Do you ever find yourself thinking about a past relationship? A past love that didn’t work out right, but you can’t help thinking what could have been?
Then this post is for you. Because, frankly speaking, you’re not alone. Every day people get caught up thinking about a long lost love.
So here’s our pick of the best songs about old love. Some are about rekindling the love, others are about struggling to come to terms with the breakup (still), and most are somewhere in between.
Table of Contents
- ‘The Scientist’ – Coldplay
- ‘Love of My Life’ – Queen
- ‘Old Flame’ – Arcade Fire
- ‘Austin’ – Blake Shelton
- ‘Reunited’ – Peaches & Herb
- ‘Let’s Just Fall In Love Again’ – Jason Castro
- ‘It’s Not Over’ – Daughtry
- ‘The Man I Want to Be’ – Chris Young
- ‘Always on My Mind’ – Willie Nelson
- ‘Together Again’ – Buck Owens
- ‘I Want You Back’ – Jackson 5
- ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ – Four Tops
- ‘Stuck on You’ – Lionel Richie
- ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ – Greenday
- ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ – Charlie Puth
- ‘Un-Break My Heart’ – Toni Braxton
‘The Scientist’ – Coldplay
Here’s a beautiful song about wanting to go back in time and start anew. It’s one of the best breakup songs in recent times.
The narrator is working too hard (“guessing at numbers and figures”) and lets his relationship take a back seat. But that costs him. He now “wants to go back to the start.”
“Nobody said it was easy, it’s just a shame for us to part.”
The brilliant video plays backward, depicting his wish to reverse time. The car crash riding off a cliff is a metaphor for his relationship bust-up.
‘Love of My Life’ – Queen
Freddy Mercury wrote this gorgeous (probably autobiographical) song about a guy who abandons his lover, only to realize he can’t live with her (or him).
Who the song is about is a subject of discussion that we’ll never have the answer to. On various occasions, he said the song was about nobody in particular.
“Bring it back, bring it back, don’t take it away from me” he confesses. This is Mercury at his spellbinding best and arguably one of the best love songs ever written.
‘Old Flame’ – Arcade Fire
Canadian band Arcade Fire sing about many challenges we face in life, such as growing up and falling in love.
In ‘Old Flame,’ singer Win Butler recalls the moment he and his past love connected (“You knew in five minutes, but I knew in a sentence”).
But, like a moth to a flame, he knows he should stay well away. But he’s helpless. He sees her “eyes are flutterin’, such pretty wings” and can’t help himself. But in desperation, wonders “why do we go through all of this again?”.
‘Austin’ – Blake Shelton
In this romantic country ballad, the narrator can’t accept the relationship is over. Even though his girlfriend has left town without leaving a number and moved to Austin, Texas, he’s still in pieces.
In case she calls, he leaves a message on his answer machine, “If this is Austin, I still love you”.
It all turns good in the end though. She sees sense and calls him.
‘Reunited’ – Peaches & Herb
Here’s a classic late-night love song about reunited love from husband and wife duo Herbert “Herb” Feemster and Francine “Peaches” Barker.
After going their separate ways, Peaches & Herb realize they miss each other and that life is better together. So Herb commits to never cheating again, and they live happily ever after.
If only life was always this simple!
‘Let’s Just Fall In Love Again’ – Jason Castro
Ever want to just hit ‘reset’ on a relationship and start over again?
That’s the idea in this sweet pop song by Jason Castro. It’s not hard to fall in love again, he says, “I don’t have to try, it’s so easy.”
“We’ll fall disgustingly fast”, he adds.
‘It’s Not Over’ – Daughtry
We all mess up, it’s about the decisions we make after. That’s the premise of this story about a guy who makes a wrong turn that ends him up in the slammer.
When he gets bail, he has to pick up the pieces of his old life and rekindle the relationship with his family.
Does he make the right? You’ll have to watch to find out.
‘The Man I Want to Be’ – Chris Young
We all have an idea of the sort of person we want to be.
Here, the narrator asks God to help patch things up with his woman. If “there’s any way for her and me to make another start” he says, “could you see what you could do”.
‘Always on My Mind’ – Willie Nelson
In this famous song written by Wayne Carson, the narrator admits he’s made mistakes and didn’t always give his woman the respect she deserves.
“All that ‘Always’ was about was one long apology,” Carson admitted in an LA Times interview.
Other artists who covered the song include Elvis Presley and Pet Shop Boys
‘Together Again’ – Buck Owens
The B-side to Owens’ No. 1 hit, ‘My Heart Skips a Beat’, ‘Together Again’ is about rekindling lost love.
Finally, he finds peace in his true love’s arms. “My tears have stopped falling, the long lonely nights, are now at an end”
Plenty of people have covered this, including a great version by Emmy Lou Harris.
‘I Want You Back’ – Jackson 5
This number one hit by the Jackson 5 is about a young kid trying to get his girl back. An 11-year-old Michael Jackson sang lead, breaking history in the process (he was the youngest person ever to feature on a #1 hit single).
It’s often been heralded as the best pop song ever. It’s definitely up there.
‘I Can’t Help Myself’ – Four Tops
This sickly sweet Motown hit is another case of a guy who’s crazy about a girl but the feeling ain’t mutual. But, like a man possessed, he can’t hide his love for her, despite her fooling him around.
It’s a classic case of unrequited love. “In and out my life, you come and you go, leaving just your picture behind” he sings. Poor guy.
‘Stuck on You’ – Lionel Richie
Ever get the impression you’re running away from love? Maybe you’ve been hurt in the past, and without knowing it you keep your defenses up to stop getting hurt again (you wouldn’t be the first).
That’s the gist of this song by soul legend Lionel Richie. Here, the narrator has an epiphany – he’s been a total idiot and realizes how much he actually loves her. So it’s high time he goes back home, he admits.
Fortunately for him, she stuck around.
‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ – Greenday
This autobiographical song by Greenday frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is about his father (who died from cancer when he was 10, in September 1982).
After the funeral, Billie locked himself in his room. When his mom knocked, he answered “Wake me up when September ends” (hence the name of the song).
As sad songs go, it’s right up there.
While the lyrics are about his Dad, the video is about a couple who swear they always be there for each other, until he enlists in the US Marine Corps. You’ll have to watch the video to see what happens.
‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ – Charlie Puth
In this Charlie Puth song, a guy is left wondering where it all went wrong. His lover has moved on and found someone else, but he can’t get her out of his brain.
For those of you who thought this might be the Cliff Richard song, I’m sorry to disappoint 🙂
‘Un-Break My Heart’ – Toni Braxton
In this heartbreaker of a ballad, Braxton pleads with her former lover to return to her and undo all the pain he’s inflicted. She’s completely lost without him.
Honestly girl, if he caused you that much pain, do you really want him back?!