20 Songs That Tell a Story

Music is another way to tell a story. It expresses emotions, follows a narrative structure, and creates atmosphere. Just like words or movies, music can take us on a journey and evoke feelings.

These stories can be about love, betrayal, hope, or determination. Here are 20 incredible songs that share powerful stories, each with their own unique story to tell!

1. “Stan” by Eminem feat. Dido

The song “Stan” by Eminem and Dido, released in 2000, tells the story of an extremely-obsessed fan named Stan. Stan goes to high lengths to get Eminem’s attention, but it ends tragically. The song explores themes of over-obsession and mental health, and it’s one of Eminem’s most famous tracks.

2. “Drunk in Love” by Beyonce

This popular song by Beyonce, featuring Jay-Z, tells a story of Beyonce feeling intoxicated and desiring her partner. It mentions a wild night out and waking up in the kitchen, questioning what happened. The song has trap beats and bass, showcasing female sexuality, and Beyonce sings it with confidence and sensuality.

3. “Third Rock from The Sun” by Joe Diffie

This phenomenal song was written by three different authors, namely; John Greenebaum, Tony Martin, and Sterling Whipple. It tells a story about a series of events that happen on Earth. This track implies that everything that happens on earth is a series of cause and effect.

4. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles

“Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles reflects on the world’s troubles, questioning our repetitive mistakes. It encourages strength, resilience, and the search for a better place. Musically, it’s described as a soft rock and pop-rock ballad.

5. “A Day In the Life” by The Beatles

This song tells a series of captivating events, such as the passing of socialite Tara Browne and his appearance in the film ‘How I Won the War.’ It weaves together various unique adventures that have the ability to mesmerize listeners.

6. “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay

This is a story of the French Revolution and the death of King Louis XIV. the lyrics are written from the point of view of the King and interpret his final speech before his death. The man who once ruled the kingdom shows humility by asking his people for forgiveness as he accepts his fate and prepares for death. 

7. “When We Were Young” by Adele

Adele’s soul ballad reflects on nostalgia and the bittersweet longing for the past. The lyrics express admiration for someone who feels like home and brings back memories of youth. The reference to movies and songs suggests the power of those mediums to evoke emotions and transport us back in time.

8. “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash

“A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash is a popular song about a boy who is mocked for his “girly” name. His father abandoned him, leaving him with a guitar and the name Sue.

The song has a mix of silly, sad, and vengeful tones as the boy grows hardened and seeks revenge on his father if they meet. However, when they meet, the father reveals he named him Sue to make him strong.

9. “Love Story” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s song “Love Story” takes inspiration from the famous play Romeo and Juliet, but with a twist. She tells the story from Juliet’s point of view and changes the tragic ending to a happy one.

10. “This Is America” by Childish Gambino

Released in May 2018, this song talks about racism and discrimination and how the prevailing system perpetuates these feelings. It also addresses issues such as police brutality and the struggles faced by black individuals in society.

11. “Fancy” by Bobbie Gentry

Fancy is a song that was written and recorded in 1969 by Bobbie Gentry. The song shows its protagonist depending on prostitution to defeat childhood poverty. Gentry sees the song as a statement of feminism and how women are trapped in the cycle of poverty.

12. “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd

“Shine on You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd tells the story of Syd Barrett, the band’s former member who left due to declining mental health. The song reflects on Barrett’s journey from a shining star full of brilliance to someone who became jaded and haunted over time.

Despite the challenges faced by Barrett, the song serves as an encouragement for him to keep shining, symbolized by the phrase “shine on.”

13. “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles

“Eleanor Rigby” is a somber song by The Beatles from their 1966 album, Revolver. It explores the theme of loneliness and emphasizes the impact of isolation and the absence of connection in people’s lives.

14. “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus

“Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus tells the story of a boy named who is infatuated with a girl named Noelle. He feels like an outsider and refers to himself as a “teenage dirtbag.” The song ends with a surprise encounter on prom night, where the boy wonders why Noelle suddenly notices him.

15. “Love Vigilantes” by New Order

This is a song about a soldier returning home from war with the anticipation of reuniting with his family. However, upon arrival, he discovers a devastating truth through a telegram: he is reported as dead. The lyrics express the soldier’s longing for his loved ones and the heartbreaking twist of fate.

16. “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan

This song, titled “Hurricane,” is a powerful protest anthem performed by Bob Dylan and co-written with Jacques Levy. The compelling lyrics shed light on the boxer’s unfortunate experience with racial profiling, leading to an unjust trial and wrongful conviction.

17. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

This musical piece narrates the story of a certain greedy lady who believes that material wealth can lead her to a heavenly place. However, the lyrics hint at the idea that words can have multiple meanings, suggesting that superficial riches may not provide true fulfillment.

This is considered to be one of the best rock songs ever produced and is a must-listen for all music enthusiasts. 

18. “Love of My Life” by Queen

As one of the famous songs composed by Freddie Mercury, the song was initially composed on the guitar and piano and narrates the tale of a heartbroken lover who was recently dumped.

The catchy tune and hummable lyrics make it an absolute crowd-favorite.

19. “American Pie” by Don McLean

This renowned song reflects on significant moments in American music history and the impact they had on society. The lyrics take us on a nostalgic journey, reminiscing about the past and mourning the loss of innocence and idealism.

Don McLean wrote the song with the intention of giving his audience something to ponder over.

20. “Lovers” by Jackie Evancho

This beautiful and rather magical piece of music talks about the simple life the singer led in her town.

The lyrics paint a picture of a field in the singer’s hometown, where they used to play together as carefree youngsters. The memory of their love and the promise made to cherish it forever linger in the singer’s heart.


Certain songs find their way into our hearts and playlists for various reasons. Some capture our attention with their captivating lyrics or infectious melodies, while others earn a special spot due to the stories they unfold. If you have been busy for a while and you’ve never listened to these jams, this is the time to hit play!