Home » Best Songs » Top 150 Best Breakup Songs of All Time

Top 150 Best Breakup Songs of All Time

Breakups are never easy. We all have our own way of dealing with them, but sometimes, listening to music can help to get the emotions out. It’s a way of coping with these intense feelings so that we can move on.

You’ll likely have to go through this at some point in your life. It’s, therefore, not a bad idea to have a best breakup songs playlist tucked away for that very rainy day.

If you’re going through a recent split, some of the songs on my list will probably get the tears flowing. So, just in case, make sure you have a bottle of wine or whisky on standby. Get yourself a big blanket, too, because that can also help. Let the suffering begin…

Best Breakup Songs


Top 150 Best Breakup Songs

1 Need You Know by Lady Antebellum

Let’s kick off with some pure Country. “Need You Now” was a huge hit when it first hit the charts in 2009. 

It was released off the album of the same name, Need You Now, and at the time, it felt like it was being played nonstop on every Country radio station. This was also pretty much the case for most mainstream channels and broadcasters. 

With such exposure, it’s unsurprising that it charted at #1 on the US Country Billboard charts and went nine times platinum. The song also achieved huge peer group acclaim, with its success further helped by featuring in various movies and TV series.

One of the most relatable aspects of the song…

It’s performed from the perspective of both the man and the woman. They both have the opportunity for a bit of post-breakup wallowing and sadness. They both get to express their emotions and feelings from a male and female perspective.

After each has had their say, the other half joins in, and they lament their newfound singleness in a duet. It’s beautifully done and feels powerful and highly emotive. I can’t help wondering, though, since they still love each other so much, what the hell are they doing apart?

Frankly, I think they need their heads banged together, and they need to work things out.

2 Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood

Country music is a rich source for some of the best breakup songs, so let’s keep the theme going. Carrie Underwood has come a long way since winning the fourth season of American Idol. She’s now one of the most successful Country artists of all time. 

She also happens to be one of the richest… 

And she’s one of the most recognized of the new generation of Country stars. Carrie Underwood has recorded some great breakup songs, so I found myself spoiled for choice selecting just one. 

I considered going with “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” but in the end, I opted for “Before He Cheats’ for no other reason than I prefer it.

The song was released in 2006 as the fifth single from her 2005 debut album, Some Hearts. The single won awards the following year at seemingly every Country award on the planet, and the album went on to sell an incredible ten million copies worldwide.

So, what makes it so good?

Although it’s very much Country, there’s also an upbeat Pop drum beat and a bass line that helps to give it an optimistic feel. Consequently, it has much less of a feeling of unavoidable sadness compared to the previous song. In many ways, it gives you the impression that the main character has dodged a bullet.

With her love interest having cheated, she’s naturally full of bitterness and anger. Unsurprisingly, she’s also full of thoughts of revenge that she has no problem carrying out. I feel sorry for his car, quite frankly.

Both have moved on, but the guy seems to have emotionally got a lot further down the road than the girl. But, he didn’t get very far since she sabotaged his car in a revengeful outburst. The more I think about it, the more I think she’s a bit of a nutter, and he’s the one best out of it.

3 Break Up in a Small Town by Sam Hunt

We’ve had a duet and one for the girls, so now it’s time for one for the guys. The song was released in 2015 and was released from Sam Hunt’s debut album of 2014, Montevallo

Although it didn’t reach the dizzy heights of “Before He Cheats,” it still made it to #2 in the US Country charts and achieved five times platinum status.

The song is a mix of Country, and R&B. One of the draws of the song is the catchy chorus and the simplicity of the structure. Plus, it’s also not overproduced, and lyrically, things are pretty straightforward too. 

The theme is one of regret…

What might have been? It looks back at what the singer now thinks to be a mistake and the consequences he’s forced to live with. Not an uncommon kind of story for a typical breakup song.

It’s a song that leaves you with a somewhat numb acceptance of what has happened and what’s to be. Maybe the most depressing of the three songs at this point, but a beautifully crafted song nevertheless. 

