We have all heard songs that connect with us on a deeper level and make us cry. Whether it is a sappy country tune or a powerful rock ballad, these sad songs pull at our heartstrings. Many of these songs have lyrics that talk about emotions and being brought to tears. In this list, we have featured 25 popular songs about crying.
1. “Cryin’” by Aerosmith
This hit song by the rock band Aerosmith came out in 1993. It was one of the most popular tracks on their Get a Grip album. In 1994, the video for “Cryin’”–which featured actors, including a teenage Alicia Silverstonewon– won three MTV Video Music Awards. Written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Taylor Rhodes, “Cryin’ “can be interpreted in a few different ways.
The lyrics might be about a romantic relationship. It seems to start well, but in the end, it does not work out. Tyler sings about being in love with a woman even though it is painful. Another interpretation of this song is that it is about drug use. Tyler has battled with addiction, and the lyrics may reflect his love-hate relationship with drugs.
2. “No Tears Left to Cry” by Ariana Grande
This pop-dance song by Ariana Grande came out in 2018. It was the first single from her album, Sweetener. The lyrics of “No Tears Left to Cry” talk about having had enough of being sad and down; she wants to be happy again.
Some have speculated that the lyrics refer to a suicide bombing that occurred in 2017. Following one of Grande’s concerts in Manchester, England, 23 people died in the blast. This song may be her way of moving forward after this tragic event.
3. “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers
In 1974, the reggae band Bob Marley and the Wailers released the song No Woman, No Cry. It was part of their album Natty Dread. The song was written by Marley and Vincent Ford. In 1996, the band The Fugees did a cover of this song that was also very popular.
The lyrics of this song refer to how strong women are and how much they can handle. Marley sings about how everything works out in the end, so there is no point wasting one’s tears.
4. “One Last Cry” by Brian McKnight
This R&B song was the fourth single from Brian McKnight’s album, “One Last Cry.” The song came out in 1993 and has since been a popular cover song. Justin Timberlake and the Backstreet Boys are just two artists who have performed remakes of “One Last Cry.”
McKnight wrote the lyrics along with Brandon and Melanie Barnes. In the song, we hear how the singer saw his lover with someone else. The title refers to how the singer is going to have one final cry session before he moves on.
5. “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” by Brooks & Dunn
Written by Terry McBride and Ronnie Dunn, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” came out in 2008. This popular country music song appeared on Brooks & Dunn’s album, Cowboy Town. The track was also released the same year, featuring Reba McEntire.
The song lyrics are about a woman who was taught by her father that she shouldn’t cry. From falling off her pony as a young girl to having her heart broken by her husband, she has experienced plenty of hardships. The song ends with her father dying and telling her not to cry.
6. “Cry Pretty” by Carrie Underwood
The country music song “Cry Pretty” was one of the hits on Carrie Underwood’s album of the same name. This song came out in 2018 and was named the Best Country Song of the year by Billboard.
Underwood wrote this emotional song after she experienced multiple miscarriages. She sings about how sometimes you can fake being happy, but at other times, you can’t hide it. Like all of her songs, “Cry Pretty” really gets to the heart of what it means to be human.
7. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by Culture Club
In 1982, the new wave pop band Culture Club released the song “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” It was one of the singles from their album, Kissing to Be Clever. Partially written by Boy George, he has said that the song is about people he dated throughout his life.
This catchy song was the first from the band to reach number one in the United Kingdom. It has been featured in several movies like the 1998 romantic comedy The Wedding Singer.
8. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton and Will Jennings wrote this song about Clapton’s son Conor, who died at age four. Conor fell out of an apartment building window in March 1991. “Tears in Heaven” is one of the saddest songs ever written.
“Tears in Heaven” was included on the soundtrack for the 1991 film Rush, won three Grammy Awards, and was Clapton’s top-selling song in the United States and Canada. Despite its popularity, Clapton has not performed this piece live since 2004.
9. “Don’t Cry” by Guns n’ Roses
Written by singer Axl Rose and guitarist Izzy Stradlin, “Don’t Cry” came out in 1991. It was featured on the Guns n’ Roses album, Use Your Illusion I. A different version of the song was included on their album, Use Your Illusion II.
The song was inspired by a woman that Stradlin had dated and who Rose had feelings for. Instead of letting the woman come between the two band members, they turned the circumstances into a song.
10. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams
An old country music favorite, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” was written and performed by Hank Williams. Released in 1949, this track would become one of the top country songs about crying of all time.
As the title suggests, the song is about being lonely. The lyrics show how alone and despondent the singer feels. You can hear the anguish and sorrow in William’s voice throughout the song. Many artists have covered this piece, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
11. “Let Her Cry” by Hootie & the Blowfish
One of Hootie & the Blowfish’s most popular songs, “Let Her Cry,” came out in 1994. It was one of the tracks on their first album, Cracked Rear View. This tune was inspired by The Black Crowes and Bonnie Raitt’s music and won a Grammy Award in 1996.
The lyrics of this song suggest that the singer is in love with a woman who is consumed by addiction. He struggles with coming to terms with how to let her go while wanting to help her. It is a sad song that shows how drug use can take over a person’s life and destroy the ones they love.
12. “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake
Pop singer Justin Timberlake came out with this song in 2002. “Cry Me a River” is featured on his 2002 album, Justified. The track won a 2004 Grammy Award and two 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
In the song, Timberlake is singing to a woman, said to be Britney Spears, who cheated on him. He was in love with her; she broke his heart by going with someone else. Now she is trying to crawl back to him, but he’s finished with the relationship.
13. “Tonight I Wanna Cry” by Keith Urban
Country music singer Keith Urban co-wrote this song with Monty Powell. It was one of the singles from Be Here, his 2004 album.
