Betrayal is one of the most emotional experiences in life. The best songs about betrayal are usually not specific instances of betrayal, but rather the overarching emotion that is felt after being wronged in an irreparable way.
While many artists have written songs about betrayal, we have summarized 20 of the best below.
November Rain – Guns N’ Roses
“November Rain” is one of five new songs on Guns N’ Roses’ Greatest Hits album (released in 2004, after the band had already begun to fall apart). The song tells the story of a couple whose relationship is destroyed by betrayal and deceit. The song, like many great songs about betrayal, showcases the emotional turmoil one feels after being betrayed.
Clapton titled this Cream song “White Room” to symbolize purity and simplicity; however, Clapton reveals that his inspiration for the lyrics was the betrayal he felt when his friend, who was supposed to introduce Clapton to his fiancée’s family, stood him up at the last minute.
These Days – Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi is no stranger to writing about heartbreak and loss; however, in “These Days” Jon Bon Jovi reveals that his inspiration for the lyrics was his feeling that he had been betrayed by the world around him (for example, his record label).
Romeo & Juliet – Dire Straits
This song tells the story of two star-crossed lovers whose families are constantly at war. The lyrics reveal that Romeo and Juliet’s love is real; however, their families are not willing to accept it.
Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s seminal anthem has long been speculated to be about former Beatles singer, George Harrison. However, according to an interview with Playboy Magazine, Dylan claimed that the song was written as a response to his fans who criticized him for supposedly selling out.
I Alone – Live
“I Alone” by Live is a song about the feeling of betrayal and loneliness that often accompanies heartbreak. The lyrics convey the protagonist’s feelings as he watches his friends move on with their lives after he has been hurt in a breakup.
Eminem’s daughter inspired him to write this ballad about a daughter who is abandoned by her father. In the song, Eminem reveals that he feels guilty for all of the mistakes he has made as a parent and wishes for another chance to make things right with his daughter.
I Will Come To You – Hanson
This song tells the story of a couple who is brought together by destiny. The lyrics reveal that the protagonist and his lover were destined to be together; however, their love was almost destroyed before it truly began due to the protagonist’s insecurities.
Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix
Many critics speculate that “Little Wing” is about one of Jimi Hendrix’s ex-girlfriends; however, the lyrics can also be interpreted as a song about an individual who is hurt by betrayal and yet still feels the need to love and forgive.
The Ghost Of You – My Chemical Romance
“The Ghost of You” is about how one character deals with the loss of his/her significant other. “The Ghost of You” is different from many other songs about betrayal because it does not reveal whether or not the protagonist’s significant other died or left him/her; rather, the protagonist laments how he/she feels like an outcast and cannot seem to move on with his/her life.
All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
“All These Things That I’ve Done” is an anthem about life, love, and all of the decisions one has made. “All These Things That I’ve Done” reveals that one’s past does not have to control his/her future if he/she wishes it to be different.
Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood’s ode to infidelity was inspired by a friend of hers who vandalized her boyfriend’s car after she caught him cheating. Like many songs about betrayal, “Before He Cheats” reveals the frustration one feels when he/she catches his/her significant other betraying him/her in some way.
The Way I Loved You – Taylor Swift
“The Way I Loved You” is about a couple who has broken up. The lyrics reveal that the protagonist was hurt because she thought her significant other would be the last person who she ever loved, but he betrayed her trust by cheating on her.
You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
“You Oughta Know” is about a woman who hears rumors that her ex-boyfriend has been cheating on his new girlfriend. However, like many songs about betrayal, “You Oughta Know” reveals the protagonist’s frustration when she realizes that her former lover was not honest with her.
Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
“Free Fallin'” is a common song about betrayal. The lyrics tell the story of a woman who realizes that her significant other has been cheating on her, which causes her to become insecure and question whether or not she can truly trust him even when he swears that he loves her.
Broken – Lifehouse
“Broken” is a song about the protagonist who has been hurt in some way by his/her significant other; however, he/she still feels compelled to love and trust that person. “Broken” also reveals that the protagonist often feels insecure when he/she reflects on his/her past because he/she cannot figure out how to heal the wounds caused by past betrayals.
I Don’t Love You – My Chemical Romance
“I Don’t Love You” is about someone who realizes that he/she should not be with his/her significant other anymore. The protagonist reveals that he/she does not feel the need to justify his/her decision, but rather, everyone will eventually realize (or ‘find out’) that he/she is just not in love with his/her significant other anymore.
What Hurts the Most – Boyce Avenue
“What Hurts the Most” is a song about someone who has been betrayed in some way, whether emotionally or physically. The protagonist reveals that he/she feels emotionally drained and unable to love anymore because of the pain caused by his/her significant other’s betrayal.
You Found Me – The Fray
This heart wrenching ballad is about finally having the courage to move on after experiencing some sort of betrayal. “You Found Me” tells the story of someone who was in an emotionally abusive relationship, but found the courage to leave that person because he/she realized that it is time for him/her to find love again.
Paralyzed – The Civil Wars
“Paralyzed” is a song about experiencing betrayal and not knowing how to handle all of the emotions that come with it. The lyrics reveal that one’s ability to trust others is compromised after he/she experiences some sort of betrayal, but reassurance from another person can help him/her feel normal again.