You know how you shouldn't get a tattoo of a lover's name because it's going to be there forever... whether or not you two stay together? Songs about a specific romantic partner are kind of like that, too.
Not that artists should regret the music inspired by a past flame: Love is one of the most inspiring emotions an artist can feel and, as history and the charts prove, love has produced incredible music. And even when the relationship fizzles, the song remains.
For more ways to change the lovey-dovey narrative this Valentine's Day, don't miss 16 Essential Pop Breakup Anthems or tune into our Valentine's Day Playlist for Single People. There's also the Pop Star Breakups That Broke Our Hearts.
Having a super-producer like Calvin Harris as your boyfriend is a pretty sweet deal, and Rita Ora earned one of the biggest and best hits of her career with Harris behind the boards. The adorable pop star/producer relationship was spelled out in the lyrics, "When you say you've had enough / And you might just give it up/ I will never let you down."
It all stings just a little more when you remember this heartbreaking quote from Ora about her ex-boo: "The fact that he got something out of me that I never thought I had. Yes, like falling in love. I just didn’t think I had it. I'd never experienced it before. And I was just like in the wilderness, thinking, 'Will it ever happen?'"
"Your love is perfection," the couple declare to one another, delighting Chrianna supporters and making the rest of our stomachs churn.
While the pop star admitted that most of the material on sophomore album Teenage Dream was in-part inspired by then-fiance Russell Brand, this album track—that totally sounds it could have been the LP's sixth No. 1 single—is directly about him.
"He gives me that 'Hummingbird Heartbeat,'" Perry said. They wed in October 2010, two months after the album dropped. Brand filed for divorce in December 2011.
Ah, Sonny and Cher: one of the most famous couples in show business. Their marriage didn't last, but this song—penned by Bono—remains one of the most recognizable duets in music history.
It might have been the highest-profile romance of the '00s, and J.Lo's surprisingly heartfelt ballad is the one of few remnants of it.
Hey Ben, could Jennifer Garner sing you a love song like this!?!
"Lonely was the song I sang 'til the day you came / Showing me another way / And all that my love can bring," Mayer croons, dissing all his other high-profile romances with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson, Minka Kelly, Jennifer Aniston and the other countless women.
This guitar-driven electro-pop jam was inspired by the long-distance relationship that was Madonna and director-hubby Guy Ritchie's marriage. "So many people have to deal with long-distance relationships, it's not easy. You have to work hard to make it work," Madonna said of the track. "Miles Away" was selected as the third single from Madge's Hard Candy album, released in April 2008. The couple filed for divorce just six months later.
While Fleetwood Mac's 1977 Rumours album is famous for songs chronicling the romantic breakups in the group, singer Christine McVie's ode to the band's bassist/then-husband John McVie, "Say You Love Me," is the one of the few Mac tracks that details actual love. The couple divorced in 1977.
Christina Aguilera said most of her 2006 LP Back to Basics was inspired by her 2005 marriage to music marketing exec Jordan Bratman. While she dedicated everything from the brassy first single "Ain't No Other Man" to epic choral piece "The Right Man" to her now-ex-hubby, we think the whispery acoustic ballad "Save Me From Myself" is a special gem.
Xtina actually tones down her famous diva pipes to coo touching lyrics like, "Don't ask me why I'm crying / 'Cause when I start to crumble, you know how to keep me smiling / You always save me from myself."
"I won me a trophy," Future crooned while singing about his then-fiancee, Ciara, before Kanye West slid to pay homage to Kim Kardashian. Kanye and Kim are still together... Future and Ciara are not. One year after this track appeared on Honest in 2014, Future delivered a series of scathing blows to Ciara on his Dirty Sprite 2 album.