20 Songs About Mercy

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

The theme of mercy has been discussed in songs for generations, both in gospel and pop music. Therefore, mercy has long been a popular topic for songwriters, especially as they deal with their own ideas of forgiveness.

In this article, we’ve created a list of 20 songs that express feelings of remorse, forgiveness, and compassion. Many different genres are explored here, so you’ll find Christian songs and popular songs!

1. “Mercy” by Duffy

Duffy’s 2008 song “Mercy” details a romantic relationship that isn’t going according to plan. Duffy sings about how much she loves someone — yet they don’t want a real relationship with her. Instead, they’re looking to have her as a sidepiece. However, Duffy doesn’t want this and wants a real relationship with them, as she loves them!

In the chorus, she explains the pain this person is putting her through by begging for mercy. She sings, “You got me begging you for mercy / Why won’t you release me?”

2. “Mercy, Mercy” by The Rolling Stones

“Mercy, Mercy” by The Rolling Stones, which appears on their 1965 album Out of Our Heads, is another great song about asking for mercy in a romantic relationship. In this song, the band details how they learned from a gypsy that their partner is going to leave them.

Lead singer Mick Jagger begs his partner for mercy, as he doesn’t want this relationship to end. He talks about all the new things he’ll do — such as work more to bring home even more money — as he begs for his mercy.

3. “Mercy” by Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi’s “Mercy” also details the end of a romantic relationship. Capaldi sings about how his partner is calling it quits and seemingly done with the relationship. They’re quite alright with the end of the romance.

However, Capaldi isn’t. He doesn’t want this relationship to end. As a result, he begs for mercy from his partner, as his partner is breaking his heart.

4. “Expect No Mercy” by Nazareth

Hard rock band Nazareth released their song “Expect No Mercy” on their 1977 album of the same name. The band talks about how people can “Expect No Mercy” when they go out on the streets. In a way, the band could be talking about regular life.

In this take, they’re saying that you can’t expect people in the streets to give you mercy. Instead, people have to take care of themselves and always be wary.

5. “Have Mercy” by Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn’s 2004 song “Have Mercy” also examines the end of a romantic relationship. Lynn sings to her partner and begs them to have mercy on her, as they’re breaking her heart. Lynn loves this person. However, her partner has fallen in love with another woman — and decides to leave Lynn, even though she asks for mercy.

6. “Mercy” by Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes’ song “Mercy” walks through a potential romantic relationship that will likely never be. Mendes has feelings for someone, yet they just want to stay friends. As a result, Mendes feels that his heart is breaking, even though this person isn’t doing anything implicitly unkind to them.

In the chorus, Mendes sings the lyrics, “Baby, please have mercy on me / Take it easy on my heart / Even though you don’t mean to hurt me / You keep tearing me apart.”

7. “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by The Isley Brothers

“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by The Isley Brothers is about mercy and forgiveness, as well as compassion. The band sings about the many issues in the world, from environmental disasters to racism. However, they also state that we can’t fix all of these issues without forgiveness, love, and compassion.

As they explain the state of the world and ask for mercy, they sing, “Ah, things ain’t what they used to be / Ah, what about this overcrowded land / How much more abuse from man can she stand?”

8. “Love Have Mercy” by Otis Redding

Otis Redding’s 1966 song “Love Have Mercy” follows Redding as he sings about going through heartbreak in a romance. However, he’s not necessarily begging for mercy from the girl. He’s begging for mercy from God, the one he loves, and everybody he’s done wrong in the past.

In this song, we learn how Redding used to treat women and leave them heartbroken. Now that the one he loves has done exactly that, he realizes the wrongs he did.

He sings the lyrics, “Love have mercy, yeah, on this man / All the wrong I did now I understand / I broke a lot of hearts before I got to her / And now this suffering, just like they were.”

9. “Walk Tall” by John Mellencamp

In the 2004 song “Walk Tall”, John Mellencamp talks about how people can so easily be led astray in this life. Whether it’s by religion or other people, we can all go down dark paths and hurt others in the process. Mellencamp says we should all be aware of this — and then talks about mercy and grace.

He sings, “Bigotry and hatred are enemies to us all / Grace, mercy and forgiveness / Will help a man walk tall.”

