The saddest song of all time?

British researchers reckon that Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. is the saddest song of all time:

Listening to a sad song has reduced seven out of ten men to tears, according to the study.

And almost 90 per cent of women admit listening to an emotional song or passage of music has made them cry.

The research shows one in five females ‘often’ shed tears when they hear a sad tune.

And ‘Everybody Hurts’ by American band REM was named as the saddest song of all time, beating Elton John’s ‘Candle in the Wind’.

Mike and the Mechanics’ ‘The Living Years’ came third in the poll.

Not sure about that. Talk Talk had some pretty depressing songs. Leonard Cohen can be very depressing except for his superb Hallelujah. The Smiths with Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now would qualify too.

Tears for Fears made an entire depressing album called The Hurting which featured Mad World which surely qualifies as one of the most depressing songs ever.

 


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  • Pete George

    This is one of the saddest songs I’ve come across:
    Strange Fruit, written by Lewis Allen, performed by Nina Simone. 

    • bloody hell..pg…

      i think that is the first time i have agreed with you ever..

      ..about anything…

      ..and that is one serious mother of a song..

      …hairs on back of kneck standing up-song..

      …and it only proves that there is always common-ground…

      ..it’s just sometimes harder to find..

      [email protected]

  • Anonymous


    Gets me every single damn time lol

  • Pete George

    Another good version of Mad World which featured on the movie Donnie Darko.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3N1MlvVc4

    • Karl Laird

      This is one case where I found the remake far preferable to the original. Tears for Fears make this far too upbeat really; whereas Gary Jules has a spectacular intonation in this version.

  • The saddest song for me is always “Hurt”, Johnny Cash’s rendition though. The original, by Nine Inch Nails is pretty insipid. 

    • That got me.

    • Karl Laird

      I’d have to disagree with you there – I’ve always far preferred the original as performed by Trent Reznor; although the music video for Johnny Cash’s remake is better.

    • Thorn

      It is chilling.

  • nzd.gbp

    Henryk Górecki – Symphony Nº3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). Full version.

  • Blair Mulholland

    Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now is pretty cheerful by Smiths standards.  If you want really depressing, try Asleep, or I Know It’s Over.

    I maintain that One Last Christmas by Matthew West is the most depressing song ever and by extension the worst Christmas song of all time.

  • Pete George

    Geez, I might have a depressing evening listening through all these. Might have to finish it off by listening to my usual dark mood music, Black Sabbath (seeing how Ozzy looks now is a bit depressing too).

    • Anonymous

      Not a bad way to spend a Thirsty Thursday!

  • Jerome_corry

    I think Everybody Hurts is meant to be positive, dissuading young people from taking there own lives and encouraging them to hold on…

  • Pearl Jam’s Last Kiss. Everybody hurts, upbeat by comparison.

    • Johno1234

      Pearl Jam’s “Black”. It really is.

    • Anonymous

      Wishlist.

    • Anonymous

      J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers’ Last Kiss

    • nickle

      My ‘saddest’ Pearl Jam, definitely Release Me, once I learned the backstory, and became a parent, gets to me everytime. Also one of my fave songs

  • Catwoman

    There was a song about a girl shot in the Kent State University Massacre in 1970. (Not OHIO by Crosby Stills).  Can anyone remember the name of it?  (I know, age is showing).

    • Catwoman

       Ah found it – the song is Hey Sandy by Harvey Andrews.

      • Alex Taylor-Innes

        Link to you song Catwoman:

  • Catwoman

    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy why were you the one?
    All the years of growing up are wasted now and gone.
    Did you see them turn, did you feel the burn of the bullets as they flew?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?

    Well the sun was hot and the air was heavy as the marching men came by
    And you ran to the door and you watched then pass and you asked the soldiers “Why?”
    The sound of the steel and the black boot’s heel were pounding in your head
    And your freedom’s past, they have come at last, with the blessings of the dead.

    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy why were you the one?
    All the years of growing up are wasted now and gone.
    Did you see them turn, did you feel the burn of the bullets as they flew?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?

    In the college square they were standing there with flag and with the drum
    And the whispered word as the young ones stirred was “Now at last they’ve come”
    And the air was still with the lonely thrill of now the hour is near
    And the smell of sweat was better yet than the awful stench of fear.

    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy why were you the one?
    All the years of growing up are wasted now and gone.
    Did you see them turn, did you feel the burn of the bullets as they flew?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?

