Country singers are famous for writing songs about their pain, which is why we’ve put together this list of our favorite country songs about being hurt. We think these are some of the best country songs about hurting from love, a fight in a relationship, or just being in pain in general. From Johnny Cash to Jerry Lee Lewis, this list features some country artists who really know a thing or two about pain. Take Jason Isbell’s “Elephant” for example- a country song about hurting because a loved one is dying of cancer. Some of these songs are pretty darn glum, but what were you expecting from a list of country songs about feeling hurt?
We love hearing from you guys when it comes to song suggestions, so let us know what your favorite country song about hurting is if it’s not on our list. We might even add it if we like it enough! We tried to include all songs with “hurt” in the title, but we broke the rule for some exceptions.
1. Johnny Cash- Hurt
Who would have thought that a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song would ever be considered such a country staple? Cash covered the song for his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around, and delivered such an emotional rendition that NIN front-man Trent Reznor admitted that the version was so good that the song wasn’t even his anymore.
2. Rascal Flatts- What Hurts the Most
There have been many renditions of “What Hurts the Most,” but none were ever bigger than the Rascal Flatts version. Originally written by Jeffrey Steele and Steve Robson, “What Hurts the Most” was recorded by several artists before Rascal Flatts took a stab at covering the song. The song is about a bad breakup, with the narrator feeling regret and sadness that he was never able to properly convey how he felt to his lover.
3. Shania Twain- It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing
A catchy country-pop song from her 2002 album Up!, “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing” is a sad country song about lying to yourself in order to suppress the pain from a bad breakup. The narrator of the song proclaims that it only hurts when she’s breathing, meaning she is in pain all the time- “And it only hurts when I’m breathing / My heart only breaks when it’s beating / My dreams only die when I’m dreaming / So, I hold my breath-to forget.”
4. Rosanne Cash- Never Gonna Hurt
From her 1985 album Rhythm & Romance, “Never Gonna Hurt” by Rosanne Cash is a country breakup song told from a woman’s point of view. The narrator of the song is telling her partner that she no longer has feelings for him, and that he’s never going to hurt her ever again- “Well I think you’ve lost your youth / And you think I play too loose / But I’ll tell you what the truth is / You can’t hurt me anymore.”
5. Jerry Lee Lewis - It Hurt Me So
“It Hurts Me So” is a country song about hurting your partner and feeling remorse because of it. The narrator of the song wants to know what he did to hurt his partner, because her pain is also hurting him- “It hurts me so / To hear you crying in your sleep / Tell me what do you keep / Down inside I wanna know.”
6. George Jones- I’ve Still Got Some Hurtin’ Left To Do
Released on his 1993 album High-Tech Redneck, “I’ve Still Got Some Hurtin’ Left To Do” by George Jones is a song about being in denial of your own heartbreak. The narrator of the song is out having fun with his friends, but realizes he isn’t over his ex when their song comes on the jukebox- “Tonight I went out with some old friends / We laughed and joked and oh, we downed a few / I was feeling strong, till someone played our song / I still got some hurtin’ left to do.”
7. Patsy Cline- I Love You So Much It Hurts
A simple love song, “I Love You So Much It Hurts” sees the narrator professing their love for their partner- “I love you so much, it hurts me / Darlin, that’s why I’m so blue / I’m so afraid to go to bed at night / Afraid of losing you.”
8. Dwight Yoakam - It Only Hurts When I Cry
From his fourth studio album If There Was a Way, “It Only Hurts When I Cry” by Dwight Yoakam is very similar to Shania Twains, “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing.” Both songs have the same exact idea- the narrator only hurts during certain times, with those certain times being all the time. It’s a clever way of saying that you’re not hurting when you really are- “The only time I feel the pain / Is in the sunshine or the rain / And I don’t feel no hurt at all / Unless you count when teardrops fall.”
9. Dierks Bentley- “Home is Where the Hurt Is”
Another country song about the hurt of being alone, “Home Is Where The Hurt Is” by Dierks Bentley details the loneliness of living alone at home after a breakup- “Cause home is where the hurt is / Still tryin to find myself / Stuck here in the middle of lonesome / Wishin’ I was somewhere else.”
10. Jason Isbell- Elephant
One of the saddest country songs I’ve ever heard, “Elephant” by Jason Isbell is a great country song about hurting because a loved one is dying. The song was inspired by Isbell’s mother’s battle with cancer, and once you know that the lyrics are extremely sad- “We drink these drinks and laugh out loud / Bitch about the weekend crowd / And try to ignore the elephant somehow.”by