10. “Mercy” by Matt Nathanson

“Mercy” by Matt Nathanson discusses love, life, fame, and so much more. Nathanson details how he’s ready for a different life and even wants to be born again. As a result of these feelings, he begs for mercy.

He sings the lyrics, “Mercy mercy both hands / I need less drowning and more land.”

11. “Sisters of Mercy” by Cher

Cher’s 2000 song “Sisters of Mercy” opens with the lines, “Sisters of Mercy / Your faith is not faithful / Your grace has no grace / Your mercy shows no mercy / Is there no way out of this place?”

The song goes on to describe how people who say they are faithful can put truly innocent people through harm. Cher sings that these people can’t be trusted, as they are not truly merciful and instead only harm and judge people.

12. “Mercy” by Muse

“Mercy” by Muse, which appears on the band’s 2015 album Drones, details a story of a woman becoming a drone, which the rest of the album also discusses. In this song, the woman regrets her transformation into a drone.

As a result, she begs for mercy while also describing her situation. The band sings, “Mercy, mercy / Show me mercy, from the powers that be / Show me mercy, can someone rescue me?”

13. “Justice and Mercy” by Flyleaf

Flyleaf’s 2006 song “Justice and Mercy” discusses humanity’s flaws and issues. There are many interpretations and meanings that can be found in this song, from listener to listener. However, the song is mainly about how justice and mercy can sometimes revolve around each other in this life — for good and for bad.

The band sings, “Mercy screams it’s violent love / Justice and mercy.”

14. “At the Mercy” by Paul McCartney

In the 2005 song “At the Mercy”, Paul McCartney sings about his life and love. We can sense McCartney’s struggles here with life and love in general. As a result of his feelings, he discusses mercy in life. He sings, “At the mercy of a busy day / I can think of nothing more to say.”

15. “Mercy/Gatekeeper” by Hayley Kiyoko

Hayley Kiyoko’s song “Mercy/Gatekeeper” follows Kiyoko as she sings about the physical pain she experienced, which then leads to depression. She’s clearly in pain throughout this entire song. Unfortunately, she cannot find a healthy way to deal with this pain.

As a result, she sings for mercy, begging anyone to help take this pain away. Repeatedly throughout the song, she sings, “Just give me mercy ’cause I keep hurting.”

16. “Mother of Mercy” by Iron Maiden

“Mother of Mercy” by Iron Maiden follows the point of view of a soldier during a war. This soldier sees all of the terrible death and atrocities around him. However, he doesn’t just go along with everything. He questions if what he’s doing is right and tries to seek God in this carnage.

The band sings, “Mother of mercy / Angel of death, desire / Mother of mercy / Taking my last breath of fire.”

17. “Let Your Mercy Rain” by Chris Tomlin

“Let Your Mercy Rain” by Chris Tomlin is a Christian song where Tomlin speaks to God. Tomlin sings about God’s love and how so many people can feel unified through him. He also begs for God’s mercy when he sings, “You’re the overflow / You’re the fountain of my heart / So let Your mercy rain.”

18. “Sinner’s Prayer” by Ray Charles

Ray Charles’ 1957 song “Sinner’s Prayer” is another song where the singer talks to God and begs for mercy. In this song, Charles asks for mercy for any wrong that he’s done. Now, he doesn’t actually say any of what he did, and he may not have even known if he sinned.

However, that doesn’t stop him from singing this “Sinner’s Prayer”. Charles sings, “Well if I’ve done somebody wrong, Lord, have mercy if you please.”

19. “Many Men” by 50 Cent

In the 2003 song “Many Men”, 50 Cent talks about many potentially deadly encounters he has had before in his life. He also discusses how he feels that he has people out looking to hurt him, almost as if he has a price tag on his head.

Through these topics, he also mentions mercy. After explaining that so many men are out to get him, he says, “Lord, I don’t cry no more / Don’t look to the sky no more / Have mercy on me.”

20. “Stormy Monday” by Cream

Finally, let’s talk about Cream’s song “Stormy Monday”! In this song, the band details the days of the week as they discuss what they do. However, when they get to Sunday, they explain that they go to church and pray.

They sing, “Lord have mercy on me / Just trying to find my baby, won’t you please send her on back to me.”