Crying always seems to bring out emotions in the people around you, especially if that emotion is the result of sadness or loss. Tears aren’t always the results of bad feelings, though. Sometimes, they can be tears of joy.
It is rightly considered to be one of the basic human expressions we can produce. And, of course, the songwriters have made good use of it. So we are going to look at the best songs about crying.
- It Can Be Good For Us
- Crying by Roy Orbison
- Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying by Gerry and the Pacemakers
- Don’t Cry For Me Argentina by Elaine Paige
- I’ll Cry Instead by The Beatles
- It’s My Party by Lesley Gore
- No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley and the Wailers
- Big Girls Don’t Cry by The Four Seasons
- No More Room
- As Tears Go By By Marianne Faithfull
- Cry Baby Cry by The Beatles
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
- Cry by Faith Hill
- Searching for Songs with Substance?
- Best Songs About Crying – Conclusion
It Can Be Good For Us
That might seem a strange thing to say, but crying can sometimes be good for us. Just letting all your emotions out rather than bottling them up inside. Crying is a release valve, a way of starting the healing process if that is what is needed.
But, as I say, there are other occasions when you are reduced to tears. That could be sheer joy or relief. Or even in the appreciation of something beautiful, possibly a piece of music or something by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, or Monet.
Plenty of reasons in the world to have a good weep occasionally, and there is nothing weak about it. So, let’s have a look at some of the songs written about crying, starting with…
Crying by Roy Orbison
Let’s start with a rather obvious one, and one of the most popular songs about crying. Released in 1961, when Orbison was already establishing himself, this song went to #1 in the UK and #5 in America. It featured Scotty Moore on guitar.
Simple lyrics about a subject we shall see on several occasions in this list, a lost love. It became a hit record all over again in the 1980s when it was covered by Don McLean. It was written by Roy Orbison with Joe Melson.
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying by Gerry and the Pacemakers
Only a few years after Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” Liverpool and London were becoming the epicenter of modern music. The Beatles blew the lid off of Liverpool. But, they were closely followed by a group that, to Liverpool music fans, was almost as important.
This song was released in 1964 on the album of the same name. Produced by Sir George Martin, it reached #6 in the UK and #4 in America.
It is a simple song that has as its theme a common situation. That is, hiding your tears after the breakup of a relationship and the heartbreak that inevitably follows.
The song has a melody that stays with you after you have heard it, which is a good measure of any pop song. It was written by the four members of the band in collaboration. They were a band worthy of some consideration.
Who Were They?
Following closely behind The Beatles, they achieved success as a band that John, Paul, George, and Ringo never did. As an example, they were the first act of any kind to go to #1 in the UK with their first three singles. That record stood until the 2000s.
They wrote some very good songs. But, they always seemed to sit in the shadow of their former friends, following a similar path. They went to Germany, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show twice, and released a film “Ferry Cross the Mersey.” But, by 1965, 18 months after they became known, it all started to fade.
The First Split
They called it a day in 1966, and though there were a couple of ‘reunions,’ effectively, it was all over. Why, you might ask? The other four were ‘cleaning up,’ and the world and Ed Sullivan were desperate for British acts.
The reason was quite simple. I saw them live, and with respect to them, they weren’t very good. Nothing like The Beatles at all. And, you needed to be good on stage.
Gerry fronted the band and had a decent voice. All clean cut and smiles, he was the sort of young man the parents of the time hoped their daughter would find. He was safe.
Comparing them to The Beatles, John was a good singer, but he was also slightly dangerous. The kids preferred ‘dangerous’ to ‘safe.’ In Liverpool, there were, and still are, people who prefer them to The Beatles.
They toured, but they always came ‘home.’ The Beatles left and only came back to Liverpool for the odd visit. Some didn’t like that.
Back to the song, it is a classic example of the ‘safe‘ bands of the mid-60s. But, this song is better than most and is certainly one of the best songs about crying.
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina by Elaine Paige
This is a musical written and produced in the middle of what you might call Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘purple patch.’ There was a time in the 70s and early 80s when he could seemingly do no wrong.
The 1978 production of Evita in London was stunning and very moving as it told the story of Eva Peron. Her rise from the lower classes to become the most powerful person in Argentina. It included the whole story, warts and all, and so was a nice pleasant change from musicals that are contrived.
The original cast was by far the best and outshone anything the film could produce. This is why I have included the ‘big’ song from the production by Elaine Paige. It was a coin toss between her and Sarah Brightman.
Streets Ahead Of The Others
Elaine Paige is streets ahead of everyone else that has attempted this song. She can inject just the right level of emotion into her voice to make it convincing. Unlike some who came later and overdid it, as usual.
One of those performances where you not only witness the emotion in the performer but feel it yourself. And yes, there were people in tears in the theater at Paige’s performance that night.
I’ll Cry Instead by The Beatles
This is a song written by John Lennon for inclusion on, A Hard Day’s Night. It ended up not being included in the film. But, it was included on the album along with some of the other tracks not in the film. It was also released as a single in America, but not in the UK.
A song that can be misinterpreted. It is not about a relationship going bad; it is John bemoaning his loss of freedoms. He had become the idol of millions but had lost a part of himself in the process.
He was frustrated that he couldn’t just go ‘down to the shops’ without being mobbed and placed him in what, at the time, was actual physical danger.
It was also a time in his life when he began to realize that the fun of The Beatles of the early days was gone. And it would never come back. Perhaps the first seeds of later discontent.
It’s My Party by Lesley Gore
Now, this is a song that brings back memories to me. My elder sister bought this and played the thing to death.
Lesley Gore’s 1963 version was a huge hit song about crying and became an iconic song of its time. It became a part of pop culture at the time. Also, it happened to be the first song produced by Quincy Jones.
