As human beings, we are capable of experiencing a number of emotions. Some of these can be negative, but usually, they can give us focus on the important things. Emotions like nostalgia are one of the most powerful.
It is an emotional experience as we recall the past, and relive some things that will always be in our minds. Things we can never change or even go back to. Love is another. Our capacity for love is limitless.
Unfortunately, so it seems, is the need to hate. And there is plenty of that around. Likewise, greed seems to be the ‘new god’ for some people.
- Another Emotion
- Is It Inevitable In Everyone?
- Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley
- Green Is the Colour by Pink Floyd
- Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac
- Jealousy by Queen
- Jealousy by Bryan Adams
- That’s Him over There by Nina Simone
- Bernadette by The Four Tops
- You Can’t Do That by The Beatles
- Bird Dog by The Everly Brothers
- (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame by Elvis Presley
- Jealous Guy by John Lennon
- Want to Find More Amazing Songs?
- Songs About Jealousy – Conclusion
But what about jealousy? Another emotion we experience that perhaps isn’t the nicest trait we possess. There have been plenty of songs about jealousy written, and I am going to take a close look at a few.
One thing jealousy isn’t is envy. Although, the two terms have become synonymous with each other in the last fifty years. Jealousy is the result of thoughts of fear and sometimes anger that make us feel insecure.
It creates resentment, anger, inadequacy, and even disgust. But, it can manifest itself in many different ways. Jealousy, like other emotions that are rather unattractive (hatred and greed), have been around a long time. Some people have this unpleasant trait of wanting what others have.
Is It Inevitable In Everyone?
Some would say probably; it is just an abstract evil that is buried within us. It would help if we could learn to be satisfied with what we have. So, let’s take a look at some great songs that talk about jealousy and its effects, how we deal with it, and its outcomes.
Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley
This is a song I have played more times than I want to remember. In my book, one of the best of what might be called the “later” Presley style. It was first released as a single by the writer Mark James, but it flopped.
Presley had a huge hit with it despite the, I suppose, inevitable lawsuits that seem to be so prevalent in some cultures. Are we talking about jealousy here or what? No further comment.
It was taken from the album, From Elvis In Memphis. It was one of the songs that kicked started what you might call his “comeback” in 1969.
How To Destroy A Relationship
It is a song about mistrust and jealousy and how that lack of trust can destroy a relationship and make it dysfunctional. It reached #2 in the UK and #1 in America. However, it was to be Elvis’s last number one in the US while he was still alive.
In my view, Presley had his best spell in the late 50s when he was a rock n roller. “Jailhouse Rock,” “King Creole,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and half a dozen others rocked the planet. In the 60s, he went out of fashion in many people’s eyes with the advent of The Beatles and the rest.
His return was glitzy and very “Vegas,” and this track is a great example. Very good song, great arrangement, apart from that ‘false’ ending (what were they thinking?), and a great Presley performance.
Green Is the Colour by Pink Floyd
This goes right back to the earliest days of Pink Floyd. Back in 1969, when it was released on the album, More. Written by Roger Waters, it was a fixture in their live set until 1970, when other songs became more important to include.
It is a track that might be a hint of things to come from keyboard player Richard Wright. He was an accomplished player but, unlike Rick Wakeman, often concentrated more on the sounds than the skill and technique. This is an example, with its wonderful ethereal sound.
The Clever Aspect
People have assumed it is a song about jealousy and envy, as it makes mention of the emotions of both. But, like most Floyd songs, it goes way deeper than that. Green is the color used to represent jealousy and envy, and here it is used as a color to interpret those emotions.
They create almost a hallucinatory state of mind as they drag you through the metaphorical emotions. It requires a quiet place without distraction or phones and definitely without Facebook to get the full effect.
Then you can sit back and take it all in. “Envy is the bond between the hopeful and the damned,” sings Dave Gilmour.
Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac
If ever there were a group of people that worked together who were torn apart and consumed with jealousy, it was this lot. And Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s off and then on again relationship did not go unnoticed.
A relationship that, as was the case with other members of the band’s relationships, was fueled by jealousy and intrigues. It is interesting to me that these jealousies and the inner turmoil evoked by them produced such great music. No surprise, this is one of the best songs about jealousy you’ll find.
This is a song about the damage jealousy can do within a relationship. Of how it can destroy it. The result of allowing jealousy to get in the way.
There were always plenty where this set of people was concerned. The song was originally scheduled to be included on the Rumours album. It was dropped and used as a B-side in 1976 before the album came out.
Stevie Nicks remarked that the decision was just “another example of the growing tensions in the band.” She had written the song about the disintegrating relationship with Buckingham. She wasn’t a happy bunny when it was not included on the album.
The song came from a trip she and Lindsey made to Maryland and a signpost she saw to Silver Springs. She thought the name sounded like a beautiful place. In the song, it became symbolic of where Lindsey could have taken her if things had been different.
Jealousy by Queen
This was a track that was taken from their 1978 album, Jazz. It seems to be a time when the bright shining star that had been Queen was slowly fading.
This song was released as a single but in a very limited number of countries. It failed to make the chart in any of them. Live Aid was still seven years away. The album got to #2 in the UK and #6 in America but was often criticized due to musical experimentation.
This is a good example of the concerns. Brian May playing an acoustic guitar that was made to sound like a sitar by filing down the bridge. This song was written by Freddie Mercury, and he sang all the vocal parts.