4 I’d Rather Go Blind by Etta James

Etta James had one of the greatest female voices of all time. Her ability to convey her message and put across her feelings was remarkable. No more so than in this iconic and heartbreaking song.

“I’d Rather Go Blind” was co-written with her friend Ellington Jordan who was in prison a the time of its writing. It was released in 1967 and achieved only modest sales, which is quite surprising. 

However, since its original release, a series of covers from several artists, including Kelly Clarkson and Sydney Youngblood, have ensured that it’s stayed in the music sphere’s consciousness. The covers have also done a lot to swell the coffers of Eta James and Ellington Jordan’s estates.

The lyrics are at times ambiguous… 

But, essentially, it’s about the personal trauma of relationships and the power they hold over you. And the difficulty of making the right choices in moments of turmoil.

“I’d Rather Go Blind” is one of the most emotive and powerful songs I’ve ever heard. The live version, sung by Eta in 1975 at Montreux, still leaves me astounded after all this time. An equally powerful performance, though under very different circumstances, was by Kelly Clarkson in 2020, around the time she was getting divorced.

I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times… 

Including when things in my life were going far from smoothly. As a breakup song, one thing that strikes me is that its sheer power and brilliance can, at times, lift me out of myself.

I love this song. And not only do I think it’s one of the best breakup songs, but I also think it’s one of the best songs ever. Without question a classic and timeless breakup song.

5 Someone Like You by Adele 

Adele is one of the greatest singers of her generation, and like Eta James, the power of her delivery is epic. In “Someone Like You,” she brilliantly tells the story of coming to terms with a love lost. 

It was released in 2011 and is undoubtedly one of Adele’s best-known. In terms of streams, it’s her biggest hit, with over two billion and counting. Yes, you got that right, two billion. It even beat “Hello,” though it’s not that far behind.

Physical sales of “Someone Like You” are as equally impressive. In both the US and the UK, it went five times platinum. It also received widespread critical acclaim and won a ton of awards. The most prestigious being the Grammy and Ivor Novello Awards, both in 2012.

So, what makes it so appealing?

There’s no doubt that Adele’s voice plays a major part, but the writing is fantastic. With Dan Wilson, Adele created a song that both lyrically and musically beautifully expressed the emotional heartache of a broken relationship. And the subsequent process of coming to terms with it.

There’s a real pain in the words which is echoed in the vulnerability in her voice. However, this also contrasts greatly with her powerful delivery. It’s a potent mix and further explains why this is such a relatable breakup song.

6 All Too Well by Taylor Swift

I love you, Taylor. But, I have to say that you do seem to make a bit of a habit of this particular genre. When it comes to any playlist of the best breakup songs, it wouldn’t be hard for you to fill the whole thing up a few times over. 

So, what going on? 

Do you just get bored? Can’t you keep your man? Are they simply not good enough for you? Whatever is going on, you need to sort yourself out and start being a bit more selective with your choices. 

Unless, of course, as some suspect, this all comes down to a ruthless pursuit of self-inflicted pain in the search for a great song.

Moving on…

“All Too Well” was released in 2012 and was taken off the album Red. The track is a fine blend of Country, Pop, and Folk. At the center of the song is Taylor on acoustic guitar. However, sections with full electric guitars, bass, and drums still give some interesting dynamics.

“All Too Well” was originally ten minutes long. Frankly, it’s fortunate that Liz Rose stepped in to condense it down to about half that size. There’s a limit to this kind of thing, Taylor.

The song spends a lot of time reminiscing about the good times she had with her boyfriend. We also get the sea of suffering, a must for a Taylor breakup song. But, as I’m sure she worked out, from what the lyrics are telling us, this guy wasn’t into you.

On a serious note… 

It’s good to see that you’ve been settled for a long time now. Hopefully, it all works out for both of you.

