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Top 61 Best Songs About Breathing (2023 List)

Breathing is something that the majority of people don’t pay much attention to in western culture. We just tend to take it for granted. It is something we do without thinking about it. But, is there a more important function of the body?

If there is, I can’t think of what it might be. The vital organs all rely on oxygen from the lungs. Without it, they don’t work, and neither would we. And songwriters will often use this action as the basis for a song. So, I decided to find out how they do this by looking at the best songs about breathing.


From East to West

Eastern cultures are much more tuned in to the importance of breathing and its effect on us. This is manifested in activities like meditation, where the focus is on every breath you take. Western culture has adopted some of the principles, but not at the same level of importance.

To live, we must breathe. We cannot survive without it. It isn’t negotiable. Therefore, it can take on near-mystical importance, especially in the way songwriters use it. They use it in many ways and for many reasons.

So, let’s take a look at some songs about breathing and songs that include breathing in the title.

Top 61 Best Songs About Breathing of All Time

1 Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

Let’s start with this great track from Kelly Clarkson. This was released from her very good second album, Breakaway, released in 2004. She was the winner of one of those TV programs that I try to avoid, like the plague. 

They usually do not have very much to do with music. More about how much money the franchise can make. But, there you go; that’s how things often are in music. She was a breath of fresh air (pardon the pun). A very good singer, a talented songwriter, so occasionally something good comes out of them.

I Can Breathe

The song is about carrying on after leaving a bad relationship. She uses the analogy of being able to breathe freely to highlight her new freedoms from previous constraints. She sings, “I can breathe for the first time,” a statement of relief.

It is interesting to listen to a song and try and get a feel for the writer/performer’s influences. When I listen to it, I hear a punk sound but with a shiny clean surface. It has that certain ‘punk’ feel about it. 

But, the rough edges have been shaved away to reveal a very good song and a professional commercial performance.

2 Breathless by The Corrs

Most people will be expecting this track to be included, and of course, it was always going to be. So, let’s bring it in early.

Most people will know that they are an Irish family band from Dundalk. They consisted of sisters Andrea, Sharon, and Caroline, along with brother Jim. “Breathless” was a single released from their third album, In Blue, and it became probably their biggest hit worldwide.

An Illusion

There is this feeling by some commentators that this was their only hit record. But, just because it wasn’t a hit in the country they wrote for doesn’t mean it wasn’t elsewhere. And it was.

So were plenty of their other albums and singles. They became a worldwide success, in most of the world, that is. 

Since 2006, they have been more involved with their philanthropic projects and raising families. But, they have still come together to support various charities on occasion.

Stand Out Performers

Certainly one of the stand-out bands of the 2000s. Great musicians, great singers, and great songs. It didn’t get any better, and they had no one else who could compete with what they did at the time.

“Breathless” is the song that most will associate with them more than the others. A huge hit, it speaks about how a relationship can take your breath away at times. I am sure we all know that feeling.

3 Every Breath You Take by The Police

This is an interesting song, to say the least, and with a touch of irony in the lyrics. It was viewed initially as an expression of how much someone can mean to someone else. To that end, it was a song about breathing often used at weddings.

An Unfortunate Misunderstanding

Sting wrote the song in 1983. He was going through a bad period in his life after separating from his first wife. The song is, therefore, very intense. It was written at a time when stalking someone was happening but didn’t receive much attention.

There were plenty of loonies around. Some of them were armed, depending on where you live, and so the threat in some places was very real. John Lennon was murdered by Chapman, an incident that is still fresh in our minds. 

Whichever Way You Look At It

But essentially, stalking, we can’t dispute, was and is wrong. It is often someone who decides to conduct their own surveillance on someone else. This song is about that. Therefore, it is an unfortunate misunderstanding of lyrics. It became one of their biggest records.

The song is saying that everything you do, even down to the breaths you take, I will be watching. A bit creepy, but cleverly written and quite representative of how we later found out some people behaved. And some still do.

4 Breathe (In the Air) by Pink Floyd

This song is taken from a Pink Floyd album where you only need a glance at the cover to know what it is. The cover of The Dark Side Of The Moon is about as iconic as you get. 

But, as an album, it was far more than just a great and eye-catching cover. And it included songs like “Breathe.”

Just Be Yourself

They use the idea of “breathing in the air” as a way of describing how it is important to be yourself. A child is sitting and speaking to an older man who is giving him the wisdom of his years. He explains how it is important to be ‘you’ and not the ‘you that some people might want you to be.’

Floyd Have A Reputation

And that reputation encompasses not taking any nonsense from the establishment. That includes the rich and the “pretend rich,” who “claim” to be our representatives. Floyd usually refers to them as being part of the “machine.”

“The Machine,” as they call it, is also referred to on the album Wish You Were Here. On “Breathe,” the speaker issues a warning. Allowing yourself and your mind to be consumed by “the machine” will send you to an early grave.