Urban sings about being alone at his home after his lover left him. We hear the anguish in his voice as he says that, throughout his life, he has tried to be strong, but this has broken him. All he wants to do now is cry and let himself feel the sadness.
14. “Cry” by Kelly Clarkson
The song “Cry” was written by Kelly Clarkson, Mark Townsend, and Jason Halbert. This pop-rock hit is part of Clarkson’s 2009 album, All I Ever Wanted.
In this song, she sings about how she has to act like everything is okay, despite being upset. The lyrics suggest that the singer was betrayed by someone (she may be referring to a lover or a friend) and feeling alone in her sadness.
This piece was also performed by Lea Michelle, an actress in the musical series Glee, on a 2012 episode of the show.
15. “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore
The pop song “It’s My Party” is a well-known hit from the 1960s. Quincy Jones produced the song for Lesley Gore, who was just 16 years old at the time. Originally released in 1963, it was covered by Canadian country music singer Carroll Baker in 1977. Barbara Gaskin and Dave Stewart also did a cover of the song in 1981.
Gore sings about being at her birthday party and witnessing the boy she likes leaving with another girl. They eventually return to the party as a couple, and Gore is heartbroken.
16. “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” by Madonna
Originally recorded by British singer Julie Covington in 1976, this song was later made popular by Madonna. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the lyrics for this piece, and Madonna performed it in the 1996 musical film Evita.
The song focuses on the legendary political leader Eva Peron, the wife of Juan Peron, who served as the President of Argentina three times. Many artists have done remakes of this piece, including Sinead O’Connor, The Carpenters, and Olivia Newton-John.
17. “I Don’t Wanna Cry” by Mariah Carey
Pop and R&B singer Mariah Carey came out with this song in 1990. Her debut self-titled album included this track along with other hits. This piece was written by Carey and musician Narada Michael Walden.
“I Don’t Wanna Cry” is a song about a relationship that isn’t going to last. Carey sings about sitting with her partner and knowing that things will never go back to the way they used to be. Since they only hurt each other now instead of being happy, it is time to end things.
18. “Not Gon’ Cry” by Mary J Blige
R&B artist Mary J Blige came out with this hit song in 1995, which was recorded for the soundtrack of the movie Waiting to Exhale. The piece was written by the producer and songwriter Babyface. This track also appeared on Blige’s 1997 album, Share My World.
Since the song was created for the movie, it revolves around one of the character’s feelings about being left by her husband. The lyrics tell how the woman spent so much of her life devoted to this man and how she won’t cry because he isn’t worth it.
19. “Cry” by Michael Jackson
The song “Cry” was written by R. Kelly and performed by Michael Jackson. It appears on his album, Invincible, which came out in 2001. Like other songs by Jackson, it emphasizes the importance of a peaceful world and a healthy environment.
Though it talks about painful experiences, this song is ultimately one of hope. Jackson sings about a desire to change the world and make things better. The music video for Cry shows people holding hands and united together for a better world.
20. “Cry” by Rihanna
This R&B song came out in 2006 and appears on some editions of Rihanna’s album, Good Girl Gone Bad. While not included in the standard edition, “Cry” appeared as a bonus track on British, Japanese, and Australian albums.
Rihanna sings about having a broken heart and being torn up about her ex. At the same time, she sings about not letting her feelings show and not allowing him to see how he has upset her. She is putting on a strong face despite her sadness.
21. “Fool to Cry” by the Rolling Stones
This song was the first single from the Rolling Stones’ album, Black and Blue. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger wrote “Fool to Cry” in 1976. Unlike much of the Stones’ music, this song featured softer, reflective lyrics.
It begins with Jagger feeling sorry for himself and receiving comfort from his young daughter. He later visits his lover, who listens to his troubles as well. The indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara covered this song on the soundtrack for the series Girls.
22. “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying” by Sting
Originally written and performed by British rocker Sting, this song appeared on his album Mercury Falling in 1996. The following year, he joined with country music singer Toby Keith to record a duet of the song.
The song is about a man whose wife left him a few weeks ago; he misses her and their children. As the song progresses, he smiles through his tears but eventually comes to accept how things are. He can move forward in his life and make the best of the situation.
23. “Everytime I Cry” by Terri Clark
Country music artist Terri Clark recorded the song “Everytime I Cry” for her third studio album. It came out in 1999 and was written by Karen Staley and Bob Regan. The music video for this song shows a family’s experience with domestic violence.
“Everytime I Cry” is about a woman who has been hurt by her lover over and over again. Despite this, she continues to take him back in hopes that he has changed and things will be different. But as Clark sings, every time she lets him into her life, she ends up crying.
24. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons
Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio wrote the song “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” which was originally performed by The Four Seasons, a rock band formed in the 1960s. Frankie Valli’s unique falsetto made this song a hit.
“Big Girls Don’t Cry” spent several weeks at number one on the US charts. In 1987, the romance film Dirty Dancing featured the song in the opening scene with actress Jennifer Grey.
25. “I Cry” by Usher
R&B singer Usher released the song “I Cry” in 2020. He wrote the song along with Jeff Gitelman and Nasri to share his stance on men showing their emotions. Usher wanted to let people know that it is okay for men to cry and display how they are feeling.
The murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests inspired the completion of the song, as did the Covid-19 pandemic. Usher performed the song at a virtual event entitled Global Goal, which raised awareness about how marginalized populations were experiencing the pandemic.
Songs About Crying, Final Thoughts
When you’re feeling down, listening to some of these songs about crying can help you remember that you are not alone. The end of a relationship, losing a loved one, or being betrayed by a friend can all cause us great sadness. Listen to some of these songs to remind yourself that we all feel pain when going through tough times.