7 I Want You Back by Jackson 5

I wanted to lighten things up a little before we all get too obsessed with drowning in our own misery. And, what better way to do it than listening to an eleven-year-old boy sing about love and things he has no right to understand at such a tender age?

One of the appealing things about the song is that it delivers such a sad message but in such a happy way. Now, that’s not to say that Michael Jackson didn’t do a great job in conveying emotion in his voice because he did. The contrast is more about the energy and pace of the song and the music.

“I Want You Back” is a pure Motown classic. It’s the best of Soul and Pop that could get even the most reluctant of dancers hitting the floor and strutting their stuff. Whilst you join in the chorus about how you want your man or woman back, oh so much, you’ll be inadvertently dancing those troubles away.

What a great way to give yourself some fun and relief, don’t you think?

The song was hugely significant for The Jackson 5. Not only was it their first #1 hit, but it also marked their first TV appearance. This was in late 1968 on The Ed Sullivan Show. 

The single also achieved another first as it was taken from their debut album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. As we all know now, this was just a glimpse of what was to come from Michael Jackson.

8 The Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Let’s keep the Motown vibe running. Although the single was released under the Tamla label, it was still owned under the umbrella of Motown. As many of you will already know, the label was frequently referred to as Tamla Motown at the time.

“The Tracks of My Tears” was released in 1965 and was the second single taken from the album, Going to a Go-Go. It had special importance since this was the first album to feature the name change from The Miracles to Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. 

The song was written by Smokey and two of his bandmates, Pete Moore and Marv Tarplin. Interestingly, during this time, Smokey was a prolific writer and wrote many of the songs for his fellow artists performing under the Tamla and Motown labels.

An all-out Soul song with an unmistakable Motown feel… 

It has all the components you’d expect for a song coming from the Motown label. These include strong four-beat drums and Gospel-style harmonies together with strings and horns. 

Lyrically, this is an absolute heartbreaker. It mainly concerns the pain a man is going through and his efforts to conceal it. However, despite all his best efforts, he’s still unable to do so. 

The emotions get the better of him. So much to leave marks down his face from the constant crying, hence the title, “Tracks of My Tears.” It’s an incredible piece of writing and imagery. I believe amongst a mountain of work that this is Smokey Robinson’s finest.

9 Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers

This is a personal favorite as it’s one of the first songs I learned to play and sing. It’s a simple song to perform, and part of its strength is in that simplicity. That is also what made it one of the most popular breakup songs of all time.

There are very few chord changes and no complicated musical accompaniments. Essentially, the song features a prominent acoustic guitar with a very light backup from the rest of the band.

It’s a soulful song, and its brilliance comes down to the quality and conviction of the singing. It’s a song of pain and acceptance. You can feel the sadness, and if you ever want a great example of a Blues song, this is it.

A timeless breakup song…

The genius of “Ain’t No Sunshine” was and still is well recognized amongst fellow musicians. It’s a much-covered song and has been interpreted by major artists, including Michael Jackson, The Temptations, and Isaac Hayes. 

It was released in 1971 and reached #6 on the American charts. It went on to sell over a million copies and helped to propel the album it was taken from, Just As I Am, to chart and commercial success. Sadly, Bill Withers passed away in 2020, but his music will never be forgotten.

10 How Can You Mend a Broken Heart by The Bee Gees

We’re moving on from one influential songwriter to a trio of others. The Bee Gees wrote the song in 1970 and went on to record and release it in 1971. “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is also featured on the album, Trafalgar, released in the same year.

The 70s were some of the most productive and successful for the band. However, in many ways, this was their breakthrough single as it was the first to reach #1 in the US.

What you’d expect from The Bee Gees… 

It’s a beautifully written, melodic, and laid-back Pop song with a catchy chorus and incredible harmonies. More than anything, it is the harmonies of the three brothers that set this band apart.

The song charts the inevitability of having your heart broken. They have a point. For just about every one of us, playing the game of love will, at some point, lead to heartbreak. 

The Bee Gees point this out by comparing the phenomena with things that go on forever, like the rain falling or the breeze in the trees. The message is a simple one. If you play the game, you will likely have to pay the price.

