This article contains a list of the best breakup songs of all time.
One of the most painful experiences in life is a breakup. They bring intense feelings of sadness and grief to the one doing the splitting, the one receiving the splitting, or both. Compiling a playlist of breakup songs might be a good idea for you to deal with your heartbreak.
1. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
The hit is one of the best breakup songs of all time. Written by Dolly Parton in 1973, it got recorded as a rueful farewell to her champion and mentor, Porter Wagoner. In 1982, the song was in a movie musical (The Best Little Wh**ehouse in Texas). As the best-selling American single in history, Whitney Houston’s epic 1991 track reached its cultural peak.
In her song, Whitney Houston captured the sadness in such a way that it touches the soul. A melancholy Acappella introduction sweeps into a gospel-infused tribute to pain and suffering. In the end, it drifts up and quietens as though ascending into a state of grace. The song is a perfect choice if you are heartbroken by someone you love and have broken up with them forever. Even though some tears will be inevitable, you will have a good vibe in the end.
Next: Best songs about pain, suffering and hurt
2. Someone Like You – Adele
Adele produced this song in 2011 as the second album in the studio. It is a powerful track that shows moving on after a failed relationship. Trying to reconnect with her lost love at her most depressed and defeated, the singer finds he has moved on, which is devastating. To find happiness, she also accepts to move in a different direction. If you love soulful music, this song can be ideal for you. It is an excellent track to put on your playlist if you are going through a breakup with someone.
Next: Greatest sad songs to cry to ever made
3. It’s Too Late – Carol King
The song is one of the biggest hits from the ’60s and ’70s, and arguably one of the most underrated hits of all time. Carol King released it on the 1971 album Tapestry. The song treats breakups with bittersweet maturity, no recrimination, and shows strength. She opts for a realistic end to their once-cherished relationship. Intensely sentimental about the initial affair and it stirs up trembling erotic feelings. It might be an excellent choice in your playlist if your lover left you with heartache.
Next: Best songs about cheating in a relationship
4. Happier – By Marshmello feat. Bastille
The song came out in 2018 and was a hit by DJ and music producer Christopher Comstock ( Marshmello) and Dan Smith (Bastille). In the lyrics, we are told about a broken relationship and reminded that sometimes leaving someone is the best thing you can do for them. I would recommend it for someone who has been in a toxic relationship. It might help you move on and help your broken heart to heal from buried wounds.
Next: Songs about finding inner strength
5. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt Song
Recorded in 1991, this is one of the few tracks that can make you cry. We won’t judge you if you want to curl up on your couch and have a good cry. A wave of tenderness, sadness, and haughtiness flaunts through the voice. It might be an excellent choice if you gave your best in a relationship that didn’t last.
Next: Greatest songs about unrequited love
6. I Want You Back – Jackson 5
If you asked an 11-year-old what love and heartbreak are all about, they might have a complicated answer. Well, not this kid! Michael sang the Motown peak on Ed Sullivan in ‘69 and moved many hearts. He sold the feeling with vocal cords that rise and fall like a roller coaster. The voice itself brings out the fact that nothing hurts like first love.
7. Dry Your Eyes – The Streets
Mike Skinner released it in 2002 from a musical rap group where he was the main vocalist, called The Streets. It’s hard to read men’s feelings, but Mike Skinner showed it all in a tune that delivers the classic message that there is ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ for every man. As the verses find Mike Skinner in a hard place for getting dumped, the chorus reassures us we can always start afresh.
Next: The best songs about new beginnings & starting over
8. Cry Me a River – Julie London
Around 1953, Ella Fitzgerald had the tune composed for her. Julie London released it before the first lady of Jazz could get their version out, and it became one of the best hits of all time. The song also became one of London’s signature songs. The track has backing from the late-night thrum of bass and guitar.
The grand and minor keys of the instruments teeter in a classy way while her vocals sway between tender, devastated, and pompous. Such music is rare nowadays, but here is one you can add to your playlist, especially after a split.
