27 Sad Rock Songs; The Saddest Ever

21. 1916 by Motorhead

Song Year: 1991

Motorhead is not known for sad songs, but “1916” certainly deserves a spot among the saddest rock songs. Lemmy takes us through the journey of 10,000 soldiers of the First World War as they learn to fight together, lie about their ages, and march to the trenches of the Western Front – to find that their vision of patriotism is a lie.

22. Cancer by My Chemical Romance

Song Year: 2006

“Cancer” stands out as a particularly brutally sad song on an album of sad songs. “Cancer” is the only song without hope on The Black Parade. Its narrator is recognizing that their time to die is already here and says their goodbye through the words in the song.

Instead of looking for hope or meaning in their life, the narrator dives deep into hopelessness and acknowledges the inevitability of death. 

23. Celluloid Heroes by the Kinks

Song Year: 1972

Ray Davies ranks among the most poetic songwriters in all of rock music, and “Celluloid Heroes” proves why he deserves such a title. Instead of telling the story of a broken relationship, Davies tells the story of a street full of names of people whose lives we imagine to be perfect: actors and celebrities.

As he exposes the cracks and faults in each of their lives, he shows us as the listeners one of our most impossible wishes, and how it haunts us in our most vulnerable moments: the wish to be immortal.

24. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

Song Year: 1995

“Hallelujah” is the second cover on this list. Like “Hurt,” it is more associated with another artist than its original songwriter.

Jeff Buckley brings out the heartbreak lurking in the lyrics with this passionate rendition and makes the meaning clear; a relationship that once seemed holy and divine has soured, and that feeling is eating at both of the people in the relationship.

24. Dead Boys by Sam Fender

Song Year: 2018

“Dead Boys” is a newer song but it nonetheless counts among the saddest rock songs for its topic: suicide.

Sam Fender narrates as the surviving friend of someone who has committed suicide, watching the anniversaries of deaths come back around year after year. The town he lives in continues to ignore the epidemic of male suicide eating it alive, instead opting to say that no one could have ever predicted why someone would end their lives.

Instead of coming off as hopeful, Dead Boys comes across with two emotions: irreparable heartbreak and seething anger at a community that never let its male inhabitants reveal what they felt.

26. Halo by Boston Manor

Song Year: 2018

One of the newer additions to this list, “Halo” by Boston Manor still earns its spot even if it is a newer song. The opening lyrics reveal that the narrator is hopelessly addicted to drugs and it has ruined their life and isolated them.

As drug use continues to isolate them, they begin to notice their fall from grace, hence the lyrics in the heartbreaking chorus. This song also addresses the cycle that many people with addictive tendencies find themselves in and how it just continues to destroy their lives.

27. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

Song Year: 1975

Few songs are more fitting to conclude this list than this heart-wrenching love song from Fleetwood Mac.

Stevie Nicks wonders over minor chords if she can keep not only a relationship but a marriage alive over time as she gets older.

She famously wrote the song in Colorado, where she could witness landslides and avalanches in person and see how sudden they were.

Sad Rock Songs, Final Thoughts

While being sad isn't usually enjoyable, we hope you enjoy or at least find comfort in the songs we listed for the saddest rock songs. They span a wide range of breakup songs, heartbreak songs, songs about death, and many others. But what they have in common is that they are sad and each has a unique take on sadness. So, if you are looking for comfort in music, you can certainly find it in this list.

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