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Top 25 Break Up Songs

Updated on March 7, 2009

Most people will break up with someone at some point during their lives. These things are usually suckiest when you're the dumpee, but it can be a miserable time for the dumper as well, particularly if they're not very good at communicating. So, while those of you feeling like your heart's been put through the office paper shredder are probably thinking you're the only one entitled to wallow in a good break-up song, they're actually beneficial for both parties, as a little guilt can go a long way. (Not that I'm calculating, or anything.) So anyway, regardless of which part you played this time, these Top 25 Break Up Songs will make it hurt a whole lot worse than it already does; and hey, that's what you need when your heart's breaking, isn't it? Without further ado, here they are, in no particular order.

Bill Withers: Ain't No Sunshine

Otis Redding: I've Been Loving You Too Long

Phil Collins: Against All Odds

1. Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone (Bill Withers)

A song for the man who's been dumped and knows it's time to move on. Bill Withers wrote and performed this classic back in the 70s. It's still better than most of the songs you'll hear today. It's the string arrangement that makes this so incredibly powerful.

2. Don't Think Twice (Bob Dylan)

"It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe -- it don't matter, anyhow." Obviously, for those of you who are tired of carrying on with someone who doesn't really love you, and probably never will.

3. I've Been Loving You Too Long (Otis Redding)

Otis (my favorite singer, ever) doesn't get a lot of airplay beyond that of Sitting on the Dock of the Bay but there are tons and tons of tracks by him that can take care of whatever ails you. Hell, even if you've not been dumped, this song will probably make you cry!

4. Sexed Up (Robbie Williams)

Lots of sadness in this song, a bit of frustration, and lots of truth. And if you listen closely at the very end, a surprising final statement. This song was pretty much the soundtrack to the biggest break-up of my life. I can't really listen to it anymore, but it was very helpful at the time.

5. Against All Odds (Phil Collins)

This should be higher up on the list for the sheer emotion of it. But, like I said, these are in no particular order. Phil Collins has one of the most recognizable voices in pop cos it's one of the best. And most emotive; which counts for quite a bit when you're singing this kind of song. For the dumpee who doesn't know how they'll manage without their ex.

Eric Clapton: Bell Bottom Blues

Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Are Made For Walking

Erykah Badu: Tyrone

6. Ex Factor (Lauryn Hill)

This is such a serious song; if you're not moved, something's wrong with you. With lines like, "You hurt yourself to make me stay" the words may get a little close to home for some. But if you're in that place, this is one helluva track to listen to.

7. Bell Bottom Blues (Eric Clapton/Derek and the Dominoes)

There is so much heart and soul in this song that it makes me want to cry every time I hear it. For the dumpee who just isn't ready to let go. With lines like, "Do you wanna see me crawl across the floor to you? Do you wanna hear me beg you to take me back? I'd gladly do it..." How can you not sniffle just reading that?

8. Cry Me A River (Justin Timberlake)

Hard not to think of Britney when you hear this one, but it's really quite a good song for those who've been cheated on. Especially those of you who will never stoop to that level yourselves, but kind of wish you could.

9. These Boots Are Made For Walking (Nancy Sinatra)

No one did this like Nancy. This is for the woman who's ready to kick that man out of her house and get on with her fabulous life. Who needs a man when you've got great shoes, anyway?

10. Tyrone (Erykah Badu)

A song for the woman who has finally decided to kick the loser in her life to the curb. Perfect for those of you who don't have time to cry over the best decision you'll ever make.

Etta James: I'd Rather Go Blind

U2: One

ABBA: The Winner Takes It All

11. Love is a Losing Game (Amy Winehouse)

It's a bit too "rich" to listen to nonstop (you know how you can get when you're totally miserable and depressed), but it's definitely one of my favorite songs ever.

12. I'd Rather Go Blind (Etta James)

The real soul, right here y'all. Couldn't no one come close to Etta and that voice. This classic song will make you cry when you need it most. "Something told me it was over, when I saw you and that girl walking.... " Sing it, Etta!

13. One (U2)

I know this song was meant to be about a different type of relationship, but man, does this song knock me on my arse every time I hear it. There's so much honesty in it, I can't help going back to this every time I need a little mend.

