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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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