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Songs About Love and Loss

Updated on October 11, 2013
Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

When Love Stinks Like a Rose

Sometimes we feel love most keenly by its absence.

Pain, separation and breakups seem to feed the musical muse in ways no other emotions can. Without heartbreak, the music world would be one-dimensional indeed --- and way too bubble-gummy for most people's taste. I mean really, how many "silly love songs" can one listen to without gagging?

Give me gut-wrenching blues any day.


A nod to Cris A

This hub owes its inspiration to our very own Cris A. I read and listened to his delightful hub about torch songs last night. Started to offer some suggested additions in my comment and realized I had at least a half dozen. Thus, being more than halfway to a Top 10 list, I decided to write my own hub. Amazing how these hubs get germinated, isn't it?

So, ladies and lovers, here for your enjoyment are Mighty Mom's top favorite songs about love and loss. Not all are technically "blues" in genre, but all are "blue" in tone.

Side note: Some very legitimate love/loss songs were disqualified from consideration. It's not that they are not good songs, it's that they are totally overplayed on Swiffer commercials (you know the ones -- Mr. Mop tries to use music to woo back the housewife who's discarded him in favor of a Swiffer Duster). Too bad. I really like Human League's "Don't You Want Me" "


Stones: Love In Vain

Patsy Cline - Walkin' After Midnight

The Rolling Stones gave a country feel to their version of this1930s Blues classic by Robert Jonshon. Johnson was one of Keith Richard's inspirations and Ry Cooder played mandolin on the track. ""Love In Vain was recorded by the Stones in March, 1969 at Olympic Studios in England. The song was released on December 5, 1969 on the "Let It Bleed" album and played live prior to the studio record release during the Stones' 1969 US tour.

Written by Alan Block and Don Hecht, "Walkin' After Midnight" was recorded in 1957 by Patsy Cline and released as a single. Although she disliked the song (she claimed it was too "pop-oriented") Patsy recorded it anyway and performed it on The Arthur Godfrey Show. In 1961, a more stylized version was re-recorded for her album "Patsy Cline Showcase." The song was a big hit for Cline, climbing to to #2 on the Country charts and #12 on the Pop charts.

I Don't Want to Spoil the Party

Righteous Bros - You've Lost that Loving Feeling

There are scads of Beatles songs about unrequited love, but I chose this one because I've left many a party for similar reasons! Written by John Lennon and recorded September 29, 1964 at Abbey Road Studios, the song was released February 15, 1965 as the B-side of "Eight Days A Week." It's also on the albums "Beatles For Sale" (but not the American version) and "Beatles VI." Additional fun fact: Roseanne Cash made it a #1 country hit in 1989.

Who doesn't know this universal song about love on the slide? It's the most played song in radio history!  Made famous by "blue-eyed soul" singers the Righteous Brothers, it's a classic example of American producer Phil Spector's "wall of sound" technique which dominated mid 1960s music.  Additional fun fact: The talented duo were not brothers. Supposedly they adopted their name when a black Marine in the audience shouted, "That was righteous, brothers!"

Sarah McLachlan - Do What You Have to Do

Tracy with Eric -- Give me One Reason

For the longest time I thought the name of this song was "I don't know how to let you go." Might as well be, as that's the line that captures a tumultuous love affair that took me 4+ years to extricate myself from (and obviously, why I chose it). Sarah McLachlan's haunting voice and piano make "Do What You Have to Do" a standout on her 1997 album "Surfacing."

Did I mention the tumultuous 4+ year love affair? I have vivid memories of dancing to this song alone in my apartment during our many "off-again" periods. This is by far my favorite Tracy Chapman song. From the opening guitar riff it just gets my righteous indignation on! Written by Ms. Chapman, it appears on her 1995 "New Beginning" album. Bonus: How fun is it to have Mr. Slowhand himself playing along in this live version?

TTD- Who's Loving You

Twas a time I thought Terence Trent D'Arby was "it." That time was 1987, when I played his cassette (yes, this was before CDs) "Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent d'Arby" 24/7.

And the Jackson 5 version!

 I didn't know at the time that this bluesy song was written by Smokey Robinson and had previously been recorded by the Jackson 5! I've included the J-5 version here as a mini-tribute to MJ. RIP.

Hall & Oates - She's Gone

It doesn't get much more simplistic than the chorus of this Hall & Oates classic from their 1973 album "Abandoned Luncheonette." I'm not a huge H&O fan, but they do remind me of happy times in college. Besides, you've gotta admit, if you're feeling down, watching Daryl Hall sing makes the lovesick all better....

She's Gone Oh I, Oh I'd
better learn how to face it
She's Gone Oh I, Oh I'd
pay the devil to replace her
She's Gone - what went wrong

Soft Cell - Where Did Our Love Go?

Pearl Jam Updates "Last Kiss"

"Where Did Our Love Go?"" was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr. and recorded by The Lettermen, Brenda and the Tabulations (who also sang "Who's Loving You?") and most famously by The Supremes (and Diana Ross solo). This synth-pop version by duo Soft Cell hit the dance clubs in 1981. Typically you'll hear it fused with another Soft Cell song that deserves its own spot on this list, "Tainted Love."

