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'Emotional' songs


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Hey there,

This thread might be complete cack, who knows, it's maybe an odd topic but here goes. This isn't a thread limited to guitar based music at all, but I was inspired to do it when thinking about certain guitarists (Eric Clapton and Chris Rea if you must know) inferring that 'feel' is more important in guitar playing than technical ability.


Out of all the songs you've heard and considered to have genuine emotion expressed in them, what are your favourites? I don't mean songs uniquely emotional to you, but songs where you hear them and feel that genuine emotion has been expressed by the writers of those songs. For instance, you might have been listening to 'Splish Splash' by Bobby Darin when you met your future spouse, but that doesn't make it an emotional song in itself, whereas something like 'Angie' by the Rolling Stones could be considered to be one of those songs, even though it may not personally mean anything to you. You get the idea. Let's make it five or ten songs (or however many you can be bothered to include) and say a little bit about why you consider each of your chosen songs to have emotion within them. I'll go first to set things in motion. My choices aren't in any particular order of priority, they're just numbered one to ten in my case as part of the format for presenting the choices.


1 David Lee Roth Damn Good

A very simple but effective 'reminiscing' song. Steve Vai's guitar rythms have a lingering quality to them here and drift along with the thoughts of the lyrics. Vocally, this one of David Lee Roth's best performances for me. He makes it seem almost like you're there and he's talking to you. He has a very interactive style of singing which really suits this song, and while it doesn't send you to the depths of despair or think about love, I still think it's an emotional song in that it's quite uplifting reflecting on good times of old and can take us back to our own good memories. For me also, it's one of those songs which will never be my absolute favourite at any one time, but at the same time is one of those few songs to which I could never really tire of listening.


2 Joe Satriani Midnight

This has a kind of mysterious, darker vibe about it, without being miserable, which I think suits the midnight theme very well. It's quite short and yet goes through a number of different phases and finishes quite abruptly, which adds to the mystery sense it has.


3 Neil Young The Needle And The Damage Done

He can be socially or politically outspoken in some of his songs ('Alabama' from the same album, Harvest, is another example), which isn't normally my thing. However, here he speaks out against drug abuse passionately without sounding over the top, and the descending guitar patterns complement the tone of the song superbly. This song has the same kind of message as The Verve's 'The Drugs Don't Work', only it makes you reflect upon the issue itself rather than just generally making you want to go away and kill yourself.


4 Randy Rhoads Dee

A song for his mother, Dolores. How could it not be emotional (even if it does appear on Ozzy Osbourne's 'Blizzard Of Ozz' album!)?! Very short but very sweet sounding and another uplifting one. The use of natural harmonics (guitar players will know what I mean) particularly adds to the happy tone of the song. As I seem to remember Peter Richards pointing out, it's a rather shocking return to Ozzy when the relaxing 7th fret natural harmonic is ringing out on this song and then suddenly the totally badass intro for 'Suicide Solution' kicks in, bringing the tender mood to an abrupt halt!


5 Thin Lizzy Still In Love With You

On most live versions of this, Thin Lizzy slow it down a great deal, which I think takes something away from it. The studio version, with Frankie Miller joining Phil Lynott on vocals, conveys brilliantly one person's sadness at being in love (still!) with someone with whom they can no longer be. A theme that's been done so many times that it's a cliché, but I thought it was well done here. Miller was a great choice for this one, his voice works very well, while Lynott is in good form with his bass playing being the other highlight on this occasion.


6 Joe Satriani Tears In The Rain

For someone thought to be as technically complex as Satch, there's not an awful lot to this song, but it does very well at conveying a melancholy image without being too downcast. Again it's very short (like Midnight), but effective.


7 Louis Armstrong We Have All The Time In The World

From Satch to Satchmo! Listening to Louis Armstrong for me is like having an elderly relative or family friend telling me a story. Very relaxing and calming, which I would consider emotional. The soothing voice, the string accompaniment and the trumpet parts all make it work fantastically.


8 Led Zeppelin Thank You

Another love song, but it's similar to Damn Good in that the fantastic guitar player keeps things simple and hands the spotlight to the singer. Robert Plant does superbly on this one. Sometimes you can only imagine one voice being able to do certain songs and this is one of those instances. David Coverdale for my money would be interesting to hear singing Led Zeppelin songs, as they have similar voices, but Plant makes this song what it is and it would be hard to see anyone else matching up to him here.


9 Stan Getz/João Gilberto Para Machucar Meu Coração

A sad song about lost love, it literally means 'to stab my heart'. Fortunately 'machucar' doesn't extend to the song in general ('machucar a canção' means 'to murder the song'!), as João Gilberto manages to sound kind of defeated in his sad reminiscing on vocals. Once you get over there being a saxophone solo in there (I always find those kind of amusing), you can hear the melancholy in that as well. Neither Getz nor Gilberto wrote the song, but António Carlos Jobim (who did) was on piano for their recording, so maybe that helped them get the feel for it.


