Top 10 Sad Breakup Songs

Script written by Tiffany Ezuma. Suffering from a breakup you can’t let go of? You’re not the only one, but maybe these songs will help you through it. For this list, we’ve picked what we felt were some of the most heart-wrenching, sadness-evoking tracks and based our choices on a mix of their popularity, success and recognition as a breakup song. If you didn’t see a song you think should be on the list, be sure to check out our Top 10 Angry Breakup songs list. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 sad breakup songs. Special thanks to our users roxy, Jimmy Washington and Mikewayne for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Tiffany Ezuma.

Suffering from a breakup you can’t let go of? You’re not the only one, but maybe these songs will help you through it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 sad breakup songs.

For this list, we’ve picked what we felt were some of the most heart-rending, sadness-evoking tracks and based our choices on a mix of their popularity, success and recognition as a breakup song. If you didn’t see a song you think should be on the list, be sure to check out our Top 10 Angry Breakup songs list.

#10: “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)
Toni Braxton

This mournful ballad almost never happened! Toni Braxton didn’t originally like the song and had to be convinced by record exec and producer L.A. Reid to give it a chance. Lucky for us, she did and she gave us one of the finest R&B and pop breakup songs ever. Her deep voice brought out the pain and regret that comes with being left by a lover so well that it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks and won her the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

#9: “Always” (1994)
Bon Jovi

This rockin’ power ballad is a tour-de-force when it comes to sad breakup anthems. Bon Jovi’s voice runs the gamut, boasting vocal acrobatics that would rival even Mariah’s. Initially meant for the “Romeo is Bleeding” soundtrack, “Always” eventually found its way onto their Cross Road compilation after which it hit the Hot 100’s top 5. But it’s the song’s poignant and relatable lyrics that really take the cake here.

#8: “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
Sinéad O’Connor

Though it was penned by Prince and first recorded for his side project The Family, this pop rock number really came to life when Sinéad O’Connor made it her own. The Irish lass’ sad angelic vocals almost make you want to hurt whoever left her this way. The track’s so good, it became a global success and topped multiple charts worldwide. And it was accompanied by an equally memorable music video that focused on her face and the various stages of sadness she undergoes while singing the song.

#7: “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
Whitney Houston

No matter your age or background, chances are good you know this song. Whitney Houston’s voice is a gift from the gods as she revamps, and then completely owns, this Dolly Parton original. There are few who can top the level of pain and devotion to an old lover that Whitney’s powerhouse vocals express in this recording. So it’s no surprise the song dominated the airwaves, spent a whopping fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned a Grammy.

#6: “End of the Road” (1992)
Boyz II Men

Played at countless high school graduations in the ‘90s, this R&B tune has since become an iconic farewell anthem. With Boyz II Men’s soulful vocals and lyrics like [“it’s unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you”] bringing a heartfelt quality to their romantic pleas, “End of the Road” also became a chart-topping sensation and multiple Grammy winner. But it’s the ballad’s accurate description of love gone wrong that really lands it here.

#5: “Love Hurts” (1975)
Nazareth

The Everly Brothers and Jim Capaldi may have recorded the number earlier, but it was with Nazareth that “Love Hurts” attained a more hard rock edge. They also changed a few lyrics but still managed to attain both chart and commercial success. Thanks to its many pop culture appearances, Nazareth’s version has become the most-well known interpretation of the Boudleaux Bryant-composed track.

#4: “Somebody That I Used to Know” (2011)
Gotye feat. Kimbra

Gotye appeared seemingly out of nowhere with this song of heartbreak and regret. But fortunately his indie pop vocals were a perfect match with Kimbra’s soft soul style in a ballad that had the artists singing their side of the story in a battle of he said, she said. In addition to its two Grammy wins, “Somebody That I Used to Know” went on to become one of the best-selling digital releases ever, with over 13 million copies sold. If only all breakups were that profitable!

#3: “Someone Like You” (2011)
Adele

The sound of Adele’s heart breaking was a sound heard around the world: The Brit sings this song with such gut-wrenching heartache it’s hard not to relate to her. To top things off, the profound number really lets her stunning voice shine in a way that most pop performers rarely get the chance to do. Inescapable upon release, “Someone Like You” topped the Hot 100 and won the singer-songwriter a Grammy.

#2: “With or Without You” (1987)
U2

Numerous artists have covered this song but their renditions pale in comparison to the original. Inspired by Bono’s struggle between being out on the road and being a family man, “Without or Without You” stands out thanks to the frontman’s soaring vocals and a chorus you just can’t help but sing along to [“I can’t live without or without you”]. His pain is almost tangible; but this Joshua Tree single is all the more touching thanks to The Edge’s sustained guitar parts.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” (1984) Phil Collins
- “Everybody Hurts” (1993) R.E.M.
- “Skinny Love” (2008) Bon Iver
- “Need You Now” (2010) Lady Antebellum
- “Love Bites” (1988) Def Leppard

#1: “Don’t Speak” (1996)
No Doubt

As No Doubt’s badass female leader, Gwen Stefani isn’t necessarily the first singer-songwriter to come to mind when we’re talking lovelorn ballads. But when she penned this pop, alternative and soft rock tune following her breakup with the band’s bassist, the group soon discovered a departure from their ska roots was good thing. “Don’t Speak” earned loads of radio airplay and became an international hit. But it’s the way Stefani’s words and vocals capture that feeling when there’s nothing left to say but you’re still holding on for what could have been that make it our ultimate breakup track.

Do you agree with our list? Which songs helped you through your breakups? For more soul-bearing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com
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