Throughout history in almost every culture, the heart has been signified as the origin of the emotion of love. Outside of love, the heart can also represent the central pulse of cities, music, and anything else that acts as an energetic hub for people to enjoy and exist within. Whether you’re nursing a broken heart or putting together a playlist of heart-themed songs, these songs about the heart are sure to soothe and remind you to fill your heart with courage.
Song Year: 1974
This classic track from soul singer Bobby “Blue” Bland tells of how a city just doesn’t have the same shine now that his lover is gone. In many ways, people can grow accustomed to enjoying certain aspects of their town with the ones they love, and when they leave, those same things can tend to be a little lackluster.
Sometimes love really does make things glow far beyond what we might initially perceive. Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City manages to capture that feeling pretty well.
Song Year: 1978
Shakedown Street is a great contrast to the aforementioned song as if the song was written in reply to Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City. The lyrics tell of someone who sees their town as a dull and lifeless place, while the narrator sees exactly the opposite and explains that, perhaps their bleak view of their town is due to the way they choose to see things, and that they only need to search a little to find the excitement.
This is a signature song of The Grateful Dead and continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world. The song frequently finds itself being still played by original members as well as dedicated tribute acts that tip their hat to the iconography of this famous and influential band.
Song Year: 1997
Elliott Smith was a true master penman of being able to convey emotions in ways that many others could not, and this certainly won’t be the last song of his on this list. No Name No. 5 is a song about a broken-hearted person who is in a state of limbo.
In this song, Elliott Smith paints a detailed picture of the squalor and anxiousness that can come with a broken heart. This state can be akin to emotional purgatory, where the motivation to do anything is lost, and No Name No. 5 emotes this in a special way.
Song Year: 1972
From its whining harmonica to its touching lyrical delivery, Heart of Gold is a massively famous and recognizable song. This song paints a tale of someone that, despite experiencing the best of life’s luxuries, there is nothing that can equate to the invaluable love that someone else can offer. The lyrical narrator explains that they would traverse the greatest of distances and do whatever is necessary to find that kind of love.
Song Year: 1983
This smash hit by Huey Lewis & The News from their 1983 album Sports tells a tale of a person who, if called upon by a certain woman, would not turn down their advances. No matter what time of day, their door is open to her, despite the fact that she would use them and leave without commitment.
Heart and Soul is one of the most famous songs of the early 1980s and is instantly recognizable by its opening synthesizer track. The song continues to be in heavy rotational play with today’s soft-rock radio stations.
Song Year: 1983
This early 1980s power ballad from Bonnie Tyler was a mega-hit upon its release that would ultimately help to propel Tyler’s career into greater fame and recognition. Total Eclipse of the Heart is a complex tale of somebody acknowledging that they are a broken person, and are quite tired of feeling that way. It is a song of longing for someone else, to start again and live life together until the end.
Song Year: 1997
Another song by Elliott Smith from his album Either/Or featuring somebody with a broken heart is the song, Alameda. This pensive track tells the tale of someone walking down a sidewalk and contemplating the faults of their life.
In the chorus of the song, it goes on to explain that the reason why they are so broken-hearted is due to the fact that they have no follow-through on the things they say they will do. This is another fine example of Elliott Smith’s master penmanship combined with his distinct musicality and is delivered in a potent, moving song.
Song Year: 1972
Soul singer Al Green’s cover of the famous Bee Gees song is a classic that properly emotes the longing need for healing. Coupled with a tremolo string section, a droning organ, and a soulful group of background singers, Al Green asks the question of how someone can move on with a broken heart while living in a world that continues to turn, day in and day out, without regard for someone’s feelings.
Song Year: 1979
Heartache Tonight is a classic jukebox rock song with a shuffle-style beat that has likely been the platform for many bar-room dances in the past. This song by The Eagles gives a message about the fact that almost every person wants to take a chance on love, despite the consequences. With every risk taken on love, the odds are likely that someone will experience some sort of heartache due to rejection or unrequited love.
Song Year: 1983
Owner of a Lonely Heart turned out to be a huge hit for the band Yes, and was the only song of theirs to rank No. 1 on the top Billboard charts. In fact, if you’re familiar with the group’s earlier releases from the 1970s, you might be a little shocked at the group’s departure from their progressive-rock roots.