11 Thunderstruck by AC/DC

You’re probably all looking at the screen in disbelief and wondering what I’ve been smoking. AC/DC and breakup songs? Have I gone completely mad? Yes, yes, and no to the last few questions.

Believe it or not, “Thunderstruck” is genuinely a breakup song. Honestly! However, there’s no crying or looking out of the window with rain falling and sad expressions. No, no, no. The song contains a relationship breakup and recovery phase, but it’s all so very Rock N’ Roll.

Despite the unexpected end of the relationship by the other party, there are no long faces, crying, or wrapping yourself up in a warm blanket and drinking a cup of cocoa with two hands. Instead, there’s lots of drinking, drug-taking, partying, and plenty of adult activities.

Come on now, guys, we’ve all been there…

The initial split sounds like it was probably a tough minute or two, but you get the impression it was all quickly forgotten. “Thunderstruck” was released in 1990 as the main single off the album, The Razor’s Edge. The album went multi-platinum, with the single charting in the Top 10 in the US and UK.

The song is typical AC/DC, high intensity with thumping bass and drums. This is fused with what is now one of Rock’s most recognizable guitar riffs. The power and tempo of the song, including Brian Johnson’s shrieking vocals, are epic. 

If you like your music full-on and are determined to approach your breakup in the same way, this is definitely for you. Most likely a breakup song for the guys.

12 Love of My Life by Queen

Queen is the second most successful band of all time, only after The Beatles. If you include solo recording artists, they come in at #4, with Elvis and Madonna taking up the second and third slots. With a total of 275 million record sales, this is a Goliath of a band.

They recorded a few great love songs, but I’ve chosen this one as I think it’s the standout. “Love of My Life” was released in 1975 of their groundbreaking concept album, A Night at the Opera, which was also brought out in the same year. The single went on to sell over a million copies worldwide.

The song is a tale of abandonment… 

And the subsequent feelings that are sure to follow. It’s also clear from the song that the strength of connection on the side of the storyteller is much stronger than the other party.

One thing that sets this apart from a lot of other Queen songs, most of it is sung with just a piano. However, a heavily distorted, though quiet electric guitar makes an appearance towards the end. 

This is all in sharp contrast to the full Rock experience you get with songs like “We Are The Champions.”

Anything by Queen is best heard live… 

At least it was while Freddie was still with us. To fully appreciate the song and others, you really should listen to Queen Live.

13 Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Conner built an entire career pretty much out of this one song. Subsequently, although she released further singles and albums, nothing compared to “Nothing Compares 2 U”… sorry. It’s not that she didn’t have some commercial success; it’s just that it was nowhere near to the same degree.

The song was written by Prince and not O’Conner. Interestingly, she recorded the song without Prince knowing until it was released. More interesting still is that he wasn’t too happy with her version.

For those of you that want to hear the original recording, here is Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”. You can decide which is the better version and which is the perfect breakup song.

Back to Sinead’s version…

Musically, it’s a relatively stripped-down song with piano, violins, and a restrained drum beat forming the basis of the song. O‘Conner’s voice takes center stage, and this is a blessing. It’s a brilliant vocal performance and is undoubtedly why the song was so popular.

The lyrics make for uncomfortable reading and display the clear desperation of the writer. This appears to be much more than post-breakup blues. These feelings of despair are superbly captured in O’Conner’s version, and she’s to be commended for it.

I can remember the accompanying video as if it were yesterday. Her shaved head was probably more talked about than the record, which is a shame because all the focus deserved and still deserves to be on the song.

14 Without You by Mariah Carey

There could be a few of you scratching your heads and thinking, “Didn’t Mariah Carey sing this?”. Well, you’d be right because she did. However, it was first written and performed by the British Rock band Badfinger in 1970 and subsequently released in the same year from the album, No Dice.