Well, there's nothing more sappily romantic (in a dark, macabre sort of way) than a young sweetheart's untimely death. Songs like "Dead Man's Curve" (Jan and Dean 1963) and "Teen Angel" (Mark Dining, Alex Murrary 1959) made the grisly teen accident a genre unto itself.

Turns out "Last Kiss" is based on real-life events. Wayne Cochran wrote the song and dedicated it to a 16-year-old girl who was killed in a car crash just before Christmas, 1962. It was originally performed by Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders (not to be confused with a Hubber by the name of C.C.Riter). Later it was covered by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers.

Seattle grunge darlings Pearl Jam started playing the song live in 1998. Their version was released to the public in 1999, with all proceeds from the single and the song's appearance on "No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovo Refugees" going to refugee relief (more than $10 million all told). Nice work, Eddie Vedder and the boys! 


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      e retired on the job. by Peter Drucker.| Kites rise hihgset against the wind not with it. by Sir Winston Leonard Spenser Churchill.| Kill no more pigeons than you can eat. by Benjamin Franklin.| There is no genius free from some tincture of madness. by Lucius Annaeus Seneca.| Lying is done with words and also with silence. by Adrienne Rich.| Leave it to a girl to take the fun out of sex discrimination. by Bill Watterson.| Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice. by George Jackson.| The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. by John F. Kennedy.| Old people like to give good advice, as solace for no longer being able to provide bad examples. by Francois de La Rochefoucauld.| Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth. by Kahlil Gibran.| The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure. by Michel de Montaigne.| There is time for work. And there is time for love. That leaves no other time. by Coco Chanel.| Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and at

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      "Shine your light and let the whole world see, we're singing for the glory, of the Risen King!"I LOVE THIS SONG! That has to be one of my fvtarioe songs, and that chorus, with the break for the drums, OH YEAH!God of this city is a great followup to that!Thanks for posting these!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love Hurts by Nazareth, best love and loss song ever!

    • vconerly profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Songs about love and loss can serve as an healing process

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love these songs so much!

    • carolinemoon profile image


      7 years ago

      Great list. Thanks.

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      8 years ago

      A thread! I likes! That comedian was a big, goofy, meat-head of a guy and he had no mercy on the whole country. It really was hilarious. How about this, he said he did a show in Texas, and they told him to "Stop talking so fast, Yankee!" He's from Berkeley, and said he didn't know if he should fight the guy, or question the guy, or thank the guy. Is there a war a ragin'? He said he could buy a gun in a vending machine, but couldn't buy a vibrator (why was he looking?), unless it was deep fried and served with biscuits and gravy. I seriously want to write an article on what he had to say about the military test.

      The 'crowded/busy' aspect of my life isn't the city, it's the volume of people in my life. But I guess I love them, so there's that. I visit the city, but I'm not a city girl, I live in the South Bay. Drop me a line if you come back down to the city though. It would be great to see you again!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL. That is exactly the problem with Red States/Blue States. The blue states are on opposite coasts, making it virtually impossible to secede as a separate nation. But wouldn't it be fun to name such an entity! Hmmm.Maybe a forum thread in the making here!

      Glad to hear things are going well there in SF. Ciao bella! Mm

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      8 years ago

      Plaintive and painful? I love it. You should write a whole hub about her!! I couldn't find one when I looked yesterday. And I'm good, thanks. My life is the same crowded, busy thing it always is. If you're in the city, btw, we went to Cobb's Comedy club in North Beach last night...freaking hilarious! Lots of jokes about how effed we are as a state, country and world. One of the guys described this country as San Francisco and New York separated by heehaw and Sarah Palin book signings. Cool little venue, check it out if you haven't.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey girlfriend! How are you? How's life since the Hub Camp treating you?

      I so agree with you. Sarah has am amazing and distinctive voice. Her PSA for abused animals makes me cry.

      No one does "plaintive and painful" like she can.

      Thanks for the comment. I could write a whole hub about her! MM

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      8 years ago

      Mighty Mom, I just did a search for Sarah Mclachlan and you came up! How cool. As far as I'm concerned, Sarah Mclachlan can do know wrong, and "Do what you have to do" --awesome. I got a quick look at the other songs, looks like a good list.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Micky Dee --

      "Only 60" means you grew up in the greatest time in history for music.

      Stairway to Heaven and Inna Godda da Vida (sp?) belong here, too, as many a nascent crush was launched at school dances!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Tracy with Eric were in outer space with Give me One Reason.

      Hall and Oates- eternal with She's Gone!

      I loved the Soft Cell version of Where Did Our Love Go?

      Great hub. I'm only 60 and know nothing about love but they were all great! Thanks!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Music is a common bond for so many of us, even from different generations! I have to go read your poem. What a treat! MM

    • Rory'S profile image


      9 years ago

      a love of music is a beautiful thing, im glade we have it in common. i wrote a poem for you hope you like it. talk soon Rory,S

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Lissa Lynn. Thanks for visting. I haven't heard Romeo and Juliet in a long time.Will have to listen to it again!

