10 Sad Theme Songs

Here are 10 sad theme songs. Sad theme songs have been around for years, often performed as ballads about lost love or the death of a loved one. Heavy metal bands perfected the ballad while country stars made careers off the sad songs that makes a world cry. Here are ten of the better known sad theme songs in music history.

  1. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton – In 1991, Eric Clapton’s four-year old son fell from a high rise window and died, leading to Clapton writing this song about the pain he felt from the loss. The sad theme song won three Grammy awards after originally appearing on the soundtrack to the movie “Rush.”
  2. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones – George Jones might be the king of sad theme songs. His career was starting to taper off when he released “He Stopped Loving Her Today” in 1980. The song is about a man who, betrayed by the love of his life, refused to stop loving her until the day he died.
  3.  “Last Kiss” by Wayne Cochran – “Last Kiss” tells the story of two young lovers driving on a date when they wreck their car trying to avoid a stalled car in the road. The song ends with the boy holding his girl in his arms as she dies and they share their one last kiss. Pearl Jam covered the sad theme song in 1999.
  4. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash – Trent Rezner of Nine Inch Nails originally wrote “Hurt” but, when Johnny Cash covered it in 2003, the song about addiction and loss took on an entirely new meaning. The music video is devastating, shot five months before Cash’s death, and features Cash recollecting everyone he loved who had passed on. The video won Cash a CMA posthumously.
  5. “Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw – Country superstar Tim McGraw released the ballad “Don’t Take the Girl” in 1994 and it soon reached number one on the charts. The songs talks about two lovers, from the time they met as children until they finally married. The song travels through time as the man always asks God to take his life and save his girl. It ends with the two expecting a child and then his wife possibly dying after their baby is born. The video shows that the wife lives but the song remains ambiguous, an extremely sad theme song.
  6. “Cat’s In the Cradle” by Harry Chapin – “Cats in the Cradle” is a song of loss and regret and is most affecting to someone who came from a neglected parental relationship. The song discusses a father who doesn’t have time for his son as he grows up and then finds his son no longer has time for him now that he is an adult.
  7. “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. – The video for “Everybody Hurts” shows a large amount of people sitting in a traffic jam and the camera scans the cars. As the people are shown, their thoughts are displayed on the screen and the lyrics continue to beg that everyone hold on and not let go. It is a song of hope but remains a powerful, sad theme song.
  8. “November Rain” by Guns ‘n Roses – “November Rain” is one of three songs in a trilogy of lost love, along with “Don’t Cry” and “Estranged.” The video for “November Rain” shows the wedding of a happy couple and the funeral of the bride. While it is just a part of the story, “November Rain” is the sad theme song of the story.
  9. “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles – Released in 1966, “Eleanor Rigby” is a song about loneliness and the sorrow of dying alone. The song discusses two lonely people, Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie, living their lives alone and then finally coming together when the father presides over Eleanor’s funeral.
  10. “She Talks to Angels” by Black Crowes – “She Talks to Angels” is a song about great loss and the difficulties in dealing with it. In the song, it is hinted that a woman loses her child and deals with it through drug use while talking to angels, waiting for them to call her home.
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