Of all the relationships it is possible to have, a long-distance one is probably the most difficult. There are so many emotions involved, and it will require a strong foundation of mutual trust and support to succeed.
Songwriters have created many songs about dealing with this often difficult situation. So, let’s take an in-depth look at the best long distance relationship songs.
- A New Phenomena?
- It Has Become More Common
- The Good Side?
- Top 13 Best Long Distance Relationship Songs
- Love Letters by Ketty Lester
- Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt
- Somewhere Out There by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell
- I Drove All Night by Roy Orbison
- Counting Down the Days by Natalie Imbruglia
- The Distance by Mariah Carey
- Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers
- Radar Love by Golden Earring
- So Far Away by Dire Straits
- So Far Away by Carole King
- Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul, and Mary
- Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx
- Searching for Sentimental Songs?
- The Best Long Distance Relationship Songs – Final Thoughts
A New Phenomena?
No, it is not new. People have been leaving wives and husbands or close friends behind for a long time. It could be work or going to university. Or, it could be going off to the armed forces and even going to war. Whatever the situation, it is not going to be easy, and it will be a big challenge to overcome.
It Has Become More Common
Today, long-distance relationships have become far more common. Travel has become easier, and we tend to move around more. More people seem to relocate for work or education.
And then, of course, there is the internet. Dating websites have emerged. We can now ‘meet’ people we have not met and build up long-distance relationships in a virtual world. That can be a good thing, but human nature being what it is, many will exploit that, usually for money.
The Good Side?
Video platforms that allow for private face-to-face time. This is one of the things that can ease the pressure on a long distant relationship. Knowing you can make a few clicks and you can be having that face-to-face conversation.
It is still never easy; thankfully, music can help. Just having a song that might offer comfort or hope for the future can be a great thing. Maybe you might have a song that you both listen to in difficult moments. So, let’s see what the songwriters have to say in some songs about faraway lovers.
Top 13 Best Long Distance Relationship Songs
Love Letters by Ketty Lester
Let’s start this list of the best long distance relationship songs by going back to a time when there was no internet. Long-distance relationships were handled by post or, if you were lucky, by telephone.
Each written communication can take days or even weeks, depending on where the different parties might be in the world.
There would also have been no texting or easy-to-make long-distance calls. This was 1962, and people would stand by their letterbox waiting for that letter to arrive. Plenty of songs about waiting for those special letters were recorded during those days.
But I digress…
“Love Letters” was first released even earlier in 1945 as part of a film and was recorded by Dick Haymes. Ketty Lester’s version came out in 1962 and was her only successful record reaching the Top 5 in America. It was also the name of an album she released at the same time.
There is a simple message in the lyrics…
Songs usually had one in those days. But, it is a song that strikes at the heart of the issue. Great lines like, “Love Letters straight from the heart – Keep us so near while apart.”
It touches the emotion of having to wait for that letter, but when it arrives, it makes the person feel near. It has since been rearranged with her singing the song for a later album release by Lincoln Mayorga. A great song about a long distance love that she sings perfectly.
Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt
There will be times when no matter what you do, a long-term relationship just doesn’t work out. It may not be anyone’s fault. It’s just sometimes a very difficult journey that you need to navigate.
This song is about one of those occasions. James Blunt is known for being able to write a good “weepy,” and you can add this one to the list. He co-wrote the song with Sacha Skarbeck, and it was included on his first album, Back To Bedlam.
“Goodbye My Lover” is rather melancholy, as you might expect. It’s a song about the breakup of a long distance relationship. It is always a difficult time and sometimes made more difficult when one realizes it is over, but the other doesn’t want to let go.
The Memories Linger
He talks about keeping all his memories locked away forever, knowing there will be no more to come.
This was the 4th single taken from the album, released in 2005, and was his second Top 10 single in the UK after “You’re Beautiful,” which was the third release. It wasn’t initially released in America but went to #66 courtesy of an enormous amount of digital downloads. It was finally released there in 2006.
An Interesting Tale For The Recording
When he first went to America, he rented a room in a house belonging to Carrie Fisher. Yes, that one. She had a piano in her bathroom. Don’t ask.
The upside was that the acoustics in the bathroom, full of natural echo and reverb, made it a great place to record. This song, along with some others on the album, was recorded in that bathroom. Listening to the results, the ‘force’ was certainly with him.
Somewhere Out There by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
This is a song written by James Horner, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil for the animated film “An American Tail.”
The film was directed by Steven Spielberg. He asked James Horner, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil to come up with four songs in four weeks for the soundtrack. One of those songs was “Somewhere Out There.”
None of the songs were supposed to be general releases…
However, “Somewhere Out There” seemed like it could do well enough on its own. So, they brought in Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram to record it. In the film, the song was sung by other people. But, it was Linda and James’s version that was used over the end credits.