It’s a stunning interpretation…

The Mariah Carey version of “Without You,” released in 1994, is a wonderful cover and a beautiful rendition of this heart-wrenching breakup song. In my opinion, it’s one of Carey’s best vocal performances.

However, I prefer Nillson’s 1973 version of “Without You.” Like Mariah’s cover, it also went to #1 in both the US and the UK. It also went multi-platinum, though it wasn’t as big a hit as the 1994 release.

The song has won multiple accolades and awards. It’s listed in The Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and has won a Grammy and widespread praise from a mixture of fellow musicians. It’s also one of the most covered songs of all time, with currently over 180 different recordings.

So, what makes it so great?

In many ways, this is the love power ballad to end all others. Although there’s plenty of dispute about where the power ballad originated, there’s no doubt that this is right in the mix.

The quality of the writing and the gut-wrenching nature of the lyrics is exceptional. The combination of the vulnerability of the emotions with the sheer force of the vocals is mesmerizing. Put simply; this is a brilliant song.

15 Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton 

Here’s another powerful love ballad. When you’re listening to this, the tears may well flow, and you can almost guarantee it will be raining outside. You better prepare the cocoa and that warm blanket again.

The song was released in 1996 and taken from Toni Braxton’s second album, Secrets. It’s arguably Toni Braxton’s best song, and the public seemed to agree.

It went to #1 in both the US and the UK. Not only this, but in the UK, it charted as the fourth most successful song of the decade on the Billboard Hot 100. Record sales around the world topped a staggering 10 million copies, which reflected its widespread popularity.

The song is a mix of R&B and Pop… 

Although I’d describe it as a power ballad, it feels more tender than “Without You,” both musically and lyrically. The vocals don’t feel pushed, with the highest and loudest notes still feeling soft. The lyrics deal with the singer’s emotions and have a very vulnerable and feminine quality.

Although “Un-Break My Heart” deals with the same kind of pain and heartache as many of the other best breakup songs on my list, this feels different. There’s no overt desperation despite the pain. There’s a kind of smoothness in all aspects of the song.

When I hear this, I can’t help but think this is one lady with a huge heart. If whoever is on the receiving end of the song gives things another go, I reckon it might even work. Not something I’d believe with any of the other songs on the list. Maybe this is why it’s a memorable breakup song.

16 Don’t Speak by No Doubt

This is very different from the previous song though it was also released in 1996. The song was written by Gwen Stefani and her brother Eric. It was released as a track from their third studio album, Tragic Kingdom, which came out a year earlier. 

“Don’t Speak” was the band’s most successful single. It went to #1 pretty much everywhere and sold over five million copies worldwide. No Doubt was already a well-known act before they released “Don’t Speak.” However, once it hit the charts, they became universally popular.

The track was written following the breakup between Gwen Stefani and fellow bandmate Tony Kanal. Despite all the hurt, one of the interesting things is the maturity that all parties displayed in dealing with the situation. 

As far as the song is concerned… 

This maturity very much carries over as the emotions don’t seem to completely overwhelm the singer. There appears to be an understanding between the two of what happened and how each other feels. 

It gives the impression of a mutually agreed breakup where they are still friends despite their differences. This is mirrored by the fact that, despite the split, they both continued in the band until they ceased being active in 2015.

No Doubt was a Rock/Pop band, and “Don’t Speak” fits comfortably into this genre. There are sad-sounding elements, but unlike most of the other songs on the list, there are also high-tempo and positive sections.

17 Back to Black by Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse had one of the most unique and captivating female voices of all time. She was genuinely amazing when it came to singing Soul, Blues, or Jazz. It could be a long time before we see someone her like again.

“Back to Black” was written by Amy and Mark Ronson. It was released in 2007 as a single from her second studio album, also entitled, Back to Black. It charted in the Top 10 in the UK and went double platinum. In the US, it failed to break the Top 50 though it still went platinum.

The song is a soulful affair… 

It tells the tale of pain and bitterness following her man walking out. Unlike a lot of breakup songs, this holds no punches from a lyrical perspective. The words are crude, to the point, and matter-of-fact.

