08/21/2012 12:59 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2012

Sad Songs: The 11 Biggest Tear-Jerkers

We've all spent time with hundreds of sad songs throughout our listening lives and in researching my new book, This Will End In Tears: The Miserabilist Guide to Music [It Books, $16.99], I found that people tend to be aggressive in defense of the heart-wrenching power of their favorites melancholic tunes.

My book ends with a list of the top 100 saddest songs, which stands as a culmination of the book as a whole. In it rests the sum of the hundreds of hours I spent listening to the saddest music in the world. I pulled from all genres--jazz, rock, classical, country, etc.--and across six centuries, and to avoid a list dominated by Leonard Cohen, Billie Holiday, Elliott Smith, and Townes Van Zandt I stuck to a one-song-per-artist rule. Historical import, crowd-sourcing, straw polls, and my own listening, contemplating, listening again, and second-guessing were all factored into my decision making process.

Here, for argument, applause, and derision, is an excerpt, the tip of the iceberg, of my top 100 saddest songs ever.

The 11 Saddest Songs Ever