Top 10 Saddest Songs of All Time

Certain songs just hit different. We're talking about those tearjerkers - the ones that seem to tap directly into your soul and bring out all the feels.

From timeless ballads that make you want to sway with your lighter in the air, to today's pop anthems that are tailor-made for a good, cathartic cry, this list covers all the bases. These aren't just songs. They're emotional experiences uniting old and new fans in shared moments of vulnerability.

So grab some tissues, maybe even a tub of ice cream, and brace yourself as we dive deep into the musical realm of heartbreak, loss, and raw emotion.
The Top Ten
1 Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton

Many guitarists these days, with a few years of experience, can pick up a guitar and play famous riffs by so many great guitarists and perfect them. However, no one will ever be able to replicate how Clapton plays because they lack one simple thing - emotion. I don't mean emotion in general.

His "Unplugged" album was so perfect precisely because it was so real. He had the courage to share what he was going through with the world. The loss of one's child is the most painful thing a person could ever go through, and he persevered.

He turned his pain into something so beautiful, which will stay with me forever. The acoustics on this album are just sheer perfection. This is so much more than a "sad" song. It's the deepest and most personal song on this list.

He wrote it. He performed it. He went through it. We know his story, and it means something to us - something we can't even begin to describe with our vocabulary, and he captured the essence of it so perfectly with this song.

His live albums, in particular, aren't just albums. They represent so much more - they highlight exactly why he is simply the best and the most emotional artist ever. I don't think I'll ever find a guitarist that I can so incomparably describe using just one word - God. This song deserves to be at the number-one spot because no other song can ever be as authentic and as heartbreaking as "Tears in Heaven."

2 Hurt - Johnny Cash

At the bottom of everything, extreme emotion is surprisingly void. Instead, a numb calmness takes over. The only way to know if emotion even exists is to hurt, metaphorically or literally.

Johnny sees all the fake people living fake lives, lies called society. He produces artificial happiness to fit in with society, taking drugs to feel happy. At least he used to use heroin.

His old vices and cruelty give him long flashbacks. He cannot erase what has happened in the past. He once had problems with these drugs.

He wants to give everything he can to his wife, making up for his ruined heart. His fame is not important because of these bad decisions. He wants to warn them. He will hurt them! He thinks he is entirely worthless.

If he could have a second chance, he would do it all over again, being pure and whole as a man.

3 Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day

Green Day is my all-time favorite rock band. I remember the first time I heard this song was in the morning before going to school. I was probably in first grade, and my mom changed the channel on the TV to MTV Hits. That's when I heard this song for the first time. I really liked this song even though I was small and didn't really understand the meaning of it.

After that, I would always turn on MTV and hope that they would show the video. Today, I love this song even more because I understand the true meaning of it, and it's so touching. Whenever I listen to this song in September, I think about 9/11. One of the best rock songs out there. Love it! Amazing!

4 Yesterday - The Beatles

This song brings me to tears because of certain memories that, while sad, make my life seem just a little better and brighter.

Four years ago, my great-grandfather passed away due to a terminal illness. Before he was sent to the hospital, he got up in the middle of the night and played this song on the guitar while singing it to my great-grandmother, who he woke up. She sleeps in a rocking chair for whatever reason.

I remember waking up in the middle of the night to hear the sound of the guitar for one minute. Then, while sobbing and choking on my tears, I recorded the whole scene on my phone. They saw me and told me to come in. We proceeded to finish the song and then sing Blackbird and Let It Be.

When I went home (my family lives in another part of the country), I learned how to play the songs that we sang that night. Now I'm pretty good at those songs. I can proudly say that I'm really skilled with a guitar.

Last year, my great-grandmother died because of cancer. Before she was admitted to the hospital, I remember waking up at around 1 a.m. to go to the toilet. When I was about to retreat back to my room, I heard her singing Blackbird. I went into the room, and we started quietly singing the songs we had sung last time and a few others like Here Comes the Sun and Hey Jude. (I wasn't really singing. I was mostly ugly crying and choking on my tears).

The day before she died, I was already home. When my mom FaceTimed her, Granny was already in the hospital. It was so painful to see her wired up to so many machines. She looked so sad, tired, and hurt. When she told me that the doctors couldn't do anything for her anymore, I started sobbing for probably half an hour or more. She told me not to cry, and she said that she'll see Grandpa again and that they'll save me a seat on the Yellow Submarine.