It all sounds rather deep, dark, and dismal. But, it is just a simple lesson on how to live life well. And is one of the best songs about breathing ever recorded.

5 Breathing by Kate Bush

Is there a reason why a Kate Bush song is coming after Pink Floyd? Is there a link between them? Well, yes, there is. Dave Gilmour was passed a demo by Kate when she was only 16. 

He arranged for her to record at Abbey Road using the famed Studio Number 3. The Beatles had used that studio occasionally when they didn’t need the oversized Studio 2. He also used Geoff Emerick, who also worked with the Beatles, to twiddle the knobs. 


You might have thought a young artist confronted with this might have frozen. Not our Kate. Full of her own positivity and belief in herself, she came out of the session with “The Man With The Child In Her Eyes.” That ended up being her second single after “Wuthering Heights.”

Dave and Kate have remained lifelong friends. Furthermore, it was he that coaxed her out of retirement recently for some concerts and appearances. You might say there is a link between them.

Deep, Dark, and Rather Morbid

Kate could be that at times, as we can see in this 1980 release from her album, Never Forever. In some of her work, she sees the world as it is and isn’t afraid to tell people. I suppose that is a bit like Dave himself. 

In this memorable song about breathing, there has been a nuclear war, and she says a baby has to breathe radioactivity into its lungs. A rather unpleasant image. But, it portrays the reality that nuclear nations don’t care about anyone else, only their self-proclaimed importance.

The human race seems to have this need to destroy others and ultimately itself. Kate tells us how it could be if we carry on. An important addition to a list about breathing being a life force. In this case, it is the opposite.

6 Breathin by Ariana Grande

A bit more up-to-date now. We talked in the introduction about Eastern culture, putting great emphasis and importance on breathing. This is a song that emphasizes that. It is a song in which she speaks about overcoming anxiety.

Her Own Anxieties

She opens up in this song about her own feelings. For that, she is to be applauded, in my view. Your own feelings and emotions are never an easy subject to deal with. 

There are ‘artists,’ you probably know who they are, that cause their own troubles. They are always trying to get themselves in the media and then complaining about the attention they get. 

Quite often, it is an excuse for not getting attention. Good singers and musicians get their attention from their abilities, not in other superfluous ways. Miss Grande might have been slightly guilty of that in the past; most are today, it seems, but certainly not here.

Manchester in England

A city that saw her have to face a terrible situation. People had packed the concert to see her. Twenty-two never made it home, killed by a terrorist with a bomb. It affected her deeply as it would most people.

Deep Breathing Techniques

This is something that helps her when she can suddenly, out of nowhere, feel anxious. It takes some practice to achieve, but it works, and breathing exercises have worked for her.

And that is the message of this song. When you begin to suffer anxiety, as so many do, learning how to breathe properly is going to help. Well done to her for trying to help others who may be suffering the same problems for any number of reasons.

7 You Take My Breath Away by Queen

From their album, A Day At The Races, comes this track. Now, I have to admit to being a big fan of Queen. And I probably know a little more than most, but we won’t go into that. But to me, they did make some strange albums, and this was one.

The Good And The Not So Good

Perhaps it’s just me, but I like to hear Queen as I thought I knew them. On this album, we have the rocking ‘Tie Your Mother Down” and the great “Somebody To Love.” And we have the stunning ‘You Take My Breath Away.” 

Different styles, but so very Queen. “Take My Breath Away” is one of the ‘best of Freddie’ songs. Much has been made of Freddie’s private life and his later preferences for male company. But this song is not about that. This song is a love letter to his Mary. 

Freddie and Mary Austin lived together for over six years. They separated in 1980, but he never forgot her and the time they spent together. They remained very close until the day he died eleven years later.

It Was All Me

He said on a radio interview once that most Queen songs had input from all the members of the band. But “this one was all me.”

This is a song about meeting someone who has a deep and complete impact on your life. Someone who seems to turn you upside down and affects you like no one else ever has. Some of us may have had that experience. Freddie captures that feeling in the lyrics of this beautiful song about breathing

It is also very poignant because it makes you remember just how much we lost when he went. A wonderful song and lyrics, and uses the loss of breath to paint a picture of the effect she had on him.

8 Breathe by Faith Hill

Faith Hill is one of those ‘Country’ singers, like Shania Twain, that successfully made a transition into mainstream pop/soft rock music. The first time l really listened to her was on her album Cry, released in 2002. 

Listening to that album, the fact that she was considered by some a Country singer would have been rather strange. Most of it sounded like a soft rock album to me.

A Big Hit

This song, though, was recorded a little before that in 1999 and has a different sound and feel to it. It is what they call in America a “crossover” song, meaning that it sits in more than one genre.