A Sad Tale
The song is about a young girl and her birthday party. Her boyfriend disappears and comes back with her friend who is wearing her boyfriend’s ring. This indicates he doesn’t want the ‘birthday girl’ anymore. Her birthday turns into a miserable and almost humiliating event.
A #1 hit in America and reached #9 in the UK. It was the song that Lesley Gore was initially most famous for. And, when you consider she was just sixteen when she recorded it, that is astounding.
She later had a huge hit with “You Don’t Own Me,” which emphasized her feminist activist leanings. She also had an impressive catalog of songs she wrote later, including songs for the soundtrack of the film “Fame.” Talented singer, talented writer, and activist for what she believed in.
Before we get too close to the end of this list, there are some great crying songs we must briefly mention. No list of the best songs about crying would be complete without these.
No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley and the Wailers
A classic and well known song about crying from one of the giants of reggae. If you were to ask what is the most famous reggae song, this would be on most people’s list. A simple but very sincere song as he just says don’t be sad.
Big Girls Don’t Cry by The Four Seasons
A classic song from an age of innocence musically in many ways. Frankie Valli’s vocal has become a representation of an era. The song has been covered many times. But as usual, nothing beats the original. The song is about someone wondering why their partner didn’t cry after their breakup.
Finally, for my shortlist of the most famous songs about crying, I give you these classics.
No More Room
I have to say I wish there was more room; first, to give credit to those brief mentions. But, also to include some I have had to exclude. Never mind, let’s round the bend into the home straight.
As Tears Go By By Marianne Faithfull
The Rolling Stones were always living in the shadow of The Beatles. Not only because they just weren’t as good, but because of the songwriting. You don’t get much better than Lennon and McCartney.
However, they came up with a couple of very good ballads. “Angie” was one, and there was this written by Jagger and Richards with Andrew Loog Oldham. Marianne Faithful, then girlfriend of Mick, released it in 1964. It is an excellent song talking once again of heartbreak.
It was totally out of character with the image Oldham had created for the Stones. He made them the rebellious, scruffy antidote to the clean-cut Beatles. Yet, it reached #9 in the UK and #22 in America.
Recorded at Decca Studios…
And produced by Andrew Loog Oldham. He used largely unknown young musicians for guitar, bass, and drums, most of them young kids. The 12-string was played by Jimmy Page, himself very young.
Cry Baby Cry by The Beatles
This was a song that was written on their sojourn in India and demonstrates two things about composer John. Firstly, his early life played a big part in what he wrote. And secondly, he was able to produce a great hook for a song without anyone’s help.
It has the flavor of a nursery rhyme or the kind of songs we were taught when we were young. In this case, it has the feel and a similar lyrical theme to “Sing a Song of Sixpence.” A period that had returned to John’s consciousness.
The first demos were laid down at George’s house in Esher, Kinfauns. It was there most of the White Album saw the light of day for the first time.
A Song With Two Moods
The chorus moves away from the ‘dark’ feeling of the verse with its almost ominous descending chord pattern. The chorus creates an almost happy and lighthearted style. Changing back and forth between two moods was something John was able to do in his writing.
What is it about? It could be a mother talking to her child. But, this is John in India. So, it could be anything.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
Getting towards the end now, and we stay with The Beatles and the White Album. George was beginning to mature as a writer, and this is a great example of how good he had become.
There is a backstory to this, though. The original recording, again at Kinfauns, included only acoustic guitar and harmonium. It was simple and effective and light years away from how it finished up.
There was one member of the band that wasn’t particularly impressed with the song. We won’t go into who. George persevered and invited his ‘friend’ Clapton (you know, the ‘friend’ who stole his wife) to play on it. It ended up almost like a heavy rock song. Clapton didn’t get credit.
What Is The Meaning?
It has two potential meanings. The first is George’s observation of a world so full of hate where love lies hidden. Or, as he writes, “the love there that’s sleeping.” He writes about the potential and the capacity we have to love each other but choose not to.
The second less obvious meaning is his dissatisfaction with the attitudes of other band members after their return from India. This is “White Album” time, and the writing was already on the wall as far as the band was concerned.
A great track and, I think, one of the highlights of that momentous, iconic album.
Cry by Faith Hill
And so to the last track on the list. This is a song taken from her 2002 album of the same name written by Angie Aparo. I was with a group of musicians the first time I heard it, and we all nodded in appreciation. Then someone said, “she’s a country singer.” Yeah, right, we all laughed; which country?
But, it is in country music circles she made her name originally before she decided to add a bit of bite to the music. And this song has plenty of bite and is about as ‘country’ as a Marshall 200-watt stack on overdrive.
A very impressive song in many ways. Well-written, it has a great arrangement and some powerful guitar and drums. And she sings it so well. A lesson, in some ways, for singers on how to take an emotive song and inject just the right amount of emotion.
Strangely it wasn’t the big hit it should have been. Nevertheless, a great song, well-sung, and a fitting close to this list.
Searching for Songs with Substance?
We can help with that. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Dreams, the Best Songs About Change, the Best Songs About Heroes, the top Songs About Bravery, and Songs About Betrayal for more great song selections.
But, you’ll need to listen to that music. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Headphones Under $200, and the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones you can buy in 2023.
And, don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, and the Best Cheap Earbuds Under $100 currently on the market.
Best Songs About Crying – Conclusion
Plenty to cry about. But only in the emotions within the songs. To listen to them, all is a pleasure. And, whilst some instill sadness, it is still possible to feel happy in what you hear.
How that joy expresses itself is an individual thing, of course. But, this most natural of emotions has produced some great music and will continue to do so.
Until next time, happy listening.