20 Best Songs About The One That Got Away

Nina Hampson

It’s hard to let go of someone who was once such a big part of your life. Someone you loved, or even just someone you were close to. The memories of those times together can be so strong that it feels like they’re still with you. But even if they’re not, that doesn’t mean the pain of losing them goes away.

These 20 songs perfectly capture the feeling of losing someone who was once a big part of your life. Whether it was an old love or a friend that you just drifted apart from, these tunes will remind you of all the good times you shared together, and how much they meant to you. From heartbreak to nostalgia, these songs will have you longing for what could have been.

By the way, if you like songs about the one that got away you might like some of our other articles, such as songs about clocks, songs about coming back, songs about gold diggers, songs about guys, and songs about having a baby.

The One That Got Away – Katy Perry

Katy Perry - The One That Got Away (Official Music Video)

The One That Got Away is a song recorded by American singer Katy Perry for her third studio album, Teenage Dream (2010). The song was produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin, two of Perry’s frequent collaborators.

The song is a power ballad about a failed relationship, about a once new love that somehow fell apart over time.

It is one of the few songs on Teenage Dream that Perry did not write herself. The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Perry’s sixth single to reach the top three in the United States. In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at number two, becoming Perry’s second single to reach that position in the country. 

Back To December – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift - Back To December

Back to December is a powerful and poignant song about the one that got away. The lyrics evoke a sense of deep regret as the singer reflects on all the ways in which she failed to appreciate what she had and took this relationship for granted. Through references to autumn leaves, snow and falling stars, Taylor Swift paints a picturesque scene of bitter longing, capturing both the sorrow and beauty of missed opportunities. Despite its heavy subject matter, Back to December remains an undeniably catchy and heartfelt anthem of loss and longing, reminding us all of those transformative moments we wish we could do over again.

Do You – NeYo 

Ne-Yo - Do You (Official Music Video)

Do You is a song written by NeYo about the one that got away. The lyrics are about a relationship that ended before it had a chance to begin, and how the narrator regrets not taking the opportunity. The song is sad and regretful, but also has a message of hope. Despite the pain of lost love, the narrator is still hopeful that they will find someone else with whom they can have a real connection. In this way, Do You is a song about both loss and hope, and how even the darkest experiences can eventually lead to something positive.

Should’ve Kissed You – Chris Brown

Chris Brown - Should've Kissed You (Official Video)

In his song “Should’ve Kissed You,” Chris Brown sings about a relationship that he wishes he had never let slip away. As he croons over the gentle piano melody, Brown laments all of the mistakes he made in his relationship and what could have been if he had just made different decisions. He reflects on his failures in communication, his doubts about the future, and his struggles with jealousy and insecurity. But despite all of these challenges, Brown ultimately expresses a deep yearning to rekindle their love and make things right again. Through raw lyrics and palpable emotion, he conveys the depth of his heartache at losing the one person who mattered most to him.

 Outta My System – Bow Wow 

Bow Wow - Outta My System (Official Video)

Bow Wow’s “Outta My System” is a song about the one that got away. The lyrics tell the story of a young man who is trying to move on from a failed relationship. He reflects on all of the good times that he had with his ex, but he eventually comes to the realization that she is never coming back. He decides to move on and says goodbye to her. Though it is a sad song, it ultimately has a message of hope and resilience. Bow Wow encourages listeners to keep their head up and keep moving forward, even when it feels like everything is falling apart. “Outta My System” is an empowering anthem for anyone who has ever experienced heartbreak.

When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man (Official Music Video)

When I Was Your Man is one of Bruno Mars’ most beloved hit songs. This emotional ballad, which addresses the regret and longing that often accompany a failed relationship, has become a modern-day classic as one of the heartbroken singer’s most poignant musical reflections on love and loss. The lyrics evoke a deep feeling of sadness and nostalgia as Mars imagines what might have been with his former lover if only he had made different choices. Equally heartbreaking and uplifting, this stirring song speaks to the enduring nature of love and the devastating consequences of making mistakes in romance.

Happier – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran - Happier (Official Music Video)

Happier is an enchanting ballad by Ed Sheeran that tells the bittersweet story of a love lost. The lyrics weave together a rich tapestry of vivid imagery and heartfelt emotion, painting a poignant portrait of both the beauty and pain of heartbreak. In this sense, Happier explores the theme of regret, casting a wistful glance backwards towards a relationship that could have been. Through nostalgic references to shared memories, rueful glances at erstwhile promises, and searching questions about future possibilities, Ed Sheeran captures the bittersweet poignancy of longing for what was once missed. 

Part Of The List – NeYo

Ne-Yo - Part Of The List (Official Music Video)

Part of the List by NeYo is a song about the pain and longing that comes with having to watch someone you once loved move on without you. It speaks to the heartbreak and sense of loss that many people feel when their former partner falls in love with someone else. With its soaring chorus and plaintive lyrics, Part of the List captures both the intensity of young love and the sadness that can be left behind when it has run its course. But beyond just capturing these feelings, this song uses them as a way to encourage strength and resilience in those who have experienced such emotional trauma.

Moonlight – Ali Gatie

Ali Gatie - Moonlight [Official Music Video]

Moonlight is a song by Ali Gatie about the one that got away. The song is written in the perspective of Gatie looking back on a past relationship and wondering what could have been. Gatie’s lyrics are heart-wrenching and vulnerable, as he reflects on all the missed opportunities and what might have been if things had gone differently. The song is set to a simple piano melody, which allows Gatie’s emotive vocals to take center stage. Moonlight is a powerful ballad about the regrets of lost love, and it is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever experienced a similar sort of heartbreak.

