The best songs about waiting for someone or something capture how it feels to sit with patience while anticipating the return of a loved one or a cherished gift.
Whether we’re awaiting a delayed train or a new job, it’s something that occurs daily, as these moving and insightful songs perfectly illustrate.
Continue reading, and we’ll break down these iconic waiting songs spanning decades of music history, performed by some of the best bands and singers ever.
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The 23 Best Songs About Waiting
The concept of waiting touches on a broad range of themes, from falling in love and waiting for them to reciprocate to how we handle boredom.
We’ve selected music that encompasses all these interpretations, covering various genres in the music industry, from classic rock ballads to modern-day pop songs.
Here’s our playlist of the 23 best songs about waiting:
23. “I’ll Wait For You” – Joe Nichols
People can find themselves waiting for all kinds of things, and with “I’ll Wait For You,” Joe Nichols sings about his sick wife waiting for his return.
It’s a melancholy tune in which Nichols sings about the obstacles he faces before he can finally return home to the woman he loves.
Any semblance of hope is lost when he finally returns to find his wife has sadly passed away, making this one of the saddest songs about waiting.
22. “Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers
As with Joe Nichols, the Righteous Brothers took the topic of waiting to pen a song about being apart from the person you love.
“Unchained Melody” has been sung by hundreds of musicians, but our money is on this version from 1965, which is considered one of the best.
It’s about a man desperate to get back to the person he loves and spend time with her, and one of the most romantic songs about waiting you can listen to.
21. “Waiting For The Sun” – The Doors
With “Waiting for the Sun,” The Doors use the sun as a metaphor for better times ahead and how we patiently wait for our lives to improve.
It’s a song about hope for a brighter future, not being caught up in what went wrong in the past, and having a gloomy disposition.
The Doors wrote many hits over the years, including one of the best songs about anxiety, “The End,” released in 1967.
20. “She’s Waiting” – Eric Clapton
Prolific singer-songwriter and guitarist Eric Clapton wrote “She’s Waiting” about a woman desperate for a new man.
He sings about the suffering she went through from her previous partner and how his abusive behavior made her yearn for someone who could bring her joy.
Eric Clapton released “She’s Waiting” as part of his 1985 album, Behind the Sun, recorded during a temporary split with his wife.
19. “Fix You” – Coldplay
Coldplay merged the concept of waiting with feelings of loss with their song “Fix You,” released on their album X&Y in 2005.
On the surface, it’s a song about love, but there’s a deeper meaning about seeking closure after death to be found in the lyrics.
Waiting can sometimes be a futile pursuit, which Coldplay effortlessly captures in this powerful and moving rock ballad.
18. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” – The Script
Waiting for the return of a loved one is once again the main topic in “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script.
The singer vocalizes waiting at the place they first met in the hopes of her return, refusing to move from the spot until she turns up.
It’s another powerful and optimistic song about how we wait patiently in the hopes that true love will win out.
17. “You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is no stranger to writing songs about waiting, with “If This Was A Movie” one of her better-known efforts on the subject.
Her song “You Belong With Me” is another excellent addition to the topic, describing her feelings of waiting for the boy she loves to notice her finally.
Swift’s discography includes one of the best songs about revenge you can listen to, “Better Than Revenge,” which she released in 2010.
16. “Crying” – Roy Orbison
One of the all-time great songs from Roy Orbison is “Crying,” which captures how it feels to wait for a loved one after they have passed away.
It’s a classic song with simple yet highly effective lyrics that reminds us just how soul-shattering the anguish we feel is when someone dies.
Released in 1962, “Crying” cemented Roy Orbison’s reputation as a composer capable of producing compelling ballads that stirred the deepest feelings.
15. “Heartbreak Station” – Cinderella
Rock and blues masters Cinderella also use waiting as a reference point for lost love in their song “Heartbreak Station.”
The lyrics revolve around the feelings that gather in the aftermath of a failed relationship as we wait for the comforting memories that will ease our pain.
The song was released as the title track of Cinderella’s 1990 album, reaching number 19 on the Billboard 200 US chart.
14. “Nothing Arrived” – Villagers
Villagers tackled the concept of waiting through the lens of mindfulness and patience in their song “Nothing Arrived.”
It’s a cautionary tale about being sure about what we’re waiting for to recognize it when it finally arrives.
Failure to do this can mean waiting for a long time, futilely expecting something to happen that never transpires.
13. “Waitin’ On A Woman” – Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley’s song “Waiting on a Woman” takes the fast-paced, modern-day culture and compares it to the carefully considered wisdom of the elderly.
Paisley sings about a young man who hears a story from an older man about all the times that his lover made him wait patiently.
It’s an encouraging song that urges us to be more patient and considerate, playing the waiting game in love and life.
