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The Top 100 Breakup Songs of All Time (First Draft)

Thu, Jul 2, 2009

Pop Culture

This is the first of a series of posts we’ll be doing on the best breakup songs of all time. The below 100 was originally published in our book BUH BYE: The Ultimate Guide to Dumping and Being Dumped (which was called “hilarious and fantastic” by our one Amazon reviewer). Naturally, we like the list, but want to know which essential songs you think are missing, and which, if any, you would definitely not include. Unleash your wrath in the comments section.

1    “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” – Paul Simon
2    “Absolutely Zero” – Jason Mraz
3    “Against All Odds” – Phil Collins or The Postal Service version
4    “All Alone Am I” – Brenda Lee
5    “All By Myself” – Eric Carmen (definitely not the Celine Dion version; the Bridget Jones version works, but only with the visual)
6    “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” – George Strait
7    “Alone Again (Naturally)” – Gilbert O’Sullivan
8    “Another Lonely Day” – Ben Harper
9    “Apart” – The Cure
10    “Are You Lonesome Tonight” – Elvis Presley


11    “Ballad of Big Nothing” – Elliott Smith
12    “Black” – Pearl Jam
13    “Blackout” – Muse
14    “Blue Moon Revisited” – Cowboy Junkies
15    “Can’t Stand Losing You” – The Police
16    “Careless Whisper” – Wham!
17    “Crazy” – Patsy Cline or Willie Nelson
18    “Crown of Love” – Arcade Fire
19    “Crying” – Roy Orbison
20    “Don’t Cry Out Loud” – Melissa Manchester
21    “Don’t Leave Me This Way” – Thelma Houston
22    “Don’t Walk Away” – ELO
23    “Don’t You Want Me” – The Human League
24    “Ever Fallen in Love” – The Buzzcocks
25    “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
26    “Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M.
27    “Everyday I Love You Less and Less” – Kaiser Chiefs
28    “Ex-Factor” – Lauren Hill
29    “Ex-Girlfriend” – No Doubt
30    “Girl from the North Country” – Bob Dylan
31    “Girl” – Beatles
32    “Grace Cathedral Hill” – The Decemberists
33    “Harden My Heart” – QuarterFlash
34    “Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis Presley
35    “Heartbreaker” – Pat Benatar
36    “Hopelessly Devoted to You” – Olivia Newton John (Grease Soundtrack)
37    “How Can You Be Sure?” – Radiohead
38    “I Fall to Pieces” – Patsy Cline
39    “I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Elvis Costello
40    “I Never Cared for You” – Willie Nelson
41    “I Used to Love Her” – Guns n’ Roses
42    “I Want You” – Elvis Costello
43    “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
44    “If I Can’t Have You” – Yvonne Ellimen
45    “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” – Take your pick: Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Cowboy Junkies, or Johnny Cash
46    “I’m Sorry” – Brenda Lee
47    “It’s a Heartache” – Juice Newton or Bonnie Tyler
48    “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” – Whitney Houston (the Thunderpuss remix)
49    “It’s Over” – Roy Orbison
50    “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” – Otis Redding
51    “Killing Me Softly with His Song” – Fugees over Roberta Flack
52    “Last Goodbye” – Jeff Buckley
53    “Leavin’ on Your Mind” – Patsy Cline
54    “Lilac Wine” – Jeff Buckley
55    “Lonesome Tears” – Beck
56    “Lost Cause” – Beck
57    “Love Hurts” – Nazareth (the cover by Joan Jett will do in a pinch)
58    “Love is Stronger Than Death” – The The
59    “Love on the Rocks” – Neil Diamond
60    “Love Stinks” – J. Geils Band
61    “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division
62    “Lover, You Should Have Come Over” – Jeff Buckley
63    “Lush Life” – Billy Strayhorn
64    “Mandy” – Barry Manilow
65    “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” – Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
66    “Nothing Compares to You” – Sinead O’Connor or Prince
67    “One” – Aimee Mann (Magnolia soundtrack)
68    “Ordinary World” – Duran Duran
69    “Run” – Snow Patrol
70    “Separate Ways” – Journey
71    “She Is Gone” – Willie Nelson
72    “She’s Got You” – Patsy Cline
73    “Should’ve Been in Love” – Wilco
74    “Since I Don’t Have You” – Guns N’ Roses version
75    “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson
76    “So Lonely” – The Police
77    “So Wrong” – Patsy Cline
78    “Soma” – Smashing Pumpkins
79    “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Elliott Smith
80    “Strange” – Patsy Cline
81    “Sweet Dreams” – Patsy Cline
82    “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
83    “The Seventh Stranger” – Duran Duran
84    “The Sign” – Ace of Base
85    “There’s a Tear in My Beer” – Hank Williams
86    “These Arms of Mine” – Otis Redding
87    “This Woman’s Work” – Kate Bush
88    “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler
89    “True Happiness This Way Lies” – The The
90    “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” – Meatloaf
91    “We Belong ” – Pat Benatar
92    “Why Can’t He Be You” – Patsy Cline
93    “Without You” – Henry Nilsson (not the Mariah Carey version)
94    “Writing to Reach You” – Travis
95    “You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi
96    “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morissette
97    “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” – Lou Rawls
98    “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” – Stars
99    “You’re Not the Girl You Think You Are” – Crowded House
100   “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” – Righteous Brothers