14. The Winner Takes it All (ABBA)

Jesus, has there ever been a more soul wrenching break up song written? It's bad enough to have a public break up like the members of ABBA had, but to then write the break up song of all time, and have your ex sing it while you play it.... ouch, y'all. That had to hurt.

15. What Goes Around Comes Around (Justin Timberlake)

Speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Tracy Chapman: Gimme One Reason

No Doubt: Don't Speak

John Waite: Missing You

16. Gimme One Reason (Tracy Chapman)

Such a simple little song, but it's so damned catchy. The lyrics are simple, the melody basic, and yet it's so moving. For anyone, really; doesn't matter if you're male or female, you'll be able to relate to this song.

17. Lonely Avenue (Ray Charles)

Ray recorded several songs that could be included in this list, but I think this is the most classic. Everyone knows this song! Classic tale of broken-hearted-ness cos his woman wouldn't say I do!

18. Don't Speak (No Doubt)

I wasn't a big fan of No Doubt until I heard this song. Listen to it, you'll understand why I like it.

19. Missing You (John Waite)

Tina Turner did a cover of this as well, but I prefer the John Waite version. It's such an accurate depiction of what so many people try to convince themselves of after they've been dumped. "I ain't missing you at all..."

20. Me, Myself and I (Beyonce)

Love this song. Love the video. Love it. Did I mention that I love it? For the woman who now realizes how stupid she was to believe anything that came out of her man's mouth at any point in time. "Me, myself and I, that's all I got in the end, that's what I found out. So from now on, I'm gonna be my own best friend." Sing it, B!

B.B. King: Thrill Is Gone

Billy Vera: At This Moment

Mr. Mister: Broken Wings

21. Thrill Is Gone (B.B. King)

The title says it all, doesn't it? This song is all about knowing you've been done wrong, and knowing that it's gonna come back around to the person who did you wrong one of these days. Try not to think of Burger King when you hear it.

22. Where Do We Go From Here? (Alicia Keys)

I really like Alicia Keys; she's got a fantastic voice, and she's actually doing her own thing, as opposed to copying those who've come before her. Her writing is fantastic and this song is no exception. "Maybe you won't go, maybe you'll stay; I'm gonna miss you, either way."

23. She's Waiting (Eric Clapton)

This is such an empowering song for those women who know something better is coming along. Cos it has to, right? You can't get worse than the creep you just left, which means your knight is on his way!

24. At This Moment (Billy and the Beaters)

You remember this from Family Ties, right? Alex dancing with his girl? I have loved that song ever since, and it still gets airplay. For the dumpee who loves his ex so much that he only wants her to be happy.

25. Broken Wings (Mr. Mister)

This song got so much airtime back in the 80s, didn't it? You can still hear it on the 80s stations. It's all about getting over it. "So take these broken wings, and learn to fly again..."


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      smog - inspirational

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great list. I collected a list myself too but it's sort of compiled into mixtapes.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Oh, if you want one of the greatest of all, listen to "Sky Blue and Black" by Jackson Browne. Unforgettable. It will break your heart.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Only missing song i can't see is:

      "Breakeven" - The Script

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      How could you leave off "Nothing Compares 2 U" Sinead O'Connor version? I realize she has kind of made herself a joke over the last 1.5 decades (or more), but oh. This is the perfect song for wallowing - so like the first three days post-breakup or so.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What about Somebody I Use To Know by Elliot Smith??

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i like 2 Bruno Mars songs, grenade and it will rain.

      they're helping

      love the Tracy Chapman song.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Or last resort by papa roach : )

    • VendettaVixen profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      Great list~

      How about "Jar of Hearts", by Christina Perry? Yeah - I know it wasn't released when you wrote the list, but it's a great song.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      good list of songs man there all good

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      there awesome there usful there everything you need use the information wisely

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      all good but need more juice

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Bobby V turn the page

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hope- Who Am I Say

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Take A Bow by Madonna should be up there & When Can I see You again by BabyFace

    • profile image

      emo cookie 

      7 years ago

      all by skillet: would it matter, one day to late, say goodbye, it's not me it's you, open wounds,collide, and daed inside.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon

      the break up song by greg kihn band

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I Just made my break up song list. Enjoy!

