Everybody loves a good story. Some of the world’s most famous songs tell epic stories about love, loss, or any other emotion imaginable.
Here is a list of 20 ballads that tell a story.By the way, if you’re a fan of songs that tell a story, you might also want to check out songs about fantasy, songs about ghosts, songs about hell, songs about leaves, and songs about minutes.
Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
This song is about Robert Plant’s unfulfilling life at the time of writing, and how he hopes for something better. One interesting thing to note about this song is that it has 4 minutes of silence between the lyrics “and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”
Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones
This song is about the devil looking back on his life, and how he has come to be who he is. He acknowledges that people see him as evil but insists that he isn’t that bad. More interesting than this though, are Mick Jagger’s lyrics that predict the deaths of several well-known figures.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
This song tells a story about a man who has gone mad, and killed his girlfriend after she left him for another man. The rest of the song is a fantasy where ghosts visit him to bring back his lover.
Creep – Radiohead
If you’ve ever heard this song on the radio, you know that it’s about feeling like an outsider. The main character is nervous at first, but gradually gets more comfortable with singing in front of people he doesn’t know. However, towards the end of the song, he feels uncomfortable again and leaves quickly without saying goodbye to the group.
Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
This song tells a story about Billie Jean, who says that controversial pop singer Michael is the father of her unborn baby. The lyrics are very simple but are enough to tell the whole story.
Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna
This song follows a woman who is travelling all over the world. While she’s there, she meets a man and spends a night with him. However, she leaves in the morning without saying goodbye to him or leaving her number.
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
This song tells a story about a girl who has been waiting for her boyfriend to call since he left and she doesn’t know when he’ll come back. However, no matter how long it takes, she’ll always be waiting for him.
Killing Me Softly With His Song – Roberta Flack
This song is about a man who has been left by his lover and can’t find anything else to do other than cry. Even though he’s depressed, he tries to hide it by singing about the love that they shared together.
Only The Good Die Young – Billy Joel
This song tells a story about two young teen lovers who are separated because of their religion. However, one night, years later after they’ve left home, he goes to a church where she is and they get married.
All My Ex’s Live In Texas – George Strait
This song tells a story about a man who has been unlucky in love. He has been dumped by all of his ex-girlfriends, but he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with him. It turns out in the end that all of his exes live in Texas, so he decides to go there.
The House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
This song tells a story about three different people who have died in this house. Each one’s cause of death is different, but in the end, they all find themselves in hell together for eternity.
I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash
This song tells a story about a man who is in love with a woman, and he vows to stay loyal to her no matter what. He loves her so much that he would rather die than cheat on her.
A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
This song tells a story about how no matter how hard certain people try to change someone’s life, they can’t unless that person wants to change themselves.
Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan
This song tells a story about how nobody can answer the question of whether or not there will be another war. The world keeps destroying itself, which is why this man won’t get involved with anything anymore.
Let It Be – The Beatles
This song tells a story about how if the world really did end, then all that’s important is that someone else is alive to remember it. Everyone just needs to stick together and hope for the best, no matter what happens.
Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
This song tells a story about how someone is in love, but they can’t seem to make it work. They spend all their time trying to fix things between them and the other person, but in the end they realize that this may not be enough.
I Will Always Love You – Dolly Parton
This song tells a story about how just because someone doesn’t love you anymore, it doesn’t mean that they will never love you again. Even though the person’s feelings have changed, their love for this other person still exists deep down inside of them.
The Rose – Bette Midler
This song tells a story about how no matter what the world throws at you, it’s still possible to be strong and come out on top. No matter how much pain someone is going through, they always have hope that things will get better.
Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi
This song tells a story about how two people are so in love with each other that they would do anything to stay together. Even if life puts them through some hard times, they will always stick together and be there for one another no matter what.
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
This song tells a story about how no matter what someone is going through, there will always be good times and bad times. There will always be people who love them unconditionally. And right when things are at their hardest, they will find themselves standing on the bridge over troubled water to safety.