3 Classic Rock Songs That Will Make Any Rocker Tear Up

You might not think so at first, but classic rock is one of the most emotive and emotional genres of music. Singers wail into the microphones, guitars bend and cry, and since some of the best songwriters ever have composed tunes in the genre, there’s wisdom, wonder and weeping in the lyrics

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Here below, we wanted to dive into three examples of classic rock songs that are sure to bring a tear to your eye—indeed, a tear even to the most strong upper-lipped listener. Let’s explore here below.

[RELATED: 5 Classic Rock Songs About Crying]

1. “Everybody Hurts,” R.E.M.

Even Dwight Schrute can’t get enough of this sad song when he’s feeling mopey. Indeed, this track from R.E.M.’s 1992 album, Automatic for the People, is one of the saddest rock songs of all time. It tells the truth—yes, everybody does hurt. The song hit No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to lead singer Michael Stipe’s emotive lyrics,

When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life, well hang on

Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along

When your day is night alone
If you feel like letting go
And you think you’ve had too much
Of this life, to hang on

Well everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
And everybody hurts

2. “Wish You Were Here,” Pink Floyd

This song from the band’s 1975 album of the same name deals with missing another person and that distance that can make your heart feel like it’s both going to fall out and explode. But the songwriters have given separate explanations to what the song means. Roger Waters says the song is about himself, meaning that he wish he could be more present in the moment. While David Gilmour has said he often thinks of Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett when it comes to the track. Barrett left the band and later dealt with mental health issues. Regardless of the actual inspiration, the song remains a standout, with Gilmour singing,

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk-on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears
Wish you were here

3. “All My Love,” Led Zeppelin

This song from Led Zeppelin’s 1979 album In Through the Out Door, has a sad origin story. For as evocative and emotional the song is, the reason it was written was to honor lead singer Robert Plant’s son Karac, who died while Led Zeppelin was on tour in North America in 1977. On the track, Plant sings for his son,

Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind
Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight
There moves a thread that has no end

For many hours and days that pass ever soon
The tides have caused the flame to dim
At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom
Is this to end or just begin?

All of my love, all of my love
All of my love to you, now
All of my love, all of my love
Oh, all of my love to you, now

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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