10 Steve Vai For The Love Of God

Another inclusion for Vai, this time in his own right. He has quite a few emotional songs and when he puts his mind to it could probably make opening a bag of crisps seem like a deeply spiritual experience. I could have gone for Feathers, Rescue Me Or Bury Me, The Boy From Seattle, Whispering A Prayer or any of the songs featured on his 7th Sons archive album. I've gone for the 7th song from his 'Passion And Warfare' album as it just has that spiritual feel about it. I can't really describe it - you'd need to listen to it for yourselves to know what I mean - but it just does!


What would you consider to be your favourite 'emotional' songs, and for what reasons?

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Wonderful and Father of mine by Everclear

Both of these songs are just master pieces in music writing, you can both sense the pain that the writer is expressing and also feel it. I'm yet to meet a person who has listened to these songs and not liked them, even if they don't like the band.


Here today by Paul McCartney

Written shortly after Lennon's death, and it really shows as the writer bears his true feeling for everyone to see.


Nobodies Fault but my own by Beck

Anything by Beck is emotional, but this one convays just that bit extra.


The Luckiest by Ben Folds

simply beautiful.

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I think 'Tears in Heaven' by Eric Clapton is the most emotional song I have ever heard. Absolutely beautiful.


Then there is 'Vincent' by Don McLean. It's in the same style as 'Candle in the Wind' by Elton John. Both emotional in their own way but McLeans song seems to be much more heartfelt.


Anyone who hasn't thrown away their copy of 'Be Here Now' after all the hype died down should listen to 'Don't go away' (Track 8 I believe). It was written when Noel Gallagher believed his mum had been diagnosed with cancer. Its information on why they were written that make songs as emotional as they are.


'Dance with my father' is another great example. Not that big a fan of it in itself but its truly emotional that I'm sure so many people can relate to. When I think about it though, I've never danced with my father.


Those are the ones I came up with off the top of my head. Good thread though as I am now currently downloading some of the songs put forward. They better be emotional.

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Are we talking here about songs that the artists have put emotions into, or songs that make you feel emotional?


I would agree with Mr Mistoffeles first two paragraphs about Tears in Heaven and Vincent, and I'd also add Castles in the Air by Don McClean as well.


If we're talking about songs which are emotional (not that I have many, ask my friends! :lol) then I'd pick:


Live - Run to the Water

Live - Lightning Crashes

Pearl Jam - I am Mine


There's probably a couple more, but I can't think of them at the moment.



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I agree with dra, November Rain was/is a great emotional rock song, especially if you are listening to the full version. Other quality ones are Queen "Friends will be friends", Meat Loaf "I would do anything for love" and Foreigner's "I wanna know what love is" :xyx
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Romeo & Juliet - Dire Straights

Always - Bon Jovi

November Rain - Guns N Roses (Especially with the video)

Only God Knows Why - Kid Rock

Amazed - Lonestar

Nothing Else Matters - Metallica


Just went through my Winamp playlist and picked out the songs I feel are emotional for me. Most of the above means something to me in one way or another also...I dunno, Out of a list of 130+ songs I could only find those which I find to be emotional at all :eek

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An emotional song for me is simply an instrumental called Trailblazing.

Its been used in a few films and on TV but I first heard it on the opening promo at WrestleMania XIX last year after Ashanti sang. Very emotional and brings a tear to my eye despite having no words

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"Would" by Alice In Chains


"Jeremy" by Pearl Jam



I forgot them, I personally think that Down In a hole and Shame in you are really powerful songs, but then again so are most AIC songs. Alive by Pearl Jam always makes me feel happy and proud oddly.

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I've often cried myself to sleep listening to "Bother" by stonesour when I've been low, and I cried when I heard "Everybody hurts" after a really good mate left. Also cried to otherside by RHCP when a kid died in my year group, and they played it to remember him.
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I was filling up with tears when I left high school, our head of year said that he could only think of one appropraite song for a time like this, he then put on "Verve - Walk Away" and then just said goodbye and walked off stage. Then we all left and never came back, its odd to think that I knew 30+ people in high school, yet i am only in contact with 4 now.
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Skid Row - In A Darkened Room. The lyrics are kind of emotional but the guitar just screams emotion, at least to me anyway.

Black Sabbath - Moma I'm Comin Home. I don't actually have this song but the way Ozzy sings it kind of sends shivers down my spine, I can't explain why.


Most heavy rock music is emotion-based these days, which just makes it seem pointless. An emotional song should be like a one-off for when you have something important to express your feelings with, not a forced effort to try and seem all sensitive and lovely and stuff. Damn.

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