I was supposed to go see her the next day, but in the dawn of the day of our arrival, she was gone. I still miss both of my... more

5 My Immortal - Evanescence

She hurts badly for multiple reasons, I think, both emotionally and physically. She and this guy were very close, and losing him was like losing a part of her. Time can't erase the wounds of her loss, and unbeknownst to her, she's reopening the wounds by holding on to him.

When she was upset and crying, the person she lost would wipe away the tears and make her feel better, and also protect her from her fears. Although they stayed with her in spirit after passing and continued to protect her, she cannot seem to let go of them and their memory.

6 Stan - Eminem

This is a song with a story.

Basically, a fan of the artist Eminem, named Stan, writes letters to Eminem. He can really relate to Eminem in the first verse. As the song goes on, he begins to get more distraught. He names his daughter after one of Eminem's songs (Bonnie), and talks about his Uncle Ronnie, who he hasn't sung about at all, among other things.

In verse 2, he gets a bit crazier. He expresses that he thought it was messed up that Eminem didn't answer fans, even though Eminem gets tons of fan mail every week. Stan gets angry when Eminem does not give his little brother, also a fan of Eminem, an autograph. They stood in the cold to get it. At the end of verse 2, Stan makes the threat that he will no longer be a fan of Eminem if he doesn't get a response. This is clearly an empty threat, as he has shown deep levels of obsession so far. However, it does demonstrate that Stan is ready to take action if he doesn't get a call, which foreshadows the ending. As it turns out, Em does lose Stan.

In verse 3, he starts viewing Eminem as his enemy, a rival. He lets his anger escalate to the point that he records it on a cassette tape. He then says that he is still doing what Em does: 1) driving 90 on the freeway, and 2) referencing a line from "My Name Is": "I drank a fifth of vodka, you dare me to drive?" He lets his confused feelings get the better of him. You then hear screaming, and Stan claims he tied her up in the trunk. He tells Em he isn't like him, and then in a moment of stupidity, realizes you can't send a cassette out from a car in the bottom of the river. You then hear the screech of a tire, a crash, and soon after, a splash.

Eminem responds by talking about how he couldn't get back to him soon enough. He even gives his little brother an autograph, and later talks about his previous statements. He then says he saw something on the news a couple of weeks ago that accurately describes what happened to Stan. He says the tape was... more

7 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

"Wish You Were Here" is addressed to Syd Barrett, an original member of Pink Floyd whose mental dysfunction led to his departure from the band. He was replaced by David Gilmour. Barrett wrote most of Floyd's debut album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn."

"Shine on You Crazy Diamond" is also a tribute to him, and "The Wall" is viewed by some as his biography.

Definitely the best. This song is about the iconic ex-guitarist for Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett. It discusses how, though Syd was alive at the time, it was as if he was dead due to the extensive use of psychedelic drugs, which left him clinically insane. He spent the remainder of his life in his mother's basement, as required by law. It's truly sad.

8 Creep - Radiohead

I love this song. Everyone, at one point, has probably felt like an outsider, someone who doesn't fit in. Creep is beautiful because it captures the feeling of seeming inferior compared to the seemingly perfect lives of those around us.

There are plenty of Radiohead songs sadder than this one. Fake Plastic Trees, Street Spirit, Let Down, and No Surprises are much more depressing.

Expresses the feelings that everyone gets at some point in their lives. If you haven't heard it yet, listen to it and you'll understand.

9 How to Save a Life - The Fray

This song is absolutely incredible. The lyrics are very meaningful. Isaac Slade, the singer, has a very unique voice that's unlike any other. We can feel his emotions throughout the time he sings this song.

This song is definitely the saddest song of all time, and it is absolute genius. How to Save a Life is my favorite song ever.

This song makes me want to cry. It's nostalgic now, but I remember all the times I've been hurt, even physically, and remember the times I really wanted to die. I felt worthless. This song makes me feel sad, but I remember it all.

I do regret wanting to die. Although I feel foolish, as I sit now, I want to fall asleep forever.