The song deals, in a forthright way, with both sex and drug taking. These are also intertwined with her emotions and resolve to come through it.

What I find fascinating is that the music and delivery of the song belay the hurt it contains. The beat and instruments don’t dip or crescendo to any great extent. Likewise, for most of the song, the vocal lines are delivered in a similar even-like way. 

Simply fantastic…

“Back to Black” is about as far as you can get from being a power ballad. Despite this, or maybe because of it, it still manages to deliver the message brilliantly. Quite remarkable.

Sadly, Amy Winehouse died in 2011 at just 27 years of age due to an alcohol overdose. She was a great loss to the music world and to those that knew and loved her.

18 The Evil That Men Do by Iron Maiden

What? Yes, really. Remember that lovers of Metal have hearts too. It’s been rumored that some male Metalheads even have girlfriends. I’m not sure if I believe it, but let’s pretend it’s true for the next few minutes.

OK, so we understand that Metal is not normally associated with this kind of thing. However, when you look a little closer at Metal, you’ll see that even the most extreme Metal bands will have a few love songs in their back catalogs.

“The Evil That Men Do” is remarkably not Iron Maiden’s only breakup song, which kind of proves my point. If you don’t believe me, take a listen to “The Thin Line Between Love and Hate” and “Wasting Love.”

What do I like about it?

The beauty of the lyrics. Bruce Dickinson is an absolute master at telling tales. He crafts incredible stories that make him one of the greatest lyricists in Metal.

This song is about an evil scheme planned by the Devil to take a boy into hell. He uses his own beautiful daughter as a lure, and the boy inevitably falls in love with her. The results are a little ambiguous, which is a very common occurrence in Dickinson’s writing. 

However, what is crystal clear are the feelings of despair that follow the fallout as he’s forced to overcome the betrayal. It’s beautiful writing. Released as the second single from their seventh album, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, in 1988, this is Iron Maiden at their very best. 

19 Don’t Cry by Guns N’ Roses

Keeping things heavy, let’s take a look at this gem from their 1991 album, Use Your Illusion I. But, hang on a second. There’s also an alternative version, released on the same day but from a different album, Use Your Illusion II

That’s got to be marketing genius. But, regardless of which version you listen to, it’s essentially the same song. 

The story is told, I believe, from the female perspective… 

Although, there’s enough ambiguity in the lyrics that it could be from the male perspective. “Don’t Cry” deals with the complications of Axl Rose’s relationship with an ex of their rhythm guitarist, Izzy Stradlin.

The song recounts the changing feelings of the girl and the subsequent emotional fallout. She tries to explain her position and offer comfort and reassuring words for the future, which pretty much falls on deaf ears.

Not the usual GNR song…

The song is not as hard as a lot of Guns N’ Roses’ other music. And, if you stripped out Axl’s shrieking vocals for someone else’s, this could easily be a love power ballad.

The single didn’t perform particularly well in comparison to most of their other music from around the same time. I’m not surprised, as it lacks the energy, thumping back line, and long guitar solos that most Guns N’ Roses fans love. I still think it’s one heck of a song, though.

20 Jolene by Dolly Parton

I originally intended to include just a couple of County songs on my list. However, I had to find space for this one. Somehow, the best breakup songs playlist without “Jolene” just doesn’t seem right.

The song was written by Dolly Parton and released in 1973. I always feel that it’s older and that it has been around forever. Dave down at the pub told me it’s a 60s song, and I believed him until Google put me right.

“Jolene” was a single from the album under the same name. It’s a Country song through and through, which begins with a quiet drum beat and an accompanying acoustic guitar. As the song builds, the intensity rises, and harmonies and violins are introduced before quickly tapering to a finish.

It’s a simple song… 

But, it’s beautifully executed and held together with Dolly Parton’s unmistakable, slightly gravelly Soprano voice. “Jolene” approaches the idea of breakup from a slightly different angle. Rather than lamenting the loss of a past lover, Dolly Parton is pleading and begging a potential love interest to stay away from her husband. The feelings of pain associated with a possible breakup are laid bare for all to see.