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99 Responses to “The Top 100 Breakup Songs of All Time (First Draft)”

  1. Jasmine Says:

    Karma – Alicia Keys

  2. In Pain Says:

    i jus want to say thanks for the list… i wish to listen to all….even though my bf n i didnt breakup jus yet…i dnt knw when we will, or i will, because i should do tht already but, love him too much to say goodbye n never see him again….its too hard, its tougher thn the pain i m in by being with him :(

  3. Regina Says:

    You Aint Thinking ’bout Me- Sonia Dada

  4. Relationships are lies Says:

    elephant-damian rice

    makes me wonder-maroon 5

  5. Babettchen Says:

    “Take a Bow” by Madonna, “Speechless” by Lady Gaga, and R.B. Greaves “Take a Letter Maria” are helping me through some sh*t right now.

  6. mo Says:

    Empty Chairs By Don Mclean
    7-Rooms of Gloom- Four tops or Blondie

  7. Jasmine Says:

    Snuff – Slipknot
    Lies – The Black Keys
    This Ain’t A Love Song – Scouting For Girls

  8. james Says:

    Tell Me What It Takes – Aerosmith

  9. S Says:

    Blink 182-Dammit

  10. kat Says:

    Taylor Swift – White Horse

  11. Andy Says:

    1. “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails. The other 99 slots are not required.

  12. Kit Says:

    End of the Road, by Boyz II Men… and then that always makes me think of Title of the Song, by DaVinci’s Notebook.

  13. Charlie Says:

    Who let in the rain? – Cindy Lauper

  14. imajyn Says:

    @Andy NIN – Hurt is about Trent’s dog. He wrote it when he was 15. Not about a breakup. Amazing song none the less

  15. jeb Says:

    damien rice – blower’s daughter; the avett brothers – november blue

  16. Ash Says:

    Kerosene-Miranda Lambert
    You’ll Think of Me-Keith Urban
    Picture to Burn-Taylor Swift
    Strange-Reba McEntire

  17. JJ Shag Says:

    Heard it Through the Grapevine–Marvin Gaye
    Lonesome Day– Springsteen
    After the Rain has Fallen–Sting
    Big Yellow Taxi–Joni MItchell or Counting Crows
    I Can’t Make You Love Me–Bonnie Raitt et. al.

  18. kallen Says:

    when saying F U isnt enough Kelly clarkson Never again

  19. Trevor Says:

    Fuck it – Eamon

    This made me feel a little better; maybe it’ll help you.