10 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

This song makes me sad but also very excited. I just love it! It's easily one of the best rock songs.

The lyrics feel so passionate. If you watch the live version, Robert (the lead singer) says, "You know, I feel like this song's about hope." Then the famous guitar riff hums its way in, and the crowd is bawling and screaming their lungs out. The live version is amazing as well.

But this song overall is just so beautiful that it's sad. I think that's why I vote for it. It's about the natures of life and how precious life itself is. Stairway to Heaven, in my opinion, is easily one of Led Zeppelin's best works and one of the best songs of all time.

The Newcomers

? loml - Taylor Swift
? Ultraviolence - Lana Del Rey
The Contenders
11 Hello - Evanescence

I'm not even going to lie. Last week was easily the worst week of my entire life as of the day I'm writing this comment. This may sound like an exaggeration, but I lost one of the most amazing people I ever knew, and admittedly, I've had it pretty good. For 15 years, this is the first time I've had to go through a major family death, and it's probably also one of the hardest I'll ever have to go through as well.

This song was already sad before, but now it actually hits home for me like no other song has before. That's not all, though, because on top of the child in the song losing someone close to them, it starts with them in denial until they have to see it for themselves. This beats "My Immortal" by a mile, in my opinion.

12 American Pie - Don McLean

I listened to this with my grandfather (it was one of his favorites) when I was little, all the time. He died three years ago, and I miss him so much. I can't listen to the song anymore because I couldn't stand the pain.

I'm not sure how sad this song is, but it carries a lot of emotional memories for me. In school, we would sing a song at the end of each year, and this is the one we sang the year that my friends all moved away.

That's why I listen to The Saga Begins. But even that is still sad in the end. Weird Al can't make me laugh with this song, no matter how much I love the melody or Star Wars.

13 Mad World - Michael Andrews

I was waiting for this to show up. It honestly saddens me that it's so low on the list (52). Just listen and tell me it doesn't leave an impact. In a short few minutes, everything about life is reflected, and we realize just how much we've had to go through in this Mad, Mad, World...

Such a sad song. Most will know this from Gears and Dom's death. Gears incorporated this song greatly. It's just such a sad but good song, and at the same time, it gives me a good feeling that's unexplainable.

Every time I hear this song, it makes me want to curl up in a ball. The words are so thought-provoking and really make you think. It is a mad world, definitely. Just take a moment to reflect...

14 Last Kiss - Pearl Jam

This song is the saddest thing I've ever heard. It is the ultimate embodiment of regret and love lost. I cannot believe that it's all the way in the top 40.

A really sad song about a boyfriend and a girlfriend getting in a crash. The girl is dying, so he has one last kiss before she dies.

I used to hate this song, but then my boyfriend passed away last year. Ever since then, I listen to this song all the time.

15 Hero of War - Rise Against

This, Wake Me Up When September Ends, and I Miss You. I picked this song because it is the untold story of a soldier and the horrors that you face if you were or currently are a soldier. I think the most emotional part of this song is the first line and then the refrain at the end: "He said, 'Son, have you seen the world? And what would you say if I said that you could? Just carry this gun. You'll even get paid.' I said that sounds pretty good." Just a masterpiece and one of RA's best songs.

Wake Me Up When September Ends deserves its top-five spot because it has a double meaning. It is a tribute to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, but it is also a tribute to Billie's dad who died when he was seven. "Like my father's come to pass, seven years have gone so fast. Wake me up when September ends." Both are really great and emotional songs.

16 Dance with the Devil - Immortal Technique

The only reason this isn't higher is because not many people know about Technique. In this song, he transforms from a rapper to a storyteller. The narrative moved me to tears, the first time I had cried in years. Dance with the Devil explores the lengths one might go to in order to seem cool to the public. It's both incredibly sad and inspirational.

How is this not at least in the top 10? If this isn't the saddest song ever written, I don't know what is. A friend introduced me to this song, and I was left speechless by the end. It deeply affects listeners, tearing at your heart. No song even comes close to this one.

17 Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.

"When the day is long, and the night, the night is yours alone. When you're sure you've had enough of this life." It's a touching song from one of the '90s best albums and one of the most influential bands of the past 30 years.

This is the saddest song ever. Having listened to most of the songs on this list, this is the only one that makes me cry throughout. Perhaps it's just me, but it's the saddest song I've ever heard.

This song is sad but also hopeful. Initially, it makes me want to sit down and cry, but then, when the final part comes and Michael Stipe starts singing "hold on, hold on," it inspires me to believe that things will improve and I will get through the hard times.

18 Hurt - Christina Aguilera

Every time I hear this song, I cry my eyes out. I've lost both of my parents, but this reminds me of my mom. We didn't have a perfect relationship, and I always felt that I wasn't good enough.

As I get older, I realize that she was trying her best. I didn't always understand her. The lines in the song: Would you tell me I was wrong? Would you help me understand? Are you looking down upon me? Are you proud of who I am? leave me in a puddle that takes me hours to recover from.

Christina's vocal emotion is spot on! I love this song with every fiber of my heart.

19 Fix You - Coldplay

Yes, this song is sad in the beginning, but it soon becomes inspiring at the end. I think that Amsterdam should replace this song. That song is filled with suicidal thoughts and depression. Don't get me wrong though. Fix You makes me cry every time, but it comes when the guitar comes into play, just because that sudden change in mood is so powerful.

Come on already. Tears in Heaven is still a sad song, but not many people can relate to it. Fix You has lots of different verses that can relate to lots of different people. Plus, the organ and piano help to make it sound even more depressing, instead of just Chris's voice.

The guitar part helps make it even more emotional and motivating, like you've got up to the thing that's making you sad. This should be in the top 10, and maybe even first, but that's a bit too much to be honest. - mathyfox441

20 The Long and Winding Road - The Beatles

This is probably the saddest song made by The Beatles. It's basically a tribute song to John Lennon after his death. It's very touching and bittersweet.

Why did I have to submit this? It's almost as sad as Yesterday, which is like the North Star of sad songs.

21 So Far Away - Avenged Sevenfold

This song is about the passing of the Reverend Tholomew Plague (Jimmy Owen Sullivan), who passed away in 2009. The band, Avenged Sevenfold, decided they would not go on without Jimmy. But they might possibly have another album coming out for all you A7X fans out there. I admit, I'm such a fan girl. But anyway, that's why I voted for the song. Because it's about an actual person, and well, I love Avenged Sevenfold.

Keep calm and listen to Avenged Sevenfold, people. They have a song in Black Ops 2 called "Carry On." Look it up. It's amazing.

22 Hymn for the Missing - Red

What! Ranked at 318? You must be kidding. Trust me, you haven't heard a real sad song until you've heard this one. Every single time, it strikes directly at your emotions. It's so soothing and beautiful that it leaves you in tears. If you haven't listened to it, you really should.

Great song from a totally underrated band.

Probably should be higher on this list. The instrumental piece at the end is really good.

23 Open Fields of Grace - Jackie Evancho

Actually, I would have picked Teaching Angels How to Fly, but it is not listed. The song, written by James Breedwell and performed by a then 9-year-old Jackie Evancho, is about a young girl named Kimberly who died very young. Her parents commissioned the song as a dedication to their daughter. It is available in several YouTube clips.

From her latest album "Awakening," this piece will bring tears - especially if you've recently lost someone near and dear to you. More so than "To Where You Are." Guaranteed.

24 He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones

This song tears away even the toughest person's fear of crying in public. Upon hearing the lyrics, I am reminded of every lost love that will never return to me and how terribly sad I am to have been left behind with nothing but pictures and videos that haunt me. To my son who just passed away, I say, Hold the lamp high, Matt. I'll be there soon.

Country music has always had a major role in expressing sorrow, along with blues. This is the quintessential sad song of the South. Nothing is more country than this sad song about "love her 'til you die."

25 Dear Agony - Breaking Benjamin

In my top 3 favorite songs of all time. It's about the feeling of your life just fading away, and you're fighting until the end and more. Also, I deeply miss a friend who had this as his favorite song, so now I cry every time I hear it.

Blow Me Away was my introduction to Breaking Benjamin, heard first on the radio. After searching for more of their music, I discovered this song and was surprised by its sadness.

By far the saddest song by Breaking Benjamin! I still love it, though. If you actually listen to the lyrics, it just makes you feel really down.

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