20 Songs About Strangers

We may not know some people and sometimes people we once knew become strangers. Lovers often refer to their old love as strangers because the people they once shared their intimate secrets with are no longer on their speed dial.

Because of this strangers can cause a wide array of emotions, depending on the circumstances in the given situation. Whether it’s someone you knew intimately or just a random passerby from the bar; many artists have chosen to write songs about strangers. This article will explore twenty different songs of this variety, and take a closer look at what inspired the various artists to write their lyrics.

1. “The Kindness Of Strangers” by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Kindness of StrangersNick Cave and the Bad Seeds – The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds is a rather gloomy song that carries with it a very ominous message – be cautious of strangers. The song follows the story of Mary, who grows up a poor girl in Arkansas and just wants to get away and see the ocean.

Along the way, she meets a stranger who joins her at the beach and then helps her to her hotel. Mary ushers this stranger away but lets him in her hotel room later on. The next morning she is found dead.

2. “Hello Stranger” by Yvonne Elliman

YVONNE ELLIMAN Hello StrangerYVONNE ELLIMAN Hello Stranger

Hello Stranger by Yvonne Elliman, is an adaptation of the original song that was written and performed by Barabara Lewis. This very popular rendition came out in 1976. This song is all about the vagueness of seeing a long-lost lover again, and being nothing more than strangers to one another now.

3. “The Stranger Song” by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen - The Stranger Song (Official Audio)Leonard Cohen – The Stranger Song (Official Audio)

The Stranger Song was written and performed by Leonard Cohen in 1967. The song is known to be loosely based on the 1955 film, ‘The Man with the Golden Arm’. Using the analogy of cars and trains, Cohen highlights the issue of commitment between a man and a woman.

4. “Less Than Strangers” by Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman - Less Than StrangersTracy Chapman – Less Than Strangers

Less Than Strangers by Tracy Chapman is an emotional track that explores how it truly feels to come face-to-face with an ex-lover. It shows how awkward it can be to not be able to say hello to someone with whom you used to share your life’s most intimate details.

Chapman sings, “We shared words only lovers speak. How can it be, we are less than strangers?”, to highlight these feelings.

5. “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra - Strangers In The NightFrank Sinatra – Strangers In The Night

Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra is regarded as one of the most romantic songs. Written and recorded in 1966, this song is a story about two strangers who meet one night.

The two share an immediate connection, exemplifying the meaning of “love at first sight”. This song was so popular that it was also used as the theme for the 1967 movie, ‘A Man Could Get Killed’.

6. “Wayfaring Stranger” by Emmylou Harris

Emmylou-Harris Wayfaring Stranger ( Stereo )Emmylou-Harris Wayfaring Stranger ( Stereo )

Wayfaring Stranger by Emmylou Harris, is a cover of the American folk classic and is very similar to the ones done by Johnny Cash, Craig Leon & Jos Slovick, etc. The Wayfaring Stranger, (also ‘Poor Wayfaring Stranger’, or ‘I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger’) is a well-known American folk and gospel song, that likely originated in the early 19th century. It’s about a mournful soul on a journey through life.

7. “People Are Strange” by The Doors

The Doors - People Are StrangeThe Doors – People Are Strange

People Are Strange by The Doors is about that familiar feeling of alienation or not fitting in. Lead singer, Jim Morrison, had been battling these feelings that forced him into depression.

He went to guitarist, Robby Krieger’s house, and the two went to a canyon to watch a sunset. It was there Morrison realized “if you’re strange, people are strange”. He then wrote the rest of the lyrics to the song, while Krieger wrote the music!

8. “Stranger In The House” by Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello - Stranger in the HouseElvis Costello – Stranger in the House

Stranger in the House is one of Elvis Costello’s saddest songs. It’s all about a man who’s in his home, but he no longer feels as though he belongs there. This is seemingly much to do with his poor relationship with his wife.

It’s as though the two had fallen out of love as they grew older. The song is an expression of this feeling where the lyrics highlight how he feels as though he’s a stranger in the house, and his partner isn’t understanding that.

9. “Looking for a Stranger” by Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar - Looking For A StrangerPat Benatar – Looking For A Stranger

Looking for a Stranger was a hit single on Pat Benatar’s 1982 album, ‘Get Nervous’. This song was very popular and quickly climbed the US Billboard Top 40 in 1983!

Benatar sings about a woman who’s tired of the same old boring partners and is on the lookout for a night of excitement and fun. This woman is looking for a stranger to provide everything she’s looking for, for the night.

10. “Love Song To A Stranger” by Joan Baez

Joan Baez -Love song to a strangerJoan Baez -Love song to a stranger

Love Song to a Stranger is a 1972 song by Joan Baez. Baez originally wrote and recorded the song for her album ‘Come from the Shadows’, The song soon became a cornerstone of her live sets and was loved by fans everywhere. It was loosely based on Baez’s short romance with her new manager at the time.

11. “Stranger In a Strange Land (Somewhere In Time)” by Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden - Stranger In A Strange Land (Official Video)Iron Maiden – Stranger In A Strange Land (Official Video)

Stranger in a Strange Land (Somewhere in Time) is a song by Iron Maiden. While the song shares a title with Robert Heinlein’s book, it’s not based on it; a fact most fans find quite interesting.

