5 Classic Rock Anthems That Embrace the Tears

Published January 17, 2024

Classic rock may conjure images of high-energy anthems and raucous riffs, but even this genre isn't immune to the occasional outpour of sorrow and the raw vulnerability of a tear-filled ballad. Despite its reputation for high-voltage soundtracks to many a wild night, classic rock also paints the human condition in shades of grief and longing, proving that even the rock gods have their melancholic moments. Here we explore five classic rock tunes that aren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves and vocalize the universal experience of crying.

"Tears In Heaven" - Eric Clapton

In 1992, Eric Clapton delivered one of the most heart-wrenching songs in rock history. "Tears In Heaven" is Clapton's poignant tribute to his four-year-old son who tragically passed away. This deeply personal ballad, which climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, garnered Clapton three Grammy Awards. The emotive lyrics paint an aching portrait of a father grappling with loss.

"Cryin’" - Aerosmith

Aerosmith's 1993 hit, "Cryin’", accompanied by a memorable music video featuring Alicia Silverstone and Stephen Dorff, deals with the bitter aftermath of a breakup. The song finds Steven Tyler channeling the pain and defiance of lost love, belting out lyrics that resonate with anyone who's experienced heartbreak.

"Crying" - Roy Orbison

With Roy Orbison's impeccable voice, "Crying" has become an enduring tearjerker since its 1962 release. The song is a classic tale of heartbreak, with Orbison's mournful delivery embodying the essence of emotional despair after an encounter with a past lover leaves the singer in tears.

"When Doves Cry" - Prince

Prince's "When Doves Cry" from the iconic album "Purple Rain" stands out as a rock interpretation of lament. This 1984 chart-topper, with its yearning lyrics and psychedelic soundscape, captures the tense and heartbreaking dynamics of a romantic relationship amidst the imagery of a world where even doves shed tears.

"Cry Baby Cry" - The Beatles

The Beatles' "Cry Baby Cry", a cut from their 1968 'White Album', sees John Lennon penning lyrics that intertwine storytelling with a touch of the surreal. This song, while lighter in tone, invites listeners into a whimsical tale that concludes with the simple, yet evocative refrain for the subject to weep.

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