    Through the air the shout as you all ran out was “Why are these things done?”
    And you stood and you stared but no one cared for another campus bum
    And your songs were dead and the hymns instead were to the burning pyre
    And the words of youth, like love and truth, just ashes in the fire.

    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy why were you the one?
    All the years of growing up are wasted now and gone.
    Did you see them turn, did you feel the burn of the bullets as they flew?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?

    Did you throw the stone at the men alone with their bayonets fixed for hire?
    Did you doubt that they would, say no one could, did you scream when they opened fire?
    As the square ran red and your bloodstain spread and the darkness round you grew
    Through the fear and the pain did you call the name of the man you never knew?

    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy why were you the one?
    All the years of growing up are wasted now and gone.
    Did you see them turn, did you feel the burn of the bullets as they flew?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?
    Did you see them turn, did you feel the burn of the bullets as they flew?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?
    Hey Sandy, hey Sandy just what did you do?

  • Glenn

    Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart – surely it’s in the top 3

    • Anonymous

      Heh it just came on MTV classic a minute after I read this post (apparently its the 45th top classic of the early 80s)

    • Blair Mulholland

      That’s one of their more cheerful ones!  Try Candidate and see if you aren’t curled up in the corner in the foetal position after.

      http://youtu.be/bHfBhuEPf1g

    • that one is not so much sad..as deeply grim..

      ..’tho a great song…

      ..i wd nominate ‘celluloid heros’ by the kinks…

      [email protected]

  • Alex Taylor-Innes

     

    I liked the poignancy of the 911 version of Everybody Hurts.
    WTC Islamic jihad attack on America.

    Honorable mention: Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Played at a
    dear friend’s funeral (suicide),  not a
    dry eye in the church. Also in the movie Platoon. Thought of the thousands
    killed and maimed. Very moving. Very, very sad.

    • Alex Taylor-Innes

      Really sad Christian song also played at funerals Randy
      Stonehill’s “Sweet Emily”. It was released in 1980, so only Christian dinosaurs
      would know it. Couldn’t find a link to for you.
       

  • Xyz

    Elton’s “Nobody Wins” is sadder than “Candle in the Wind”. Only slightly less cheesy tho’.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LZ4sKKKLdI 

  • JohnWellingtonWells

    The “Red Flag” sung at Liabore Party’s mt Albert function on 2008 election night – or was it just a dirge

  • Anonymous

    a song for your saddest moment of all time…

  • NotLen

    You should try Harry Chapin’s “The Shortest Story”.  

  • Agent BallSack

    Everything off Pink Floyd’s ‘The Final Cut’

    • Anonymous

      I know it’s not exactly classic Floyd but ‘On the Turning Away’ chokes me up a bit

    • Alex Taylor-Innes

      Agreed ABS!!  Perhaps more in the vain of angry, then just sad though. Loss about his father, and anger in the way that he died.

    • Pete George

      When the Tigers Broke Free – left of originally because the rest of the band thought it was too personal.  Used in The Wall movie but never live. Equally sad and bitter.

      • Alex Taylor-Innes

        Yeah, I’d missed “Tigers”. Try listening to The
        Ballad of Bill Hubbard and then not feel a deep sense of gratitude for their
        sacrifice. Also a very moving theme. Makes you realize how soft we can become.

  • Jam_Sammie

    I would have thought that for sheer lyrical brilliance and real emotion in a song, Vincent by Don Mclean does kind of “get me” when I listen to it. Sad story about a brilliant man. That’s what music is supposed to be not Bieber or Rhianna or 50 cent…(I have a teenage daughter) Just quietly I do like one Rhianna song ;-) I am lucky to be musically inclined and can play various instruments with varying skill. Being able to create music is a very emotionally satisfying experience and extremely good for dealing with stress and anxiety. Amazing that a song can bring on strong emotions like depression, rage, sadness, protest, happiness and in the case of Barry White the occasional root. 

    • Pete George

      One of my favourite songs, but it doesn’t sadden me, I am taken in by it’s eloquence and poignance.

  • Pete George

    Gloomy Sunday should be in contention, it was labelled “the Suicide Song” or “the Hungarian suicide song”. It’s not known if the link to suicides is urban legend because those who claimed it are now dead.

    There a quite a few versions in English and other languages. It featured in the excellent but sad movie of the same name.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloomy_Sunday

  • Rockyr

    Old Shep sung by Tex Morten

  • billhicks

    “Bright Eyes” – Watership Down

  • John Q Public

    I think this one would be a candidate, but perhaps needs some water to go under it’s bridge before it’s fully appreciated in this context.

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