The 5 Saddest Love Songs of the ’80s and ’90s

There can be something deeply satisfying about gut-wrenching music and lovesick ballads. From singing, or sometimes screaming, along with the musicians to the poetic lyrics telling the story or narrative at hand, there is a lot to appreciate when it comes to the ever classical genre of love songs.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the charts saw some of the saddest yet most popular love songs of the times. Take a look back at a few of the saddest and sorrowful love songs that came out of the music industry during the ’80s and ’90s.

“Against All Odds” by Phil Collins

Phil Collins is responsible for producing some of the most unforgettable and iconic hits during the 1980s. Often best remembered for “In the Air Tonight”, “Against All Odds” was another smash the English native produced around the same time

As IMDb shared, “Against All Odds” was actually created for a soundtrack in a 1984 film of the same name. In the loaded title, Collins sang about the heartbreak that so often comes with a breakup. When Collins said, “And you coming back to me is against all odds”, he perfectly captured the essence of the song and the sadness that came with it.

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt performing, holding a guitar
Bonnie Raitt | Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Bonnie Raitt had a bit of a reputation when it came to singing about love, and this song title said it all. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was from Raitt’s 1991 album, Luck of the Draw

The slow instrumentals combined with Raitt’s talented vocals made “I Can’t Make You Love Me” a popular hit amongst her fans and many heartbroken listeners. The song was a solemn reminder that matters of the heart don’t often always go the way people want or hope. As Raitt simply put it, “‘Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t”.

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Some things are just implied, and when it comes to sad love songs from the ’80s and ’90s, Whitney Houston is undoubtedly going to be included. The talented and late artist is well-known and celebrated for her hits like “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Higher Love”, but no rendition of Houston’s quite compares to “I Will Always Love You.” 

The song showcased the star’s ability to hit and hold musical notes in ways like never before. Some of Houston’s fans might have been surprised to learn that “I Will Always Love You” was actually written and produced by Dolly Parton in 1974, but Houston covered the song back in 1992 for a role in the film The Bodyguard

From the bittersweet memories to the tears that come with tough goodbyes, even though she wasn’t the first one to sing it, much of the world still associates Houston with the one-and-only love song. 

“Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton was the musician behind “Un-Break My Heart.” In the official music video, Braxton is seen picking up the pieces after losing what seems to be her lover in a motorcycle accident. 

The 1996 song one thing was clear: Braxton wanted someone back. Throughout “Un-Break My Heart” Braxton sang about how badly she wished for “the nights when I held you beside me.” Though this song came out almost three decades ago, many probably find the content still all too relatable and relevant. 

“My Heart Will Go On” by Céline Dion

Céline Dion blew away audiences and listeners everywhere with “My Heart Will Go On.” Created for the iconic movie Titanic, the 1997 film is still associated with the unforgettable song and love story that took place in Titanic. “My Heart Will Go On” is definitely one of the saddest love songs of the ’80s and ’90s. 

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