The song is a love song written by Stephanie Bentley and Holly Lamar, which crossed those genre boundaries into mainstream chart success.

It is a touching song as she speaks about lying in the arms of her lover. The moment is made special as she says it is enough just to feel him breathe.

9 It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing by Shania Twain

And speaking of Shania Twain, this Canadian singer also has a song that refers to breathing. However, her song has the opposite emotion to the Faith Hill song. Shania sings that breathing is actually painful as she tries to get over a lost love.

This was taken from the album Up, which came out in 2002. This single was one of the last that she released before that rather long break she took from music that lasted until 2017.

Heart On Her Sleeve

She puts great emotion into the song and wears her heart on a sleeve. That, to an extent, reveals the vulnerability that she was feeling. The thought that breathing could hurt when you are missing someone is a different thought about this vital function. 

Up was a good album with plenty of up-tempo songs. But this one was different, which made it stand out even more. A touching song delivered by one of the best singers of her time. And certainly one of the best songs about breathing.

10 Breath Away From Heaven by George Harrison

This is a 1987 song about a dream he had in which he saw a woman of great beauty that took his breath away. He talks about her even being able to take his breath away as if he was in heaven. And that she can move his soul without him even knowing.

It is hard to know exactly who he was talking about that appeared to him in his dream. But it doesn’t matter. The point is that he felt she had the power to leave him breathless. That, it seems, is not an uncommon emotion when confronted with something you love.

A Sad Indictment

There is something sad about this song. Some journalists and commentators, with no knowledge of the man at all, make assumptions that he was a heroin addict. Maybe they assumed that because his friend Eric Clapton was heavily into it. If they had some proof or a witness of that, it would back up their claims. 

But not the jumbled “keyboard warrior know-it-all” type of witness. Someone who was actually there at the time. He took plenty of stuff in his time, but to my knowledge, not heroin.

11 The Air That I Breathe by The Hollies

It is always difficult to choose a song to finish a list like this. But I can’t think of a better song using breathing as a description of how someone feels about another. It was written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood and was initially released by Hammond.

The Hollies version added strings, including horns, and came out in 1974. It was a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic and throughout Europe and beyond.

How Deep Is Your Love?

It is a song that describes a person who only needs the air that he breathes and the person he is singing to. Quite a statement when you consider it. Of all the greatest songs about breathing, the lyrics and meaning behind this have to be the best of them all.

12 Inhale by Stone Sour

13 Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson

14 Breathe by Telepopmusik

15 Take a Breath by David Gilmour

16 Breathin by Ariana Grande

17 Breathing Underwater by Metric

18 Breathless by Shayne Ward

19 Breathless by The Corrs

20 Take My Breath Away by Berlin

21 Breathe Me by Sia

22 Breathe In by Frou Frou

23 Breathe Again by Toni Braxton

24 Take a Deep Breath by Rumer

25 Breathe Your Name by Sixpence None the Richer

26 Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick

27 I Can Breathe Again by Baywood

28 Breathing by Lifehouse

29 Take a Breath by Neil Young

30 Breathe Easy by Blue

31 Breath of Life by Florence + The Machine

32 Breathing In by Lali Puna

33 I Just Can’t Stop Breathing by Reba McEntire

34 Breathe Out by OneRepublic

35 Breathe and Stop by Q-Tip

36 Breathe by Prodigy

37 Breathe by Faith Hill

38 Breathe Again by Pop Evil

39 Move On by Jimmy Buffett

40 Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

41 Breathe by Taylor Swift

42 Breathe by Seeb ft. Neev

43 Breathe by Blue October

44 Breathing Room by Level 42

45 Breathing In by Colbie Caillat

46 Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant

47 Take a Breath by Helloween

48 Breathe Easy by Sugababes

49 Breathe by Skillet

50 Breathe by Melissa Etheridge

51 Breathe by Blaqk Audio

52 Breathe by Alexi Murdoch

53 Take a Breath by Jordin Sparks

54 Breathe (Until We Die) by Poets of the Fall

55 Breathing Room by Lee Brice

56 Breathe in the Air by Pink Floyd

57 Breathe Again by INNA

58 Take a Breath by Jonas Brothers

59 Just Breathe by Anna Nalick

60 Breathe by Gotye

61 Breathless by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Searching for Songs About Things in Our Lives?

We can help. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Magic, the Best Songs About Heroes, the Best Songs About Dreams, the Best Songs About Change, the Best Songs about Fighting, and the Best Songs About Walking for more great musical selections.

And, you need to listen to all those songs. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Headphones for Music you can buy in 2023.

Best Songs About Breathing – Conclusion

In the introduction, I looked at how important breathing is to us all. Without it, there is no life. It is, therefore, a good way of describing feelings and emotions when words are just not enough.

Until next time, let the music play and just breathe.

5/5 - (36 votes)

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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!".

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