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Songs That Make Us Cry

This page doesn’t cross-list all my various posts about music (which you can find by using the “Categories” on the right side of the main page). Rather it’s intended to highlight the beautiful works that I’ve featured here, especially songs that make us cry, or that examine the experience of crying. (I know, sometimes they are even funny.) If you have more suggestions, please send them my way, and I’ll add them to this list. What music makes you cry? Or evokes powerful emotions? (Alice Cooper, for instance, might never make me cry, but there’s an emotional release from “School’s Out” nonetheless.)

Jolie Holland, “Mexican Blue” and “Rex’s Blues” (the latter originally by Townes Van Zandt)

Hazel Dickens, “Pretty Bird” from the Hazel & Alice (Gerrard) album

J. Tillman, “Year in the Kingdom”

Father John Misty, “I’m Writing a Novel”

Franz Liszt, “Symphonic Poem 4: Orpheus”

Mahalia Jackson, “Summertime/Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”

k.d. lang, “Hallelujah”

Leonard Cohen, “So Long, Marianne”

Alice Cooper, “School’s Out”

Bruce Springsteen, “Ho Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?”

Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”

“El Señor Don Gato” (traditional)

“Skye Boat Song” (traditional; performed by the Corries)

Bryan Ferry, “It’s My Party”

Lesley Gore, “It’s My Party”

“Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep” (traditional)

John Prine, “Angel From Montgomery”

Bonnie Raitt, “Angel From Montgomery”

Mychael Danna, soundtrack for The Sweet Hereafter

Sam Phillips, “Raised on Promises”

Simon & Garfunkel, “Silent Night/7 O’Clock News”

Beth Orton, “Devil’s Song”

Patti Smith, “Rock ‘n’ Roll N[]”

Simon & Garfunkel, “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” [not a crying song, of course, but honestly happy]

Simon & Garfunkel, “Kathy’s Song”

Jimi Hendrix, “All Along the Watchtower”

John Prine, “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore”

Sage Francis, “Makeshift Patriot”

Melissa Etheridge, “Tuesday Morning”

Black Eyed Peas, “Where Is the Love?”

John Hiatt, “When New York Had Her Heart Broke”

Bob Marley, “Them Belly Full (but We Hungry)”

Renee Fleming, “Ebben? Ne andro lontano” from Alfredo Catalani’s La Wally

Jim Croce, “Operator”

Garnet Mimms, “Cry Baby” by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns

Simon & Garfunkel, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”

Ani DiFranco, “Crime for Crime”

Can, “Laugh Till You Cry, Live Till You Die”

John Lennon, “Imagine”

U2, “It’s a Beautiful Day”

Morphine, “Gone for Good”

Joni Mitchell, “Little Green”

Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers, “Why Do You Weep Dear Willow” (traditional)

Janis Joplin, “Cry Baby”

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