The most popular breakup song from the year you were born

Chris Pizzello/Invision/APAriana Grande channels her emotions into her performances.

There are great songs about being in love, but there are just as many hit songs that discuss breakups.

We looked at Billboard’s list of the highest-charting songs from every year since 1950 and found the top breakup song from that time.

This includes Adele’s powerhouse track “Rolling in the Deep,” Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love,” and Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.”

Keep reading to see which breakup song dominated the charts in the year you were born.


1950: “I”ll Never Be Free”— Tennessee Ernie Ford and Kay Starr

Pictorial Parade/Moviepix/Getty ImagesTennessee Ernie Ford circa 1950.

“I”ll Never Be Free” centres on a man who still longs for his ex, stating that “no one can take your place.” You can listen to the track here.


1951: “Rose, Rose I Love You” — Frankie Laine

George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty ImagesFrankie Laine performing in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Laine sings about ending a relationship with a lover and parting ways in “Rose, Rose I Love You.” Listen to the song here.


1952: “Cry” — Johnnie Ray

Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty ImagesJohnny Ray at the Copacabana Night Club circa 1950.

Ray sings about crying “if your heartaches seem to hang around too long” in this hit track. You can listen to “Cry” here.


1953: “April in Portugal” — Les Baxter

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesLes Baxter circa 1970.

Baxter sings about the end of a romance in “April in Portugal,” a hit song that was also covered by other artists. Listen to the track here.


1954: “Wanted” — Perry Como

CBS via Getty ImagesPerry Como in 1943.

Como sings about a lover who he trusted, but “gave no warning / We’d ever part” in “Wanted.” Listen to the song here.


1955: “Ain’t That a Shame” — Pat Boone

Mondadori via Getty ImagesPat Boone singing in a recording studio in the 1950s.

Boone calls out an ex who “made me cry / When you said goodbye” in “Ain’t That a Shame.” Listen to the track here.


1956: “Heartbreak Hotel” — Elvis Presley

APElvis Presley was known as the ‘King of Rock and Roll.’

Presley sings about being “so lonely, I could die,” in “Heartbreak Hotel.” You can listen to the song here.


1957: “Love Letters in the Sand” — Pat Boone

APPat Boone in 1956.

In “Love Letters in the Sand,” Boone sings about heartache with lyrics like: “Now my broken heart aches / With every wave that breaks / Over love letters in the sand.” Listen to the track here.


1958: “I Beg of You” — Elvis Presley

APElvis Presley at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

Presley asks a girl to “be careful” and avoid breaking his heart in “I Beg of You.” Listen to the song here.


1959: “Donna” — Ritchie Valens

APRitchie Valens in 1958.

Valens says that he’s “never been the same” since a woman named Donna in the hit song. Listen to “Donna” here.


1960: “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” — Connie Francis

APConnie Francis in 1965.

In “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” Francis sings about constantly going back to someone who doesn’t “care how many tears I cry.” Listen to the song here.


1961: “I Fall to Pieces” — Patsy Cline

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesPatsy Cline circa 1950.

Cline sings about feeling heartbreak while seeing an ex in “I Fall to Pieces.” Listen to the song here.


1962: “I Can’t Stop Loving You” — Ray Charles

Kevork Djansezian/APRay Charles was known as ‘The Genius.’

Charles sings about living “in memory of the lonesome times” and reminiscing about the “happy hours” he shared with a lover in “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” You can listen to the track here.


1963: “The End of the World” — Skeeter Davis

Harold Barkley/Toronto Star via Getty ImagesSkeeter Davis performing in 1970.

Davis sings about the aftermath of a breakup in this hit song from the ’60s. Listen to “The End of the World” here.


1964: “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” — Gale Garnett

Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty ImagesGale Garnett performing in 1964.

In “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine,” Garnett tells someone that they will sing and “laugh every day,” but then she’ll leave and “be on my way.” She also warns that they will only be together one year, and the person shouldn’t “cling” to her. Listen to the track here.


1965: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” — The Righteous Brothers

Gems/RedfernsBill Medley and Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers.

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” details a couple on the brink of a breakup with lyrics like “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips / And there’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips.” Listen to the song here.


1966: “You’re My Soul and Inspiration” — The Righteous Brothers

Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty ImagessThe Righteous Brothers performing in 1964.