      And I LOVE "Black" also -- you've given me an idea for a new hub. Songs that give me goosebumps!!!!!!

    • Lissa Lynn profile image

      Melissa Simmons 

      9 years ago from upstate NY

      I also love quite a few of your picks; especially Pearl Jam, Hall and Oates and Sarah McLachlan. A favorite of mine that gets me everytime is "Romeo and Juliet". It was done orginially by Dire Straits and then covered by The Indigo Girls and I just love the cover, it's got so much more depth in my opinion. Oh and an original Pearl Jam tune that's also great is "Black" that song gives me goosebumps. :) I really enjoyed reading this hub :)

    • chrystalsguitars profile image


      9 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I love your choices here. You named a few of my faves, Hall and Oates, Sarah McLachlan, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Nice Hub!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you GPAGE!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you GPAGE!

    • GPAGE profile image


      9 years ago from California

      VERY COOL HUB!!......GPAGE

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey Cris! Good to see you (as always). I should go and link the II hub to yours also!

      Floored by my inclusion of Soft Cell, eh? Well, young man, if I told you where I was and what I was doing when that song hit the dance floors you would REALLY be floored! That was a full 12 years before Old Mighty Mom became a Mom. Before that, I was a Mighty Minx! Still in there, somewhere, I think!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Wow MM. you are an authority in music! I enjoyed the songs here, specially those I'm not familiar with and I see there's sequelt to this - talk about hubs germinating! LOL

      Btw, thanks for the link. I appreciate it :D I was floored by your inclusion of Soft Cell! Hell yeah!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL alekhouse. This is way better than confession any day! Thanks for the support. I sure do feel the love here on HP!

      As to my avatar, no reason you can't be a female superhero also (actually, you already ARE one!). Here's one I thought might fit your personality:-):

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @Mighty Mom Re: "Got a whole lot of "angry, pissed off and revengeful" hubs going" WELL BRING IT ON! Get it all out. You got support here.

      BTW, I'd give anything to have that avatar! Or didi I already say that?

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Alekhouse -- I'm 100% with you. Without emotion there is no writing. I will have to work on expanding my emotional range, tho. Got a whole lot of "angry, pissed off and revengeful" hubs going:-).

      \Brenda -- Thanks for stopping by. Come back when you need a little music break! BTW, love your new avatar! MM

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 

      9 years ago

      brilliant. will look at this in more deail soon

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Mightyymom: I liked this a lot. Nice contrast to Cris's hub.

      @msorensson (I have heard of a poet who would fall in love and break it up and from that breakup produce a book of poems)

      This has happened to me several times. Emotions, whether they are joyous, sad, or otherwise, can really trigger creativity....amazingly.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      advisor4qb - so glad you enjoyed it. I'm a huge stones fan and eric and tracy together -- wow!

      okmom -- starting the thinking on part deux as we speak!

      maggs -- delighted i could introduce you to a new fave!

      fortunerep -- in the right frame of mind they are, but i can listen to them now (happily married) without crying. btw, congrats on your 100 hub score! you go, dori!

      wesleycox. mournful songs. i like that word! thanks!!! MM

    • wesleycox profile image


      9 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      A great list of mournful songs. Thank you

    • fortunerep profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      wow these are tear jerkers!


    • maggs224 profile image


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      you have got one of my all time favourites there 'You've lost that loving feeling' now I have a new one to add Tracy and Eric Give me one more reason excellent hub

    • okmom23 profile image

      Donna Oliver 

      9 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

      Fantastic hub! YES!! Part 2? 3, 4, 5 etc.....

    • advisor4qb profile image


      9 years ago from On New Footing

      AWESOME HUB! I thoroughly enjoyed the Stones and Tracy Chapman with Eric Clapton. I have always loved Eric Clapton!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello dear friend emohealer! I am thrilled that you enjoy my picks! Enjoy them!!

      Msorensson -- I believe the greatest creativity comes out of human loss. In other words, you don't have to be a depressive to be a great artist, but it helps:-). Thanks for visiting.

      SEM Pro -- OMG, you've started me thinking about Part 2 of this hub. BB is da man! Love him with U2 on "When Love Came to Town." Wonderful. Glad I could assist in your mood! MM

    • SEM Pro profile image

      SEM Pro 

      9 years ago from North America

      Oh Darlin' this is GREAT!!! What a wonderful job - was on YouTube w. BB/Lucille & Chapman - "The Thrill is Gone" then "Give Me One Reason" - just in the mood for not sappy but wanted to just play 'em instead of looking 'em up - Hehe - you're a Sweatheart!!! You read what we needed :) THANX!

    • msorensson profile image


      9 years ago

      I have heard of a poet who would fall in love and break it up and from that breakup produce a book of poems.

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      I truly appreciate your picks. 9 out of 10 I have dubbed to CD and put in my jukebox. The home of my music where you can never pick a song I don't like and I can play it very very loud. Very nice!


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