The saddest songs all of time

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Music has the ability to evoke powerful emotions; it can make us laughfuel our anger, provide comfort during loss, or even make us cry. With that in mind, we have scoured the music world for the most heart wrenching sad songs that are guaranteed to make you cry.

While it may seem counterintuitive, depressing and sad music can actually cheer you up. There’s scientific evidence that music filled with sorrow is more effective at making you happy than joyful tracks. Research suggests that “By identifying with the lyrics of a sad song, a listener can empathize with the vocalist and understand that others have shared experiences of rejection, loss, unrequited love, misfortune, or other themes characteristic of sad songs” which makes a lot of sense. 

Think about your favorite sad song and think about how it makes you feel. Does it bring back fond memories? Does the sad song remind you of the one who got away? Was the song played as a mourning at a funeral perhaps? Chances are, there’s a lyric in there that you can relate to on a deep emotional level–it provokes chills when you hear it aloud. Nostalgia does that to a person.

Whatever the heartache that made you stumble upon this article, you should know that things will get better. Take comfort in knowing that time will heal all wounds. Now grab some tissues and take a listen to the saddest songs of all time. We’ve added also some interesting facts and our favorite melancholic lyrics. Don't forget to share the list on your favorite social network if you enjoyed it–it might just help cheer someone else up.

Last update (July 2020)

55Robbie Williams - Angels

Did you know?

Ray Heffernan, co-writer of Angels, says he wrote this sad song about his baby son who died. Williams has also said that he was partly inspired by the angel resting on top of Stoke-On-Trent town hall (his home city) that could be seen from his bedroom every night as a child.

Moment you'll cry:

When I’m feeling weakAnd my pain walks down a one way streetI look aboveAnd I know ill always be blessed with love

54Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

Did you know?Wish You Were Here was originally going to end with a country fiddle composed by jazz violinist extraordinare Stéphane Grappelli. Grappelli recorded his part but it was ultimately retracted during the mixing process. A very faint version can still be heard near the 5:21 minute mark. Grappelli was not credited but did receive his fee for the contribution.Moment you'll cry:What have we found?The same old fears.Wish you were here.

53Ana Nalick - Breathe (2 AM)

Did you know?

There have been many interpretations for this song, but Nalick makes it easy for the listener to fill in their own tragedy. It's ambiguous enough for you to make it your own story, and bleak enough to bring you down.

Moment you'll cry:

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cableAnd life's like an hourglass, glued to the tableNo one can find the rewind button, girlSo cradle your head in your handsAnd breathe...just breathe

52Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge

Did you know?

Anthony Kiedis wrote the lyrics for this Red Hot Chili Peppers song during a period when he felt distraught and emotionally drained. The dejection he was experiencing, in addition to prior drug use, led to emotional distress:

The loneliness that I was feeling triggered memories of my time with Ione and how I'd had this beautiful angel of a girl who was willing to give me all of her love, and instead of embracing that, I was downtown with fucking gangsters shooting speedballs under a bridge.

Moment you'll cry:

It's hard to believe that there's nobody out thereIt's hard to believe that I'm all aloneAt least I have her love, the city she loves meLonely as I am, together we cry

51Radiohead - Creep

Did you know?

According to Thom Yorke, Creep tells the tale of an inebriated man who follows the woman he is attracted to, trying to get her attention. In the end, he lacks the self-confidence to face her and feels he subconsciously is her. The lyrics grasp at optimism, but the subject sinks back into the throes of self-pity.

Moment you'll cry:

I don't care if it hurtsI want to have controlI want a perfect bodyI want a perfect soulI want you to notice when I'm not aroundYou're so fucking specialI wish I was special

50Our Lady Peace - Thief

Did you know?

Our Lady Peace revealed that the song was written about Mina Kim, a young girl with a cancerous brain tumor. The "thief" in the song is in reference to the tumor.

Moment you'll tear up:

I don't want to understand this horrorThere's a weight in your eyesI can't admitEverybody ends up here in bottlesBut the name tag's the last thing you wanted