10 Songs About Loneliness Without Lonely Or Alone In The Title

10 Songs About Loneliness Without Lonely Or Alone In The Title

Feature Photo: m. superstein / Shutterstock.com

Does listening to rock songs about Loneliness help someone get through periods of loneliness, or does it make matters worse? There is the thought that listening to a song about loneliness helps fuel an awareness that one is not alone in feeling that way. We are not psychiatrists; we are just fans who love music and in the end, we appreciate an excellent song no matter what it’s about. So with that being said, here are 10 songs that really hit the mark on what it’s like being lonely. Is anybody listening?

# 10 – One – Harry Nillson / Three Dog Night

We might as well get this one out of the way. We know it’s probably the song that everyone thought when they first saw the title of this article. It’s just so perfectly written. Harry Nilsson originally recorded “One” for his 1968 album Aerial Ballet. However, it wasn’t Nilsson’s version that became a worldwide hit.As most classic rock fans are well aware, it was Three Dog Night’s version that became the monster hit.

Three Dog Night released their version of the Nilsson song on their debut album Three Dog Night. The album was released in 1969. At the time, Three Dog Night consisted of Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells on vocals as well as Mike Allsup on guitar, Jimmy Greenspoon on keyboards, Joe Schermie on bass, and Floyd Sneed on drums. Three Dog Night’s version climbed to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, marking it as one of the band’s first major hits.

# 9 – Solitary Man – Neil Diamond

For anyone who has ever been cheated on, the opening line of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man,” is a tough listen, “Melinda was mine ’til the time That I found her holding Jim and loving him.” It doesn’t get any better for Neil as every relationship that follows continues to fall apart. In some ways, he blames himself for not being a man who can find his own self. Nonetheless, he is left alone, accepting his fate to live a life in solitude. It’s as sad as it gets and a real story for so many.

# 8 – Something In The Night – Bruce Springsteen

From the opening piano notes of Springsteen’s masterpiece from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album, one can feel the sense of longing Springsteen is painting in this haunting song. And then, instantly, his screams make it even more real. The sense of loss, the impact of driving the never-ending road that leads to nowhere. The car is just a metaphor; the road is just a metaphor. He’s writing about a man who, every time he finds something that may be valuable, he states that something or someone somehow takes it away. Springsteen delivers the feeling of loneliness both lyrically and even more purposely within the music. It is a powerful one.

# 7 – Taxi – Harry Chapin

Ask any Harry Chapin fan to name their favorite song by the artist, and they will probably say “Taxi.” However, when you think about it, it’s one of Harry Chapin’s saddest songs. It’s way more sadder than “Cats in the Cradle.” At first, Harry Chapin’s “Taxi” is a song about the one who got away. But it’s far more profound than that. The question is, why did he let her get away? Harry answers that in the song when he sings, “Well, another man might have been angry And another man might have been hurt, But another man never would have let her go I stashed the bill in my shirt.”

Chapin’s character never mentions loneliness, but you get the sense that he is a lonely man. He works alone driving a Taxi and finds solace in getting high by himself. What’s so sad about all of this is the possibility that he seems to have chosen a lonely life. At one time he had the girl, he had the dreams of being a pilot. What happened? Maybe nothing happened. Maybe it was just the fear of taking that next step. Some people just can’t do it.

# 6 – Ticking – Elton John

Without going too deep into the psych world, loneliness doesn’t always mean there is no one else around. Millions of people suffer disorders that leave them isolated and unable to communicate with others. With some, it’s an issue inherited at birth; with others, it’s a consequence of family or social issues.

Bernie Taupin’s powerful story of the young man “Ticking” and the tragic results that occur because of his isolation is a tale that can be interpreted in many different ways. That’s what master songwriters do. They set the scene and let the listener answer the question, why? When you first heard songs like this when you were young, you didn’t always realize the depth of the story. It’s different when you return to these songs as an adult. You hear them differently.

# 5 – Tea For One – Led Zeppelin

When this classic Led Zeppelin song starts out with its driving beat and rip-roaring Jimmy Page guitar lick, you have no sense that in about thirty seconds, it’s going to segue way onto a slow-broken-hearted blues song. Robert Plant sounds really sad on this one. When you hear him sing the following lyrics, it all makes sense. “There was a time that I stood tall, in the eyes of other men, But by my own choice I left you woman, and now I can’t get back again.” Jimmy Page is on fire on this one. The song’s title is brilliant.

# 4 – All By Myself

As I was writing this piece and trying to dig deep into artists’ catalogs, I kept hearing Eric Carmen’s voice in my head saying, “Don’t forget mine.” It’s tough to leave “All By Myself “off a song list about loneliness because, holy smokes, the song really drives the point home of being lonely. It’s about as in your face about loneliness than any song I have ever heard, except for maybe Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Along Again, Naturally” piece, which we could not put on this list based on the criteria of the article.

# 3 – Martha – Tom Waits

It’s hard not to get really emotional listening to this song. Tom Waits’ character is singing about calling an old flame from forty years earlier. Is he actually calling, or is he just fantasizing about calling? It doesn’t really matter. The loneliness defined in this song is not about isolation from others; both main characters are married. In his desperate attempt to reach out to the one he truly loved by phone, one can feel the loneliness in his heart. It’s the loneliest story of all. It hurts to listen to this…… some of you will understand.

# 2 – The Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel

While this song may not have been written completely about loneliness based on lack of love or never having been loved, the song’s political and social statements make it a song that is indeed about one’s voice not being heard. It’s also about teenage angst, it’s about anger, it is about being alone on so many levels. It’s a song that has resonated with so many, beginning with that iconic opening lyric, “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to speak with you again.” That’s all you have to hear.

# 1 – Eleanor Rigby

The Beatles’ song “Eleanor Rigby” stands as one of the most impactful songs in popular music history. Eleanor Rigby is a character introduced in the song as cleaning up the rice after a wedding in a church. In interviews, Paul McCartney said he was painting a scene of a lonely woman. She was cleaning up after a wedding had taken place while dreaming that she could have been the bride. It’s a common dream for people who have never been married to wonder what type of life that would have been like. It’s also where the priest comes in. A man commits to a life of loneliness to serve another purpose but only finds as he gets older that he missed out on love, kids, and all the beauty that a family life can bring. It’s a sad tale that McCartney said was written not to make people feel bad, but rather to make them empathize with people like that.

10 Songs About Loneliness Without Lonely Or Alone In The Title article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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