Owner of a Lonely Heart sends a message that a person’s actions are what defines them. Sometimes, it is better to take a chance and live a life based on free will because having a lonely heart isn’t as painful as it is to have one that is broken.
Song Year: 1956
Heartbreak Hotel is one of Elvis Presley’s most famous songs, and this old-school rock and roll track paints a story of someone who dwells in a place of broken-hearted sadness due to a lover leaving. The song goes on to give descriptions of how the hotel of heartbreak is often at full capacity and recommends that, should a person find themselves with a broken heart, they take a room at the famous hotel.
Song Year: 1992
Harvest Moon is a fan-favorite from the later years of Neil Young’s career. The song was written as an ode to his wife and portrays a message of how his love for his wife continues throughout time. Young recalls the time before they first met and how his feelings have remained consistent throughout their relationship.
Song Year: 1964
Fly Me to the Moon is a well known song by crooner Frank Sinatra. The song is full of big band swing, with lyrics about being in love with someone. Sinatra sings that his love for another is akin to being on a rocketship blasted into space and that the person in question is everything he has ever wanted to find.
Song Year: 2002
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is the opening track to Wilco’s highly acclaimed 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Lyrically, the song is delivered from the point of view of someone who is thinking about their past relationship and how the ending was caused by their own actions. There are quite a few references to having a drinking problem, which likely could have been the cause of the ending due to an unwillingness to change.
Song Year: 1987
This song by Rick Astley has become quite the popular internet meme in recent years, and you may have been on the receiving end of a disguised internet link that contains the song (a.k.a. being Rick-rolled).
Regardless, Never Gonna Give You Up is a song about one person’s loving devotion to another. The song also has elements of acting on feelings that exist between two people, despite those feelings being unspoken.
Song Year: 1968
There are few songs from the song catalog of The Beatles that aren’t iconic. Hey Jude is a very famous song written in consolation to John Lennon’s son during the time period of John’s divorce from Cynthia Lennon.
From the beginning of the song with Paul McCartney’s voice and piano accompaniment to the sprawling sing-a-long chorus that ends the song in a climax, Hey Jude is a message of transmuting a negative period in life and re-writing the story in a more positive light. Hey Jude continues to be just as powerful today as it was when it was first released in 1968.
Song Year: 1977
Dreams, from Fleetwood Mac’s iconic album Rumours, is a very famous song about the loss of love. The song was written during a time of tumultuous conflict between then-husband-and-wife Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks while the band was writing material for the album.
The song was a massive hit for the band and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity due to its use on a TikTok video featuring someone riding on their longboard after their car had broken down in the road.
A broken heart is something that should be handled with care. The effects of a broken heart can seep into other areas of a person’s life and can cause someone to completely derail their personal progress and, in some instances, cause ill health. Music can be great medicine to treat a broken heart, due to the combination of lyrical content and intelligent musicality.
The best song for a broken heart is one that will emote exactly the way you are feeling in ways you likely wouldn’t be able to explain. However, like all things, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Because of this, it is especially important to not wallow in a certain mind state (or heart state) for too long, which a song can certainly induce due to its ability to be played and replayed.
For this reason, it could be thought that the best song for a broken heart is one that not only allows you to feel and acknowledge that feeling but also allows you to shake the dust off your shoulders and come into life with a raised chin and a new sense of being.
If you’re wondering how many songs have the word heart in their title, the answer is likely to be innumerable. This word has been used in titles by well-known artists, obscure artists, as well as artists that may not have their catalog available on the internet.
We can get a general idea though, by doing a search on databases such as AllMusic and Wikipedia and taking the average between them. These databases turn up roughly 100,000 different titles that feature the word heart, which is likely a fairly accurate representation.
The symbolism of the heart and the feelings that seem to originate from this organ are likely to be a mainstay of humanity until the end of time. Music has the benefit of being able to emote and convey certain messages and feelings that come from the heart.
For this reason, this tried and true subject will continue to be utilized in music around the world, as everyone has a heart, and more than likely, a great majority of people have experienced heartbreak. It is a simple fact of life.