place of safety, comfort and protection, and Withers laments that they aren’t around to offer him comfort anymore.
Withers’ version of the song was released in 1971 and has been covered many times since, including a version by Barbara Streisand. It was also sampled for the hook of “No Diggity” by Blackstreet.
Pickler lovingly describes the impact that her grandmother had on her life as a young girl, detailing their afterschool routine together and the songs that they would sing. Heaping praise down on her grandmother, she laments that her ‘angel’ is no longer there to see Pickler’s successful music career and witness her dreams coming true. It’s classic country and knows exactly how to tug on the listener’s heartstrings.
This love letter to his grandmother, Bertha, was the first track that Williams wrote without the help of a collaborator. He saw it as a fitting first solo project, as he and his grandmother had been incredibly close – he even has a letter ‘B’ tattooed behind his ear in tribute to her. The track describes one of the final conversations between the singer and his grandmother, and the presence that he still feels in his room after she passes on.
Reeves asked her grandmother plenty of questions as a young child, and she lists many of them in this track. As a young Reeves enquires what love is, why their family is poor, and what life is all about, her grandmother sits quietly in her rocking chair and encourages her to be patient. “You will see those better days/But you gotta be patient” she encourages.
As an adult, Reeves tells the listener that she still carries that advice with her. She wonders if her grandmother is watching over her as she makes her way through life.
A$AP Ferg excitedly updates his grandma on the developments in his career, rapping through calls from record labels and million-dollar deals. But after the first verse he switches to detailing the struggles that his grandma went through. He wishes she was still around to witness his success, and that he could have made the end of her life a little easier.
Brown pays tribute to a true matriarch in “Grandma’s Garden”. Brown’s grandma doesn’t just tend to her plants, but also to her family and community, helping them to grow up strong and stay on the straight and narrow.
“Grandma’s Garden” appeared on the multi-artist concept album Southern Family. Developed by producer Dave Cobb, the album brings various country artists together to create a body of work about their southern roots.
Our grandmas can be many things to us – our second mother, our moral compass, our place of refuge or our best friend. Music can be a great way to celebrate everything they bring to our lives, and it can also help us to navigate life without them.