Here are 20 songs across different artists, genres, and periods with “don’t” in their title. These songs all have different meanings that have been brilliantly brought alive by the profound application of creativity in song writing and production.
Apart from identifying the songs, we also did a quick review of each songs to highlight the artist’s intended use of the word “don’t” in their songs.
- 1. “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
- 2. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
- 3. “Don’t” by Elvis Presley
- 4. “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran
- 5. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone
- 6. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis
- 7. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bob McFerrin
- 8. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
- 9. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna
- 10. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
- 11. “They Don’t Care About Us” by Michael Jackson
- 12. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez
- 13. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House
- 14. “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Beatles
- 15. “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” by Britney Spears
- 16. “I Don’t Wanna Be Me” by Type O Negative
- 17. “I Don’t Care” by Apocalyptica
- 18. “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay
- 19. “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” by Milli Vanilli
- 20. “Don’t Stand so Close to Me” by The Police
1. “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
Kicking off our list is “Don’t Speak”, a song by No Doubt. This song was originally written as a love song by Stefani siblings Gwen and Eric, for the rock band “No Doubt”. It was the 3rd single in the band’s album, “Tragic Kingdom” released in 1995.
Gwen Stefani would later rewrite the song to depict what transpired in her relationship with Tony Kanal, a fellow band member at No Doubt which ended in a controversial breakup.
Many cover versions of this song has been performed by several singers including Leela James, Niamh Perry, Carly Rae Jepsen and Jiordan Tolli.
2. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
“Don’t Stop Believin” was released in 1981 by the American Rock Band “Journey” as the second single in their Escape album to widespread acclaim. Inspired by band Keyboardist, Jonathan Cain’s story, as a struggling musician who wanted to quit, his father’s words “Don’t Stop Believin or you’re done, dude” pushed him through the tides that nearly sunk him in the industry.
“Don’t Stop Believin” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 56 and it climbed high to a number 9 spot, selling over 7 million copies in the United States alone. “Don’t Stop Believin” is a song that is still relevant today and carries rich meanings. In fact, it is one of the best-selling digital tracks from a song produced in the 20th century.
3. “Don’t” by Elvis Presley
At number 3, we have “Don’t” released in 1958 by 22-year-old Elvis Presley, one of the greatest musicians to have ever lived.
“Don’t, don’t, that’s what you say
Each time that I hold you this way,
When I feel like this and I want to kiss you,
Baby, don’t say don’t.”
“Don’t” turned out to be Elvis Presley’s eleventh number-one hit song in the United States. It also reached number four spot on the R&B chart and was the 3rd ranked song for the year 1958 by Billboard. “Don’t” was written and produced by lyricist Jerome Leiber and composer Michael Stoller who worked together as recording, producing and songwriting partners.
4. “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran
Another great musician currently dominating the airwaves is Edward Christopher Sheeran popularly known as Ed Sheeran an English songwriter, composer, actor, producer and musician. “Don’t” was one of the singles on Sheeran’s second album X released in 2014. He co-wrote “Don’t” with Benny Blanco, with production from Rubin Rick and Benny Blanco.
The lyrics of “Don’t” are self-explanatory, and due to the vivid expression it captures, it was regarded by many as a relatable heartbreak song upon its release.
Ed and his co-writer Benny tried to narrate Ed’s brief relationship with another singer, and they did it stylishly in three verses. The first verse of the song was the set-up, while the second passes the message or intention of the singer. The third verse captured the eventual outcome.
5. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone
One of five songs written by Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus and Horace Ott for American Pianist, Singer and Songwriter Nina Simone. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” was released in 1964 and has been covered by many artists and bands including The animals, Santa Esmeralda, and Elvis Costello.
“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” was set in a slow tempo, accompanied by a harp and other orchestral elements, and a backup choir.
Nina Simone’s songs usually shared subtexts with the popular civil rights movement of the time.
Some critics believe that this song also shares the same civil rights movement subtexts as most of Simone’s work, but others disagree as they think that the song was personal to Nina Simone as they feel it depicts Simone’s life and music career.
6. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis
Noel Gallagher, the lead guitarist cum songwriter for the Oasis band, wrote “Don’t Look Back in Anger” to encourage listeners to avoid being upset about their failures. Its lyrics encourages listeners to stop hanging onto regrets, but to instead look forward to the future with sanguine disposition. Gallagher and Owen Morris produced the song which was released in 1996.
7. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bob McFerrin
Inspired by Meher Baba, an Indian Mystic popular for the expression, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” is a cheerful song that is sung worldwide. It was written by Bobby McFerrin in 1988, and it was the first acapella to hit the peak of Billboard’s Hot 100 charts.
It encourages people to worry less about their troubles and to focus on happiness. Whatever life throws at you, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.
8. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” is one of the songs adapted as the soundtrack for Armageddon, a movie on natural disasters released in 1998. It was written by Diane Warren for Aerosmith, an American Hard rock band.
The song was originally written to be performed by someone with a voice like Celine Dion!
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” left a huge mark on many lovers of the movie.
9. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna
“Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna is a song that is subject to varying debates. Some argue that its lyrics encouraged teenage pregnancy, while groups with an anti-abortion view believe the lyrics are passing a positive anti-abortion message.
Brian Eliot, the original writer of the song explained that “Papa Don’t Preach” was an attempt by him to write a song about love from a different perspective. It was inspired by Gossip that he eavesdropped outside his studio. Madonna however, believes the song resonates well with her firm belief of standing up against misogyny and male authority in society.
10. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen was sang in the late 70s by the British Rock band for their Album titled Jazz released in 1978.
The song captures the band’s popular style of multi-tracking vocal harmony used in the chorus lines.
“Don’t Stop Me Now” has been adapted for commercials, films, television shows and it remains popular despite being released decades ago.
11. “They Don’t Care About Us” by Michael Jackson
A popular protest music sang by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. It was the 5th song off his album titled History: Past, Present and Future. It is one of the most controversial songs composed by Michael Jackson, and it stands out for its Pop sounds and delivery over slow tempo, with lyrics directly fired at societal ills like police brutality, racism and hate.
12. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez
Charlie Puth combined with Selena Gomez harmoniously over simple production to tell a story inspired by Puth’s friend who was going through a hard breakup. When asked by Charlie if he’ll talk to her, the friend responds “No, I won’t talk to her anymore”. Going through the lyrics of the song, one would easily realize it paints the story of a lover who is finding it hard to move on after a breakup, after their ex-partner had moved on.
13. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House
“Don’t Dream It’s Over” is the fourth single released in Crowded House’s self-titled album. The song was written for the Australian rock band by Neil Finn, a songwriter and a member of the band.
The song is regarded as Crowded house’ biggest hit on the international scene in the 80s where it peaked 2 on the United States Billboard Hit 100, No 8 in Australia, and Number 1 in New Zealand.
14. “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Beatles
The Beatles combined with Billy Preston to record “Don’t Let Me Down” in 1969. Heart wrenching, powerful, were some of the accolades used to describe this powerful live song by the Beatles.
Ben E King, Phoebe Snow, Annie Lennon, The Sandmen, The Black Crowes, Maroon 5, Greg Brown and a host of others have recorded cover versions of this song.
15. “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” by Britney Spears
Released in March 2001, as the fourth single on Britney Spear’s second studio album.
The ballad tells the story of a woman who yearns to hear her boyfriend express his love to her. The song received positive reviews from many music critics describing it as music that’s different from many pops of that time.
Additional lyrics to the song we’re added by Shania Twain and Keith Scott.
16. “I Don’t Wanna Be Me” by Type O Negative
First released as promo music by American Metal Band Negative O in 2003.
“I Don’t Wanna Be Me” was a deviation from the band’s popular style as it merges different genres although the punk rock aspects of the song are still quite dominant.
The song tells of Peter Steele’s struggle with addiction and life which was why the title of the song is “I don’t Wanna Be Me”.
The video featured popular actor Dan Fogler who dressed to imitate celebrities like Michael Jackson, Eminem, Britney Spears and Frontman Steele.
17. “I Don’t Care” by Apocalyptica
Released in 2008 by Finnish band Apocalyptica, as the third single off their 6th Album. The song is described by its writer to be a fantasy, but it has a clear message. It speaks of someone who is giving up on things that have negative effects on them. Another part of the song encourages people to be strong when faced with the difficult struggles of life.
18. “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay
Originally titled “Panic”, “Don’t Panic” is a song by Coldplay a British Rock Band. It was first performed by the band 23 years ago in 1998.
Coldplay’s version of the song features Chris Martin’s story of a disastrous night out with Alice Hill who is perhaps a fictional character.
“Don’t Panic’ has been adapted as soundtrack for Igby Goes Down, several other films and TV commercials.
19. “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” by Milli Vanilli
Milli Vanilli released “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” in 1988. Several love clichés and anecdotes were used in the lyrics of this song. A subtle message of love was expressed throughout the lyrics, urging their lover to remind their number.
20. “Don’t Stand so Close to Me” by The Police
“Don’t Stand so Close to Me” centers around the uproar that resulted from a teacher’s inappropriate relationship with their student.
“Don’t Stand Close to Me” was released in 1980 and it was the first single in their album titled Zenyatta Mondatta.
The list of songs with “Don’t” in their titles are extensive, and many more are going to be released in the future. What all of these 20 songs and many other songs with “Don’t” in their title clearly shows is the strength of language and the diverse creativity of these artists over different genres, countries, and periods.