      Peachy - Missy Higgins

      Labour of Love - Frente!

      Irreplaceable - Beyoncé

      No - Shakira & Gustavo Cerati

      Beautiful Liar - Beyoncé & Shakira

      Fighter - Christina Aguilera

      Feeling Good - Michael Bublé

      Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal) - Fergie

      Special Ones - Katie Noonan

      Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse

      1901 - Phoenix

      So Over You – Ashanti

      Take a Bow – Rihanna

      I'm Not Missing You - Stacie Orrico

      Thank You - Jamelia

      Energy - Keri Hilson

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hurt by nine inch nails, snuff, vermillion pt 1 and 2 by slipknot, through glass by stone sour, any song you can think of by radiohead or joy division or nirvana to wallow in self pity. Angry from the breakup? Fuck you-damageplan, kiss- korn, stupify- disturbed, and this love- pantera

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Omg How did you know?!??¿ Lol love is a Losing game By Amy whinehouse~ Is my Heart I listened to it all the time when I was just going through he'll sacrificing myself. Also my all by miriah Carey and when a man loves a woman plus how am I supposed to live without you now that I've Been loving you so long. How am I supposed to carry on when all that I've been living for is gone. ;) and yea I dont know remember how what it's called or w.e whatever look it is what it is and you can't force someone to love u how do you say and Also her wake up alone some Michael Jackson and diddy loving you nomore. Also Vegas without you.all Goods.oh and hey guess what I Just bumped into my ex Today .:/ oh well from church but~im still good~ :). But I've liked it before I read this and only 15 at the time to so haha...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Modern break up power song Adele- Someone like you

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      the harold song by kesha

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Crazy, crazy, crazy to miss out 'All by Myself'. I think you have a definite Justin Timberlake bias.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Black dahlia by hollywood undead. It's a little dark but has a lot of truth in it

    • fastpool profile image


      8 years ago

      its a good job, thanks a lot!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Whatsername by Green Day is a good one.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      "The Winner Takes it All" by ABBA is really good. One of my favorite songs by them.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi I love theese songs i'm in high school and I recently got dumped and theese songs help so ty.

      P.s listen to theese,

      • I will suvive

      • frozen maddonna

      • happy ending avril lavigne

    • Tim Blackstone profile image

      Tim Blackstone 

      9 years ago

      Great list but I would have to add Un-break My Heart by Toni Braxton.

      I played that a lot when my ex left

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What about Sinead O'Connor's 'Nothing Compares 2 U'?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      how bout "take it on the run" REO speedwagon..?

    • profile image

      Nikita Blu 

      9 years ago

      Love your list :) I'd add Cry by Faith Hill 'cos you need to know the other persons hurting too. Mighty mom is right, Sarah Mclachlan has some fantastically sad songs.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      9 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      love your list of songs.

      Sometimes listening to break up songs is what we needed when we're down or hurt after a break up, because it gives us the oppurtunity to rethink about our feelings and help us recover.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Fave fave that's not on here is Misty Blues by Dorothy Moore.

      and Memory Lane by Minnie Riperton

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i'd listen to these once or twice but then bang on she goes

      gloria gaynor i - i will survive


    • Tickethabdotcom profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub. One Last Cry by Brian McKnight should be added to the list.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      9 years ago from California Gold Country

      Like Zsuzsy- I'm getting a box of wine and a kleenex. And I have never heard most of these songs. Maybe because I've never broken up yet.

      Great hub.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Great, great list. So glad you included my fave by Tracy Chapman (which I actually heard in the grocery store of all places the other day!!!). Agree: Otis rules.

      Another one that my gets under my sensitive skin: I don't know how to let you go by Sarah Maclachlan. MM

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Isabella! Great list of soppies. I like each one then afterwards You need to listen to my fave "I will survive" The song is great by anyone but I think it's the greatest done by Gladys Knight

      Super list, I'm feeling the blues coming on so I think I'm going to shut down the computer get a glass of wine a box of kleenex and a big pile of my soppy CD's.

      Thanks for sharing

      Seasons greetings, kindest regards Zsuzsy


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