The song was based on a real-life Arctic expedition. Adrian Smith, the band’s guitarist was inspired to write this song after speaking with one of the survivors – who eventually became an Iron Maiden fan afterward.

12. “Stranger In My House” by Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap - Stranger In My House (Official Video)Ronnie Milsap – Stranger In My House (Official Video)

Stranger in My House by Ronnie Milsap is a song about a man who suspects that there’s been a stranger in his house. He gets this feeling because his wife was distant, distracted, and uninterested in him.

He concluded that there must be another man in the picture to explain his wife’s behavior. The lyrics, “When I’m holding her, I swear I feel the presence of another man. There’s a stranger in my house, somebody that I can’t see”, highlight his feelings.

13. “Perfect Strangers” by INXS

INXS - PERFECT STRANGERSINXS – PERFECT STRANGERS

Perfect Strangers by INXS is a song about one-night stands. The singer describes a situation of quick pleasure, followed by goodbyes; no information or names necessary. He sings, “We could be perfect strangers, thank you for spending the night with me.

Let’s just keep this simple. In the morning it’s goodbye. The syrup’s so much sweeter when you let the butterfly. So spread your wings and go, it’s better not to know”, to show exactly what type of encounter this is.

14. “Stranger” by Fastway

Fastway - StrangerFastway – Stranger

Stranger, is a song by the British rock band, Fastway. The band was formed by guitarist, Fast’ Eddie Clarke (formerly Motörhead,), and bassist, Pete Way (formerly UFO).

While it could be open to interpretation, this slightly gloomy song is seemingly about either a one-night stand or prostitution. Either way, it sort of gives off an overall hopeless feel as though this isn’t where the singer wants to be in life.

15. “Strangers In Space” by Procol Harum

Strangers In Space (2020 Remaster)Strangers In Space (2020 Remaster)

Strangers in Space by Procol Harum was originally released in 1977. Lead singer, Gary Brooker, announced at a concert in 1977 what the meaning of the song was. He said, “It’s about some chance meeting that one may have with somebody when, maybe you’ll never see them again anyway, but there’s a spark”.

16. “Hello Stranger” by Barbara Lewis

Barbara Lewis -- Hello StrangerBarbara Lewis — Hello Stranger

Hello Stranger by Barabra Lewis, is the original version of the song that would later be re-recorded by many artists, like Yvonne Elliman. This version debuted in 1963 and spent two consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B charts. This song is about the vagueness of seeing a long-lost lover for the first time in a long time, and being nothing more than mere strangers.

17. “Strangers” by The Kinks

The Kinks - Strangers (Official Audio)The Kinks – Strangers (Official Audio)

Strangers by the band, The Kinks is one of those songs that give the word a different meaning. . In a 1990 interview, Dave Davies explained the inspiration for the song came from Hank Williams’, ‘I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive’.

However, the song got more serious and eventually came to be about Davies’ old school friend George Harris. Davies said, “We were dear friends, actually, George and I were going to start a band, but he got too heavily into drugs and it kind of pulled us apart.

The drug thing was like a three-way affair. He died of a methamphetamine overdose. They found him departed… he was young. I always felt it was going to be me and him. I didn’t think at that age that it was going to be me and Ray. So I really kind of wrote it to him.”

18. “Feel Like A Stranger” by Bob Weir / Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead - Feel Like A Stranger (Washington, DC 6/26/93)Grateful Dead – Feel Like A Stranger (Washington, DC 6/26/93)

Feel Like a Stranger by Bob Weir/Grateful Dead is a highly suggestive song. It’s all about the passion and sexualness of a one-night stand with a stranger you have just met for the first time.

The issue is highlighted with the lyrics, “You keep firin’ me glances across the room, and I can’t stop wonderin’ just what you got. Get the feeling that I’m going to find out real soon. But I feel like a stranger”.

19. “Goodbye Stranger” by Supertramp

Goodbye Stranger (2010 Remastered)Goodbye Stranger (2010 Remastered)

Goodbye Stranger by the band, Supertramp was originally released in 1979, on their album, Breakfast in America’. The song is about the freedom provided by one-night stands. The group clearly surprised their listeners with this pop-like song that talked about a subject matter that was very different from Supertramps’ usual music. 

20. “Perfect Strangers” by Deep Purple

Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers (Official Video)Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers (Official Video)

Perfect Strangers was originally released by Deep Purple in 1984. The song was written by lead singer, Ian Gillan after the band got back together from breaking up previously.

Gillan spoke of the song in an interview, and he said, “There was a lot of suspicion and worry and nervousness about getting together again and having a reunion, and when we all sat around in the basement of this old house in Vermont, there was a log fire and three feet of snow outside. We had a couple of beers, and nobody started playing.

Then, Paicey (Ian Paice) started tapping away, people started grooving, and a little shuffle came along. In five minutes everyone had a smile on their face. So, ‘Perfect Strangers’ was how we were before, and ‘Perfect Strangers’ are how we were afterward.”

To conclude, many musicians have used songs about strangers to describe a variety of circumstances. One-night stands and intimate interactions with strangers have been depicted in lyrics.

Others have used this genre to describe their feelings after running into an ex-lover. Then some artists have utilized their music to warn people about the dangers that strangers might pose. It’s been established that, despite their appearance, songs about strangers include both informative and sentimental meanings.