REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ Voted Saddest Song Ever
Dark tunes have always been part of music’s DNA, and REM now hold the top spot for “saddest song ever”, with their 1992 hit “Everybody Hurts”, according to a recent survey by OnePoll.
Followed by Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” in numbers two and three respectively, the band automatic for the people hit is rounded out in the top five saddest songs of all time by Whitney Houston’s cover, written by Dolly Parton, of the Beatles’ “I Will Always Love You” and “Yesterday” in fifth place.
Conducted by hearing care brand Earex in collaboration with Robert Till, president of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and professor of music at the University of Huddersfield in the UK, the survey also explored the impact of music on mood, including feelings of longing. thanks to feedback from 2,000 participants.
“What’s interesting is that many of the top picks in this survey weren’t just about their overall popularity, some of the most mentioned sad songs have far fewer plays on streaming platforms than others, which which indicates that there really is something special about those particular songs,” Till says of the saddest songs. “As you might expect, people’s age affected their choices, with younger audiences voting for Adele over REM, but what’s telling for the saddest song is the slice of Youngest age featured “Yesterday” by The Beatles. This perhaps reflects the recent film of the same title and the importance of films and videos in providing context for songs.
Of those surveyed, 48% said music had a big impact on their mood, with 36% opting for a sad song when feeling nostalgic and 24% wanting sadder tunes after a breakup. Just under half of respondents also admitted that sad songs can even brighten their day.
Thinking of happier times, respondents also found that “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves, “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and “Dancing Queen” by ABBA were considered some of the songs the happiest, while Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” are more uplifting songs.
Additionally, Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and The Beatles’ “Let It Be” were cited by respondents as the most relaxing.
“Music has a powerful ability to take us back in time where we associate particular songs with special times in our lives or memories of particular periods,” Till said. “Reminding how important music is throughout our lives, this study is a timely reminder to take care of our ears and our hearing while we are young, and throughout our lives, so that when we get older, we can continue to enjoy the important part the music plays in our lives.
Here are OnePoll’s 30 saddest songs:
- REM – “Everyone Hurts”
- Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares to 2 U”
- Eric Clapton – “Tears in Heaven”
- Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You”
- The Beatles – “Yesterday”
- Adele – Someone Like You”
- Celine Dion – “My Heart Will Go On”
- Roy Orbison – “Crying”
- Eric Carmen – “All Alone”
- Robbie Williams – “Angels”
- Bill Withers – “It’s Not a Sun”
- James Blunt – “Goodbye My Lover”
- Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart”
- Eva Cassidy – “The Songbird”
- Coldplay – Fix You”
- U2 – with or without you”
- The Beatles – “The Long and Winding Road”
- Al Green – “How can you mend a broken heart?”
- Sam Smith – “Stay With Me”
- Amy Winehouse – “Back to Black”
- Carole King – “It’s Too Late”
- Lewis Capaldi – “Someone You Loved”
- John Lennon – “Jealous Guy”
- Simon & Garfunkel – “The Boxer”
- Gary Jules – “Mad World”
- Adele – “Easy With Me”
- Boyz II Men – “End of the Road”
- Neil Young – “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”
- Passenger – “Let Her Go”
- The Fray – “How to Save a Life”
Photo: Chris Bilheimer