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48 Songs About Pain, Suffering, and Hurting

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

Whether you're in physical pain or feel the mental anguish of heartbreak or grief, we all suffer. Know that you're not alone. Make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about pain, suffering, and hurting.

Whether you're in physical pain or feel the mental anguish of heartbreak or grief, we all suffer. Know that you're not alone. Make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about pain, suffering, and hurting.

Pain Is a Common Denominator

Everybody's pain level is different, but what we all have in common is human suffering. Advances in neuroscience have demonstrated that people experience social and emotional pain from rejection similar to physical pain. Anyone who has been through a heartache, bullying, or the loss of a loved one understands that.

Whether you're suffering heartache, the pain of chronic illness, or something else, realize that you're not alone in your pain. Make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about pain, suffering, and hurting. Feel better soon!

1. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

This song was originally a Nine Inch Nails song (1995) about self-harm and addiction, but when Johnny Cash recorded it in 2002 just months before his death, he not only made it his own but also it gave new depth and meaning.

Just watching the video gives me chills. The final hit of the legendary Man in Black's career was filmed in his once-thriving home and museum, The House of Cash. The museum was dedicated to his life and body of work, and it fell into neglect and disrepair during the latter years of Cash's life.

Surrounded by bittersweet memories, Cash exudes pain, regret, and reflection on a life fully lived like only an ailing man at the end of his life journey can. He recalls where he's been and knows there's no going back.

Only three months later, Cash lost his beloved wife of 35 years, June Carter Cash. Four months after her death, the legendary singer followed her to the other side.

2. “Love Hurts” by Nazareth

The guy in this 1974 fires shots at his lover with his raw, honest words. Their rocky love affair is painful, wounding, and scarring.

He fires verbal shots at her as he candidly discloses that every hurtful thing he's learned is her fault. Sounds like this suffering soul is carrying some heavy relationship baggage and needs to stay single for a good long time.

3. “Hurts So Good” by John Cougar Mellencamp

Love is not always soothing, yet we relentlessly chase it anyway. This classic rock song from 1982 won John Cougar Mellencamp his first Grammy. It's about a man propositioning a younger but sexually experienced woman he likes. Whether he wants merely a physical relationship or a more lasting romantic connection, he invites her to "make it hurt so good."

4. "Hurt" by Christina Aguilera

Have you ever felt regret so painfully heavy that you wished you could turn back time? In this 2006 pop song, the narrator recounts walking away from her father after he expressed how proud he was of her. Her father is now deceased, and she can only wish to hold him and reconcile. She realized too late that by blaming him she was only hurting herself. Are you holding on to a grudge that you will regret?

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5. "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.

Suffering is universal, and it's merely the content that varies. This poignant 1993 rock song emphasizes that each of us experiences disappointment, deep frustration, and hurt so deep that it can be tempting to want to give up in defeat.

The narrator urges the listener to reach out to others for a helping hand:

When your day is night alone, hold on
Hold on if you feel like letting go, hold on
If you think you've had too much
Of this life, well, hang on.

6. "Life Ain't Always Beautiful" by Gary Allan

There's more emotional depth to this sad 2006 song than one might realize at first blush. The song acknowledges the intense heartbreaks and struggles that life can bring.

If you're lucky, however, personal pain ultimately brings growth: "Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride." The singer/songwriter's wife died by suicide two years earlier. Between them, they had six children.

7. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by Culture Club

This 1982 reggae-influenced tune was an international hit. It made Boy George—the guy who dressed like a girl back when that was unusual—a phenomenon. In the song, the narrator addresses his lover, asking whether they really intend to cause so much emotional pain and heartache. Toxic lovers are indeed out there!

8. "Let's Hurt Tonight" by OneRepublic

This emotional ballad from 2017 highlights the pain of a relationship that is breaking down. Both partners sense that the end is near, and there is eye-rolling and wanting to call it quits. Something, however, keeps pulling them back into their bittersweet, painful relationship.

9. "Her Diamonds" by Rob Thomas

If you experience a painful, debilitating health condition or love someone who suffers from one, then Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty understands. He wrote this anguished pop tune (2009) about his wife, Marisol, who lives with an autoimmune disease. The narrator describes his partner's crushing pain and her attempts to overcome it while he looks on, unsure of how to best help her.

Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts 12 weeks or more.  It is associated with a variety of injuries and diseases and affects approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide.

Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts 12 weeks or more. It is associated with a variety of injuries and diseases and affects approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide.

Famous Musicians With Chronic Health Conditions

Some of these health conditions are more serious and painful than others, but don't knock another person's experience. We all suffer. Even famous people.

LeAnn Rimes, psoriasis

Elton John, epilepsy

Selena Gomez, lupus

Bret Michaels (lead singer for Poison), Type I diabetes and heart disease

Donna Fargo (country singer), multiple sclerosis

Naomi Judd (country singer), hepatitis C

Freddie Mercury, HIV/AIDS

Stevie Nicks, chronic fatigue syndrome

Art Garfunkel, psoriasis

Keith Richards, osteoarthritis

Prince, epilepsy

Glen Frye, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis

Lady Gaga, fibromyalgia

Michael Jackson, lupus

Clay Walker (country singer), multiple sclerosis

Mike McCready (Pearl Jam guitarist), Crohn's disease

Hal Ketchum (country singer), multiple sclerosis

Cher, chronic fatigue syndrome

Cyndi Lauper, psoriasis

David Crosby, hepatitis C

Nick Jonas, Type I diabetes

Seal, lupus

Lil Wayne (rapper), epilepsy

Robbin Crosby (Ratt guitarist), HIV

Steven Tyler, hepatitis C

Tom Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival guitarist), AIDS

Neil Young, epilepsy

Neil Diamond, Parkinson's disease

Toni Braxton, lupus and heart disease

Sinead O'Connor, fibromyalgia

Natalie Cole, hepatitis C, tinnitus

Pink, asthma

Glenn Campbell, Alzheimer's

Linda Ronstadt, Parkinson's disease

Amy Grant, shingles

10. “Pain” by Three Days Grace

This rock song from 2006 is the biggest hit of Three Days Grace's career, at least so far. It describes feeling disillusioned and being exasperated with going through life feeling numb. The narrator claims that it's better to feel pain than nothing at all.

11. "Let It Hurt" by Rascal Flatts

Has your heart ever ached so badly that the only time you get a reprieve from the pain is during sleep? If so, then this 2012 country song should strike a chord. The narrator wakes up and within seconds he recalls the hurt. As he goes through his day, he tries to fake a smile, however, this is getting him nowhere. He advocates giving in to the pain and processing it so that you can eventually come out on the other side, stronger.

12. "Broken" by Seether (Featuring Amy Lee)

This amazing 2004 rock song features a troubled couple seeking to cling to one another in their individual brokenness. They've been through significant turmoil, although the worst is now over.

Each suffers their own personal demons, and the lovers feel that it's better to be broken together than apart. The narrator misses her broken kindred spirit and soulmate and yearns to be reunited.

13. "Hurts" by James Arthur

The narrator in this 2016 pop song runs into an old lover who means much more to him than he does to her, and that's obviously very painful for him. While he has specific memories of them making out when they were young lovers, she stares at him quizzically, unable to recall who he is. Ouch.

14. “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss

This 2004 country song speaks anguish like no other. A woman breaks her lover's heart, and he spends the rest of his life with his hands around a whiskey bottle trying to drink away the pain. Eventually his alcoholism got the best of him:

He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away her memory
Life is short, but this time it was bigger
Than the strength he had to get up off his knees.

The pain of his death and her role in it caused her to follow him to the grave in the same manner.

15. "Fall" by Clay Walker

Everyone should have a supportive care partner like this man. In this 2007 country song, a sympathetic lover promises to be an emotional bedrock when his sweetheart is in pain. When she's suffered a bad day, feels like falling apart, and is on the brink of losing it, he assures her that he'll be the steady force in her life who will take all the negativity away.

16. "Feel No Pain" by Sade

When everyone in your family has been laid off and cannot find work, that's pain. This 1992 rock song's protagonist knows that the suffering of long-term unemployment isn't just economic. It's emotional, too. Not being able to earn a living breaks a person's spirit, creates bitterness and resentment, and it causes a person to lose hope.

17. “Give Me Novacaine” by Green Day

Suffer from the pain of migraines? Having plagued me for years, they've sometimes been so intense and persistent that they required have required occipital nerve blocks injections into the back of my head. Other people get botox injections just to dull their migraine pain.

