The Saddest Country Songs of All Time


Jul 29, 2005


The Bottom Line Country songs have always told a story, but here are a few that touch your heart everytime you hear them.

There are songs in every genre that just tug at your heart-strings, and at times, can even make you cry. Here are some of the country songs which I have found to be the saddest.

This is my first entry into Alex's Write-Off about the saddest songs in music.


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Travis Tritt -- Tell Me I Was Dreaming

Even before I first fell in love, and before I met the love of my life, or even really knew what love was, this song broke my heart. Tritt sings it with such passion, and totally brings every emotion to a song about losing the most important person in his life. The video is almost too much to watch a second time, as you already know what is coming in the last verse. Tritt sets the standard of sad songs with this beautiful ballad.

Tell Me I Was Dreaming
Written by Travis Tritt & Bruce Ray Brown

When I woke up this morning
Wiped the sleep from my eyes
Found a new day dawning
And suddenly I realize
You're gone

Chorus:
Tell me I was dreaming
That you didn't leave me here to cry
You didn't say you don't love me anymore
And it was just my imagination telling lies
Tell me that you didn't say goodbye

I'm in a state of confusion
I hope things aren't what they seem
If this is really happening
Just let me go back to dream
You're home

Chorus (2 x's)



Randy Travis -- Three Wooden Crosses

Another "story" song by Randy Travis, this song almost doesn't appear sad the first time you hear it, but when it gets to the end, I was floored personally. Three wooden crosses is the type of song that you have to listen to a second time, because by the time you get to the end of it, you are expecting one thing, but are instead taken on an emotional tangent from the main part of the song. It is another beautiful song by Travis, and will be around for years to come.

A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher,
Ridin' on a midnight bus bound for Mexico.
One's headed for vacation, one for higher education,
An' two of them were searchin' for lost souls.
That driver never ever saw the stop sign.
An' eighteen wheelers can't stop on a dime.

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,
Why there's not four of them, Heaven only knows.
I guess it's not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It's what you leave behind you when you go.

That farmer left a harvest, a home and eighty acres,
The faith an' love for growin' things in his young son's heart.
An' that teacher left her wisdom in the minds of lots of children:
Did her best to give 'em all a better start.
An' that preacher whispered: "Can't you see the Promised Land?"
As he laid his blood-stained bible in that hooker's hand.

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,
Why there's not four of them, Heaven only knows.
I guess it's not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It's what you leave behind you when you go.

That's the story that our preacher told last Sunday.
As he held that blood-stained bible up,
For all of us to see.
He said: "Bless the farmer, and the teacher, an' the preacher;
"Who gave this Bible to my mamma,
"Who read it to me."

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,
Why there's not four of them, now I guess we know.
It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It's what you leave behind you when you go.

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway.



Garth Brooks -- The Dance

The Dance is one of the saddest songs that has ever come across my life, because I put a lot of meaning into the lyrics. Seeing the "dance" as my life, and considering the pain that I have been through, I know I wouldn't give up the chance to dance for anything. Garth is the best at singing songs with sheer emotion, and The Dance is one of many that he has put out in the music world for us. Beyond just that, this is one of those songs that you can really listen to over and over again, and each time it comes away with the same impact as when you heard it the first time.

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance



Reba McEntire -- She Thinks His Name Was John

This song is a shocking one, and I am sure a tough one for Reba about a past relationship where the woman involved had an experience that would change the rest of her life. It's intent was to show how one event in a person's life can effect everything that comes after that specific day. The song is a very deep one, and it tugs at your heart by the time it gets to the last verse. Reba has always been a great country music singer, and "John" is another song that shows off her talents at singing songs with sheer emotion.

She can account for all of the men in her past
Where they are now, who they married, how many kids they have
She knew their backgrounds, family and friends
A few she even talks to now and then

But there is one she can't put her fingers on
There is one who never leaves her thoughts
And she thinks his name was John

A chance meeting, a party a few years back
Broad shoulders and blue eyes, his hair was so black
He was a friend of friend you could say
She let his smile just sweep her away
And in her heart she knew that it was wrong
But too much wine and she left his bed at dawn
And she thinks his name was John

Now each day is one day that's left in her life
She won't know love, have a marriage or sing lullabies
She lays all alone and cries herself to sleep
'Cause she let a stranger kill her hopes and her dreams

And all her friends say what a pity what a loss
And in the end when she was barely hangin' on
All she could say is she thinks his name was John
She thinks his name was John


Vince Gill -- Go Rest High On That Mountain

Hearing this song, or reading the lyrics, it is easy to see why this song would come off as being sad. The last song played for people all the time, Vince Gill sings Go Rest High On That Mountain with a conviction that breaks down your walls, and lets this song into your very soul. It is a strong ballad that many of us can attach a person to. We can sit back, listen, and picture exactly who Vince is singing about, because we all know someone that fits the description of these beautiful lyrics.

I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Chorus:
Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin’
Love for the father and son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Repeat Chorus



Tim McGraw -- Don't Take The Girl

If you don't think that this song is sad, then you need to listen to it again. The song is about love, and tells just what a man is willing to give up before he will lose the woman he loves. It is passionate, and with Tim singing it, it really rings true to anyone who listens in. It is the song of a life that could have gone differently, but at the same time that he wouldn't do anything differently to lose that time with her. Giving your life for that of another is the greatest offer you can make, and this song is that offer.

