20 Songs About Sacrifice

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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.

Songwriters have discussed the common theme of sacrifice throughout history. The topic of sacrifice can therefore be seen in various songs with different meanings. Some songs discuss sacrifice in love, while others talk about sacrifice for the greater good, or for their beliefs.

Still, others have written songs about being forced to sacrifice themselves for negative scenarios, such as for societal standards.

This article of 20 songs about sacrifice details the many ways songwriters have discussed this common theme!

1. “The Sacrifice of Victor” by Prince and the New Power Generation

Prince and the New Power Generation’s 1992 song “The Sacrifice of Victor” details many different sacrifices people may go through in their daily lives. Specifically, Prince explains his own sacrifices in life and also discusses his childhood struggles.

However, Prince says that we all must go through these sacrifices, as this is what happens in life. In the end, we will be better for it. He sings, “Around the corner, there’s another sacrifice (joy around the corner) / But you got to do the best you can y’all (we sacrifice).”

2. “Sacrifice” by t.A.T.u.

“Sacrifice” by t.A.T.u., released in 2005, follows the band as they talk about their guilty conscience. They sing to someone about how they feel better when they’re around, as this person helps set them at ease. However, that doesn’t mean they continue to feel positive, as the chorus below shows.

They sing the lyrics, “I will sacrifice / All I have in life to clear my conscience.”

3. “Sacrifice” by Elton John

In the 1989 song “Sacrifice”, Elton John sings about the end of a romantic relationship. He discusses jealousy, fights, and infidelity throughout this entire song. However, he doesn’t try to work things out in this relationship. Instead, he realizes that it’s better for both of them to end the relationship and go their own ways.

To help express this point, he discusses sacrifice. He sings, “And it’s no sacrifice / Just a simple word / It’s two hearts livin’ / In two separate worlds.”

4. “The Sacrifice” by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s 2011 song “The Sacrifice” is all about her career — and all that she’s sacrificed to get where she is today. Parton sings about how she sacrificed time with her family, friends, and loved ones for her career.

She also sings about how she knew very early on she would do whatever she could to be rich. Now that she has become rich and reached her dreams, she does wonder if it was all worth the sacrifice. For the most part, she does think it was worth it!

She sings the lyrics, “Through blood, sweat, and tears I have built a good life / But it didn’t come without sacrifice.”

5. “Sacrifice” by Motorhead


“Sacrifice” by Motorhead is one of the best rock songs about the topic of sacrifice! Released in 1995 on their album also called Sacrifice, this song details war and how hopeless everything can become as a result of it. Throughout the entire song, the band sings about sacrifice — and whether it is all worth it in war.

6. “Sacrifice Yourself” by David Bowie

In “Sacrifice Yourself”, David Bowie talks about a variety of different people and all of the struggles that they have. As he discusses their problems, he also talks about how many people sacrifice themselves. To this, he sings, “Surprise yourself, don’t sacrifice yourself.”

7. “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice” by Poison

Poison’s 1991 song “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice” was inspired by fantasy and horror novels. As a result, the song details an eternal relationship and love between a man and a woman. Therefore, the singer talks from the point of view of an immortal man who will always love one woman.

Sacrifice is mentioned in relation to this romance. The band sings, “Flesh and blood sacrifice / Melts the heart like fire and ice.”

8. “Pushing Me Away” by Linkin Park

“Pushing Me Away” by Linkin Park, released on the band’s 2000 album Hybrid Theory, discusses difficult and problematic relationships. However, even though the singer knows this relationship is wrong, he has a hard time not returning to this person.

The band sings, “The sacrifice of hiding in a lie / Everything has to end, you’ll soon find / We’re out of time left to watch it all unwind / The sacrifice is never knowing.”

9. “Love Ballad” by Tove Lo

In “Love Ballad”, Tove Lo details all of the obsessive things she’ll do to ensure that the person she loves knows that she loves them. As a result, this song is all about sacrifice for love.

Tove Lo sings the lyrics, “’Cause this is my one true sacrifice / It never gets old.”

10. “My Sacrifice” by Creed

Creed’s hit 2001 song “My Sacrifice”, which appears on their album Weathered, follows the lead singer as he discusses both sacrifice and redemption. The singer comes to terms with his many issues and struggles, such as addiction. However, he’s ready to change and try to work these issues out.

Listeners also feel that the song has romantic elements and therefore can be seen as a love song about sacrifice! Therefore, the singer could be talking to himself (or his past, innocent self) or a past romantic partner!

