Divorce and relationship breakups are horrible times for everyone and are almost always difficult to deal with. The emotional cost as we work through the aftermath can be heavy. There’s no easy way to get through it.
But sometimes, songs about divorce can help to solidify your thoughts. As well as make sense of something that sometimes seems to make none at all.
Sometimes, these songs related to divorce can also offer hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, the few songs I’ve selected for my list will help to put you in a better emotional place. Let’s take a look a the first song…
Top 50 Songs About Divorce
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
This is an absolute classic. It was released in 1978 as part of the album Love Tracks. It’s a full-on Disco song, which is hardly surprising. Gloria Gaynor was one of the most prominent Disco songwriters and performers of the time.
Her interest in Disco music can largely be attributed to her immersion in the culture during the late 60s and 70s. When she started singing, it was in nightclubs and discos. Consequently, when she started recording in 1971, Disco was the logical genre to pursue.
In the early part of her career…
Gloria had hits with a couple of covers. “Never Can Say Goodbye” in 1974, a song first recorded by The Jackson 5. A year later, she had a hit with “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” originally recorded by the Four Tops.
“I Will Survive” was written by Frederick Perren and Dino Fekaris. But, like her earlier hits, she was the first to record it.
“I Will Survive” became her biggest-selling single, with over 14 million in sales. It also became an anthem of women’s empowerment. 40 years after its release, it is still popular and frequently played on the radio. It is also the most requested song, by females, during karaoke nights.
So, what is it about?
The song is the story of a strong woman who survives a series of hardships and difficulties. These are brought about predominantly by the hands of her ex-husband. He deserts her but then tries to return to the house at a later date. She had none of it and summoned her strength and dignity to kick him out.
Even if you’ve not faced the same situation, the show of survival in the face of adversity is highly relatable to many. This no doubt explains it’s such a popular song about divorce.
Please Don’t Ask by Genesis
This is a real heart-breaker of a song that was released in 1980 from the wonderful album Duke. The track was never released as a single. So, for many of you, it is unlikely to be unfamiliar.
On the other hand, three tracks that were released from the album as singles are likely to be far more familiar. These were “Turn It On,” “Duchess,” and “Misunderstanding.” They were all released in 1980.
Given the quality of the album and the hits that were released from it, it is only their eighth best-selling album. It still got to #1 in the UK and #11 in the US, though. Unfortunately, the sales were not what they could have been, selling less than two million copies.
One of the two million copies sold was down to me. Still no thank you letter to date.
So, what is the song about?
“Please Don’t Ask” is about the feelings a man has for his ex-wife. It is clear that he still loves her and wants to be with her. It’s also clear that this isn’t likely to happen. The lyrics are both beautiful and brutal. They leave nothing to the imagination of the guy’s emotional suffering.
This is made all the worse as there are also children involved. This places the man in the position of having lost his home, his children, and his wife. It’s an awful situation that is all too familiar to men around the world.
The pain in the song is all the more poignant as this is very personal to Phil Collins. He wrote the song whilst going through a divorce with his first wife, Andrea Bertorelli. He had adopted her daughter, and they also had a son together, Simon Collins.
D.I.V.O.R.C.E. by Tammy Wynette
This is an obvious one and, quite frankly, the only Tammy Wynette song, other than “Stand By Your Man,” that I can recall off the top of my head.
That’s doing her a huge disservice because, during her career that stretched from 1965 to 1998, she recorded 80 albums, including compilations, and 69 singles.
During her career, she sold over 30 million albums…
“D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” was released in 1968 from the album of the same name. The single went to #1 in the US Country charts and also ended the year being the best-selling Country song. The album enjoyed similar success and also charted at #1 for all of 1968 on the Country charts.
This is a real tearjerker and one of the best Country songs about divorce I can think of. The lyrics are very straightforward and spell it out, quite literally.
