Top 10 Best Songs that Tell a Story

How do you tell a good story? Well, one way is through a captivating narrative, vibrant characters, and the emotional journey that it takes you on. Another way? A great song.

Songs are like miniature novels or short films, capable of painting vivid pictures in your mind, triggering a whirlpool of emotions, and even transporting you to a different place or time. They're as varied and complex as the human experience itself, tackling themes like love, loss, rebellion, triumph, and everything in between.

Maybe it's a folk ballad that weaves a tale of old, or a rock epic unfolding a saga of rebellion and freedom. Perhaps it's a country song taking you on a journey of heartache and resilience, or a hip-hop track telling a raw, real-life story that mirrors societal struggles. From war to peace, from heartbreak to euphoria, these songs are miniature worlds waiting to be discovered, their stories expressed through the universal language of music.

Every genre has its own unique way of spinning a yarn, and you've likely found yourself swept up in the narrative of a song from one genre or another. Whether you're a fan of the poetic allegories in progressive rock, the vivid imagery in folk music, or the emotive narratives in R&B, there's a wealth of storytelling treasures waiting for your vote.
The Top Ten
1 Lovers - Jackie Evancho

Jackie first recorded this at the age of 11. Now 15, she has performed it at nearly every concert. Her rendition is nothing short of spectacular.

From the movie "House of Flying Daggers", a tragic story.

2 A Day In the Life - The Beatles

How is this not #1? It is simple, yet complex. It is slow, yet fast. It is quiet, yet loud. And overall tells one of the best stories in any song.

3 The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel

"... Every blow that laid him down and
Cut him til he cried out, in his anger, in his pain,
I am leaving, I am leaving,
But the Fighter still remains
Yes he still remains"

4 The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot

I saw Gordon Lightfoot perform this live once. The creepy thing was, right at the line "and later that night when his lights went out of sight came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" there was a flash of lightning over a lake nearby. Eerie.

One of the most well written and "feeling" songs ever written.

I consider this haunting song the best story song ever.

5 American Pie - Don McLean

It tells the story a defining blow to the world of music where the loss of those three musicians had a huge impact on American culture.

6 Shine on You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd
7 Stan - Eminem

How is this only number 40? It should be number one without a question! Stan also is a creative song in that it is written using growingly aggressive letters from Stan, to Eminem. It tells a story good enough to turn into a movie.

There are few songs of any genre that have the deep and complex emotions. If you are really looking for a good version look for the live version it gives even more feeling.

Why in hell is this #35 this is storytelling at its finest and these people here fail to recognize it.

8 Hurricane - Bob Dylan
9 The House of the Rising Sun - The Animals

Aka Rising Sun Blues. Origins, writers unknown. Many versions and covers. Most popular by The Animals.

10 Taxi - Harry Chapin

"You see, she was gonna be an actress
And I was gonna learn to fly
She took off to find the footlights
And I took off to find the sky."
-- Life takes some subtle turns and Taxi captures the melancholy.

The Contenders
11 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
12 America - Simon & Garfunkel
13 Viva la Vida - Coldplay
14 Rocky Mountain High - John Denver

"... And they say that he went crazy once and he tried to touch the sun, and he lost his hand but kept the memory."

One of the reasons I was compelled to move to and live in Colorado for awhile, - the song, not the going "crazy" part. Haven't always had to look too far for that.

"He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year, going home to a place he'd never been before. He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again, you might say he found the key to every door..."
It tells a story indeed. And one which I never get tired of.

15 To Where You Are - Jackie Evancho
16 In My Life - The Beatles
17 One - Metallica

Wrong album cover, but you're right that this is a great song that tells a story.

18 Winds of the Old Days - Joan Baez
19 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
20 Open Fields of Grace - Jackie Evancho

Jackie's voice soars as she sings of loss and hope.

21 A Quick One, While He's Away - The Who
22 Sometime Around Midnight - The Airborne Toxic Event
23 There Only Was One Choice - Harry Chapin
24 A Little Bit of Everything - Dawes
25 El Paso - Marty Robbins

El Paso tells a great love story of the old west. No one can tell old western style stories like Marty Robbins.

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