The song was written by Parton when she had the real-life experience of a bank teller getting overly friendly with her husband. The experience made her worry about her marriage and pen the song.

In case you’re wondering… 

Dolly and her husband, who married in 1966, are still together today. Happily, nothing came of the flirtations of the overly amorous bank employee.

Like many of the best Country songs, it’s been covered by many great artists. However, I think the best version is by Miley Cyrus. Not a musician I particularly like, but her cover of “Jolene” is quite frankly amazing. It made me look at Miley Cyrus in a whole new way. Or, for something more ‘alternative,’ check out Jolene by the White Stripes.

21 I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

This could well be the best breakup song ever. It’s a lofty claim, but I think there’s plenty to support the statement.

Most of us remember “I Will Always Love You” from the blockbuster 1992 movie “The Bodyguard,” starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. The movie took in over $419 million at the box office and undoubtedly helped propel the song to major success.

How successful?

“I Will Always Love You” became the best-selling single of all time for a female artist. It sold 20 million physical singles. Given the digital age, this is a record that is almost certain to never be broken. The Bodyguard-Original Soundtrack Album also sold over 45 million copies. Not bad, eh?

Even without the movie, it’s still a song that would have likely risen to the top. It’s brilliantly written; I’m sure you’ll agree. And who was it written by? Dolly Parton.

Honestly, who else did you expect?

Dolly Parton released the original in 1982. It was still very successful, although nowhere to the same degree as Whitney’s cover. However, Dolly Parton still got to #1 in the US on the Country charts and sold north of a million copies.

The song’s been covered by plenty of other artists, but no one has ever come close to matching Whitney Houston’s sheer power and flawless delivery. It’s simply one of the greatest female vocal performances of all time. It’s worth pointing out that the live performances of the song are equally dazzling.

In many ways… 

Whitney Houston’s vocal masterclass overshadows the wonderful lyrics, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. The beautiful way they paint the picture of lost love, pain, and acceptance is a vital component of the song.

22 Nothing Breaks Like a Heart by Mark Ronson ft. Miley Cyrus,

23 Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye ft. Kimbra,

24 You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi,

25 I Hate Myself for Loving You by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts,

26 Breaking Up Is Hard to Do by Neil Sedaka,

27 She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5,

28 Crying in the Club by Camila Cabello,

29 Don’t You Remember by Adele,

30 Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley,

31 Stay by Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko,

32 The Winner Takes It All by ABBA,

33 All Out of Love by Air Supply,

34 A Change Would Do You Good by Sheryl Crow,

35 What Becomes of the Brokenhearted by Jimmy Ruffin,

36 I’m Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance

37 We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

38 The First Cut is the Deepest by Cat Stevens

39 You Were Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson,

40 Dancing with a Stranger by Sam Smith ft. Normani,

41 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police,

42 Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton,

43 Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) by Phil Collins,

44 Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain & Tennille.