The woman in the song doesn’t want a d.i.v.o.r.c.e. She’s very u.p.s.e.t. about it, and she wishes that she could stop it. With a child involved, it also makes it extra sad. It is possibly the saddest divorce song ever recorded.
From Tammy’s perspective…
It is a song that she felt connected to. That’s because, by 1968, she had already been divorced twice and had three daughters. She often commented that the song was tailor-made for her life, and she wished that she had written it.
This wasn’t her most important song…
But it helped her career considerably. Ironically, it was the song “Stand By Your Man,” released later in the same year, that became her signature and best-selling. I say ironic because one minute, she sings about divorce, and the next, she’s standing by her man.
Tammy Wynette continued to live in confusion through the rest of her life as she ended up getting married a further two times. It must have been all the opiates she was taking and addicted to due to her ongoing pain caused by her hysterectomy and gallbladder issues.
She died in 1998 at the age of 55 from a blood clot in her lung. Most probably caused by the overuse of painkillers. R.I.P.
Fool For Your Loving by Whitesnake
Whitesnake was formed in 1978. They are an English Rock group that started life as a band to support the ex-Deep Purple lead singer, David Coverdale. However, they quickly morphed into a band in their own right. And, given that they are still playing today, it was probably a good decision.
Although starting off quite bluesy, later Whitesnake is of the same cloth as American hair bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison. So, you can expect a very similar sound. They are so similar that you could easily swap out the band and keep the lead singer, probably without anyone even noticing.
But I digress…
“Fool For Your Loving” was released in 1980 from the album, Ready an’ Willing. I think that it’s a pretty good Soft Rock song, and the UK public kind of agreed. It made it to #13 on the UK charts. The US Rock fans were less impressed, though. It only got to #53 on the Billboard 100.
Subsequently, it was re-released as a single for the 1989 album Slip of the Tongue. But, in both the UK and the US, it failed to chart any higher.
The song lyrics were written by David Coverdale and another band member Bernie Marsden. They are largely autobiographical and an account of the breakup and divorce of David Coverdale’s fourth marriage.
The song pretty much lays the blame at the woman’s door…
Although, I’m sure she is likely to have a somewhat different account. However, as far as the male singer is concerned, he was in a relationship where the woman was less than committed.
He was all in, and she was half in and half out. The result was a marriage with little love and one that ended up as a one-way street.
The video that accompanies the song pulls no punches and shows the guy in a padded cell in some kind of mental institution. The level of mental suffering suggests he couldn’t have suffered much more.
Whitesnake released a similar song titled “Don’t Break My Heart Again.” This time it was written entirely by David Coverdale. That very much confirms that the song “Fool For Your Loving” was autobiographical and that the feelings were very real.
Happily, David Coverdale got over his heartache. He married, for a third time, to Cindy, in 1997. They are still together and have a son, Jasper.
Hey You by Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd was formed in 1965 and is one the greatest and most successful Rock bands of all time. Specializing in Psychedelic/Progressive Rock, they have released some of the most iconic albums in music history and have sold 250 million records in the process.
“Hey You” is a track taken from the 1979 album, The Wall. It marked the last of four albums that represented the band’s most prolific period of commercial and artistic output. The previous three albums were Animals in 1977, Wish You Were Here in 1975, and Dark Side of the Moon in 1973.
All four were concept albums. And nearly all of the lyrics were written by their bassist, Roger Waters. When it comes to lyricists, I honestly think that he’s the top dog. It’s not that there aren’t other great writers, but this guy is on a whole different level.
And, so it is with “Hey You”…
The song forms part of the story relating to the rest of the album. Essentially, this is about the shunning of society and retreating into your self into a state of social isolation.
“Hey You” continues to explore this theme. At first glance, the song appears to be about a man helplessly trying to reconnect with society after realizing his mistake.
