20 Most Difficult Songs To Sing: Hard Songs To Sing Ranked

When it comes to singing, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, some people can belt out a tune in perfect pitch while others struggle with the simplest of songs.

When you think about it, there are several factors that come into play when determining what makes a song difficult to sing: range, tempo, key signature and vocal tessitura (which is the specific way your voice resonates).

This article will focus on the Top 20 hardest songs to sing based on these four criteria. We hope this list helps you find your new favorite song!

hardest songs to sing

1. “Back In Black” by AC/DC

The song is about a guy who wants to get into the rock and roll world, but he has no money. He feels like “I’m back in black.” The lyrics are more than half of the words from this song. They start with “I’ve been too long away,” then sing through some other lines before singing another verse again.

This repeated part goes on for two minutes until it finally ends after seven verses and five repetitions around four minutes later. That’s why this has become one of their most popular songs!

It was first released only as a single release in 1980 and also appeared on Iron Man II soundtrack. The song was played during iron man’s first flight scene in an alternate ending.


2. “Dancing Queen” by ABBA

An international hit song famous for its catchy beat and memorable lyrics. It was released as a single on September 27. 1976 by Polar Music International with the B-side “Honey Honey*.

The song won first prize in the Eurovision Song Contest held in 1977 (hosted by Jacqueline Boyer).


3. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

“Bohemian Rhapsody* is a song written by Freddie Mercury and recorded in 1975. It was released as an A-side single with “I’m In Love With My Car,” reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart while it peaked at number nine on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1976.

The song is a six-minute suite, consisting of several sections without a chorus: an intro, a ballad segment (refrain), an operatic passage (aria), and a heavy metal section.

Rolling Stone ranked Bohemian Rhapsody #13 among their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”


4. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

This song was written by Cohen and released on his singer-songwriter album Various Positions. It is one of the most popular pieces of music in history, as well as one that has been covered extensively over time (hence its title).

Cohen wrote ’Hallelujah” about his relationship with singer Suzanne Elrod, though it was originally written and sung by John Cale on Cohen’s 1984 album Various Positions.


5. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones released “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in 1965. It was the group’s second single from their album Aftermath, and it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart while also topping several other charts around the world including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway.

The song is one of few examples where Mick Jagger wrote lyrics as well as music for a track; he attributed this to his recent lack of inspiration at the time.


6. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

This song. Led Zeppelin’s best-known and most successful single, is a rock ballad with folk musical motifs. It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Page for the band’s untitled fourth studio album (1971).

A quiet acoustic guitar intro sets the mood of mystery, but soon heavy electric guitars move in to create one of hard rock music’s most iconic riffs.

The lyrics are from Plant’s perspective about travelling through an “otherworldly” realm before arriving at a stairway that brings him back to Earth where he can find salvation.


7. “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple

A song that is played in heavy rotation on classic rock stations. “Smoke On The Water” was released by Deep Purple as a single from their 1972 album Machine Head.

Written primarily by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Ian Gillan while the band was touring England at great success during 1971-72, it tells of how they escaped an arson fire in Montreux near Lake Geneva where they were staying to finish recording their new album.

It’s one of the most distinctive songs in hard rock history with its instantly recognizable riff or lick repeated throughout both verses about what sounds like children playing: Diddly Dee…Diddy Wah (or Dickie Dee).


8. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” By Simon And Garfun

‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ is a song written by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. released as the title track on their 1970 album Bridge over Troubled Water.

The song was written by Simon and Garfunkel while the two were spending time in England during 1969.

The music for ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ is composed by musician James Taylor, who had been performing with both artists as a rhythm guitarist on their previous album, Parsley Sage Rosemary And Thyme.


9. “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles

Brief Summary: Eleanor Rigby is a song written by Paul McCartney and released in 1966 that tells the story of Eleanor Rigby, who died alone.

It was also on The Beatles album Revolver, which came out in 1966 as well.

“Eleanor Rigby” has been covered many times since its release date and is considered to be one of the most iconic songs ever.

Parsley Sage Rosemary And Thyme.


10. “The Impossible Dream” by The Andy Williams

It’s easy to understand why “The Impossible Dream” has become one of the most beloved songs in American history. Written by the legendary songwriting team. Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion for The Man From LaMancha (1965). it was first performed over 40 years ago at President Kennedy’s Inauguration Ball and then again on December 31. 1968 – Andy Williams’ last televised concert from his Christmas Show that year.

In this album recording, made just weeks before he died, you can hear how much love had penetrated every fiber of both singer and listener alike during these final moments together – a consummate perfection as sublimely bittersweet as any moment captured in music or film.”


11. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

This is one of the most popular songs in the world. It is ranked as number seven on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs” and has been featured on various television shows, movies, and commercials over the years.

