Recommend me some sad songs, with lyrics.

Ray Charles - Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)

My mother told me
Before she passed away
Said son when I’m gone
Don’t forget to pray

And it gets sadder from there.

‘Miserere’ by Allegri has lyrics (after a fashion), but they’re in Latin: the melody itself is absolutely haunting.

“She’s Like the Swallow”, an old Nova Scotia ballad, is haunting too, and Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” is always good for a slow, sad, reflective mood.

In perfect coincidence with Cinco De Mayo, I offer you the classic Mexican folk song, La Llorona (“The Crying Woman”). (I can play it on guitar and sing it too if you want to hear it!)

*Salías del templo un dia llorona cuando al pasar yo te ví. (2x)
Hermoso huipil llevabas, Llorona, que la Virgen te creí. (2x)

Translation (each verse 2x):

*You were leaving the temple one day, Llorona
As I passed I saw you

Such a beautiful shawl you wore, Llorona
That I believed you to be the virgin

Harry Chapin wrote a lot of sad songs, most famously “The Cat’s in The Cradle”, but also “I Am The Morning Deejay (for W-O.L.D.)” and others.

For haunting sad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot.

These were the two I was going to mention. “Disappoint” gets to my husband, since he never met his real father, and he’s dead now, but he didn’t want anything to do with him. So my husband has all these questions left unanswered, and really manages to connect to this song. I wanted to mention it, but wasn’t sure if I was a bit biased because of it. My husband’s sadness is mine, now, too, because we are so close, so naturally, it’s a very sad song to me.

But 30kft… I can’t even listen to it. When the album “Storm” first came out, we rushed out to buy it, and listened to it in the car as we drove around, running our errands together. I loved the whole album, but that song ends everything off… it’s the only song that’s ever reduced me to gasping sobs. I couldn’t handle it. Maybe it was too close to the whole 9/11 thing, but it hit me so damn hard. Shit, I’m welling up right now. Damnit. It’s sad. Never, ever has a song made me feel so goddamn sad.

I’ve posted this one before.

Might As Well Be On Mars by Alice Cooper. How’s this for heartbreaking?

I’m on the roof and I’m staring at the stars
Looking down at all the cars

And the bridge, which gets me every time…

Baby, I can’t fly
If I could, I’d come down to you
Maybe I should try…

Full lyrics here -

My favorite sad songs is Something’s Always Wrong by Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Another day I call and never speak
And you would say nothing’s changed at all

There’s also I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt:

Turn down the lights, turn down the bed
Turn down these voices inside my head

If you like classic rock, there’s also Time For Me To Fly by REO Speedwagon.

I give you “Marie” by Townes Van Zandt.

Well, the man’s still grinnin’ says he lost my file
I gotta stand in line again
I want to kill him but I just say no
I had enough of that line my friend

Another couple by Richard Thompson:

**King of Bohemia ** (The song is named after the London pub ouside which he saw the incident that inspired it).

Let me rock you in my arms
I’ll hold you safe and small
A refugee from the Seraphim
In your rich girl rags and all

And: Woods of Darney

I found your picture in a corporal’s pocket
His cold fingers still pressed it to his chest

OK, if we’re doing foreign languages I have plenty – there are so many sad Israeli songs, it isn’t even funny :eek:

One that makes me cry every time is “[Children of] Winter, '73”, performed by one of the Army Bands in the mid 1990’s – by the very same “Children of '73”
“73” is, of course, a reference to the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

A Sample of the translation:

When we were born the elders blessed with tears in their eyes
They said: “we wish those kids will not have to go to the army”
And your faces in the old picture prove

The full lyrics, as well as a transliteration of the Hebrew, and a link to the Hebrew words, can be found here

The song also has a haunting tune… If you want to listen to the song, email me (address in profile)

Sorry, bad link. Correct like in this one

Happy Rhodes (it’s her real name and does not reflect the music she writes) specializes in sad songs. They’re not all she does, but she has a ton of them. That’s why she’s my musical soul mate. This one is, I think, the saddest. If you want sad songs, please listen to this one at least once.
(Links go to mp3s. I have her permission to share her music and lyrics, btw.)
The Chariot is from the point of view of an abused and neglected child from a broken home, who’s afraid to say anything about their situation. When the non-custodial parent comes to visit, to the child they look like a god coming down the street in a chariot, come to take the child away from the pain and horror. But when the visitation is over, the parent takes the child back, never even noticing what the thought of going back is doing to the child. This happens over and over again.

The Town I Loved So Well by The Dubliners

But when I returned
how my eyes have burned

Whistles the Wind by Flogging Molly

Well it breaks my heart to see you this way
The beauty in life, where’s your God?

And another vote for The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. That’s a killer.

From Cruxhadows’ Winterborn

More **Richard Thompson **…
“Withered and Died”
“How Will I Ever Be Simple Again”
And I’m not the world’s biggest Phil Collins fan, but the song “You Know What I Mean” from his first solo album never fails to choke me up.

One of the saddest songs I know is “Sand and Water,” written by Beth Nielsen Chapman after the death of her husband. A few lines:

All alone I came into this world,
All alone I will someday die.
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby;
Sand and water, and a million years gone by.

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns,
I will hear you in the sound of the waves.
I will know you when I come, as we all will come,
Through the doors beyond the grave.

Not a country fan, but “Who’s That Man” by idiot Toby Keith is a pretty damn depressing tale of a divorced dad.

I had a big bad post with a bunch of links to the lyrics for these songs and such, but then Firefox decided it hated me and that it was time to send an error report. So, ladies and gentlemen, I recreate it now.

These are some song on my Depressing Songs playlist. Most links lead the way to lyrics.


  1. Nightswimming
  2. Everybody Hurts
  3. At My Most Beautiful

Chris Tomas King

  1. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

Squirrel Nut Zippers–who have disappeared off the face of the earth

  1. My Drag
  2. Low Down Man

Evanescence–click on Music for lyrics

  1. My Immortal
  2. Going Under

The Cardigans

  1. My Favourite Game
  2. Paralyzed

Hair Original Cast Recording

  1. Easy to Be Hard (Lynn Kellogg)


  1. Roads
  2. Mourning Air
  3. Wandering Star

Jeff Buckley

  1. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over

Cowboy Junkies

  1. Dead Flowers (from the Big Lebowski Soundtrack)
  2. Come Calling (His Song) (Track 5)
  3. Sweet Jane (Track 12)

[1. [url=]Ophelia](]Natalie Merchant[/url)
2. Frozen Charlotte
3. The Butcher’s Boy–You can listen to it at this link and watch a weird-ish flash animation.

Oh, geez, the first time I heard that song I was at the mall, not realizing they were carrying on a kaoroke competition. I had to leave because I was crying so hard an dpeople were starting.

That said, one song that always gets me is Erasure’s “My Heart So Blue.” I didn’t bother putting it on my iPod, because I mostly listen to it in the car, and don’t need to be breaking down crying while I’m driving! For me it’s the combo of the tune and lyrics.

I’ve got her picture
It’s there on the wall
I can’t remember why
I keep it at all

Uh, Sam Stone by John Prine

*Sam Stone, came home
To his wife and family
After serving in the conflict overseas
And the time that he served
had shattered all his nerves
and left a little shrapnel in his knee

But the morphine eased the pain
And the grass grew round his brain
And gave him all the confidence he lacked
With a purple heart and a monkey on his back

There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothing, I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears
Don’t stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long
On broken radios

etc. (hopefully that’s a short enough segment to avoid the copyright police - less than a third of the song)