Next: Best jazz songs and hits of all time
9. Go Your Own Way – The Fleetwood Mac
The title is one of the best rock breakup songs of all in history. It is from a split or two rock sweethearts Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Despite the recording rumors making their life miserable, this is also considered one of the most painful breakups in rock music history. It became one of the most defiant and angry songs of the era. The hit might be a good choice for your playlist after getting dumped.
Next: Best classic rock songs ever made
10. Try – Pink
It got dropped in 2012, and it was one of the biggest hits that year. The singer brings out how easy it is to hurt inside after opening up to someone. The angry dancing in the video shows falling and coming back up, which could be just what you need. If you have been with a deceitful partner, singing these lyrics at the top of your lungs might do the trick.
Next: Songs that everyone knows (or seemingly so)
11. Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
It was an instant hit in 2015 shortly after its release. Arguably, it is one of Justin Bieber’s top hits. The song gives a subtle yet obvious message that you should love yourself. You loved someone, and it didn’t work out… fine! Love yourself still. It has a catchy tune that you will love listening to for hours, especially after a divorce, break up, or heartbreak.
12. Always Be My Baby – Mariah Carey
The song got featured in 1995 on her album Daydream. The track became a standout, and people loved performing it at karaoke. If you would like a consoling song for your heartbreak, the melody might be an appropriate choice. The backup in the song makes it suitable for singing along. It is a perfect romantic breakup song your heart needs, especially if you believe your lover made a mistake leaving, and they’ll eventually come back to you.
Next: Best singalong songs of all time
13. No Tears Left To Cry – Ariana Grande
Initially released in 2018, it became an instant hit, and it was good when it lasted. It encourages people who have undergone breakups to pick up all the broken pieces of themselves and move on. It is an excellent track to listen to if out for drinks with your friends, mending that break up in your heart.
14. Just a Friend – Biz Markie
In this song, Biz tells the story of a girl who friends zone him and breaks his heart. The girl she calls “Blah Blah Blah” leaves everlasting scars in his heart after he finds out that the man she said was just a friend is her lover. The rap song may be an excellent choice if you have undergone a similar experience. You can sing out the lyrics and meditate as you comfort your broken heart.
15. Forget You – Cee Lo Green
It is one of the greatest breakup songs ever recorded. Cee Lo Green released it back in 2010, and it was an instant hit. The singer urges those romantically broken to forget their failed relationship and move on with their lives. It is a delightful song to sing along with the lyrics. It has a good beat that lifts your spirit to say, ‘forget you.’
Next: Songs about revenge towards others
16. The Scientist – Coldplay
Fans of music worldwide have enjoyed listening to this breakup song since its release in 2002. The lyrics stir up your emotions, and they can leave your tears rolling out uncontrollably. The instrumental interludes allow you to give in to that heartache a little then you can finally feel it going away slowly.
Next: Top instrumental tracks of all time
17. This Love – Maroon 5
The song originally appeared in 2002, when Adam Levine was touring solo. He was writing songs about Jane, starting with the first hit in the album. It is an excellent over-the-counter breakup cure.
18. Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
The single emerged in 2005 and was a significant breakup hit in the country sphere. You might need this song after going through a tough time, especially if you have an attachment to your car. Go for a slow ride and tune it up a little or listen to it in your vehicle (remember to be safe).
19. Gives You Hell – The All-American Rejects
In 2008, revenge pop became a hit. Imagine the pain your ex would feel if you drove past their front door(it makes them feel like hell). Laughing at the memories of your lover giving you hell is a great way to cope with the blow of your heartbreak.
20. Nothing Breaks Like A Heart – Mark Ronson Ft. Miley Cyrus
Superduo Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus’ 2018 hit with a country-pop vibe is a great choice for this list. It should be at the top of the list of your breakup hits. This is a sad song with catchy lyrics and a great melody. You can put up the lyrics and sing along if you are undergoing a divorce, separation, or breakup.
