33 Songs From Grey's Anatomy Guaranteed to Make You Sob Uncontrollably
The life of a Grey's Anatomy fan is not an easy one. We suffer death after painful death, breakups, plane crashes, rogue gunmen, and overall misery. Although few things can make up for this emotional torture, there's one thing about Grey's that never fails to deliver: the music. There's a reason the show's soundtrack won a Grammy, people! Since every heartbreaking moment is accompanied by the most perfect song, we've rounded up all of the tunes that gave us the most feels (on top of feels, on top of even more feels). Check 'em out!
"Breathe (2 AM)" by Anna Nalick
- When it destroyed you: Season two, episode 17
- Why it destroyed you: When a patient comes into the hospital with a live bomb inside of him, Meredith ends up with her finger on the detonator and must perform a high-risk handoff to a sexy bomb squad officer (played by Kyle Chandler, naturally) while remaining calm. This is also intercut with scenes of Derek performing surgery on Bailey's husband after he suffers a brain injury in a car accident.
"How to Save a Life" by The Fray
- When it destroyed you: Season two, episode 21
- Why it destroyed you: "It's a beautiful afternoon to save lives, people," Derek says just before a montage of the doctors trying to handle a number of crises at once. Years later, Owen sings it in the musical episode event "Song Beneath the Song" in season seven.
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
- When it destroyed you: Season two, episode 27
- Why it destroyed you: An hour after Denny proposes to Izzie, he dies from an unforseen blood clot. Izzie, devastated, has to be forcibly removed from his dead body and tells Bailey and Webber that she's quitting. It's one of the most iconically tragic moments of the entire show.
"All I Need" by Mat Kearney
- When it destroyed you: Season three, episode one
- Why it destroyed you: The first episode after season two's emotional finale (Denny dying, Izzie quitting, general sorrow) opens with Izzie lying on the bathroom floor in her ballgown, where she's been ever since Denny died. "I feel like I'm moving in slow motion," she says. "Like I'm moving in slow motion and everything around me is moving so fast and I just wanna go back to when things were normal."
"Falling Awake" by Gary Jules
- When it destroyed you: Season three, episode 12
- Why it destroyed you: George finally has to admit that his father isn't getting any better and take him off of life support. After seeing him and his dad work through all of their issues in the episodes leading up to this, you really feel George's pain.
"A Bitter Song" by Butterfly Boucher
- When it destroyed you: Season three, episode 15
- Why it destroyed you: In the craziness of the ferry crash, Meredith falls into the water while trying to save someone and nearly drowns. It's terrifying, dark, and awful. Then, Derek fishes her out at the last minute, and all of the interns tensely wait to see if she makes it out of surgery alive.
"Swans (Extended Version)" by Unkle Bob
- When it destroyed you: Season three, episode 17
- Why it destroyed you: Ellis Grey dies, so Richard sits at her bedside and pours his heart out. Across the hospital, Izzie is walking down the hall when she suddenly stops, feeling the presence of Denny beside her. If you can watch that scene without shedding a tear, we highly suggest getting an X-ray to make sure you definitely are in possession of a heart.
"Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson
- When it destroyed you: Season three, episode 25
- Why it destroyed you: On the day of the wedding she wasn't even really sure she wanted, Cristina is left at the altar by Burke. While standing in her living room in her wedding dress afterward, she has a total meltdown and screams at Meredith to cut her out of her gown. The scene might have come across as a little cheesy, but with a phenomenal actress like Sandra Oh at the helm, it's brutally perfect.
"Dream" by Priscilla Ahn
- When it destroyed you: Season four, episode 16
- Why it destroyed you: Meredith and Derek's clinical trial has some emotional moments, but hardly anything is as dramatic as the tender relationship between their teenage patients, Beth and Jeremy. Before each is scheduled for neurosurgery, they consummate their relationship in the hospital room, while Derek and Meredith hilariously stand guard.
"Street Lights" by Kanye West
- When it destroyed you: Season five, episode 10
- Why it destroyed you: Cristina and Owen's relationship is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, so their lighthearted kiss in the vent room is like a breath of fresh air.
"Blindsided" by Bon Iver
- When it destroyed you: Season five, episode 12
- Why it destroyed you: Izzie keeps seeing Denny everywhere she goes, and this is the moment she finally realizes it's because of a reason more serious than grief: she's sick.
"Sweetheart" by Jont
- When it destroyed you: Season five, episdoe 20
- Why it destroyed you: With her arms wrapped around a terminally ill child, Bailey has to convince the girl's father that it's time for him to let go. She then sits and watches as he heartbreakingly talks her through her final breaths.
"Turn to Stone" by Ingrid Michaelson
- When it destroyed you: Season five, episode 22
- Why it destroyed you: Cristina and Meredith help Izzie get ready for her wedding before she triumphantly stands up from her wheelchair and walks down the aisle to Alex. *sobs forever*
"Off I Go" by Greg Laswell
- When it destroyed you: Season five, episode 24
- Why it destroyed you: As Izzie crashes and Cristina and Alex fight over whether or not to revive her, Meredith tearfully discovers that John Doe is George just before he dies. Just to make sure your heart is 100 percent in pieces, there's a trademark Meredith Grey voice-over to seal the deal: "Did you say it? 'I love you, I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it?"
"In My Veins" by Andrew Belle
- When it destroyed you: Season six, episode 24
- Why it destroyed you: A whole lot about the hospital shooter episodes is heartbreaking, but the scene of Charles the intern bleeding out while Bailey is left helpless to save him is a doozy.
"Holding Us Back" by Katie Herzig
- When it destroyed you: Season six, episode 24
- Why it destroyed you: Derek comes face to face with the hospital gunman, and we're all lulled into thinking that he's going to make it out of the situation unscathed. Then Kepner ruins everything and Derek gets shot, to Meredith's horror.