12. “Kissing A Fool” – George Michael
George Michael wrote one of the best songs about freedom, aptly titled “Freedom,” before turning his hand to the topic of waiting.
“Kissing a Fool” features lyrics from a protagonist who waits patiently for his feelings for someone he loves to be reciprocated.
Released in 1987, “Kissing a Fool” was featured on the debut studio album from George Michael, Faith.
11. “You Can’t Hurry Love” – Phil Collins
Patience in love is once again discussed in the Phil Collins classic hit, “You Can’t Hurry Love.”
It’s a love song about how patience in matters of the heart is essential, and if you hurry the process along, you may end up falling for the wrong person.
Released in 1982, Collins stated that the song was inspired by the wisdom shared by his mother and that true love is worth waiting for.
10. “I’ll Be Waiting” – Adele
When a long-term relationship ends, we often wait for it to be rekindled, even though the evidence suggests it will never happen.
Adele’s song “I’ll Be Waiting” is about this futile waiting game and our determination to become a better person so we don’t suffer the same way again.
Adele has had many hit songs over the years, including one of the best karaoke songs of all time, “Someone Like You,” which sold over 17 million copies.
9. “I Can’t Wait” – Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks released her song “I Can’t Wait” on her third studio album, Rock a Little, to critical and commercial acclaim in 1991.
In it, she sings about the feeling of anticipation she gets when waiting to spend time with someone she has a crush on.
The liner notes on her anthology album Timespace reveal how you need to go a little crazy to understand this song truly.
8. “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” – Death Cab For Cutie
Death Cab For Cutie takes a deep dive into the darker side of love with their song “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.”
In it, they sing about pledging to accompany a loved one regardless of what life has in store for them as a signifier of their undying love.
This acoustic ballad was written by Ben Gibbard and released on the 2005 album Plans and as a single.
7. “I Will Wait” – Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons delivered an authentic song with religious undertones with “I Will Wait,” released in 2012.
It’s a song about making mistakes in life and asking for forgiveness while also having the patience to wait until healing occurs.
“I Will Wait” is also about struggling to get back with someone you love and taking the time to adjust your mental attitude.
6. “Waitin’ For Superman” – The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips set aside their typical acid-punk sounds and adopted a space-pop approach to their song “Waitin’ For Superman.”
It’s a lament to the absence of real-life Supermen in the world and how waiting for someone to come along and take the weight of life for us is a fool’s game.
The track appeared on their breakthrough album, The Soft Bulletin, which won an NME award for Best Album when it was released in 1999.
5. “Wait” – The Beatles
The Beatles need little introduction, having released dozens of singles and albums that have topped the Billboard charts over the years.
“Wait” might be one of their lesser-known songs, but it retains the vitality and insights we’ve come to expect from this iconic rock band.
Originally intended for release on their album Help!, the band scrapped it and brought it back to include it on Rubber Soul, released in 1965.
4. “A Thousand Years” – Christina Perri
Christina Perri tells her listeners about her beloved in the track “A Thousand Years” and how long she’s prepared to wait for his return.
It’s a comforting song full of hope and the promise of love and devotion for those with the patience to wait for it.
The song was made internationally famous thanks to its inclusion in the Twilight film series, which was a massive hit around the globe.
3. “Waiting In Vain” – Bob Marley & The Wailers
With the song “Waiting in Vain,” Bob Marley explores a love that isn’t returned while living in exile in London.
“It’s me love that you’re running from,” he sings laconically, continuing, “it’s your love that I’m waiting on.”
Bob Marley’s song “No Woman No Cry” is regarded as one of the best songs of all time, consolidating his reputation as the leading light of reggae music.
2. “The Waiting” – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
The classic song from Tom Petty, “The Waiting,” reflects the joyful feeling we experience when we finally discover our soulmate in life.
It’s a song that explores the various partners we have in life before finding the right one and how true love is worth waiting for.
While failed relationships might be painful, Petty’s song reminds us how these experiences help us learn and become better people over time.
1. “Hold On” – Tom Waits
Tom Waits released “Hold On” in the amusingly-titled 1999 solo studio album Mule Vibrations, delivering a sumptuous ballad about a broken love affair.
One of his most famous songs is about the hope someone feels when they’re in love and how even when things get challenging, happier times are on the horizon.
Waits has been amply rewarded for writing some of the most iconic songs over the years, with multiple Grammy Awards and nominations to his name.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these iconic songs about waiting for someone or something from some of the world’s best bands and singers of all time.
These great tracks remind us that patience is a virtue and that all good things come to those prepared to sit back and wait for them to arrive.
It’s a topic explored by many other artists, including the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, and Velvet Underground, showing their appreciation of the concept in all its forms.
What songs capture the essence of waiting better than most? Leave a comment below.
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