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40 Songs About Losers, Failing, and Failure

Updated on May 25, 2017
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FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

You can't win them all.  Realize you're not alone at failure. Make a playlist about losers and failing. We have a long list of pop, rock, and country songs.Then get back out there and try again!  You'll be a winner before long.
You can't win them all. Realize you're not alone at failure. Make a playlist about losers and failing. We have a long list of pop, rock, and country songs.Then get back out there and try again! You'll be a winner before long. | Source

Just Because You Failed Doesn't Mean You're a Failure

Winners are losers who learn from their experience. They stick it out and try again.

We've all been losers on some level whether small or epic. It's okay. Some of the most prominent and successful people are recovering losers:

  • J.K. Rowling was once on the verge of homelessness as an unemployed single mother.
  • Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots in his basketball career.
  • Steven Spielberg was rejected from the college of his choice three times.
  • Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime.
  • Actress Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven men. Axl Rose's marriage to Erin Everly lasted only 26 days. Neither Taylor nor Rose found long lasting marriages.
  • Soap opera actress Susan Lucci was nominated 18 times for a Daytime Emmy and lost each time. Then, she won on her 19th nomination. Whew!

If you're feeling like a loser in love, academics, business, or another area of life, please give yourself a break. Just because you have failed doesn't mean you're a failure. Make a playlist about losers and failing and realize you're not alone. We have a long list of pop, rock, and country songs. Then get back out there and try again!

Reader's Perspective

Be honest. In what area of your life have you failed most significantly?

See results

1. "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

If you've had one of those truly rotten days, then this international pop hit from 2005 captures the feeling well. The magic feels lost, the sky is gray, your passion has dissipated. The tune was used as an elimination song for American Idol contestants which probably made losing feel even worse.

So you had a bad day. Come back fighting tomorrow and try again.

2. "The Winner Takes It All" by ABBA

Feeling defeated after a break-up that she didn't seek, the broken-hearted protagonist in this 1980 pop song feels like she has lost everything. The song was written by one ABBA member after divorcing another and became an international hit for the Swedish group.

3. "In the End" by Linkin Park

This 2000 rock song is a comment on the futility of trying to make a relationship work when both partners aren't mutually invested. In such case, it doesn't matter how hard you try to force it. It just ain't happenin'.

The narrator realizes the brevity of life and the value of time. Don't waste it on those who don't return your affections.

4. "Fought the Law" by The Clash

The poor sorry sucker in this 1979 rock song was low on cash so he committed armed robbery. Sadly for him, he wasn't very good at it, so now he's on a behind-bars vacation, working the chain gang. You can hear him singing, "I fought the law, and the law won."

The 1965 version of this song by the Bobby Fuller Four was named by Rolling Stone as one of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

5. "Best Of Intentions" by Travis Tritt

The poor fella in this woe-is-me country love song from 2000 wanted to give his lady the world. He had big plans for a large house and all the dreams that come with it. However, none of that materialized, so all he has left to give her is an apology that he truly intended to make good on his promises.

Tell Us How You Bounced Back from Failure in the Comments Section Below.

6. "Loser" by Beck

The guy in this 1992 alternative rock song combines self-denigration ("I'm a loser") and a lot of nonsense lyrics to express low self-image and not taking yourself seriously. It became an anthem for Gen Xers who were alienated from mass culture during the early 1990s. They were labeled slackers and called cynical. Yeah, whatever.

7. "Loser" by 3 Doors Down

This 2000 chart topping rock song was written about one of the band members' childhood friends who became addicted to drugs. The protagonist in the song realizes that he is taking life-threatening risks, and he feels like a loser with no alternative. Realize, however, that there is always help, always an alternative for a healthier, happier life.

8. "Lonesome Loser" by Little River Band

This catchy 1979 rock song is the tale of an unlucky gambler, a habitual loser in the three games of cards, love, and life. The narrator tries to lend him some advice, but it will likely ring as hollow as the gambler's empty pockets:

Sit down, take a look at yourself
Don't you want to be somebody?
Someday somebody's gonna see inside
You have to face up, you can't run and hide.

"We are all failures ... at least the best of us are." - J.M. Barrie, Scottish writer
"We are all failures ... at least the best of us are." - J.M. Barrie, Scottish writer | Source

9. "Loser of the Year" by Simple Plan

Living in the fast lane, the protagonist in this 2011 pop song is rubbing elbows with celebrities. He's on the verge of making it big and is the talk of the town. He has rich and pretty friends and expensive bling, but it all means nothing without the love of his life by his side. Without her, he feels like the loser of the year.