In this track, the main character begs a girl not to walk away because “you’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration” and he “never had much goin'” without her. Listen to “You’re My Soul and Inspiration” here.


1967: “Come Back When You Grow Up” — Bobby Vee and The Strangers

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesBobby Vee circa 1970.

The song centres on a man telling a girl with” wide-eyed innocence” to return to him once she matures. You can listen to it here.


1968: “Love Is Blue” — Paul Mauriat

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesPaul Mauriat circa 1970.

In “Love Is Blue,” Mauriat says that his heart has become cold and his eyes are red after the “love died” between him and a lover. Listen to the song here.


1969: “(It Looks Like) I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” — Tom Jones

Eustache Cardena/APTom Jones performing in 1976.

In “(It Looks Like) I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” Jones sings about a lover who “treated me so wrong” and was found in the arms of someone else. Listen to it here.


1970: “Band of Gold” — Freda Payne

Chrystyna Czajkowsky/APFreda Payne in 1994.

Payne details the end of a relationship in “Band of Gold,” which was released as part of her third studio album of the same name. Listen to the song here.


1971: “Go Away Little Girl” — Donny Osmond

Paul Warner/APDonny Osmond performing in May 2001.

Osmond’s cover of “Go Away Little Girl” in which he begs a girl to stay away from him because he belongs “to somebody else and I must be true,” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1971. Listen to the song here.


1972: “Alone Again (Naturally)” — Gilbert O’Sullivan

Michael Putland/Getty ImagesGilbert O’Sullivan performing in 1972.

O’Sullivan’s track begins with a man contemplating suicide after being stood up at the altar on his wedding day. As the song progresses, the person expresses loneliness not just because of the breakup, but because of the deaths of his parents. You can listen to the song here.


1973: “You’re So Vain” — Carly Simon

Charles Sykes/Invision/APCarly Simon performing in 2017.

Simon calls out a narcissistic person in her hit track “You’re So Vain.” In the years since the song was released, people speculated about who served as the inspiration for “You’re So Vain.” Simon has said in interviews that the second verse of the song is about Warren Beatty, and there are two other men who the track also refers to.

Listen to “You’re So Vain” here.


1974: “The Way We Were” — Barbra Streisand

Getty Images/Kevin WinterBarbra Streisand at the 2019 Oscars.

“The Way We Were” is from Streisand’s 15th studio album of the same name. The track was also included in the 1973 film “The Way We Were,” which starred Streisand and Robert Redford as two characters who fell in love and later broke up.

Listen to the song here.


1975: “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” — Freddy Fender

Chris Pizzello/APHe received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999.

Fender’s “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975 and sold one million copies. Listen to the breakup song here.


1976: “Kiss and Say Goodbye” — The Manhattans

TheManhattansVEVO/YouTubeThe Manhattans in the music video for ‘Kiss and Say Goodbye.’

“Kiss and Say Goodbye” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent two weeks at the top spot. Listen to the song here.


1977: “Easy” — Commodores

CommodroesVEVO/YouTubeThe track was written by Lionel Richie.

“Easy” is a breakup song from the group’s self-titled fifth album. The group sings about leaving a girl the next day, after doing “all I can.” Listen to “Easy” here.


1978: “Baby Come Back” — Player

Aijaz Rahi/APAside from being part of the band, Ronn Moss is also an actor.

Rock band Player sings about hoping to reconcile with an ex in this hit song from their debut album, which was released in 1977. Listen to the song here.


1979: “I Will Survive” — Gloria Gaynor

Kevin Winter/ABC/ImageDirectGloria Gaynor in 2002.

Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is the ultimate post-breakup, empowering song. In the track, Gaynor sings about finding the strength to “mend the pieces of my broken heart.”

Listen to the disco song here.


1980: “Working My Way Back to You” — The Spinners

Marty Lederhandler/APJohn Edwards, Bobby Smith, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson, and Billy Henderson of The Spinners.

In this feel-good song, The Spinners sing about finding their way back to their ex after breaking up. Listen to “Working My Way Back to You” here.


1981: “Being With You” — Smokey Robinson

Paul Morigi/Stringer/Getty ImagesRobinson is an award-winning musician.

Robinson begs his lover not to break his heart and end things in “Being With You.” Listen to the hit song here.


