As this list of sad songs demonstrates, there are many reasons to break down in tears -- a broken heart, death, lost car keys after an especially crappy morning. No matter what the situation, chances are somebody somewhere probably wrote a song about it, putting into words what you can't probably because you're too busy bawling your eyes out to think clearly.
So grab a box of tissues and check out our list of 25 Saddest Songs Ever. A woman broke Scott's heart -- or rather, he broke hers by doing something stupid, she dumped him and now he's on the road, sitting in a hotel room, drinking to forget and doing his damndest to hold back the tears. His only advice to himself: Keep on moving. Love sucks. Being in love sucks. Being out of love sucks. And being in love with someone who doesn't love you back sucks pretty hard too. That's the dilemma facing the woman in Bonnie Raitt's colossally sad song about unrequited love.
There's real ache in every word that drips from her pained lips. But paired to the song's mournful tone, they paint a pretty bleak picture of whatever wasteland Hendrix is singing about. Lightning, thunder, blustery winds and chilling weather -- they all pour down on poor Billy Gibbons after his woman leaves him in this epic bluesy crawl from ZZ Top's second album.
Even Lou Reed 's love songs sting. Unfortunately, she was married. And that opening line -- " Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad " -- tells you all you need to know about the song, which is played so low and with so little energy, it sounds like almost all life has been drained out of the band. Essentially, it's a farewell song to a love that was never meant to be. And that's pretty darn sad. Some background on 'Trouble': Cat Stevens wrote the song while recovering from a collapsed lung and tuberculosis.
It was used in the movie 'Harold and Maude,' about the relationship between a year-old woman and a young twentysomething man. If that isn't enough to bring you down, there's the plaintive melody and ache in Stevens' voice.
Maybe it's the power-ballad course this 'Toys in the Attic' song takes. Or maybe it's the genuine ache in Steven Tyler 's voice as he sings lines like " Please say you'll stick around. Either way, tears flow readily in 'You See Me Crying. Cheap Trick were reluctant to record 'The Flame' at first because they didn't write it.
They eventually gave in and scored their only No. If the band loses some of its identity in the record, the heartbreak at the center of it glows bright. Despite the whole Oedipal thing going on at the song's conclusion, the fatalism running through 'The End' is downright depressing. Either way, nobody's walking away unscarred. Few things are more sad than dying alone, especially if you're all by yourself in outer space, floating in a malfunctioned capsule with absolutely no hope of ever seeing your family or friends again.
That's what happens to the stranded astronaut in David Bowie's breakthrough single. There's caution in his voice as he relates a message back home: " Tell my wife I love her very much. How's this for depressing? The dude in the title track to Bruce Springsteen's album isn't even 19 years old and he's knocked up his girlfriend. So he marries her, gets a factory job and essentially shoves away any dreams he's had for a life that was better than his dad's.
His decisions will haunt him until the day he dies: " Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse? Pretty damn depressing, right? The opening lines set the scene: " Look at us, baby, up all night, tearing our love apart.
But unlike so many of those other songs, it looks like there might be hope for the couple in the end. Or at least temporarily, until another late-night fight rips them even further apart. The crawling melody and Lynne's slow, deliberate vocal add to the sadness. We don't know why we're crying, we just are.
The Everly Brothers were the first artists to record 'Love Hurts. But it's Nazareth's Top 10 hit from that most people know. And with the power-ballad thrust driving home every ache and pain in singer Dan McCafferty's scarred voice, that hurt he's singing about sounds very real. Stewart wrote 'The Killing of Georgie,' which was on his album 'A Night on the Town' and released as a single the next year, about a gay friend who was murdered.
This undeniably sad song takes a few liberties with the facts, but the heartbreaking conclusion is the same. After Georgie comes out to his parents, he's disowned " How can my son not be straight after all I've said and done for him?
But he's jumped by a gay-hating gang one night and killed. When Neil Young first started performing 'The Needle and the Damage Done' in late , Danny Whitten, the guitarist in his backup band Crazy Horse, was still alive but battling a crippling heroin addiction.
Less than a year after this sad song was released on Young's album 'Harvest,' Whitten was dead of an overdose. Who knew these princes of darkness could be so sensitive? Black Sabbath's immortal piano ballad was inspired by drummer Bill Ward 's divorce, but the band plays it with such delicate tenderness, the song transcends one man's mere marital woes. A rare breakup song by a band that usually stayed away from such mundane subjects.
Most parents go through the heartbreaking stage of their children's development when their kids don't need them anymore -- whether it's their first steps, first day of school or leaving home. The daughter here packs up and leaves in the middle of the night, leaving her distraught parents to pick up the pieces: " Standing alone at the top of the stairs, she breaks down and cries to her husband, 'Daddy, our baby's gone. The sad, strumming acoustic guitars and mournful piano notes that usher in 'Wild Horses' are enough to make a grown man cry.
But when Mick Jagger steps in with one of his most impassioned vocals, for once it sounds like something's cut through his heart of stone. The Stones' ballads tend to get sloppy, but this sad breakup song is right on the mark.
Jackson Browne was working on his fourth album, 'The Pretender,' when his wife died of an overdose, reportedly a suicide. Stevie Nicks wasn't even 25 years old when she wrote 'Landslide,' but the lyrics -- " Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Nicks has said the bittersweetness stems from a crossroads in her life: heading back to school or pursuing her singer-songwriter dreams with Lindsey Buckingham. Eric Clapton's ballad may pile on the maudlin tone and purposely pull at the heartstrings, but it comes from a very real place.
His heartbreaking performance gave Clapton his biggest hit since 's 'I Shot the Sheriff. So there's an underlying sense of mortality to most of the songs. But he kept the best, and most poignant, track for the end. Zevon passed away two weeks after the album's release in Just try making it through this one without getting choked up. A cursory listen to 'All My Love' may lead you to believe it's one of Led Zeppelin's rare love songs as opposed to their plentiful sex songs. But the cut was actually written in tribute to Robert Plant 's five-year-old son, who died of a stomach infection while Zeppelin were on tour.
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