  20. ADogg Says:

    “Almost Lover” form A Fine Frenzy should be in the list and Top 10

  21. Turff Co Says:

    Girlfriend – Eve 6, should be number one on the list.

  22. Matt Says:

    This list is missing Ernest Tubb’s “Thanks A Lot” which is one of the best break-up songs EVER

  23. Nikki Says:

    Used to Love You – John Legend

  24. sonearandyetsofar Says:

    There should be some boys 2 men and in my oppinion
    Chicago – hard habit to break

  25. danielle Says:

    because of you – kelly clarkson Whos sorry now – connie Francis

  26. Bob S Says:

    Looks like Rain by the Grateful Dead…
    Overcome – Creed
    Breathe – Breaking Benjamin

  27. minaz ali Says:

    Pink – there you go
    missy elliot – 1 minute man
    shackles – mary mary
    hush hush – pussy cat dolls
    aint it funny – jennifer lopez
    Beautiful liar – shakira beyonce
    sweet dream or beautiful nightmere – beyonce
    shut up – blck eyed peas
    moving mountains – usher

  28. minaz ali Says:

    sweetest thing – lauren hill
    hold em down – christana agulierra

  29. Bradley Says:

    Jamie Cullum – I’m all over it
    Move on Song

  30. Kate Says:

    The Break Up Song – Greg Kihn
    Duh!!!!!

  31. YeahWhatever Says:

    Fuck my ex for making me search for such a fucken playlist

  32. nevergiveup Says:

    @yeahwhatever – agreed. Fuck people who make others hurt so selfishly.

  33. nevergiveup Says:

    It’s cool, we can still be friends – bright eyes

  34. Jarrod Says:

    cheated – mike posner
    every man has a molly – say anything

  35. jessica harper Says:

    “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars

  36. janet Says:

    87 womans work shld be maxwell’s versions

  37. d Says:

    time after time

  38. kevin Says:

    kiss and say goodbye – the manhattans

  39. hannah Says:

    I have made this cd already (I call it “Bye”)

    You Don’t Know me At All, Don Henley
    Walk On, U2
    No Time, Guess Who
    To Think I Used To Love You, Uncle Kracker
    I’ve got Something to Say, The Interns
    Run Off To LA, Kid Rock
    Your time Is Gonna Come, Led Zeppelin
    Rain, Candlebox
    Someday, Rob Thomas
    EveryDay, Bon Jovi
    Freebird, Lynard Skynard
    Goodbye, Miley Cyrus
    Seconds, U2
    Better Off, Theory of a Deadman
    Ruby Tuesday, The Rolling Stones
    Bye bye baby, Janis Joplin
    Wild is the Wind, Bon jovi
    Night Flight, led Zeppelin
    Goodbye and Good Riddance to Bad Love, AC/DC
    Yellow Ledbetter, Pearl Jam
    Hope You Never, Tom Petty
    Changed the Locks, Lucinda Williams
    Control, Puddle of Mud
    Goodbye girl, Squeeze
    I’m Doing Fine Now, New york City
    Goodbye Earl, Dixie Chicks
    Hope it Felt Good, Nikka Costa
    Born Cross eyed, Grateful Dead
    Love Me Two Times, The Doors
    Cold Day In july, Dixie Chicks
    Soma, Smashing Pumpkins
    Not Big, Lilly Allen
    Little too Late, Pat Benetar
    Over Now, Alice in Chains
    You’re Crazy, Guns & Roses
    Gonna leave You, Queens of the Stone Age
    Freedom, George Michael
    Respectable, The rolling Stones
    See you Later, Soul Asylum
    Gotta get Away, Van Lenton
    Movin’ On, Bad Company
    Ain’t the One, Empress
    Last tattoo, Rehab
    Ain’t Wastin’ Time no more, The Allman Brothers
    You learn, Alanis Morrisette
    Shame for You, Lilly Allen
    American Woman, Lenny Kravitz
    Everything About You, Ugly kid Joe
    Get Out the Door, Velvet Revolver
    Hell just Ain’t the Same Without You, Theory of a Deadman
    Picture to Burn, Taylor Swift
    Time After time, Sugar ray