10. "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" by Terri Clark

Terri Clark dusted off this old Linda Ronstadt hit in 1996. It's a woe-is-me tune about a woman who is down on her luck in both love and life and is feeling very sorry for herself.

11. "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers

The protagonist in this 1978 country ditty tells the story about meeting a gambler who trades him some whiskey for life advice about knowing when to give up. The gambler dispenses this golden nugget of wisdom:

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run.

12. "Loser" by Saving Jane

Have you ever seen an ex-lover and thought, "Whew, what happened to them? They look awful!" That's the reaction of the woman in this 2007 rock song. By selling her engagement ring for cash and ditching her ex-boyfriend, she now realizes that she has dodged a bullet. He's a liar, a user, a domestic abuser, and yes, a LOSER. Time can give you a little perspective.

13. "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley

Although Nickelback re-recorded this song in 2016, Don Henley from The Eagles was first to do it in 1982, and that was long before we had 24-hour news cycles filled with ugly, sensational "breaking news" to scare the crap out of you.

This rock song laments tabloid-style reporting of negative stories that take advantage of people losing. People lose their homes, their reputations, their health, their lives, etc. And we just watch it all in short sound bites on the evening news. Who is really the loser?

14. "Loser" by Limp Bizkit

If you've ever been in a relationship with someone who brought out the worst in you, then this 2011 rock song will remind you of them. The narrator calls himself a loser because his partner feels like losing is all he's done since he met her. He puts up with abuse, dwells on the past, and tolerates her constantly pushing his buttons.

The partners bring out the worst in one another, and the guy simply wants control of his life back. Life is too short for a losing relationship like this:

I'm a loser; yes, it's true
Feels like I am losing since I met you
Through the good times and the bad
Feels like I'm losing all I ever had.

15. "Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage

There's one of these in every crowd. It's not you, is it?

This ironically upbeat rock song from 1995 features a Negative Nellie narrator who admits that she's only happy when it rains, things are complicated, and all is going wrong, She relishes bad news and invites you to "pour your misery down on me." Sounds like one helluva catch, this gal.

16. "Luckiest Loser" by Bowling For Soup

When his best friend since junior high stole his girlfried, the guy in this rock 2006 song responded that they deserve one another. Feeling betrayed, he dishes creative insults to both of them but claims moral superiority by saying that he is the luckiest loser.

17. "The Sound of Failure" by The Flaming Lips

Anyone who suffers from a serious health condition knows that the advice to "stay positive" can grate on your nerves rather than bring comfort. (Stop saying that to people whose bodies are betraying them!)

This sad 2006 alternative rock tune describes a young woman's friend who is dying. Her body is failing her, and she can neither stop the process nor put on cheery airs while fakeness surrounds her. The world may be giddy, but she cannot pretend. The sound of failure is despair.

"There is no failure except in no longer trying." - Christ Bradford, British children's writer
"There is no failure except in no longer trying." - Christ Bradford, British children's writer | Source

18. "I'm a Loser" by The Beatles

The poor guy in this 1964 early rock song feels like an utter failure because he has lost the girl he loves. He's feeling sorry for himself and seeks to offer advice to others so they don't become losers like him.

19. "Dammit" by Blink-182

Taking an introspective look at a break-up, the guy in this 1997 rock song says he won't hold it against his girlfriend for leaving him. His life is falling apart right now, but he'll lean on a friend for support and imagines that this relationship failure is just another part of growing up. However, he warns her that later when she regrets their break-up, it'll be her who will need to lean on a friend for support.

20. "Criminal" by Britney Spears

Ever been in love with a loser? Britney Spears has, and we're not just talking about those few years with back-up dancer Kevin Federline. In this 2011 pop song, she portrays a woman in love with a hustler, a liar, a bad boy.

She confesses to her mama that their attraction isn't rational but instead is purely physical. She overlooks his tainted heart and his history as a killer. What's really criminal, however, is her decision making. Wise up, girlfriend!