Right Now – Akon

Akon - Right Now (Na Na Na) (Official Video)

In 2006, Akon released a song called “Right Now (Na Na Na),” which quickly became a global hit. The song is about a relationship that ended badly, and the singer’s regret at letting the person go. Akon reflects on what might have been, and how he misses the person who got away. The lyrics are both sad and hopeful, as Akon looks back on the good times while also acknowledging that the relationship is over. Despite its sad subject matter, “Right Now (Na Na Na)” is an upbeat and catchy song that has resonated with fans all over the world.

Baby – Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit - Baby (feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) [Official Video]

“Baby” is a song by English electronic music group Clean Bandit. It was released as the lead single from their second studio album, What Is Love? (2018), on 18 October 2018. The song features vocals from Marina and the Diamonds and Luis Fonsi. “Baby” peaked at number five on the UK Singles Chart and number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The song is about The One That Got Away, with Marina and Luis Fonsi’s characters being in a relationship that ended because of infidelity. The lyrics describe the complicated feelings associated with breakups, such as anger, sadness, and regret.

I Never Told You – Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat - I Never Told You (Official Video)

“I Never Told You” is a song by American singer and songwriter Colbie Caillat. The song was released on June 26, 2012, as the lead single from her third studio album, All of You (2011). “I Never Told You” was written by Caillat, Babyface, and Timothy McKenzie, and it was produced by Babyface. The song is about a failed relationship, and it features a prominent piano melody. “I Never Told You” received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised the song’s lyrics and production. The song peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. In Canada, the song peaked at number 34 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. The music video for “I Never Told You” was directed by Declan Whitebloom and it was released on July 10, 2012.

 Someone Like You – Adele

Adele - Someone Like You (Official Music Video)

“Someone Like You” by Adele is a bittersweet ballad that captures the lingering pain that many of us feel after losing a loved one. Though the initial shock and agony of heartbreak eventually fade over time, this song reminds us that there will always be an indelible mark left behind from those we hold dear. With heartfelt lyrics, powerful vocals, and an atmospheric arrangement marked by subtle strings, “Someone Like You” is a moving tribute to the memory of someone irreplaceable. Through Adele’s raw emotion and her ability to connect with listeners on a deep level, this song beautifully captures the enduring love that remains long after someone special has departed from our lives.

Marvin’s Room – Drake By

Drake - Marvin's Room (Official Video)

The song “Marvin’s Room” by hip-hop artist Drake is a powerful commentary on the pain and loss that comes with missing an ex. Released in 2011, the track tells the story of a man struggling to move on after a devastating breakup. The narrator reminisces about trying to keep up a relationship long-distance, wishing things had gone differently, and ultimately realizing that sometimes, the one that got away really is gone for good. The raw emotionality of the lyrics combined with Drake’s emotional vocals makes this song an intense and haunting listen, leaving listeners emotionally reeling just as the protagonist in the story must be feeling.

Don’t Forget About Us – Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey - Don't Forget About Us (Official Music Video)

Don’t Forget About Us is a song recorded by American singer Mariah Carey. It was released on December 18, 2005 by Island Records as the second single from her tenth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). The song was written and produced by Carey along with Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal. “Don’t Forget About Us” is a mid-tempo R&B ballad that contains influences of hip hop and rock. Lyrically, it is about Carey trying to remind her former lover about their past relationship. 

The song received generally positive reviews from music critics, many of whom praised its writing and production. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Carey’s fourteenth top-ten single in the country.

Ghost – Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber - Ghost

Ghost by Justin Bieber is a song about lost love. The lyrics describe a relationship that once burned bright but has since faded away, leaving the singer feeling like he has been haunted by his former partner. In the haunting chorus, Bieber sings of being unable to move past his lost love, confessing, “I hate to turn you over / To somebody else’s warmth” and lamenting that time has slowed down for him since she went away. Throughout the song, Bieber conveys a deep sadness as he mourns his lost love and longs for another chance to reconnect with her. 

I Miss You – Incubus

Un-Official Incubus "I Miss You" HD Music Video

I Miss You is a song by the American rock band Incubus. It was released in March 2001 as the third single from their album Make Yourself. The song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remains one of the band’s most popular songs. I Miss You is a ballad about lost love and regret. The lyrics describe the speaker’s longing for someone who is no longer in his life and his realization that he may never see that person again. The song has a slow, emotive melody that reflects the speaker’s sadness and nostalgia. I Miss You is a powerful song about the pain of loss and the lasting effects of love.

Wish You Were Here – Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne - Wish You Were Here (Official Video)

Wish You Were Here is one of the most popular songs by Avril Lavigne, and it tells the story of a relationship that has ended. The lyrics hint at a deep longing for an ex-lover, someone who means so much to the speaker that they cannot help but wish they were still together. The song perfectly captures the regret and sadness that can accompany a breakup, with poignant lines like “I’m missing you tonight” and “looking up until it’s all over.” Despite its melancholy tone, Wish You Were Here is ultimately a tribute to this special person who will always hold a special place in the speaker’s heart. 

Please Come To Boston – Dave Loggins

The song “Please Come to Boston” was written by Dave Loggins and released in 1974. The song is about a man who is thinking about the woman he loves who is far away. He talks about how he misses her and how he wants her to come back to him. The song has a very mellow and nostalgic tone, and it captures the feeling of longing for someone who you can’t be with. It’s a beautiful song that speaks to the universal experience of missing someone we love.

So Far Away – Carole King

Carole King - So Far Away (Official Audio)

So Far Away is a song about longing for the one that got away. Written and recorded by Carole King in 1971, the song tells the story of two lovers who were torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. In the verses, King sings of her separation from her beloved, lamenting the distance between them and wishing they were together once again.