If it weren't for sad love songs, country music just wouldn't be the same.
Whether reliving sweet memories or bidding a bitter farewell, the saddest love songs are universal, sharing emotions to which we can all relate. And the best (or worst?) of them are those we can't quite make it through without shedding a few tears.
Keep a box or two of tissues handy as The Boot counts down the tear-stained Top 10 Sad Love Songs in Country Music.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "We found her with her face down in the pillow / Clinging to his picture for dear life."
Paisley and Krauss tell the 2004 story of a whiskey bottle becoming a deadly weapon in the hands of two brokenhearted people with little reason left to live. A chorus of angels sends both to their final resting place.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "This sun is blinding me as it wakes me from the dark / I guess the world didn't stop for my broken heart."
This 1991 ballad tells the all-too-familiar story of a couple dealing with a painful split. But the real story of the plane crash that same year in which McEntire lost eight of her band members gave the song a nearly unbearable poignancy.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "She's had 18 years to get ready for this day / She should be past the tears, she cries some anyway."
A child grows up and prepares to move on with her life. But packing up 18 years of treasured memories isn't easy -- and it's even tougher on Mom. This sad 1992 love song from Bogguss is heartbreaking for entirely different reasons.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "The lonely sound of my voice calling is driving me insane / And just like rain, the tears keep falling / Nobody answers when I call your name."
In this Gill weeper from 1990, he comes home to an empty house with nothing but a goodbye note. Sometimes silence -- and a mournful steel guitar -- can speak louder than any words ever could. Patty Loveless joins in for some haunting harmony vocals.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire / That once burned out of control, it took my body and soul."
Darkness and loneliness now haunt a once-happy home where a fiery love has since been extinguished. This heartbreaking 1990 love song from Shenandoah was covered by Alison Krauss and Union Station in a version that's even more otherworldly.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "If I'd only known how the king would fall / Who's to say, I just might have changed it all."
This 1989 song is Brooks' musical version of the Tennyson line, '"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." The powerful ballad is one of Brooks' career singles. While the message may strive for hope, the song's video is an all-too-sad reminder of great loss.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "Did you ever see a robin weep when leaves began to die / That means he's lost the will to live."
In just a few short years, Williams said nearly all there was to say in country music: the good, the bad and the tragic. This is a sad love song from 1949 with a tear in -- and in between -- every single, mournful note.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "You want me to act like we've never kissed / You want me to forget, pretend we've never met."
A tough exterior is no match for an untimely reminder of lost love. Cline perseveres in this 1961 song, even as she confesses she's powerless to stop the onslaught of a complete breakdown.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "If you're reading this, halfway around the world / I won't be there to see the birth of our little girl."
McGraw paid tribute to fallen soldiers and their families with this 2007 song, to which far too many Americans can relate. Written in the form of a letter received by a soldier's widow, the track creates a profound sense of sadness and loss.
Tissue-Worthy Lyric: "She came to see him one last time, we all wondered if she would / It kept runnin' through my mind, this time he's over her for good."
There are many reasons why this 1980 hit is the saddest country love song of all time, not the least of which is the bone-chilling delivery by Jones. In this career-defining classic, Jones laments a lost love that lasts literally until death does them part.