1982: “Tainted Love” — Soft Cell

Ian Gavan/Getty Images)=Marc Almond of Soft Cell.

Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” is actually a cover of Gloria Jones’ track. The duo’s version peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982. Listen to the song here.


1983: “Every Breath You Take”— Sting and The Police

Nicholas Hunt/Getty ImagesSting says the song is about being obsessed and jealous.

“Every Breath You Take” earned Sting and The Police two Grammys in 1984 – song of the year and best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal.

Sting wrote the song after splitting with Frances Tomelty and has referred to the song as “very sinister and ugly” in previous interviews.

Listen to the song here.


1984: “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” — Phil Collins

Gustavo Caballero/Getty ImagesCollins is also a Golden Globes winner.

Phil Collins sings about heartbreak in this Grammy-winning song. Listen to “Take a Look at Me Now” here.


1985: “Careless Whisper” — Wham! featuring George Michael

Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesAndy Ridgeley and George Michael.

“Careless Whisper” was one of the most popular breakup songs in the ’80s – and the song still lives on in movies like “Deadpool.”

Listen to the hit song here.


1986: “I Miss You” — Klymaxx

Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesJoyce Irby of Klymaxx.

Girl group Klymaxx had the biggest breakup song of 1986 with “I Miss You,” from their fourth album.

The group sings about the difficulty in moving on from a split with lyrics like: “All the feelings that we used to share / I refused to believe / That you don’t care”

Watch the music video here.


1987: “Here I Go Again” — Whitesnake

Petros Karadjias/APWhitesnake performing in November 2008.

“Here I Go Again” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is one of their most popular tracks. In the song, lead vocalist David Coverdale sings about being independent following a breakup.

Listen to the song here.


1988: “Could’ve Been” — Tiffany

Jemal Countess/Getty ImagesTiffany performing on ‘Good Morning America’ in 2011.

Pop singer Tiffany released this hit song in 1987 and it peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988. Listen to the breakup song here.


1989: “Look Away” — Chicago

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXMLou Pardini, Keith Howland, Walfredo Reyes Jr, James Pankow, Ray Herrmann, Tris Imboden, Lee Loughnane, Jeff Coffey, and Robert Lamm of Chicago performing in California in 2017.

Rock group Chicago sings about the aftermath of a breakup and trying to move on from the relationship. Watch the official music video for “Look Away” here.


1990: “It Must Have Been Love” — Roxette

Hermann J. Knippertz/AP‘It Must Have Been Love’ started out as Christmas song.

You probably remember this hit breakup song from the movie “Pretty Woman,” which starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Listen to the song here.


1991: “I Don’t Wanna Cry” — Mariah Carey

Nicholas Hunt/Getty ImagesCarey has released more than 10 albums.

In “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” Carey sings about a toxic relationship that she can no longer bear to be in because “it hurts too much to stay around.”

Watch the official music video here.


1992: “End of the Road” — Boyz II Men

BoyzIIMenVEVO/YouTubeThe song earned them a Grammy for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal.

The boyband was known for their smooth tracks about love, and “End of the Road” is one of their most successful tracks. In the song, Boyz II Men harmonise about a breakup that is so painful that they “break down and cry.”

Watch the music video here.


1993: “I Will Always Love You” — Whitney Houston

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images‘I Will Always Love You’ was originally written and released by Dolly Parton.

Hoston’s powerhouse ballad “I Will Always Love You” took the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993. The song also earned Grammys for record of the year and best female pop vocal performance.

Listen to the song here.


1994: “Stay (I Missed You)” — Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories

Katy Winn/Invision/APLoeb performing in Los Angeles in 2013.

This breakup song sold more than 500,000 copies and the music video was directed by Ethan Hawke.

“It was a story about a breakup I was going through, and that situation where it’s gotten into your head too much,” Loeb said during an interview. “Partially because somebody else is telling you that you’re only hearing what you want to, and that puts you in a little bit of a tailspin.”

Listen to the song here.


1995: “Take a Bow” — Madonna

Barry Sweet/Getty ImagesThe track is from her ‘Bedtime Stories’ album.

In “Take a Bow,” Madonna says goodbye to a lover who took her love “for granted” and broke her heart. Listen to the song here.


1996: “Give Me One Reason” — Tracy Chapman

Martial Trezzini/AP/KEYSTONEChapman performing in Switzerland in 2006.

