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The 100 Saddest Songs

Elton John probably said it best: “sad songs say so much”.

We all have our own “go to” music that we listen to whenever we’re going through a difficult time.  Some use music to help reinforce one’s feelings; others use music to get the listener to a certain emotional level.

It’s no secret that there are “happy” songs; heck, we all thrive on toe-tapping hits that make us feel good.

But there is a market, a need for “sad” songs as well.

The Saddest Music Ever Written: The Story of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings
The Saddest Music Ever Written:
The Story of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings

The question is, what are the SADDEST SONGS EVER WRITTEN?

Considering that there are books written about how sad Samuel Barber’s ADAGIO FOR STRINGS is, Web Watch isn’t surprised to see that this song made the #1 position on the chart.  The Top Ten Saddest Songs are rounded out with these nine additions:

  • “Strange Fruit,” Billie Holiday
  • “In Darkness Let Me Dwell,” John Dowland
  • “Marie,” Townes Van Zandt
  • “Rank Stranger,” The Stanley Brothers
  • “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Hank Williams
  • “Only the Lonely,” Frank Sinatra
  • “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’ Conner
  • “Caroline, No,” The Beach Boys
  • “DP 1.1,” William Basinski

You’ll have to click the above link to view the full list of 100 songs, but there are some surprises on the list that we wouldn’t have expected to see (“Auld Lang Syne”, otherwise known as the Happy New Year Song… but in reality is pretty sober if you think about the lyrics).   And even pop artists like Adele showed up – something we wouldn’t expect is for a popular Top Ten Hit to be listed on a page with the Saddest Songs Ever.

Then again, we’re not surprised to see songs by The Cure or Johnny Cash on the list.

Without looking, can you name the songs by R.E.M., Pink Floyd, The Pogues, or Radiohead that made this list?   Or are there other sad songs that you expected to see, but didn’t?