The 100 Saddest Songs in the World

Click on the image to learn moreAdam Brent Houghtailing, a music nerd from Brooklyn, has done some research into the saddest songs ever recorded.  The results are published in a new book called This Will End in Tears:  The Miserablist Guide to Music.

Using a variety of methods, he distills things down into what could very well be the definitive list of the saddest songs ever recorded.

Well, like what?  Here’s the top ten.  For the full list, go here.

1. “Adagio for Strings,” Samuel Barber

2. “Strange Fruit,” Billie Holiday

3. “In Darkness Let Me Dwell,” John Dowland

4. “Marie,” Townes Van Zandt

5. “Rank Stranger,” The Stanley Brothers

6. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Hank Williams

7. “Only the Lonely,” Frank Sinatra

8. “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’ Conner

9. “Caroline, No,” The Beach Boys

10. “DP 1.1,” William Basinski

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

5 thoughts on “The 100 Saddest Songs in the World

  • August 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm
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    A very strange and eclectic mix of tunes. I'm surprised there's no Depeche Mode, and I'd suggest "Death's Door" from the "Until the End of the World" soundtrack. I also think "99 Luft Balloons" deserves a place on the list; nothing like a nuclear holocaust to bring you down.

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  • August 20, 2012 at 2:09 am
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    Good list but Hank Williams has songs that are sadder than I'm so lonesome I could cry.

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  • August 20, 2012 at 3:17 am
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    No "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen? I expected it in the top 5. Seems like a huge omission!

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  • August 20, 2012 at 4:00 am
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    Marie- thats a downer for sure
    as for Sinead I've always been infinitely more moved by her song Troy
    You could Post Oasis Talk tonight here as well
    I think a coat of many colours by Dolly needs some serious consideration but this is all "add salt to taste" stuff

    Reply
  • August 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm
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    Using a variety of methods, he distills things down into what could very well be the definitive list of the saddest songs ever recorded.

    Reply

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