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45 Songs About Losers, Failing, and Failure

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.

Just Because You Failed Doesn't (Always) 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

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.

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

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

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.

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

Even More Songs About Losers, Failing, and Failure

Do you know a song about losing or failure that should be on this playlist? Leave us a suggestion in the Comments Section below.

SongArtistYear Released

21. Failure

Breaking Benjamin


22. Love Will Tear Us Apart

Joy Division


23. Loser Like Me

Glee Cast


24. Beautiful Loser

Bob Seger


25. I Am A Loser

Michael Jackson


26. I'm A Good Loser

Merle Haggard


27. Failure by Design

Brand New


28. Failing



29. Three Time Loser

David Allan Coe


30. Creep



31.Three Time Loser

Dan Seals


32. The Loser

Hank Williams Jr.


33. One of These Things First

Nick Drake


34. Say Something

A Great Big World


35. You Win I Win We Lose

Kenny Chesney


36. Winning

Keith Urban


37. Who's That Man

Toby Keith


38. Someone Else's Star

Bryan White


39. Diary



40. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

George Michael


41. MIdnight Train to Georgia

Gladys Night and the Pips


42. She's Kinda Hot

5 Seconds of Summer


43. The Kids Aren't Alright

The Offspring


44. The Losers

Warrior Soul


45. Crushin' It

Brad Paisley


Questions & Answers

Question: How do you know if you’re a failure or a loser?

Answer: Nobody can win all the time. Failing or losing at specific activities happens to us all. However, generally, it's how you adapt to failures that determines whether YOU are a failure or loser.

The more of the following qualities you have, the more likely you are to be a LOSER or FAILURE:

1) You shirk personal accountability: blaming the victim, passing the buck, pointing the finger, denying problems exists.

2) You exhibit little sense of integrity, lying, cheating, and stealing to advance your agenda.

3) Stinkin' thinkin' dominates your mindset, as you consistently assume the worst about your fellow human being, their motives, and traits.

4) You demonstrate a lack of perseverance or work ethic, giving up on yourself and others too easily. You're afraid of a real challenge, intellectual or physical. Half-hearted and incomplete jobs, procrastination, and letting others do your work are common with you.

5) There's no curiosity. Lacking the energy and enthusiasm to try different approaches and explore different ideas, you quickly opt for a more narrow, uncreative approach because that's the easy way out.

6) Because you don't learn from experience, you keep repeating the same problems over and over again. You reject feedback and fail to develop because you fear the truth.

I hope you're not a loser, but even if you are, you can change your failing behaviors and patterns of thinking.

© 2017 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 22, 2020:

Jack, If you "always" feel this way, then you may have depression. Talk with your family doctor about your symptoms. Depression is a very common and treatable illness often rooted in a biochemical imbalance. Your doctor may also refer you to a qualified mental health counselor such a psychologist who can help you with your behavioral choices and thinking patterns. Don't wait, buddy.

Jack on June 22, 2020:

I always feel down and depressed. How can I deal with it?

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 19, 2020:

Peggy - People shouldn't be afraid to fail but rather see it as something to learn from. Thank you for stopping by!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 19, 2020:

It is not normal to always be on the winning side of life, but we can learn much from failure and build upon it. Many great inventions have come along after numerous tries that initially failed.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 13, 2020:

LaustCawz - I've always liked Garbage and found their name amusing.

LaustCawz on February 11, 2020:

First, a couple of song quotations:

"Success walks hand in hand with failure along Hollywood Boulevard."

--"Celluloid Heroes" (The Kinks)

"Ask a winner & you'll probably find, ooo Jackie, they've lost at some time."

--"Jackie Blue" (The Ozark Mountain Daredevils)

As for loser criteria, If you keep repeating "problems" with no success, you may simply be ahead of your time, or, in such a subjective world, you may have simply not found the person or persons who are in a position to notice/appreciate what you're doing & may have the means (financial or otherwise) to expose you to a wider cross-section of the public.

As for "Stinkin' Thinkin'", the reverse can have equally devastating results, where total naivete pre-empts healthy skepticism. Unfortunately, I was like this early in life &, even more unfortunately, my mother did whatever she could to encourage this attitude.

This has helped me appreciate bands/artists with self-deprecating names, though. One mentioned on the list is Garbage, who, imo, have given us the best ever album name (their "Best-Of" collection, "Absolute Garbage"). Others that come to mind: Nobody & The Nothings, The Revolting Cocks &, of course, The Killers.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 23, 2018:

Yours Truly - We ALL fall short. Please don't be so hard on yourself, my friend.

Yours Truly on August 23, 2018:

I'm a pretty colosal fuckup, all of the above lol

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 07, 2018:

Chris - Thanks for stopping by!

Chris on July 06, 2018:

I looked this up after listening to Midnight Train to Georgia!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 01, 2018:

Ella - I have a daughter your age who is graduating from high school and it is an extremely emotional time for many graduating seniors. You are not alone.

If you believe you are in crisis or at risk of hurting yourself, please tell someone immediately -- a parent, teacher, school counselor, another trusted adult, school resource officer, or contact one of the following resources:

1) National Hopeline Network 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433)

2) Crisis Text Line Number 741741

3) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.TALK (8255)

Please do this for yourself. You are not a loser or a failure. You are special and the world is a much better place with you in it.

Ella on April 30, 2018:

I AM SO SAD and i cant take care of myself or people’s expectations of me and my mental health is getting in the way of everything so that i just dont effing care anymore and everyone i know expects “great things” from me but im not sure if i will even be alive for my highschool graduation and i just cant do this anymore and my parents are really worried about me and i just cant do what everyone thinks i can do ://// thats my “something else” bc it is academic achievement, and taking care of myself, and relationships and all that

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 16, 2018:

Izzy K. - Wonderful! Thanks for the addition. It's at #42 now. You have a winning week!

Izzy K. on April 15, 2018:

Shes Kinda Hot by 5SOS

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 10, 2018:

George - That's not an obvious one, is it? However, it's about a guy who fails at his dreams and has to go back home and the woman he loves follows him. I added it! Thank you!

george on January 09, 2018:

what about Midnight Train to Georgia. Song about a loser and the loser girl that follows him

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 20, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on June 09, 2017:

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

Tamara Moore on June 09, 2017:

Excellent! These articles of yours inspire me :-)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 05, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on June 02, 2017:

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.

Audrey Howitt from California on June 02, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on June 01, 2017:

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

DDE on June 01, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 27, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 27, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 27, 2017:

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 from Daytona Beach, Florida on May 27, 2017:

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

Jo Miller from Tennessee on May 27, 2017:

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.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 26, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 25, 2017:

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.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 25, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 25, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 25, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 25, 2017:

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 from Oklahoma on May 25, 2017:

"Even the losers get lucky sometimes."

Another wonderful list

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 25, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 25, 2017:

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 from Toronto, Canada on May 24, 2017:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 24, 2017:

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!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 24, 2017:

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!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on May 24, 2017:

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!

Steve Dowell from East Central Indiana on May 24, 2017:

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 from India on May 24, 2017:

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!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 24, 2017:

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!

Terrie Lynn from Canada on May 24, 2017:

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.

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