7 Songs to have a good cry with

I remember in the 1980’s and 90’s there were a glut of album adverts for music collections and they were always sold as “Music to drive to” or “Music to party to” but today is what would have been my mothers birthday and rather than pretend to be happy, which I’m not in any way, here is my guide to some music you can get sad to.

Of course, everyone has their own preferred music choices whether they are for parties, driving, cooking in the kitchen or trying to get through the commute.  Our choices usually change too depending on our moods or what we’ve been influenced by in the media.   For those of you who want a good cry or a perusal of some emotionally charged hits then this is the place for you.  There are plenty more sad songs, of course, most of them relating to lost loves rather than lost lives and I could spend all day making a top 10 or top 20, but I thought I’d focus on quality rather than quantity!

So pull up a chair or for that authentic feeling of depression, dump yourself in the corner of the floor or perhaps if you live in a cold country like me, next to the radiator.


7. Hurt by Christina Aguilera – I always preferred Christina’s songs when she has something to say (Beautiful, The Voice Within, etc.) rather than strut around like someone locked out of a clothes shop.  She has such a wonderful voice, and the song is obviously about someone missing someone important to them.

Are you looking down upon me, are you proud of who I am? 


6. Mah Yiyeh (What will be) by Zehava Ben – I’ve loved this song since the moment I first heard it at the Buddha Bar in Paris in the 1990’s.  Sung in Hebrew, it must be said I don’t understand a word (though I now know the translation) but you don’t have to know any of the language to understand this is a sad song.  Whenever I hear this song, I am reminded of the scene in The Shawshank Redemption when the Italian Opera is played through the speakers and Red comments that he likes to think that whatever it was the lady was singing about, it was too beautiful to put into words.  I think this song must just be too sad for English.The link isn’t my favourite video for the song, but it has the best English translation.   It always leads me to think of two doomed lovers cast outside the city walls as a sandstorm approaches.

For life is hard like a rocky ground.  Well what? Well, what will be our miserable end,Here among the mountain’s stones, Between sweet and bitter?

The link isn’t my favourite video for the song, but it has the best English translation. Besides, I’ve sung it enough to know the Hebrew pronunciations, if not the meanings.


5. Stan by Eminem –  I remember being quite an Eminem fan in my time, and this was my favourite song, a sad one… go figure.  It tells the story of a supposedly jilted fan who kills his wife and commits suicide so suitably grim stuff.  The video for the song is like a mini-movie, and I like how the song and video tell a story too.  Word has it that many music stations were unhappy because of its nature, it was impossible to edit the over 8-minute running time for adverts.   I still know all the words and the heavy rain makes it seem somewhat homely.

(swearing removed)


4. Somewhere Only We Know by Lily Allen – As with at least one other song on this list, this song is a cover of an older hit.  Uniquely this version was originally created for a John Lewis Christmas advert but was so popular it was released to the public.  The music video shows some of the behind the scenes work on creating the advert.  For some reason, the almost saccharine quality of her voice makes it sadder than the original.


3. The Drugs Don’t Work by The Verve.  I remember listening to a debate on the radio many years ago in which it was said that this song epitomises the differences between British and American music with the former tinged with more downbeat or themed messages.  Whilst many assumed this song came out of singer Richard Ashcroft’s battle with drugs, it’s since come to light that it was in fact inspired by the feeling evoked by seeing his father dying from cancer which if you think about it, goes with the lyrics and for myself is something I relate to… not having much of a battle with drugs beyond trying to open the cap for my antihistamines during hayfever season.

Now the drugs don’t work
They just make you worse But I know I’ll see your face again


2. Hurt by Johnny Cash.  Out of all the great songs that Johnny Cash came out with, his favourite for me was the one that came out just before his death.  Originally ‘Hurt’ was created by Nine Inch Nails but most people, including, I believe the band themselves, prefer this adaptation.  The video is tremendous, and you can hear the pain and regret so strongly through his voice.

What have I become 
My sweetest friend 
Everyone I know goes away 
In the end


1.Coldplay probably has enough sad songs to populate a top ten list all of their own.  Many people would opt for ‘Fix You’ as their preferred Coldplay solace, but mine is ‘The Scientist’.  I remember watching this with my Mama when it first came out and we both liked it a lot.  It’s also got a sad theme which really helps of course.  You don’t want happy lyrics or meanings when you are missing someone.

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard



About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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6 Responses to 7 Songs to have a good cry with

  1. Francis says:

    What an interesting choice! Mine would be rather different. I’m still trying to worl out what I should like played at my funeral but you’ve really got me thinking about ut. My mum too sadly died – in 2009


  2. Boyer Writes says:

    Thanks, Stephen. For the ones that didn’t say “error” I was able to listen to the rest….not certain about the error notice. As you know, I understand completely the lost of your Mother. I still miss mine. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank-you Nancy. Yes, I know you understand how I am feeling. Thank-you. I’m not sure why some of the videos didn’t play but I have spent some time tinkering with the settings and they seem to be all working now.


  3. Mama Cormier says:

    I enjoyed seeing how the animation was done in Somewhere Only We Know. I too couldn’t see three of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is an interesting video isn’t it? For some reason the URLs were correct but WordPress wasn’t co-operating. It took several attempts on each video but now they should all be working. Sometimes I think, the more WordPress tinker with their dashboards, the system ends up further away from the simple system it originally was!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mama Cormier says:

        Thanks Stephen, I went back and listened to the ones that didn’t work yesterday. The one that brought tears to my eyes was Johnny Cash’s song Hurt. I wasn’t a fan growing up but watching his life story in documentaries and seeing him perform on TV made this video more personal for me and I could make more connections knowing his back story.

        Liked by 1 person

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