  40. Yanang Says:

    The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
    Ghosts – Laura Marling
    Volcano – Damien Rice
    Run – Leona Lewis
    Crying in the Rain – The Bee Eaters
    Fools like Me – Vanessa Carlton
    Rewind – Diane Birch
    Somebody I used to know – Gotye
    Forgiven not forgotten – The Corrs
    Let Me Go – 3 Doors Down
    Green light – Beyonce
    Adele
    Gives you hell – The All American Rejects
    Swag Back – Amerie
    Call me When You’re Sober – evanescence
    Cry me a River – Justin Timberlake
    All I have – J.Lo and LLCoolJ
    Skinny Love – Ed Sheeran cover

  41. Sheryl Says:

    Wanted you more – Lady Antebellum
    Someone like you – Adele

  42. brokenheartedgirl Says:

    i just want to personally say to all of you that have gone through a break up that my heart goes out to you. i recently experenced a terrible break up. he was the best friend i have ever had. we broke up 3 weeks before our 2 year anniversary. i cant seem to keep the tears from falling or my heart from breaking. he’s the one i want to hate the most but the one i need as well. this is the worst emotional pain i have ever felt. just know that i know what you are going through and please just know that no matter what happened you are an amazing person. and i wish you all the best in your journeys through these break ups<3
    these songs have helped me a ton..i hope they help you too.

    beyonce-broken hearted girl
    i cant make you love me-tank
    wide awake-katy perry
    go on girl-ne-yo
    boy without a hear-jojo
    catch me-demi lovato
    love that lets go-miley cyrus/hannah montana
    final goodbye-rihanna
    a million miles away-rihanna
    fix a hear-demi lovato
    hate u-mariah carey
    i remember-keyshia cole
    i wish-one direction
    marvins room-drake
    rumour has it-adele
    take a bow-rihanna
    taken-one direction
    that should be me-justin bieber
    thinking about you-frank ocean
    up-justin bieber

  43. brokenheartedgirl Says:

    that jojo song was boy without a heart, sorry.

  44. Christy Says:

    Umm, No one has mentioned Mary J. Blidge, she has so many soulful breakup songs…
    some of my favorites:
    - not gon cry
    - I’m going down
    - be without you
    - Mr. Wrong
    - Why
    - I can love you
    - Take me as I am
    - Enough Crying
    - Missing you
    and how about Whitney Houston?
    _ I will always love you
    - Heartbreak Hotel
    - I have nothing
    - Where do broken hearts go
    - It’s not right but it’s okay

    I’m sure there are many others, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. I always turn to Whitney and Mary when I have heartache.

  45. Jamie Tate Says:

    “Love Looks Good on You” by Jamie Tate

    http://youtu.be/lf4IwtXBteQ

  46. SACB Says:

    ‘You’re So Vein’ Carly Simon about?????? Warren Beatty.

  47. Shaelyn Says:

    Blower’s Daughter – Damian Rice
    A Woman in His arms – Linda Eder
    Sour times – Portishead
    Cry me a river – Julie London
    Don’t stop now – Emmy Rossum
    Between the Lines – Sara Bareillis
    Passive – A Perfect Circle
    I know his so well – Elaine Paige
    Tear in your hand – Tori Amos
    In Between Shades- Jill Tracy
    Pofig – In Yan
    Sleeps with Butterflies – Tori Amos
    My give a damn’s busted – Jodee Messina
    Where Shadows fall – Jill Tracy

  48. Simon sez Says:

    Olivia Newton-John’s I Honestly Love You.

  49. avathar Says:

    super songs ma all songs are block buster


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