It reached #8 in the UK and #2 in America, which helped to sell the film to audiences. The song itself is a little bit cheesy as a stand-alone song, but it worked well in the film.
It talks about the sad emotions you suffer when your loved one is far away. But, it also reminds you that there is still that connection between you despite the distance.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was the first joint effort between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. It was written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson and reached #19 on the American chart.
It was the opening track on their first album together, entitled United. Marvin Gaye had previously sung a duet with Kim Weston, “It Takes Two.” But, his collaboration with Tammi Terrell just seemed to work better vocally.
It was the start of something special…
A fruitful collaboration between them produced some great tracks. One of those was “You’re All I Need To Get By.” It was a relationship that offered the chance for speculation as they appeared to be inseparable. A better description might be that it was like they were brother and sister.
However, their growing professional relationship was cut short by the death of Tammi Terrell at the age of 24 from a brain tumor. Motown was very well-known for the way they would try and manipulate their artists, especially the new young talent.
This was reflected in the banning of all Motown executives from the funeral by Terrell’s mother. Only Marvin Gaye was allowed to attend as she considered him a real friend of her daughter. He also delivered the eulogy.
There Was No Mountain High Enough
Perhaps there wasn’t a mountain high enough to come between them. And that was what this song was all about. The sentiment behind the song is simple. That no matter how far you are away from your loved one, there is nothing that can stop you from getting to them.
I Drove All Night by Roy Orbison
This is a song that was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly for Roy Orbison. He recorded it a year before he died in 1987, but it wasn’t released until 1992. Orbison’s version posthumously reached #7 in the UK.
It was Cindi Lauper who released the song first in 1989, which was included on her album Night To Remember. Her version reached #7 in the UK and #6 in America. It has also more recently been covered by Canadian singer Celine Dion.
The lengths we go for love…
It’s a song about someone longing to be with their partner. It all becomes too much, so they just get in their car and drive. An impulsive decision as these things often are, and they didn’t even call to say they were coming.
“Maybe I should have called you first – But I was dying to get to you.” An excellent song that captures the moment and the need to be with someone who might be a long way away.
Counting Down the Days by Natalie Imbruglia
From Australian soap star to a singer to an actress in films, there isn’t much that Natalie Imbruglia hasn’t turned her hand to. This was a track from her third studio album of the same name, released in 2005.
It is an interesting song that is a departure from what she had done before. This song, and indeed the album, has a much more Pop-oriented feel.
I guess the suit wanted some chart success…
Personally, I think she was a bit better than that and is far better at songs with a slightly darker edge. However, what do I know? The album went to #1 in the UK and the single to #23.
The are some clever and very descriptive lines in this song about being in a long distance relationship.
“You were right, and I don’t want to be here – If you are going to be there – Was that supposed to happen?” A great song to listen to when the days until your next visit are getting nearer.
The Distance by Mariah Carey
A little bit more up-to-date now with this track from Mariah Carey. It was released in 2018 from her album, Caution.
It is a very radio-friendly song…
One that was designed to appeal to the download market. As a song, it is a slow funky offering where she sings the lyrics against people who said her long-term relationship could not last. It is a song that paints a picture of the heartache people can feel in a long-term relationship. She talks about all the things she wishes for that would help them feel closer together even though they are miles apart.
A song about the pain of a long distance relationship and struggling with it. And one that tells you that you are not alone if you are in the same situation.
Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers
There are some songs we know as “standards,” and this is one of them. The song was written in 1955 by Alex North and Hy Zaret and was used in the film of the same name.
In the UK, in 1955, there were four versions of the song in the Top 20 at the same time. Something that has never been repeated. It is one of the most recorded songs of all time.
A Return To The Chart
It received another chart entry in 1965 from the Righteous Brothers, with the lead taken by ‘brother’ Bobby Hatfield. It reached #14 in the UK and #4 in America. The original Righteous Brothers recording was re-released again in 1990.
The song is about a man who is in prison and is singing about his love, who he misses. I suppose you could call that a long-distance relationship, especially as contact is likely to be rather sparse. He is asking her to wait for him.
“Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea – To the open arms of the sea – Lonely rivers sigh, wait for me, wait for me – I’ll be coming home, wait for me.” A classic song from a period of great songwriters. One of the oldest but one of the best long distance relationship songs ever.
Radar Love by Golden Earring
So, what did we have before The Beatles? Well, we had “How Much is That Doggie In The Window,” but we also had Golden Earring, formed in 1961.
Over the North Sea in Holland, they were already belting out their brand of Rock n Roll. And, until age finally took its toll, they were still doing it recently, with virtually the same lineup, all well into their 70s.
“Radar Love” was their breakthrough track released in 1973 and gave them international recognition. It reached #7 in the UK and #13 in America. Also, it made the Top 10 in six other countries. It was taken from their album, Moontan.
The song is written from the perspective of a truck driver. He claims an extra-sensory connection to his girlfriend, Radar Love.