45 Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley,

46 Miss You Like Crazy by Natalie Cole

47 You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

48 I Fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline

49 He Wasn’t Man Enough by Toni Braxton

50 Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers ft. Daya

More 100 Best Breakup Songs

    1. One More Minute by Weird Al Yankovic,
    2. Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi,
    3. Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.,
    4. Torn by Natalie Imbruglia,
    5. Goodbye Earl by Dixie Chicks,
    6. Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac,
    7. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor,
    8. Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson,
    9. Back In Black by AC/DC,
    10. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division,
    11. You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette,
    12. Say Something by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera,
    13. You Were Meant for Me by Jewel,
    14. You’re Beautiful by James Blunt,
    15. Gives You Hell by The All-American Rejects,
    16. I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt,
    17. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie,
    18. Better in Time by Leona Lewis,
    19. Take a Bow by Rihanna,
    20. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) by Journey,
    21. Dancing On My Own by Robyn,
    22. Stronger by Britney Spears,
    23. Every Breath You Take by The Police,
    24. Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake,
    25. How Do I Live by LeAnn Rimes,
    26. Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O’Sullivan,
    27. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day,
    28. What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts,
    29. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion,
    30. Breaking the Habit by Linkin Park,
    31. End of the Road by Boyz II Men,
    32. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica,
    33. Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer,
    34. You Learn by Alanis Morissette,
    35. Breathe Me by Sia,
    36. Why by Annie Lennox,
    37. Never Tear Us Apart by INXS,
    38. Nothing Was The Same by Drake,
    39. Say You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac
    40. It Must Have Been Love by Roxette
    41. The Power of Good-Bye by Madonna
    42. Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill
    43. Yesterday by The Beatles
    44. All By Myself by Eric Carmen
    45. It’s So Easy by Linda Ronstadt
    46. Careless Whisper by George Michael
    47. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by The Righteous Brothers
    48. Irreplaceable by Beyonce
    49. Always Remember Us This Way by Lady Gaga
    50. Unfaithful by Rihanna
    51. Rolling in the Deep by Adele
    52. So What by Pink
    53. Back at One by Brian McKnight
    54. If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
    55. I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
    56. Nothing Compares 2 U by Prince
    57. We Are Young by Fun. ft. Janelle Monáe
    58. Dreams by Fleetwood Mac
    59. I’m Not In Love by 10cc
    60. I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt
    61. White Flag by Dido
    62. I’m Gonna Find Another You by John Mayer
    63. Better Together by Jack Johnson
    64. Missing by Everything But The Girl
    65. I’m Still Standing by Elton John
    66. The Scientist by Coldplay
    67. Leave (Get Out) by JoJo
    68. In My Blood by Shawn Mendes
    69. You’re Beautiful by James Blunt
    70. We Belong Together by Mariah Carey
    71. The One That Got Away by Katy Perry
    72. Tainted Love by Soft Cell
    73. It’s Over by Roy Orbison
    74. Goodbye to You by Scandal
    75. The Heart Wants What It Wants by Selena Gomez
    76. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me by Diana Ross and The Supremes with The Temptations
    77. Brokenhearted by Karmin
    78. In the End by Linkin Park
    79. Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson
    80. Crying by Roy Orbison
    81. Uninvited by Alanis Morissette
    82. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
    83. Stay With Me by Sam Smith
    84. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
    85. Before You Go by Lewis Capaldi
    86. One More Night by Maroon 5
    87. Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds
    88. I’m Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance
    89. Best Thing I Never Had by Beyoncé
    90. Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt
    91. It Ain’t Me Babe by Bob Dylan
    92. Not the Only One by Bonnie Raitt
    93. I’m Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado
    94. Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow
    95. The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
    96. Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady by Helen Reddy
    97. Why Can’t I? by Liz Phair
    98. The Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley
    99. Ain’t No Sunshine by Lighthouse Family
    100. Here Comes Goodbye by Rascal Flatts

Need Some More Songs for Sad Times?

If so, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Depression, the Best Songs About Loneliness, the Best Songs About Missing Someone You Love, the Best Songs About Crying, and the Best Songs About Cheating and Lying for more heartfelt song selections.

Also, you need to hear them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones for Music, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2023.

And, don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best iPhone Earbuds, and the Best Sound Quality Earbuds currently on the market.

Best Breakup Songs – Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. Twenty-one of the best songs for a breakup to hopefully get you through the bad times. 

There are some superb songs on my list, and even if you’re currently in a happy relationship, they’re still worth a listen. That way, you are also likely to get through the whole lot pretty much tear-free.

One last thing before you go…

If you’re currently going through a breakup, I’m sorry, and I hope you’re feeling OK. However, if you find things spiraling out of control, make sure you reach out and get help. Don’t try to deal with it on your own if it gets too much.

Take care of yourselves, and until next time, let the music soothe your pain.

5/5 - (39 votes)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top