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25 Depressing Stories Behind Some Of The Most Popular Songs In Modern History

Updated 7 Mar 2020 105.1k votes 23.3k voters 1.7m views25 items

List RulesVote up the songs you'll never listen to the same way again.

Sometimes a song can be uptempo and peppy while also being somewhat sad. However, sometimes a song is just.... sad. Many are based purely on the writer's imagination, but for these songs, real life proved far more depressing than anything a musician could come up with. These famous songs and memorable tracks might be upbeat or seem like a lot of fun, but they all have super sad and depressing backstories (in fact, you might end up rethinking the inclusion of Van Halen's "Jump" on your pump up playlist).

Some are obvious - for instance, you likely know Eric Clapton wrote "Tears in Heaven" about the passing of his son. But, what about Clapton's song "Circus"? 

Moreover, plenty of upbeat songs like "99 Red Balloons" and "Semi-Charmed Life" are actually about pretty dark subjects, like Cold War tensions and addiction. A number of the songs with sad meanings on this list were released posthumously, after the artist passed on, usually from reasons related directly to their sad song lyrics.

Here are songs that are all based on really terrible things that actually happened. They might not seem like sad songs, but if you listen closely, you may shed a tear. Upvote the tracks and singles with the saddest true backstories below... but be sure to grab a box of tissues first.

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