In “Give Me One Reason,” Chapman sings about a relationship reaching its end. With her lyrics, she challenges a lover to make an argument for why she should remain in the relationship, rather than walk away.

Listen to the song here.


1997: “Foolish Games” — Jewel

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for FortuneJewel had several hits in the ’90s.

Jewel belts out lyrics about a “thoughtless” boyfriend in her chart-topping song “Foolish Games.”

Lyrics like “In case you failed to see / This is my heart bleeding before you” convey true heartbreak.

“I think the woman is looking at herself saying, ‘Why am I involved in a relationship where I’m selling myself so short?'”Jewel told Rolling Stone.

Watch the music video here.


1998: “How’s It Going to Be” — Third Eye Blind

Owen Sweeney/Invision/APStephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind performing in 2014.

“How’s It Going to Be” is a pre-breakup song, in which the singer thinks about what will happen when a couple eventually splits.

According to Jenkins, it’s about “looking at someone you’re now close to, but realising someday you’re just going to be acquaintances.”

Listen to the song here.


1999: “Believe” — Cher

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Cher’s auto-tuned “Believe” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999 and won a Grammy for best dance recording.

In the song, Cher says: “So sad that you’re leaving / Takes time to believe it / But after all is said and done / You’re going to be the lonely one.”

Listen to the hit breakup song here.


2000: “There You Go” — Pink

PinkVideoVault/YouTubePink in the music video for ‘There You Go.’

Pink calls out a “pitiful” ex in “There You Go.”

“And I know that all you are doing is running your mind games,” she sings. “Do not you know my game beats these games?”

Watch the music video for the song here.


2001: “Again” — Lenny Kravitz

Arthur Mola/Invision/APLenny Kravitz won the Grammy for best male rock vocal performance four years in a row from 1999 to 2002

Kravitz contemplates whether or not he’ll someday reconcile with an ex in “Again.” Aside from peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, the track also won a Grammy for best male rock vocal performance in 2001.

Watch the music video for “Again” here.


2002: “Foolish” — Ashanti

Kevin Winter/ImageDirectAshanti on ‘The Tonight Show With Jay Leno’ in 2002.

In “Foolish,” Ashanti belts out lyrics about a rocky relationship: “Baby why you hurt me leave me and desert me? / Boy, I gave you all my heart and all you do is tear it up.”

Watch the music video for “Foolish” here.


2003: “Miss You” — Aaliyah

Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesAaliyah performing on ‘The Tonight Show With Jay Leno’ in 2001.

In “Miss You,” Aaliyah sings about an ex who left her after high school, leaving her lost. The breakup song peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Watch the music video for “Miss You” here.


2004: “Burn” — Usher

“Burn” is featured on Usher’s fourth studio album, “Confessions.” In the ballad, Usher sings about a failed relationship and proclaims his love for his ex.

“I know I made a mistake, now it’s too late,” Usher says. “I know she ain’t coming back.”

Watch the music video for “Burn” here.


2005: “We Belong Together” — Mariah Carey

Bennett Raglin/Getty ImagesThe track is from her 10th studio album.

In 2005, Carey’s hit song earned her three Billboard Music Awards – hot 100 song of the year, rhythmic top 40 title of the year, and hot 100 airplay of the year. Watch the official music video here.


2006: “So Sick” — Ne-Yo

Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesNe-Yo is a judge on NBC’s ‘World of Dance.’

In 2000, Ne-Yo was nominated for an American Music Award for favourite R&B/soul male artist. Watch the music video for “So Sick” here.


2007: “Irreplaceable” — Beyoncé

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CoachellaBeyoncé performing at the Coachella in April 2018.

In “Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé spreads her message of female empowerment and reminds an unfaithful lover that she can do better. The song appears on her second album, “B’Day” and won a Grammy for record of the year.

Watch the official music video here.


2008: “Apologise” — Timbaland featuring OneRepublic

Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesThe song was nominated for a Grammy for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals.

“Apologise” was written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, and is part of the band’s first studio album, “Dreaming Out Loud.”

“There were a number of different experiences that I went through that I guess you could say inspired it,” Tedder said during an interview. “That song was specifically about three or four of the failed relationships I had had in high school and college.”


2009: “Heartless” — Kanye West

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMediaWest has been nominated for more than 60 Grammys throughout his career.