But there’s more to it than that…
The song is also about the breakdown of Roger Waters’s first marriage. It’s a commentary on the difficulties of being a touring musician and trying to keep your relationship together. It’s about the pain when that relationship breaks down. And a song about the fallout of divorce.
I’ve been a fan of Pink Floyd for 50 years and must have listened to this song a hundred times or more. However, it took me a long time to realize the full meaning behind the brilliant writing.
The song never came out as a single, which is not unusual since Pink Floyd released very few during their career. However, it did feature as a B-side to “Comfortably Numb” in 1979. Sales were not great because who in their right mind would buy a Pink Floyd single and not the album?
The Winner Takes It All by Abba
Abba was one of the most successful Pop bands of all time. They formed in 1972 and, in just ten years, released 50 singles and nine studio albums.
Their first single was “Waterloo,” which was the 1974 Swedish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. It won, and with immediate widespread coverage, there was no stopping them.
For years, they produced hit after hit. Including the amazing “Dancing Queen” and “Honey Honey.” They also released a series of commercially successful albums, including Abba and Arrival. They had the world at their feet, but then it all went wrong.
So, what went wrong?
Divorce, that’s what went wrong. The band was made up of two guys and two girls. Agnetha was married to Bjorn, and Anni-Frid was married to Benny.
However, by the time “The Winner Takes It All” was released in 1980, Agnetha and Bjorn were already divorced, and Anni-Frid and Benny were very close behind.
Towards the end of their recording career…
The music was still great, but the lyrics got more Grunge than Pop. The cracks had appeared, and the fun had gone out of Abba. The writing was on the wall. It was only a matter of time before they called it a day and retired to a life of eating Swedish meatballs and buying lots of grey clothes.
“The Winner Takes It All,” taken from the album, Super Trouper, was just one of their songs about divorce, but I think is their best. The lyrics are about being abandoned and divorced, yet you still cling to the happy memories of the relationship.
The song is all the more poignant given the fact that it was written by the two guys and was sung by the girls. And, being an ABBA tune, it’s a pretty upbeat song about getting a divorce.
All I Want by Kodaline
Breakdown by Tom Petty
Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Crying in the Rain by Whitesnake
Dreaming With a Broken Heart by John Mayer
Divorce Song by Liz Phair
Heartbreak Warfare by John Mayer
Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
I Don’t Want to Be by Gavin DeGraw
I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye
I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
Love Stinks by The J. Geils Band
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue by Bob Dylan
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor
One More Minute by “Weird Al” Yankovic
Out of Tears by The Rolling Stones
Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton
You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi
You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right by Bob Dylan
Love is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse
Love Hurts by Nazareth
She’s Gone by Hall & Oates
I’m Moving On by Rascal Flatts
Before The Next Teardrop Falls by Freddy Fender
Separation by The Decemberists
If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot
My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion
The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me by Gladys Knight & The Pips
When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars
One Less Bell to Answer by The 5th Dimension
Don’t Speak by No Doubt
Back to Black by Amy Winehouse
Not Gon’ Cry by Mary J. Blige
Another Lonely Day by Ben Harper
Ain’t Worth The Whiskey by Cole Swindell
Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow
Love Me Like You Used To by Tanya Tucker
End of the Road by Boyz II Men
Goodbye by Spice Girls
In My Life by The Beatles
Looking for More Songs About Troubled Relationships?
Well, take a look at our informative articles on the Best Breakup Songs, the Top Songs About Letting Go of Someone You Love, the Best Goodbye Songs, the Top Songs About Unrequited Love, and the Top Songs About Jealousy for more emotional song selections.
Also, you’ll need to listen to them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Headphones for Music, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2023.
Songs About Divorce – Final Thoughts
So, there you have it. I hope that most of you reading this never have to go through the pain of divorce or a serious breakup.
However, the fact is that if you play the game of love, you are almost certainly going to get hurt at some point. Hopefully, these few songs about getting divorced will help to smooth the way a little if need be.
Until next time, happy listening.