There have been some rather interesting views on the lyrics. Some say he dies at the end in a road accident. He sings, “No more speed, I’m almost there – Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care – Last car to pass, here I go – And the line of cars drove down real slow.”
Followed by two lines indicating his accident was reported on the news channel, “And the newsman sang his same song – One more radar love is gone.”
Others have referred to the use of the term “speed” as not relating to how fast he is going. They claim it refers to the use of an illegal stimulant drug.
Whatever, it is a great song…
And it is a classic rock track. The live version often went on for over 15 minutes and included a six-minute drum solo. Not bad for a man who had a pensioner’s bus pass.
It is a man who has the feeling his girl wants him to be there, and off he goes, rather recklessly, it seems, into the night.
So Far Away by Dire Straits
This is the first track off one of the biggest selling and greatest albums of all time, Brothers in Arms. Written by Mark Knopfler, it is a song he wrote about trying to conduct a long-distance relationship.
It was released as a single the same year as the album in 1985. It reached #20 in the UK and #19 in America.
When this was written in 1985, conducting such a long-distance relationship was a little harder than it is today. There were no social media platforms or video calls. It was down to letters and phone calls. But, there is nothing to replace seeing someone as you talk to them.
It Is Hard
He talks about how hard it is to be on your own, “I’m tired of being in love and being all alone – When you’re so far away from me – I’m tired of making out on the telephone – Cause you’re so far away from me.”
It is one of Knopfler’s more laid-back songs. The message is plain, and the instrumentation is easy to listen to with some nice Knopfler guitar.
The message coming across, though, is that it might be getting too hard for him. At times, many people think like that, and that is the time when you need to remember what they mean to you.
So Far Away by Carole King
Let’s look at a song with the same title as the track we have just looked at. This is a song that was taken from what was, in my opinion, one of the albums of the 70s. Tapestry was released in 1971, and it is rare to find an album where every track is excellent. This album, though, was one.
“So Far Away” was released as a single in America and reached #14. It featured James Taylor playing acoustic guitar. The song demonstrates the genius of Carole King’s writing at this stage in her career.
See for yourself…
It starts by talking about the physical distance between them, “Long ago I reached for you, and there you stood – Holding you again could only do me good – Oh, how I wish I could – But you’re so far away.”
As it continues, she hopes that her traveling is not going to “own her” and destroy the relationship. Meaningful lyrics were put to a subtle melody and sung brilliantly. Carole King, at her very best, depicts how hard it is to be separated from someone.
Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul, and Mary
This is a song that was allegedly written about a man going off to Vietnam. I have to say, though, that when it came out, I didn’t pick up any association with that. To me, at the time, it was just a very sad song about someone having to leave.
It was written by a very young John Denver while he was still with the Chad Mitchell Trio. It was released by Peter, Paul, and Mary in 1969.
“Leaving On A Jet Plane” was taken from their album, Album 1700. It was a big hit record for the trio but, unfortunately, was their last as musical times were changing.
A touching song in whatever circumstances you are in…
Departing can always be a painful experience when you are leaving someone behind. A great song, well-performed, and a tribute to John Denver’s writing skills.
Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx
Probably the best of all of the songs about having a long distance relationship. On its release in 1989, this saw great success around the world. It had been included on his album, Repeat Offender. The single reached #2 in the UK and #1 in America and other countries.
A Song Created From Reality
This was a song that he wrote to his wife while he was on tour. She was also away making a film in South Africa. As the lyrics go, “Oceans apart, day after day.”
The sense of reality in the lyrics helps to create the feeling that many have when separated from their partners. That was one reason why the lyrics struck a chord with some people and helped make it a success.
Keeping It Simple
But, there’s another reason – the song’s deliberate simplicity. It is easy to overdo a song like this and fill it up with huge orchestrations and everything else. This song didn’t need all that and was kept simple and plain with just a piano and a delicate acoustic guitar.
At a time when the power ballad was everywhere, with synthesizers and big drum sounds, the simplicity of this song got the message across. As far as the best long distance relationship songs go, this stands out as one of the best and sets the standard.
Searching for Sentimental Songs?
Well, then take a peek at our comprehensive thoughts on the Best Songs About Missing Someone You Love, the Best Songs About Rain, the Best Songs About Loneliness, the Best Songs About Pain & Suffering, and the Best Songs About Romeo and Juliet for more memorable song selections.
Of course, you’ll need to listen to them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, and the Most Comfortable Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
The Best Long Distance Relationship Songs – Final Thoughts
A long-distance relationship, by its nature, is never easy. One of the reasons is that we are all different emotionally. Some can handle it. Others get swallowed up in doubts and mistrust. That is usually a sign that it is not going to last.
But, it can work. It just takes a little effort to accept the situation and work hard at maintaining the feelings you have when you are together. Music can help you do that, and these songs might be more than helpful.
Until next time, happy listening.