Regardless of how you interpret this song, it’s still a great song about sacrifice for the better. The band sings, “Above all the others, we’ll fly / This brings tears to my eyes / My sacrifice.”

11. “Heaven Only Knows” by Bob Moses

Bob Moses’ 2018 song “Heaven Only Knows” opens with the lyrics, “Sacrificed all your life / Heads hang heavy when there’s blood on the line / It’s justified, don’t ask why / ‘Cause Heaven only knows.”

The entire song follows the singer as he discusses how we all make sacrifices throughout our lives. However, he questions these sacrifices. Why must we always do this? He questions religion and faith for insinuating that we must always sacrifice in order to live.

12. “Sacrifice” by The Roots and Nelly Furtado

The Roots and Nelly Furtado discuss a lot of things in “Sacrifice”, which was first released in 2002. However, they always come back to one idea: if you want to succeed in life, you don’t have an easy road ahead of you. Therefore, you must make some sacrifices to get ahead.

They sing, “I tell you one lesson I learned / If you want to reach something in life / You ain’t gonna get it unless / You give a little bit of sacrifice.”

13. “Numb” by Marina

“Numb” by Marina, which appears on her 2010 album The Family Jewels, details Marina’s depression and anxiety in life. As a result of these feelings, she isolates herself and worries about the way her life is going.

However, she feels that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and she looks forward to finally seeing that light. Through this idea, she talks about sacrifice.

She sings the lyrics, “Shine, looking for the golden light / Oh, it’s a reasonable sacrifice.”

14. “Freudian” by Daniel Caesar

Daniel Caesar’s 2017 song “Freudian” follows the artist as he talks about the love he has for his mother, as she helped him get where he is today. However, he also talks about a romantic relationship. In regard to this romance, he asks for forgiveness.

He discusses some feelings and struggles he has as a result of these relationships and his life, as well. He sings, “Isn’t it nice? / Human sacrifice / I take the easy way out every time / I don’t deserve my own life.”

15. “Song to the King” by Natalie Grant

“Song to the King” by Natalie Grant is one of the best Christian songs about sacrifice. In this song, Grant sings about how God came down to show all of humanity of love. As a result, she asks what she can do to repay this kind of love.

She sings, “How could I repay such a debt / Except with my life / How could I give anything but sacrifice / Sacrifice of praise.”

16. “Oriental Sadness” by The Hollies

In the 1966 song “Oriental Sadness”, The Hollies sing about a romantic relationship that has faced a difficult situation. The singer explains that someone seemingly told his girlfriend or partner that he was being unfaithful. However, this is a lie, as he says he has been nothing but true to this woman.

Regardless of what the truth is, the singer worries that this girl will never trust anybody again as a result of the lie. He sings, “How could she think that I would sacrifice all I have felt for her?”

17. “Sweet Sacrifice” by Evanescence

Evanescence’s 2007 song “Sweet Sacrifice”, which appears on the rock band’s album The Open Door, describes an abusive and toxic relationship that the singer is no longer scared to leave. She’s not going to be controlled by her fear any longer.

However, that doesn’t mean that this person still can’t affect her. She sings the lyrics, “You poor sweet innocent thing / Dry your eyes and testify / You know you live to break me / Don’t deny, sweet sacrifice.”

18. “Know” by Mary J. Blige

“Know” by Mary J. Blige opens with an intro that includes the lines, “See, being a ruler means sacrifice / Most of the time, you get less than what you give / So every woman and mother in the world is a queen / Because she sacrificed so much.”

As the song continues, Blige expresses her emotions as she talks about all the battles she lost to win. She talks to God and explains that nobody knows what she’s been through — and what she has sacrificed to get where she now is.

19. “The Lazarus Heart” by Sting

Sting’s 1987 song “The Lazarus Heart” also talks about sacrifice! Sting wrote this song as a result of a nightmarish dream he had about his mother. In this song, Sting sings about how something difficult or sad that occurs can help people find beauty and hope.

He sings, “Every day another miracle / Only death will tear us apart / To sacrifice a life for yours / I’d be the blood of the Lazarus heart.”

20. “Young Love” by Gavin DeGraw

Finally, let’s talk about Gavin DeGraw’s 2008 song “Young Love”. DeGraw sings about the difficulties of falling in love with another person, especially if this romance ends in pain. He sings the lyrics, “Young love is sacrifice, young love is tough / Young love is innocent, young love is us.”