Johnny's daddy was taking him fishin
When he was eight years old
A little girl came through the front gate holdin a fishing pole
His dad looked down and smiled, said we can't leave her behind
Son I know you don't want her to go but someday you change your mind
And johnny said take jimmy johnson, take tommy thompson, take my best friend bo
Take anybody that you want as long as she don't go
Take any boy in the world
Daddy please don't take the girl

Same old boy
Same sweet girl
Ten years down the road
He held her tight and kissed her lips
In front of the picture show
Stranger came and pulled a gun
Grabbed her by the arm said if you do what I tell you to, there won't be any harm
And johnny said take my money, take my wallet, take my credit cards
Here's the watch that my grandpa gave me
Here's the key to my car
Mister give it a whirl
But please don't take the girl

Same old boy
Same sweet girl
Five years down the road
There's going to be a little one and she says it's time to go
Doctor says the baby's fine but you'll have to leave
cause his momma's fading fast and johnny hit his knees and there he prayed
Take the very breath you gave me
Take the heart from my chest
I'll gladly take her place if you'll let me
Make this my last request
Take me out of this world
God, please don't take the girl

Johnny's daddy
Was taking him fishin
When he was eight years old



Garth Brooks -- If Tomorrow Never Comes

Garth said everything I now think in this verse: "If tomorrow never comes, Will she know how much I loved her.
Did I try in every way to show her every day That she's my only one And if my time on earth were through And she must face the world without me."

Tomorrow didn't come one day, and this song really hits to the core of me hoping that I said everything that needed to be said before that morning came. It sends a strong message to make sure you are always telling that special someone how much that you love them, in case it is the last chance you will have to do just that. Thank you Garth.

Sometimes late at night
I lie awake and watch her sleeping
She's lost in peaceful dreams
So I turn out the lights and lay there in the dark
And the thought crosses my mind
If I never wake up in the morning
Would she ever doubt the way I feel
About her in my heart

If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she's my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes

'Cause I've lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where there's no second chance to tell her how I feel

If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she's my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes

So tell that someone that you love
Just what you're thinking of
If tomorrow never comes



George Jones -- He Stopped Loving Her Today

Sad because of its presentation, George Jones ellicits a different kind of emotion with this strong song about the day a man stopped loving his woman. Listening to it a couple of times, you are able to see every little subtle detail about the story in the song, and it appears to go much deeper than even that. Jones wrote a song that is not only sad to the listener, but makes you think.

He said I'll love you 'til I die
she told him you'll forget in time
And as the years went slowly by
she still preyed upon his mind
He kept her picture on his wall
went half crazy now and then
he still loved her through it all
Hoping she'd come back again

Kept some letters by his bed
Dated 1962
He had underlined in red
every single I Love You
I went to see him just today
Oh, but I didn't see no tears
All dressed up to go away
First time I'd seen him smile in years

Chorus:
He Stopped loving her today
they placed a wreath upon his door
and soon they'll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

Spoken:
You know, she came to see him one last time
Ohh, and we all wondered if she would
and it kept running through my mind
this time, he's over her for good

Repeat Chorus

And soon they'll carry him away
He stopped loving her today



Little Texas -- What Might Have Been

When you have suffered a loss, the most thought about things are "what might have been", and no matter how strong a person is, the mind tends to wander there. For myself, I always think about what might have happened if my life was different, or if certain events had gone differently. I often also find myself wondering just how great my life would have been down the road if everything had continued being as perfect as it was for the brief moment I had with my loved one. Little Texas got it right with this song, and it is one of the sadder ones I have heard.

Sure I think about you now and then
But it's been a long, long time.
I've got a good life now, I've moved on
So when you cross my mind....
Chorus:
(i, so, and) try not to think about
What might have been
cause that was then
And we've taken different roads
We can't go back again, there's no use giving in
And there's no way to know
What might have been.
We could sit and talk about this all night long,
And wonder why we didn't last
Yes, they might be the best days we will ever know
But we'll have to leave them in the past.

Chorus

That same old look in your eyes
It's a beautiful night
I'm so tempted to stay
But too much time has gone by
We should just say goodbye
And turn and walk away.
Chorus

No, we'll never know
What might have been




Dusty Drake -- One Last Time

Another story song (aren't all great country songs ones that tell stories), about the last conversation that two people have had. It brings tears to your eyes everytime it comes on, and it truly hits home to anyone who has lost someone and not really been able to say those last words that you wanted to say. It is a relatively new song, but it is still one that packs quite an impact.

When she picked up the telephone,
His voice came on the line.
She said: "This can't be happening,"
And tears fell from her eyes.
She said: "What am I supposed to do?
I can't handle losin' you."
He said: "I just had to call to say goodbye,
One last time."

He said: "There are some things in this life,
That are out of our control.
Like who we fall in love with,
And when it's time to go."
She said: "What about the plans we had?"
He said: "This connection's gettin' bad."
Now c'mon baby, let me hear you smile,
One last time."

She started to apologise,
For all the things that she'd done wrong.
She said: "I would have loved you better.
If only I'd known."
He said: "You were the perfect wife,
Promise me you'll go on with your life."
She said: "The boys won't understand."
He said: "Tell 'em Daddy loves 'em and, be strong..."

He said: "Hon, I've gotta go."
She said: "Don't you dare hang up.
There's so many things I need to say.
I love you so much."
It was almost like she felt him leave.
She cried out: "Can you still hear me?"
She fell down on the kitchen floor,
When the signal died,
As the pilot tried to pull out of the dive.
One last......



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