The guy in this 2004 has throbbing pressure inside his head, and he'll do almost anything to rid himself of it. It threatens to overwhelm him, and he needs to numb it so he can return to normal—if that's even possible.

Women have twice the number of pain receptors that men do.

Women have twice the number of pain receptors that men do.

18. "Valley of Pain" by Bonnie Raitt

"Walking through a valley of pain," the woman in this 2002 rock song hurts and cries. However, she also tries to be hopeful by reminding herself that there must be a purpose for this trial. Through hope, truth, and courage, her resilience promises to allow her to triumph through the pain. Watch her come out on the other side and flourish anyway.

19. “Physical Pain” by Joan Armatrading

Everyone should feel this guilty for lying. (Hey, I'm talking to you, politicians!)

In this 2003 pop song, the narrator has lied to a friend, and she feels so unsettled about it that she has broken down in tears. Their friendship now lays in tatters, and she is lost, alone, and feels physical pain from the separation.

20. "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

Most famous as American Idol's elimination song, this 2005 pop ditty identifies with the pain of losing. More than that, it seems to rub it in, like sand in a fresh wound. The narrator points out that you've had a rotten day and you're falling to pieces. We can all see that you're fake smiling, and it seems like your magic has just disappeared. Stop it now! That's just too much!

Cursing reduces fear of pain and increases pain tolerance.

Cursing reduces fear of pain and increases pain tolerance.

Even More Songs About Pain, Suffering, and Hurting

Do you know other songs about pain, suffering, and hurting that should be on this playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comments Section below!

SongArtistYear Released

21. "Pain"

Jimmy Eat World


22. "Pain in My Heart"

Otis Redding


23. "Welcome to My Life"

Simple Plan


24. "Precious Pain"

Melissa Etheridge


25. "King of Pain"

The Police


26. "Hurt Feelings"

Flight of the Conchords


27. "The Cure for the Pain"

Jon Foreman


28. "Pain in My Heart"

The Rolling Stones


29. "Haven't Got Time for the Pain"

Carly Simon


30. "Unwell"

Matchbox Twenty


31. "Used to the Pain"

Keith Urban


32. "Doctor My Eyes"

Jackson Browne


33. "What Hurts the Most"

Rascal Flatts


34. "Get Off on the Pain"

Gary Allan


35. "My Immortal"



36. "Ordinary Pain"

Stevie Wonder


37. "Love This Pain"

Lady Antebellum


38. "Hurts Like Heaven"



39. "Hurts Like Hell"



40. "Looking Out My Window Through the Pain"

George Strait


41. "Harden My Heart"



42. "A Little Bit Longer"

Jonas Brothers


43. "First Cut Is the Deepest"

Sheryl Crow


44. "Cuts Like a Knife"

Bryan Adams


45. "Mercy"

Brett Young


46. "Believer"

Imagine Dragons


47. "Wine Into Water"

T. Graham Brown


48. "Didn't It Rain"

Songs: Ohia


Questions & Answers

Question: Who recorded the song, "Oh, Jasmine" in the 1980s?

Answer: There's a song by Seals & Crofts called "Summer Breeze" with a refrain that includes the line "Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind" but that was from 1972. I could not find any song by that title.

Question: Who recorded a 1960's song with the following line: "It's just starting for you"?

Answer: The song you're looking for is "What's a Matter, Baby" (1969) by Timi Yuro Here are lyrics:

I know the reason you've been crying

Oh yes I heard she won't be needing you

How does it feel being the one left behind

What's a matter baby is it hurting you

I know you found out she's been cheating

And I heard she even told you she was untrue

How does it feel being on the outside looking in

What's a matter baby is it hurting you


Remember when I needed you so bad


Remember what you had to say

You told me to find another shoulder to cry on

Then you laughed

You laughed and you walked away

I know that you've been asking about me (ha-ha)

And I'm sorry but I've got somebody new

Now my hurting is just about over

But baby it's just starting for you!

Hope this was helpful!

Question: What is the song with the lyrics, "So many times I've hurt the ones I love"?

Answer: The song you ask about is called "Wine Into Water" by T. Graham Brown (2004) or Loretta Lynn (2016). The relevant part of the lyrics are as follows: