17 Great Songs About Being Sorry

songs about being sorry
Written by Corey Morgan

Best songs about being sorry

Sorry seems to be the most difficult word to say, but it’s usually the best course of action if you know you’ve acted inappropriately.

The act of apologizing is one of those universally experienced human experiences that frequently functions as a rich source of creative motivation, particularly in music.

Some of the most well-known musicians in the world have, in a variety of insightful ways, addressed the themes of apology and regret in their work. Keep reading for a list of great songs about being sorry.

17 Top Songs About Being Sorry

1. Timbaland and OneRepublic’s “Apologize”

Timbaland - Apologize ft. OneRepublic

This song is almost certainly going to be the first song that comes to anyone’s mind when they are asked to mention songs about being sorry.

This song is all about a relationship that has gone so horribly wrong that it is now past the point of making amends. This was one of the earliest hits for the featured band OneRepublic, and it continues to be one of their most well-known pieces to this day. It stayed on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart for a whopping 14 weeks.

2. Liam Gallagher, For What It’s Worth

Liam Gallagher - For What It's Worth (Live At Air Studios)

This song was written by Simon Aldred as a personal apology to Liam Gallagher, the former lead singer of Oasis, for any wrongdoing on his part. The intention is to emphasize remorse without coming across as desperate.

3. Eminem, “Cleaning Out My Closet”

Eminem - Cleanin' Out My Closet (Official Music Video)

In this song, Eminem discusses his mother and the violent behavior she exhibited toward him. It was used in some of the 8 Mile trailers, but the rapper felt it was too personal to be used in the actual movie.

4. Sorry, Joel Corry

Joel Corry - Sorry [Official Video]

In this song, the protagonist begs a romantic interest for forgiveness. This Monsta Boy song, originally titled “Sorry (I Don’t Know),” was covered by British producer and DJ Joel Corry in 2019 with uncredited vocals from Hayley May. With over 41,000 ‘Shazams’ in 2019, it quickly became one of the most popular apology songs of all time, and it even topped the chart.

5. The Decemberists’ “Apology Song”

This song recounts a complicated and apologetic tale about a bicycle that went missing, was found, but was subsequently wrecked in an accident.

It serves as a gentle reminder that apologizing to friends when one has made a mistake is necessary, even if one’s heart was in the right place.

6. Feist’s “So Sorry”

After causing pain to a potential romantic interest, Feist sings an apology. It’s intriguing because it examines the problems in a relationship while still looking forward to fixing them.

7. ‘Jealous Guy’

John Lennon & D Plastic Ono

JEALOUS GUY. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band (w the Flux Fiddlers)

John wrote a wonderful song of remorse for his possessiveness and jealousy toward his wife Yoko Ono due to the fact that she spoke Japanese and he did not. Alternatively, it could have had something to do with his friendship and occasional disagreements with fellow ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.

8. Akon’s “Sorry, Blame It On Me”

Akon - Sorry, Blame It On Me (Official Music Video)

In this autobiographical song, Akon apologizes for his poor behavior while touring with Gwen Stefani. Although its demo was leaked in February 2007, its official release on MySpace occurred in July of that same year.

9. ‘All Apologies,’ by Nirvana

Nirvana - All Apologies (MTV Unplugged)

Kurt Cobain wrote this song as a dedication to his wife and daughter, and it describes the ups and downs of his life. Unfortunately, only four months later, Cobain would be dead, making this Nirvana’s final single.

10. Elton John’s song “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”

Elton John - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Snap Shot, a film from 1977 featuring a song by Elton John, deals with the difficulty of rekindling romantic feelings after a setback. It’s a stripped-down, honest piece that deals with the bleak reality of romantic heartbreak.

11. Please Forgive Me – Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams - Please Forgive Me

In this song, Bryan Adams asks a potential love interest to pardon him for loving her too much, putting an interesting spin on the concept of regret.

Previously, Adams had avoided using modulations unless absolutely necessary, so this was the first track to feature one.

12. R.E.M.’s Central Rain

R.E.M. - So. Central Rain (Official Music Video)

This song was inspired by a rainy day that prevented R.E.M. members from calling their families and friends to check in while opening for the Human League in Los Angeles on June 11, 1983. It was the group’s second single to appear on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart.

13. Sorry, Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber - Sorry (PURPOSE : The Movement)

This chart-topper was co-written by Justin Bieber and prolific songwriter and singer Julia Michaels. According to Michaels, the pair set out to compose a “universal song” about realizing a major error had been made in a romantic relationship and making an effort to fix things, despite the realization that it might be too late.

14. Chicago

“Hard to Say I’m Sorry”

Chicago - Hard To Say I'm Sorry (Official Music Video)

This song addresses the difficulty of apologizing to a loved one while also expressing the desire to show that you will go to any lengths to demonstrate how much they mean to you.

Peter Cetera, lead singer of the band Chicago, co-wrote this hit with David Foster, who also played piano on the original version.

15. Blake Shelton, “I’m Sorry”

In this country song, Blake Shelton deftly plays around with the word “sorry” to emphasize the apology of the lover rather than the regrets of the main character.

Shelton was initially nervous to sing this duet with Martina McBride, but after hearing the finished product, he realized he could do it.

16. Tracy Chapman’s “Baby, Can I Hold You”

Tracy Chapman - Baby Can I Hold You (Live)

This classic love song from the ’80s appears to be about someone who has been trying to apologize for a very long time but whose efforts have gone unrecognized. To find the right words to express your feelings for another person is a challenge in and of itself. After it was released, the single did well on several charts around the world.

17. Demi Lovato’s “Sorry, Not Sorry”

Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry (Official Video)

Last on our list of songs about being sorry is girl power anthem. This sarcastic apology song is all about not apologizing for who you are, no matter what your critics say. Since its release, it has become a popular girl-power anthem that encourages listeners to be authentic and to ignore the naysayers.