21. You Should Be Here – Kehlani
We really like how her voice stands out in this tract. The song is like a rollercoaster ride of emotions, especially if it is your first love. Despite the tears you will shed, you’ll be glad that you added it to your playlist. It will be perfect listening to it as you snuggle up under this blanket on the couch.
22. Big Girls Cry – Sia
The voice of Sia will surely bring you to tears after listening to this song. The song dropped in 2014, and it is one of the best heartbreak songs of all time. It ultimately boils down to love, loss, and the absence of love. If you are going through a divorce, you can get comfort in the lyrics of the song. Karaoke may also help you get over your hurt feelings after a split.
23. I Could Use a Love Song – Maren Morris
This is a classic song with a catchy country vibe. It hit the charts in 2016. Maren Morris sings about wanting to re-discover what love is, something we all need after a breakup. Not shortly after, but you can get a good vibe from listening to it.
Next: Greatest love songs for him (boyfriend tracks)
24. Too Good at Goodbyes – Sam Smith
Hopefully, this 2017 track will provide you with some solace. Sam Smith admits that he walks out of many relationships permanently to avoid getting hurt. You might need this song on your playlist if you left a relationship because you felt vulnerable. It might be just what you need to console your wounded heart.
25. I’d Rather Go Blind – Etta James
This track was a standout in 1968 on the album Tell Mama. James sings she would prefer to go blind than see her man walk away with another lover. She feels helpless watching her lover chatting with another woman, and there she realizes it is all over. The words and the vocals will reach you to the timeless perfection of the soul.
26. Neither One of Us – Gladys Knight & the Pips
You may find the song to be a suitable choice if you are a fan of soul music. The song tells the story of a dead love from the perspective of a woman. As things have gotten sour in their relationship, neither of them wants to say goodbye. In a slow melody, the singer recounts the events of this heartbreaking relationship that has ended.
Next: Best songs about saying goodbye to people
27. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – The Righteous Brothers
It was the most played song on radio and TV back in the day. It had a length of 3:14 minutes, which is almost forever on the radio for the time. Talking of love crashing into a wall, it has an aching tenderness and the last cry that brings about the hope of success.
Next: Best songs about hope and hopefulness
28. Somebody That I Used To Know – Elliott Smith
The song has a dismissive attitude towards the heartache the singer is feeling. The lovely track is all about being stern and acting fine after a heartbreak. Hey, if Elliot Smith can be this strong, so can we.
29. Back To Black – Amy Winehouse
Amy sings of how she goes back to bad habits after a heartbreak. She had a public breakup with her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. She repeats the word “black” until it almost becomes a spiral into darkness. If you are going through a divorce, split up, or have heartache, you might want to vibe with this song.
30. Ex-Factor – Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill won the multi-Grammy in 1998 for this song. The singer says she can’t keep letting him back in since he breaks her heart every time. This song may be ideal if you’re in a toxic relationship (perhaps you’ll speak the same language).
Next: Songs about love hate relationships (toxic love)
31. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
Alanis’ sneering, her furious scream is the cry of a scorned lover. She has the feeling of setting fire to an entire relationship and watching it burn. If you are heartbroken, the song may be a suitable choice for you.
Next: Best songs about fire with hot lyrics
32. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This is a classic song that captures the expression of denial and acceptance. Sometimes, when we are heartbroken, we get torn between denial and acceptance. You can listen to this song if you need something you can relate to in your situation.
33. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
This is a Grammy award winning song that came out in 1978. The singer upholds women’s empowerment. It gives the ‘Screw you, I’m over it’ kind of vibe. If Gloria can get over it, so can we.
Next: The best women empowerment songs for girl power playlists
34. Tangled Up in Blue – Bob Dylan
Sara (his wife) might have inspired the song because of their split. Amid the singer’s deep and shuddering sorrow, he feels caught between giving up and giving in. We know how it feels.
35. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart – Al Green
Al Green released this song in 1971. The heart of this man comes close to breaking just like yours, but his hope still lives on. Hey, sometimes we should hold onto our hope.
36. Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
The famous pop singer released the song in 2002. She sings about pushing her lover out of her crib. It’s okay to lay off some people from time to time.
37. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Leonard Cohen
This song is an original release by Leonard Cohen in 1972. It is a beautiful song, we believe! He sings that sometimes losing a lover can be painful but liberating. It’s like losing a leash that keeps you tied to something you no longer want or need.
38. Always on My Mind – Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson released this song in 1982 and it quickly was regarded as one of the best country music songs of the time. He pleads with his lover to come back to him, but to no avail. He is finally content that they can only relate as friends. We get it, Nelson. Sometimes even friendship is enough if it doesn’t work out.
Next: Songs about friendship between two best friends
39. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
The song got dropped by Taylor Swift in 2012, and it became one of her biggest hits insantly. We can learn a lot from the queen of heartbreaks, who teaches us to say goodbye to the ex who hurt us.
Next: The best songs about feeling betrayal from others
40. Crying – Roy Orbison
As the title suggests, the song produced in 1961 is about getting reduced to tears after a breakup. There is a lot of emotion in the singer’s voice. You can practically feel his sobbing soul. Yes, we understand the feeling, Orbison.
41. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself – The White Stripes
A version of the song appeared on the White Stripes album Elephant in 2003. He captures the frustration and desperation after a breakup all too well for us to not put it on this list. The song has a good transition from heartbroken to pissed off, which is appropriate for many readers for this list!
42. Thank You, Next – Ariana Grande
Ariana sang this breakup song by telling us to let them all go and thank them for their services. It was one of the greatest hits in 2019. If you’ve ended things on good terms, you might want to sing along to these lyrics.
43. Don’t Speak – No Doubt
The song was a hit in 1996 on the album Tragic Kingdom. Gwen Stefani wrote it following her breakup with her bandmate Tony Kanal. If you left a relationship with nothing to say, you probably want to add this song to your playlist.
44. End of the Road – Boyz II Men
This is truly one of the best breakup songs. The inevitable breakup in the relationship is too much for the singer to bear. Despite their pleas, their lover has already given up on them.
45. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
This single was a great hit in Motown in 1968. It made it in the Grammy’s Hall Of Fame Soul as a classic covered by several musicians. If you heard your lover was cheating on you from an outside source, listen to this track.
Next: The top cover songs of all time (popular remakes)
46. River – Joni Mitchell
The song came out with the album Blue in 1971. It is a breakup song that is ideal for nursing a wounded heart. The singer can’t believe she made her baby say goodbye since it devastates her. It might be a superb choice for you if you feel the same way.
Next: Top songs with “baby” in the title
47. Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
In 2004, she released the song on her album Breakaway. This song might make you want to keep listening all night if you hate your ex.
48. Survivor – Destiny’s Child
The ultimate girl group, Destiny’s Child, released this instant classic in 2001. The group sings that women should push away their significant others if they do not feel appreciated. The track might make you feel so much better after a split-up with your lover.
49. Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton
She was the queen of R&B in the ’90s, and this single is a Grammy-winner. The singer begs her lover to rewind their doomed relationship to their happier times. You can listen to the lyrics if you feel your ex-lover inflicted unfair treatment on you.
Next: The top 90s songs (our list)
50. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
Terry Richardson directed this song for Miley Cyrus. It was an instant hit in 2013 on her fourth studio album, Bangerz. The tune is excellent to sing along if you want to shout out your pain from getting dumped.
51. Walk On By – Dionne Warwick
It was a hit in the 1960s, composed by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, with Dionne Warwick interpreting it in a breezy style, enabling the song to carry the essence of the duo while sounding so simple. The singer teases the pain of rejection. You can tune it up on your playlist after that breakup.
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As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.