Not their best effort by any means, but there are some interesting lyrics. Freddie sings about “jealousy that takes you by surprise and then leads you on.” That is exactly what can happen with this most unpredictable of emotions.
Another seems to be rather a prophetic Freddie line when he says, “life is too short to while away with tears.” How true that turned out to be for him.
Jealousy by Bryan Adams
This was taken from his second album, You Want It You Got It. It was an album and a track that were both rather overlooked. His big breakthrough came in 1984 when he released the album, Reckless, and “Summer Of ’69“.
The album and the tracks on it were trying to be the “power ballad” style he later became famous for. But it isn’t quite there. A decent song dealing with jealousy and with a very relevant message.
That’s Him over There by Nina Simone
I sometimes find it hard to categorize Nina Simone into a genre. It seems that everyone has to be in their ‘little box ‘ these days. So what was she? A soul singer or a blues singer? Doesn’t seem to do her justice at all. I am just going to say she was excellent.
This is an easy ballad delivered in her inimitable way that tells a story some may relate to. She bumps into an old lover in a room, someone she hasn’t forgotten. She was not expecting to see him and “can’t help but stare.” The problem is, he has his new lady with him.
It was released in 1959 and taken from just her second album, The Amazing Nina Simone. Great song, great voice, and some great emotion in her delivery.
Bernadette by The Four Tops
This takes us all back to those 60s days of Motown. The Four Tops were around before many of the others and had their first big hit in 1964.
They also had some big ones that followed with “I Can’t Help Myself,” “The Same Old Song,” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” However, this is one of the songs they will be remembered for.
A Different Slant
This song has a different slant on our jealousy theme. He is talking to his girl, Bernadette, about how others, even his friends, are jealous of him. They are jealous because she is with him and not them. Perhaps offering a little advice in case, she misreads a situation with any of them.
A powerful Motown classic with one of the most dramatic closing few bars for any song of its time.
You Can’t Do That by The Beatles
John was known for being very possessive with the women in his life. These jealous tendencies can be seen in many of the songs that he wrote. The last song on our list is exactly that.
The dangers of jealousy…
This song is about a man telling his, presumably girlfriend, not to talk to another man. If she does, he is going to finish with her. That is a step over the line involving jealousy. That is trying to completely control someone.
Whether this is a song that is indicative of a real event or not, we don’t know. But, it is an insight into John’s insecurity in his private life.
Just to mention an interesting feature of John’s writing. This song uses what is known as a “two-measure guitar riff.” It is usually used in the intro. The guitar plays a riff on its own, and the band joins in with it.
They were the first band to make this a popular part of their writing. It was immediately copied by The Rolling Stones (“Jumping Jack Flash” and “The Last Time”) and many others. It was first heard in the modern era, though on this track.
Bird Dog by The Everly Brothers
As we are running out of space, here are a couple of quick mentions. This track from the Everley Brothers was released in 1958, during what some would say was their prime. They had their roots in American folk and country music. But, they knew how to rock n roll, and this is a great example.
A simple song about a man telling a love rival, called Johnny, to stay away from his girlfriend. Another case of jealousy stepping into what could be an innocent situation. Although, in this case, there seems to be a bit more in it.
Nevertheless a great song about someone feeling jealous and a great example of what the brothers were all about.
(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame by Elvis Presley
Nearing the end of our list of songs about jealousy and back to The King. Again, a slightly different slant. The idea is the same in that the man is jealous. Not because his girlfriend might leave, but because she has. And, he finds out she has a new man, his friend.
I suppose jealousy might be better described as partly intense disappointment in this. But, he is still jealous of him because he wants to be with her.
Jealous Guy by John Lennon
This is a song written by John for his 1971 album, Imagine. There is a lot of commentary on this track. Mostly by people who wouldn’t have known John if they had bumped into him. I have read that he lived in awe of the so-called ‘multi-talented’ McCartney. Clearly, you never knew him.
John was the driving force behind The Beatles when they were together and always was. And the one that produced the greatest work after it was all over.
He Had His Insecurities
Not like some who have to keep telling everyone how ‘great’ they are. However, he did worry that he was lacking in certain areas. Relationships were one of those, but certainly not in his songwriting or performing.
He had a difficult childhood which may have made it hard for him to trust. But, he opens up in this song about those relationship insecurities, admitting he is the jealous type.
When he needed some help and fresh ideas to complete Imagine, who helped him and stayed close to him?
It was George who came down and spent some time with him at Tittenhurst Park. The result was an album with tracks like this. Honest, open, soul-searching, no flashy gimmicks or studio effects, just him.
This song may have an interesting side effect. He is talking about his own jealousies, but others can learn from that. Sometimes, it’s best just to talk about them. Maybe the answer will be in that conversation somewhere.
Want to Find More Amazing Songs?
We have you covered. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Dreams, the Best Songs About Change, the Best Songs About Heroes, Songs About Betrayal, Songs About Bravery, and the Best Songs about Fighting for more great musical selections.
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Songs About Jealousy – Conclusion
The monster rears its head. That is the green-eyed one. It can hit us when we least expect it to. And, it usually doesn’t help. There is no answer; it is a human emotion that we all experience. Some more than others.
But, when it comes, perhaps it might help to do what John did and talk about it. Honest communication can often solve a lot of things. At least, that’s what some incredible songs talking about jealousy have shown us. And have shown how bad it gets when there is none.
Until next time, happy listening.