The bond between siblings is rich and complicated and varies from family to family. Brothers and sisters can be friends, rivals, confidants, co-conspirators, and bitter enemies—possibly all at the same time. No wonder there are so many brilliant songs on the subject.
To honor this rich musical history, we have created a list of the 20 best songs about siblings. The selection includes classics on brotherly love, odes to sisterly solidarity and a left-wing portrayal of taboo familial love that only Prince would dare attempt. In addition to The Purple One, featured artists range from Elvis Presley and ’60s soul giants to British invasion rockers and modern art-pop author Grimes. Billy Idol snags a seat with a sneering ’80s favorite, and Canadian punks PUP come up with a song that’ll make you think twice about going camping with your sister. Also, They Might Be Giants reminds us that TV theme songs can sometimes be transcendent.
Although all the songs are very different, they have at least one thing in common: they describe relationships with people that we cannot choose. In life we can theoretically choose our friends and lovers, but our brothers and sisters are just there. Ideally, we love them and want only the best for them—but sometimes we loathe, envy, or care deeply for them. Touching on all of those feelings and more, the 20 songs on our list showcase complex family dynamics in the form of easily digestible pop tunes. Even only children will dig them.