“Heartless” is from West’s fourth studio album, “808s & Heartbreak.” Watch the music video for the chart-topping song here.


2010: “Need You Now” — Lady Antebellum

Michael Loccisano/Getty ImagesLady Antebellum at the CMA Awards in 2015.

Lady Antebellum’s song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2010 and earned them a Grammy for record of the year.

“The three of us have been there, too,” Dave Haywood told The Boot. “I mean, we’ve been in serious relationships and when you get out of that, all you want is that person next to you.”

Watch the official music video here.


2011: “Rolling in the Deep” — Adele

Adele/YouTubeAdele in the music video for ‘Rolling in the Deep.’

Adele continued to show off her powerhouse vocals with this track from her second album, “21.”

“It was my reaction to being told that my life was going to be boring and lonely and rubbish, and that I was a weak person if I didn’t stay in a relationship,” Adele said. “I was very insulted and wrote that as a sort of ‘F— you.'”

Watch the music video here.


2012: “Somebody That I Used to Know” — Gotye featuring Kimbra

APGotye and Kimbra won several awards at the 2013 Grammys, including record of the year.

This hit song from Gotye and Kimbra draws from several relationships, rather than a single one that fell apart.

“I’ve had a few breakups over the years of course, but it’s more the memory of different relationships and different points in those relationships that prompted certain images and certain lines that came out in the song,” Gotye said during an interview with MetroLyrics. “And then those memories were kind of stretched out and embellished and there were elements of fiction added, so it’s really a collection of things.”

Watch the official music video here.


2013: “When I Was Your Man” — Bruno Mars

Ethan Miller / Getty ImagesThe song appears on Mars’ ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’ album.

“When I Was Your Man” is one of the slower ballads featured on his second album. Speaking to MTV News, Mars explained that he channeled real heartbreak to create the hit song.

“This song is about a special woman that I let slip away at one time,” he said. “It’s a happy ending though … I put everything I got into that one.”

Watch the official music video here.


2014: “Problem” — Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea

Ariana Grande/YouTubeThe song also won an MTV Video Music Award for best pop video.

Grande continued to dominate pop music with “Problem,” from her second album, “My Everything.” In the song, she belts out lyrics about feeling conflicted over a relationship, but also realising that she’s better off without that person.

Watch the music video for “Problem” here.


2015: “Where Are U Now” — Skrillex and Diplo featuring Justin Bieber

Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesDiplo, Skrillex, and Justin Bieber won an American Music Award for their collaboration in 2015.

Bieber actually created a version of this song more than five years ago. At the time, he said it was inspired by his father. But the most recent version has modified lyrics, leading fans to think “Where Are U Now” is about a romantic relationship.

Watch the music video here.


2016: “Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber

Mike Windle/Getty ImagesThe song is part of Bieber’s ‘Purpose’ album.

In 2016, Bieber’s “Love Yourself” was a chart-topper. The song was co-written by Ed Sheeran and appears on his fourth studio album. Watch the music video here.


2017: “Attention” — Charlie Puth

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for iHeartMediaThe track is from is ‘Voicenotes’ album.

“Attention” is a departure from Charlie Puth’s previously released, piano-driven songs. Speaking to Billboard, Puth said that he “didn’t feel like an artist” until “Attention” was released.

“It’s s—-talking,” he said. “It’s a mean song.”

Watch the official music video here.


2018: “New Rules” — Dua Lipa

Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMediaDua Lipa is a Grammy-winning singer.

Dua Lipa’s post-breakup anthem filled with tips to avoid crawling back to an ex was a chart-topper in 2018.

“They’re not necessarily rules I’ve been able to stick by,”Lipa told NPR in 2017. “But [they’re] rules that I feel like it’s important to be able to tell yourself, to tell your friends … There’s a reason people break up, and it’s probably the same reason why you shouldn’t get back together.”

Watch the music video, which has two billion views on YouTube,here.


2019: “Without Me” — Halsey

Joel C Ryan/Invision/APHalsey during the European MTV Awards in Seville, Spain in 2019.

“‘Without Me'” started as a breakup record,” Halsey told iHeartRadio. “As I started diving deeper into my feelings and started playing the record for people, it even changed after I’d already made it.”

The singer went on to say that the song expanded beyond being a breakup track, and can also apply to “relationships and friendships.

Watch the music video for “Without Me” here.

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