"The Story" by Brandi Carlile
- When it destroyed you: Season seven, episode 18
- Why it destroyed you: The first time "The Story" appears on Grey's Anatomy is in a special season three recap video released by ABC, but the second time is the one we can't help but think of whenever it plays. In the musical episode, Callie is in a coma and Arizona is at her bedside, begging her to wake up. Meanwhile, Callie's spirit witnesses the whole thing go down. Sara Ramirez, who plays Callie, blows the cover out of the water and rips your heart right out.
"Skin" by Zola Jesus
- When it destroyed you: Season eight, episode nine
- Why it destroyed you: Cristina is forced to tell Teddy that her husband, Henry, died during surgery. Teddy, shocked and in disbelief, rushes off to see his body for herself. As she lifts the sheet, Zola Jesus's voice makes an already heart-wrenching scene that much more visceral.
"Without You" by One Two
- When it destroyed you: Season nine, episode one
- Why it destroyed you: Callie and Derek sit crying by Mark's bedside as he's taken off life support and flatlines. How can such a beautiful man die, Shonda? HOW?
"All I Want" by Kodaline
- When it destroyed you: Season nine, episode two
- Why it destroyed you: Meredith leaves Cristina — who'd left Seattle and the grief of the plane crash to work at a hospital in Minnesota — an emotional voicemail that starts off with, "This is a place where horrible things happen. You were right to go. You're probably escaping disaster . . . ," and it only gets sadder from there.
"Kiss Me" by Ed Sheeran
- When it destroyed you: Season nine, episode 10
- Why it destroyed you: Richard attends Bailey's wedding while still deeply grieving the loss of his wife, Adele, who has just died from a heart attack. He has a sad conversation with Meredith, as they're wont to do, while Ed Sheeran's voice softly and sweetly rips our tear ducts to shreds in the background.
"Without You" by Ingrid Michaelson
- When it destroyed you: Season nine, episode 24
- Why it destroyed you: As Bailey operates on Meredith during the blackout, Avery's life is on the line after a bus explosion. Thankfully everyone turns out OK, for once.
"We Built This City" by Aron Wright and Jill Andrews
- When it destroyed you: Season 10, episode 21
- Why it destroyed you: A lot of cover songs have been featured in the more recent seasons of the show, including this haunting cover of the Starship classic. In the final scene of one of Sandra Oh's last episodes, Owen finds a depressed Cristina showering fully dressed after having to save a child's life at the cost of another, questioning pretty much everything in life. This is also the moment that Owen reveals that Cristina was the technical winner of the Harper Avery award, even though it went to someone else.
"Where Does the Good Go" by Tegan and Sara
- When it destroyed you: Season 10, episode 24
- Why it destroyed you: Out of context, this song isn't sad. It's actually pretty upbeat. But when it starts playing and all you can think about is the last time Meredith and Cristina ever danced together to it? No. Just, no. Leave us.
"You Were Supposed to Be Different" by Aron Wright
- When it destroyed you: Season 11, episode 21
- Why it destroyed you: Meredith finally decides to pull the plug on Derek, the absolute love of her life, after he succumbs to his car crash injuries.
“High and Dry” by Phillip Larue
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode one
- Why it destroyed you: Maggie and Jackson decide to end things in the season 16 premiere. The possibility of reconciliation wanes near the end of the episode when Maggie tells him that they don't like each other, and they're not friends.
“Long Long Time” by William Redwood
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode four
- Why it destroyed you: Meredith lands herself in hot water after an outlet publishes her list of angles for a story about the shortcomings of the healthcare system. The headline? "Hospital Hell at Grey Sloan Memorial; Fired Surgeon Speaks Out." Yikes. The article further drives a wedge between Meredith and Bailey, and as if that's not painful enough, Meredith also ends up in a heated argument with Andrew.
“Bigger Than Us” by Hudson Thames
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode six
- Why it destroyed you: Meredith's daughter Zola opens up to Andrew about grieving for her father, Derek. She worries that he'll be forgotten, but Andrew shares a sweet story about Derek's dedication to helping people, assuring Zola that her dad's legacy will live on.
"Commentator" by Roo Panes
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode seven
- Why it destroyed you: Maggie tries her best to save Richard's niece, Sabrina, during an operation to remove a tumor. Due to overwhelming clotting, Sabrina dies, which leaves Maggie heartbroken, especially because Sabrina's father, Chris, didn't want her to do the operation in the first place.
“Too Much” by Jeffrey Amor
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode seven
- Why it destroyed you: The title of the song says it all. This track plays as Maggie informs Chris that Sabrina didn't survive the operation, and Chris takes the news hard.
“Salt and the Sea” by The Lumineers
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode eight
- Why it destroyed you: Meredith and Andrew find themselves at odds when Andrew realizes that Meredith will always revere her late husband, Derek, over him. He urges her to figure out what she wants and to let him know if they can truly be together.
“Real Life” by Imagine Dragons
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode 15
- Why it destroyed you: Jo breaks down in tears and confides in Link after she realizes that Alex left her. It's later revealed that Alex returned to his life in Seattle to reunite with his first wife, Izzie Stevens. Oh, and it turns out that Alex is also the father of Izzie's 5-year-old twins. Needless to say, Grey's fans were none too pleased with Alex's exit.
“Pray” by Coco Bans
- When it destroyed you: Season 16, episode 20
- Why it destroyed you: Richard continues to suffer from memory loss due to cobalt toxicity, leading him to believe that he's still married to his late wife, Adele. This causes Catherine to break down in tears as it feels like yet another blow to their already disntegrating relationship.