10 of the Saddest Country Songs Ever
Some of the saddest songs ever written come from the country music library. The genre has always been known for having a sensitive side, even if it's sometimes buried under some parties and hell-raising. If you need someone to feel your pain, you can almost always find the perfect twangy ballad to cry along with.
This simple ballad from Blake Shelton's early years is a bittersweet tribute to a beloved mother from her youngest son. No matter how old he got, she still always thought of him as her baby. The words take a sad turn at the end of the song when the mother passes before the son gets a chance to say goodbye, and in his grief, he cries like a baby. The sentimental tune both celebrates the loving relationship Mom had with her son and laments the loss of a beautiful life, giving listeners more than one reason to tear up when they hear it.
Reba McEntire weaves a poignant tale with "She Thinks His Name Was John," where what begins as an out-of-character decision to throw caution to the wind for one night ends in a tragic life yet to be lived. The song calls attention to the despair that comes with a diagnosis of AIDS, and as a result, drew some controversy when it was released, as one of the first country songs to touch the taboo subject. The stirring song remains a class-A tear-jerker, without question.
Kids can be cruel -- something everyone has experienced in one way or another. But it’s even more heartbreaking when a bully ridicules something so special and dear to another child, especially when the child doesn’t have much to begin with. Parton’s touching song tells the story of a coat her mother made for her out of mismatched rags, stitching it together with love. Though the singer was made fun of, she held her head high and simply explained to those who poked fun how special the coat was. If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, what will?
The story of a young girl enduring the pain of domestic abuse, "Alyssa Lies" is told from the point of view of a father whose own child has met Alyssa at school. While the phrase "Alyssa lies" first refers to hiding the painful secret from her classmates and teachers, as the song progresses, it takes a turn to mean something even more tragic. Jason Michael Carroll leaves no dry eye in the house when this song is through.
In this touching ballad, Tim McGraw paints three vivid pictures throughout a young man’s life, his plea more desperate with each scene, leaving the last one open ended. His tender approach brings genuine emotion to the song, drawing listeners in and wrapping them in the sweet love story. "Don’t Take the Girl" is a perfect song for a slow dance or a good cry, making it one of the best sad songs.
There’s little more devastating than a family who doesn’t see their solider return home safely. This Dixie Chicks song tells of a new love sparked between a solider and a young woman, following their long distance relationship through letters as he goes off to war. Sadly, as the bluegrass ballad wails on, the “girl with the bow” is left crying under the bleachers after hearing her soldier’s name read at a football game. A powerful delivery by Natalie Maines accompanied by rich harmonies and compelling musicality definitely qualifies "Travelin' Soldier" as one of the saddest songs ever.
Arguably one of the saddest love songs ever written, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is a timeless country classic. It doesn't have a happy ending, and the guy doesn't get the girl, but the man's commitment to loving one woman his whole life even when he receives nothing in return is a touching sentiment. The man in the story keeps his promise and literally loves that woman until he dies. This iconic George Jones song is a shoo-in on the Sad Songs list.
"Concrete Angel" is the most beautiful kind of sad. Though it sheds light on the tragedy of domestic abuse, it carries with it an air of hope. Martina McBride’s powerful voice tells the heart-wrenching story honestly, and listeners can feel the weight of the words she sings. It’s nearly impossible to get through this song — let alone the music video — without getting misty.
There’s something truly moving about a grown man confessing he misses his friend. Lee Brice’s "I Drive Your Truck" is a unique perspective — it’s not about missing a woman, but his buddy who passed away. The imagery in the song captures the essence of who the friend was and the empty space he left behind. This song is a beautiful picture of someone trying to cope, and it resonates with anyone who has lost someone they are close to. Brice’s emotion and sincerity shine through in his performance, earning this song the No. 2 spot on the list of the saddest songs ever.
This song is tragic from the first note of haunting melody to the last. No light or hope of redemption peeks through the cracks — just a story of broken hearts and self-destruction. Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss’ voices are a perfect match, bringing the lullaby from alternating perspectives and blending beautifully in the chorus. Their gentle and ominous vocal performance is sobering, undoubtedly making "Whiskey Lullaby" one of the saddest country songs ever.