32 Best Songs about Crying

Love it or hate it, crying is a normal part of the human experience that can help us connect with our emotions on a healthy level. Music artists have always been good at capturing the whole spectrum of human feelings through song, so it’s no surprise that many songs have been written on the subject. Here are some of the best songs about crying and facts about each.

Crying – Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison sings of being in love with a past flame when it’s too late to get back together in this track. It is said to be based on a true story.

Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake

This song is about a guy who doesn’t care that his love interest regrets hurting him, because he’s realized that it’s time to move on. It was inspired by Justin Timberlake’s real-life conflicts with Britney Spears.

When Doves Cry – Prince

This track’s narrator begs a significant other for peace and worries he’s too much like his parents. Prince wrote the track for the film Purple Rain, with the doves serving as a symbol of peace as they commonly do.

Related: See our pick of other 80s karaoke songs.

The Tracks Of My Tears – Smokey Robinson

The Miracles’ leader Smokey Robinson was inspired to write this track while looking in the mirror one day. He wondered what it would be like if someone cried hard enough to leave tracks on their face. It’s about a guy who wants his ex to know he isn’t as happy as he seems about their breakup.

Related: Go to our playlist of good breakup songs.

Cryin’ – Aerosmith

Aerosmith sings of the highs and lows of a turbulent relationship in this track. Steven Tyler has said that country music influenced the song’s sound.

Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fergie

Here’s a song about the feelings of immaturity and uncertainty that can accompany a breakup. Fergie sings of needing space to recover while also having time to reminisce on the relationship.

Not Gon’ Cry – Mary J. Blige

Written for the film Waiting To Exhale, this song plays when Angela Bassett’s character Bernadine finds out her husband has been unfaithful and is leaving her. It has been certified platinum in the US.

Don’t Cry – Guns N’ Roses

A love triangle involving Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin inspired this song, which predates the founding of Guns N’ Roses. Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon provided backing vocals.

Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton

This is a tribute to Eric Clapton’s son, who died in an accident at the age of four. It was written with Will Jennings and eventually was featured in the film Rush. It plays near the movie’s end.

Related: This emotional track also appears on our playlist of songs about heaven.

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley and the Wailers

Bob Marley was inspired by his relationship with his mother and his childhood in the Trenchtown housing project when writing this piece. He’s encouraging his mother not to cry as he leaves home.

Crying in the Club – Camila Cabello

A tough period in Camila Cabello’s life may have inspired this track, as she had just publically split from the group Fifth Harmony around the time it was written. It was Cabello’s debut single, released in 2016.

Tonight I Wanna Cry – Keith Urban

The hopelessness of a painful breakup and the destructive behavior that can follow has inspired many a song. This Keith Urban track is no exception. It was a hit, peaking at Number Two on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Cowgirls Don’t Cry – Brooks & Dunn

This track is about the cowgirl mentality, which involves being strong and sensitive at the same time. An alternate version features Reba McEntire and was quite popular.

Cry Baby Cry – The Beatles

Based on two classic nursery rhymes, this track weaves an odd and whimsical tale about a baby that is crying. It was inspired by Donovan’s tracks that were being written at the time.

Teardrops On My Guitar – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift sings of unrequited love and the pain it brings in this hit. Swift was inspired by a real-life crush while writing the lyrics.

Related: Go to our playlist of Taylor Swift songs.

No Tears Left to Cry –  Ariana Grande

This is a power ballad about moving on after pain. It was likely inspired by the terrorist attack that occurred at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England.

Cry ’til My Tears Run Dry – Linda Ronstadt

Here’s a tune about crying when you know that a loved one is going out behind your back. It was first sung by Irma Thomas in 1965.

Angels Cry – Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey asks a lover to try to make things work again in this track. It was originally released in 2009 and was remixed and re-released in 2010, with featured vocals by Ne-Yo.

Grown Men Don’t Cry – Tim McGraw

This song highlights the many human struggles that people go through and shows that it’s okay for men to feel deep emotions and cry. It was inspired by real events in Tim McGraw’s life.

Who’s Crying Now – Journey

Here’s a breakup track that was one of Journey’s greatest hits. It was the band’s first song to feature keyboardist Jonathan Cain.

Big Girls Cry – Sia

Sia sings as a tough woman who finally breaks down from her loneliness and disappointment. The singer-songwriter wrote this track with frequent collaborator Chris Braide.

Pretty When You Cry – Lana Del Rey

The narrator of this sad piece finds her significant other letting her down over and over again, leaving her with nothing but her own beauty. Lana Del Rey’s vocals are intentionally shaky for emotional emphasis.

Let Her Cry – Hootie & the Blowfish

A man struggles with his wife’s addiction in this track. Band frontman Darius Rucker wrote this about a past relationship where the woman he loved struggled with his alcoholism.

We Cry – The Script

The Script tells multiple stories of struggle, with the purpose of showing that individuals can come together and share their sorrows. It’s a socially conscious piece that is unifying, if not hopeful.

Love to See You Cry – Enrique Iglesias

This Enrique Iglesias track was an international success after its release as a single. It’s a harsh piece about a guy who can’t help but hurt his lover.

Cry a While – Bob Dylan

When it comes to hurtful romantic partners, there comes a breaking point where enough is enough and you have to cut ties with the heartbreaker. That’s the type of situation that Bob Dylan discusses with this story-based song.

You Never Cry Like a Lover – Eagles

The protagonist of this Eagles track wishes his lover would open up and show some vulnerable emotion. It is the second track on the album On The Border and was released in 1974.

Don’t Cry Daddy – Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley sings of the grief a man feels when he loses his wife and the way it affects his children in this song. It’s unclear if the track refers to death or divorce.

Why Should I Cry For You? – Sting

Grief is sometimes best addressed through art, such as this track by Sting. The singer-songwriter wrote it about his father’s death in 1987.

The Man Who Couldn’t Cry – Johnny Cash

This is a nursery rhyme of sorts from Johnny Cash, telling the story of a man who couldn’t cry. It shows how strange a life without the ability to weep could be.

I’ll Cry Instead – The Beatles

The narrator of this track hopes to pay back the world for the hurt he feels one day. However, he only feels able to cry about his heartbreak right now. The US version of the album A Hard Day’s Night features an extra verse for this track.

Never Make Me Cry – Fleetwood Mac

This song highlights a relationship where both partners respect and trust each other to the point where they won’t hurt each other, even as they exercise their freedom. It was written solely by Christine McVie.

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About Ged Richardson

Ged Richardson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ZingInstruments.com. He has been featured in Entrepreneur, PremierGuitar, Hallmark, Wanderlust, CreativeLive, and other major publications. As an avid music fan, he spends his time researching and writing about new and old music, as well as testing and reviewing music-related products. He's played guitar in various bands, from rock to gypsy jazz. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel, where he geeks out about his favorite bands.

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