One possible explanation for its popularity: Cohen was able to make an emotional connection with his audience through simple lyrics that are poetic but not too abstract. He creates this feel-good vibe by writing about a romantic partner who does something nice like feed him breakfast in bed or take off all her clothes just to please him.

The song also communicates a sense of longing–the protagonist sings about being lonely even though he knows that love exists and wants it so badly.


12. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra

This song is one of the most recognizable songs in modern music. The song was released in 1969 and it became Sinatra’s signature song, but he never wanted to sing it at all because he felt that his fans would think it meant that his career had come to an end.

It is a sad ballad about lost love with lyrics such as “And now these precious days are gone/l’m not afraid anymore.”

The 1973 version of this song written by Paul Anka has been adapted into Hindi Mandarin Chinese. German. Italian and Albanian.


13. “Imagine” by John Lennon

The song was recorded in 1971. It reached the top five on both sides of the Atlantic and also became a Christmas number one in Britain. “Imagine” has been covered by artists including Stevie Wonder. Elvis Costello. Bonnie Raitt. Nine Inch Nails with Johnny Cash and many more.

The lyrics are about imagining the world as it could be if people lived in peace with each other, without any religious or political divisions.

Lennon said:” Imagine’ is like a greeting to people from me…It’s not telling them what it is I’m imagining; you use your own imagination.”


14. “I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton)” by Whitney Houston

The song was first released as a single in 1973 and became one of the world’s best-selling singles for 20 years, selling over 13 million copies worldwide by 2011.

It is list on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at number 124—and ranked ninth among “The 25 Most Powerful Country Singers” according to TIME Magazine.”

Dolly Parton wrote the lyrics to her famous hit “I Will Always Love You”, which she offered up for Houston’s use; Whitney recorded it with producer David Foster in 1991.


15. “Somewhere Out There” by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram

The song is a duet with vocals by both Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram. It was written for the 1986 animated feature “An American Tail.”

The song was released as a single and peaked at number four on the “Billboard Hot 100.” It also became a top-ten hit in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand Norway and Sweden.

The video for this song features both Ronstadt (singing and playing piano) and Ingram (sitting beside her), along with animated segments from the film which are integrated into their live performance of the tune.


16. “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen

All by myself is a 1974 single written and composed by Carmen. The song was initially released on his debut album, “Eric Carmen.”

The lyrics of the song are about a person who has lost someone in their life and needs to find a way to go on without them. It is sung from the perspective of somebody whose lover had been killed in an accident – ‘I feel so alone’ he sings at one point; other lines include: ‘It’s just not fair.’

He states that he feels as if his whole world is slipping away – he says this through the phrase “All my dreams have vanished” which can be heard near the end of the track when Eric does it with such sorrowful emotion for emphasis.


17. “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton

The song was written about the pain Clapton felt after his son Conor died in 1991. In the lyrics, he sings of how “the beauty we love is always passing by” and that one day they will be able to walk together again with no more tears in heaven.

In a video for MTV News when talking about “Tears in Heaven,” Eric said: “I wrote it at my house … I finished writing it on an airplane coming home from Ireland where we had scattered our younger boy’s ashes… It really just started out as this simple little instrumental idea — all these years later what people see now, which is tremendously emotional and very powerful — almost never happened.”


18. “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel

The Sound of Silence is a song written by Paul Simon and performed with Art Garfunkel. The lyrics are about the consolations, or lack thereof, that one might find in silence.

The lyrics of the song are about how people in silence have problems with loneliness, fear and despair. The singing can be lonely as well as frightening at times – which has made it one of the most popular songs among mental health professionals to help patients deal with depression.


19. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin

The song is the second of five songs on side two of her album, “Aretha Now.” The title and lyrics refer to a woman’s sense of naturalness in herself.

So often women feel that they must be something other than what society wants them to be in order to find happiness. Franklin sings about how she doesn’t need anyone else but can just look at herself for all the beauty that she needs: “You make me feel like I’m living again.”


20. “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn

It was written by Marc Cohn, a singer-songwriter and musician from New Jersey.

He wrote it while he had been living for some time in Memphis, Tennessee after touring Europe with his rock & roll band The Young Fresh Fellows before starting as a solo artist

The song was originally recorded by The Staple Singers using Cohn’s guitar and vocal arrangements, but the single, released to radio stations on January 19, 1994, was re-recorded with Booker T. & the MGs as session musicians in Memphis at Ardent Studios during December 1993.


Final Thoughts

Songs are a great way to express yourself and show off your vocal range, but not all songs will be easy for everyone.

Have you ever tried to sing one of these songs? If not, we dare you. You might be surprised how difficult it is!

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About Jayden Buckley

Hi, my name is Jayden and I am author/editor for PlayTheTunes. I remember the first time I hopped on the drums, I was hooked. Music has played an enormous part of my life, and I'm honored I get to share my experiences with you!