"It's failure that gives you the proper perspective on success." - Ellen DeGeneres, American comedienne
"It's failure that gives you the proper perspective on success." - Ellen DeGeneres, American comedienne | Source

Even More Songs About Losers, Failing and Failure

Song
Artist
Year Released
21. Failure
Breaking Benjamin
2015
22. Love Will Tear Us Apart
Joy Division
1979
23. Loser Like Me
Glee Cast
2011
24. Beautiful Loser
Bob Seger
1975
25. I Am A Loser
Michael Jackson
unreleased
26. I'm A Good Loser
Merle Haggard
1971
27. Failure by Design
Brand New
2001
28. Failing
Staind
2011
29. Three Time Loser
David Allan Coe
1979
30. Creep
Radiohead
1992
31.Three Time Loser
Dan Seals
1987
32. The Loser
Hank Williams Jr.
1972
33. One of These Things First
Nick Drake
1971
34. Say Something
A Great Big World
2014
35. You Win I Win We Lose
Kenny Chesney
1997
36. Winning
Keith Urban
2010
37. Who's That Man
Toby Keith
1994
38. Someone Else's Star
Bryan White
1994
39. Diary
Bread
1972
40. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
George Michael
1999
Do you know a song about losing or failure that should be on this playlist? Leave us a suggestion in the Comments Section below.

What's In a Name? Locations with Names Associated with Losing and Failure

show route and directions
A markerDefeated, Tennessee, USA -
Defeated, TN 37030, USA
get directions

B markerDefeat Ridge, Tennessee, USA -
Defeat Ridge, Tennessee 37882, USA
get directions

C markerFail, Portugal -
3510-621 Fail, Portugal
get directions

D markerFailing Creek, Michigan, USA -
Failing Creek, Kalkaska Township, MI, USA
get directions

E markerFailing Lake, Indiana, USA -
Failing Lake, Jamestown Township, IN 46737, USA
get directions

F markerLake Surrender, Montana, USA -
Lake Surrender, Montana 59061, USA
get directions

G markerLoser, Switzerland -
Löser, 7494, Switzerland
get directions

H markerLoss, South Africa -
Loss, South Africa
get directions

I markerLost Creek Trail, Nevada, USA -
Lost Creek Trail, Las Vegas, NV 89161, USA
get directions

J markerRetreat River, Australia -
Retreat River, New South Wales, Australia
get directions

© 2017 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 4 months ago from USA

      Shyron - Please forgive that I'm just now getting around to answering this. For some strange reason, it was hiding in my spam folder!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Tamara - Thanks for stopping by and for the kind support.

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      Tamara Moore 5 months ago

      Excellent! These articles of yours inspire me :-)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 5 months ago from Texas

      This hub is one of my favorites in your series, and I love the videos.

      A good one to add would be "The Race is On" by George Jones

      The Race Is On

      Grateful Dead

      I feel tears welling up from down deep inside,

      Like my heart's got a big break

      And a stab of loneliness sharp and painful that I may never shake.

      You might think that I'm taking it hard since you broke me off with a call,

      You might wager that I'll hide in sorrow and I might lay right down and bawl.

      Now the race is on and here comes pride up the back stretch,

      Heartaches a goin' to the inside, my tears are holding back, tryin' not to fall.

      My heart's our of the running, true love scratched for another's sake,

      The race is on and it looks like heartaches, and the winner loses all.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      AudreyHowitt - I love that song, although thankfully it's about others instead of me. Let us all keep it that way! Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are winning like crazy in your world.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 months ago from California

      I fought the law and the law won! Love that-Sometimes when we fail we can still sing a ditty and tap our feet!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Devika - You're very adaptive, a special kind of winner. Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.

    • profile image

      DDE 5 months ago

      I experienced ups and downs in my adoptive country and don't see myself as a loser. I learned from my mistakes and never gave up on trying something new.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Rasma - Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I hope that anyone who feels like a loser will reconsider. Have a wonderfu weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Jo - That's the right attitude. Failure is temporary and you can always redouble your efforts when the time is right. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Linda - I appreciate you stopping by even though you know non of the songs. I'm glad you enjoyed the "loser" location map. Have a good weekend!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Loser will never remain a loser if he or she learns from their mistakes. Another great hub with many outstanding choices.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 5 months ago from Tennessee

      I've had my share of heartaches and failures, but I don't remember ever feeling like a loser. I just thought I was down, not lost.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I don't know any of the songs, but I always enjoy reading your descriptions of the music. The maps that you include are a great addition to your playlist articles!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Audrey - Thanks for saying so! I love looking up the supplementary information for these articles, such as the maps and supporting examples or statistics. Glad you enjoyed it. Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      What a great message! "Winners are losers who learn from their experience." I love the theme of this hub. The examples of celebrities who failed but persevered builds motivation for the reader. And the map showing the list of names associated with losing and failure is interesting and fun.

      Well done. You...are a winner!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Thanks, Dora, for stopping by and for your kind comment. Have a terrific weekend ahead!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Larry - So true! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are well.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      It's great to be able to sing about failure. The feeling of disappointment passes and since you did not write the song, it's obvious that somebody else knows what it feels like. I like the quotes.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 5 months ago from Oklahoma

      "Even the losers get lucky sometimes."

      Another wonderful list

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Bill - Glad you thought of one. Hope I was able to broaden your musical repertoire.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Kallini - I've never heard that one, but I like it. When you lose, you sing. I'll have to find that documentary. As difficult as the 2008 crisis was, I hope we eventually learn something from it, such as don't place your identity in a job that could go away tomorrow through no fault of your own. Jobs don't love you back. Thanks for commenting. I hope you are dancing and happy and succeeding.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 5 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello, Flourish:

      I'm not sure whether you put together a winning list about losers or a losing one... I'm a strong believer in "when you lose, you gain, when you gain, you lose" concept because it makes me the biggest loser/gainer/winner/loser of them all.

      I don't agree that life/health/employment/family and what not is a game.

      But if I want to be somewhat convincing - loser-winner games usually produce one winner out of so many (10? 100? 1,000?) losers who all want to be a winner yet hate that winner with passion.

      I'd rather be in some rearguard - once I wrote a poem "I Want to Be a Loser" which provoked a lot of comments (mostly from losers and the like), but I removed it. That I regret. Losing comments, not the poem itself.

      "The Loser Takes It All" is a classic - it's impossible not to like it. I love "Dirty Laundry" as well.

      As usual, I can't come up with one single song about losers now, but I have just watched a documentary "The End of Men" - how way too many of them have lost their jobs (in 2008) and lost the self-identity, direction, the sense of masculinity...

      and how much better they and all of us are for it.

      When you lose, you... sing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      This was an easy one. When I was in high school The Beatles recorded "I'm A Loser," so it was only natural that it popped into my brain immediately. Love this series...keep them coming.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Martie - I agree that we've all failed miserably at some time and it's just part of learning. One needs to just dust off and keep going!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Linda - Thanks for that suggestion. I have added George Michael's remake of Bing Crosby's classic (simply because it's more recent and George Michael has such a lovely voice). I'm also adding it to a playlist that I am researching on songs about poverty and homelessness. Thanks so much! Perfect timing!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Auw, this music for 'losers' is a well-needed play-list through-out a person's life. I'm saving it on my hard-drive. Thank you, Flourish!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      stevarino - Losing in love is hard. I bet that guy second guesses his decision to betray her trust and read that diary. Thanks for the suggestion. I have added it at #39.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Heidi, You've prompted me to dig a little deeper and add a few more country songs. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love that Garbage song!

      Have a great day!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 5 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Failing? I'm an expert. Failing is tripping, falling, and then trying again. Failure is when you fall down and don't get up again. I've a suggestion for another song you could add to the list. It's an oldie sung by Bing Crosby "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Debangee - Thank you for stopping by and your kind endorsement. You are right. Failing is just a temporary situation unless you quit. Have a wonderful day!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Terrilynn1 - Thank you for your encouragement. I completely agree with you that anyone with a hint of success has failed miserably at something. If you fail, get up, dust yourself off, and show the world you're back! Have a great day!

    • stevarino profile image

      Steve Dowell 5 months ago from East Central Indiana

      A couple immediately come to mind, the first of which is already mentioned - "Lonesome Loser" by The Little River Band, the second is from the early 1970s - "Diary" by Bread.

      Thanks yet again for a fun and thought provoking post!

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 5 months ago from India

      Very , very inspiring. We have all one point of time felt that we have failed to do something. But there is no harm in failing . It imparts knowledge to succeed in the next step. These songs are just the appropriate songs to console these downhearted souls. Lovely collection of songs. Very inspiring!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

      The Little River Band and 3 Doors Down tunes popped into my head immediately when I saw the playlist title. That Garbage track is one of my fave songs, in spite of its seemingly negative narrative.

      I thought there would be more country tracks in this list. My hubby would call those "My tractor done broke, my woman done left me..." country songs. ;)

      Thanks for winning list of loser songs!

    • Terrielynn1 profile image

      Terrie Lynn 5 months ago from Canada

      Good morning flourish. This is a very interesting combination of songs. We only lose when we quit trying. I do believe that failing can encourage us to try harder somtimes. When we succed it feels amazing. I love the song choices. well done.