The future of music

40 Best Songs About Waiting for Someone or Something

December 14, 2023
songs about waiting

I’ve put together a playlist of the best songs about waiting for someone or something, capturing the longing, anticipation, and sometimes frustration that comes with waiting.

This article offers a musical exploration of the emotions tied to the passage of time and the hope of what’s yet to come.

Table of Contents

Top songs about waiting for someone or something

  • “Waiting in Vain” by Bob Marley
  • “A Thousand Years” (A Thousand Years) by Christina Perri
  • “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons
  • “Hold On” by Tom Waits
  • “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie
  • “Kissing a Fool” by George Michael
  • “The Waiting” by Tom Petty
  • “Crying” by Roy Orbison
  • “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins
  • “I Can’t Wait” by Stevie Nicks

1. “Waiting in Vain” by Bob Marley

One of Bob Marley’s most famous songs, “Waiting in Vain,” was included on his breakout album, Exodus, which was released in 1977.

At the time, Marley was living in exile in London after an attempt was made on his life in Jamaica.

The lyrics of the song are about a love that isn’t returned. He can’t get over the fact that she won’t reciprocate his feelings for her.

“It’s me love that you’re running from; it’s your love that I’m waiting on,” he sings.

2. “A Thousand Years” (A Thousand Years) by Christina Perri

The song “A Thousand Years,” which was made famous by the Twilight series, has quickly become one of the most requested songs at weddings.

Christina Perri tells the person she loves that she is willing to wait a thousand years if it means that they will be together again.

She does this via the use of poignant words and gorgeous instrumentals to portray the passage of time.

The song “A Thousand Years” is meant to provide us with solace while life makes preparations for the arrival of our one and only true love.

The words contain an expression of hope as well as a pledge of undying loyalty.

3. “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons

This rock song’s strength lies in its authenticity and uncomplicated nature.

This 2012 track features religious undertones and tells the story of a man who is going through a challenging time in his relationship.

He’s made some mistakes in his life and has asked for forgiveness and is resolute that he will not cross any boundaries during this period of time while rebirth and healing take place.

4. “Hold On” by Tom Waits

The song “Hold On,” which can be found on Tom Waits’ album Mule Vibrations from the 1990s, is a gorgeous, bleeding heart ballad that is about a love affair that has gone awry.

The song “Tangled Up in Blue” by Bob Dylan comes to mind when I hear this.

As one of the most talented songwriters of our time, there are several phrases that stand out as particularly memorable, such as “With her charcoal eyes and Monroe hips, she went and took that California trip.”

Despite some melancholy lyrics (such as “how I wish you were still here with me”), the song has an upbeat and positive vibe.

The song is essentially about having hope and loving someone.

No matter how challenging things get, happier times are always just around the bend, and he is always there to provide a helping hand, saying things like, “take my hand, I’m standing right here, you’ve got to hold on.”

5. “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

When people talk about love, they frequently forget that there is also a shadowy aspect to this feeling.

This song by Death Cab for Cutie is a promise to stay by the side of the one you love till the end of time, regardless of what may lie ahead.

It’s possible that some people will consider this promise to be excessively ambitious.

Take into consideration the fact that after the long wait is over and real love finally appears, we won’t feel afraid to go into the unknown with our significant other.

6. “Kissing a Fool” by George Michael

When you love someone more than they love you, it’s a horrible experience for both of you.

This song from 1987 was always playing in the background of my life. It’s about a guy who has feelings for a girl, but she pays attention to what other people have to say.

When the protagonist considers the life that they could have shared together in the future, he holds his sweetheart accountable for their inability to overcome obstacles because of her lack of resilience.

He is under the impression that his unwavering devotion has cast him in the part of the dummy.

7. “The Waiting” by Tom Petty

Petty claims that a quote by Janis Joplin regarding touring served as the inspiration for the song’s title.

Joplin is credited with saying, “I love being onstage, and everything else is just waiting.”

The lyrics could be talking about waiting to find true love (“Well yeah I might have chased a couple of women around / All it ever got me was down”), or they could be talking about waiting for your aspirations to become a reality (“every day you see one more card”).

Patience is a virtue that is essential to have when working toward a goal that is just out of reach.

In either case, the chorus of this song is one of the most memorable ever written regarding the concept of waiting.

The jangly guitars, as well as the opening riff, are a pleasant reminder of The Byrds’ cover of “Mr. Tamborine Man.”

8. “Crying” by Roy Orbison

There is something about old music that has the ability to evoke the most profound feelings in us.

Even the simplest of lyrics have the ability to penetrate our most profound layers and reach our shattered souls.

“Crying”, an all-time great by Roy Orbison is a song that perfectly depicts the anguish we feel after the loss of a loved one.

This serves as a poignant reminder of how our aching souls continue to wait, clinging to the hope that they will feel even one more loving touch of the hand.

9. “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins

The lonesome narrator of this song from 1982 longs for a gentle voice and gentle arms that will wrap around him and keep him close.

When he was on the verge of giving up his search for someone to love him in return, he recalled the wise words of his mother just as he was about to give up.

His mother shared her wisdom that one cannot force love and that one must be patient while waiting for it. The wait is definitely going to be well worth the effort.

10. “I Can’t Wait” by Stevie Nicks

The song “I Can’t Wait,” which made its debut on Stevie Nicks’ third solo studio album, Rock a Little, is all about the anticipation of finally getting to spend some time with the person you have a crush on.

The suspense is almost too much to handle!

“To understand this song, you sort of have to let yourself go a little crazy,” she admits in the liner notes of her greatest hits album TimeSpace, which was released in 1991.

Love is irrational; it never pans out, yet you have to have it nonetheless.

11. “Fix You” by Coldplay

The idea of suffering a loss is inextricably linked to the practice of waiting.

“Fix You”, the masterpiece that Coldplay created, is sometimes interpreted as a love song, but there is much more to it than that.

If you pay attention to the song’s words, you’ll hear that it’s about waiting for closure after the loss of a loved one or for a friend to emerge from a difficult place.

These are potent feelings that are relatable to each and every one of us.

This is the reason why this song is so profound: It combines the excitement of anticipating something with the understanding that we could have to let go of it.

12. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

This heartbreakingly romantic song has been recorded by over 670 musicians in a variety of languages, but the version that was released in 1965 is considered to be the best.

The narrator has spent too much time apart from his beloved, and he is desperate to get back together with her.

13. “Waiting On You” by Weezer

Do you know the anticipation that comes with expecting a call from the person you can’t stop thinking about? The torment of not being able to predict when (or if) they will ever phone?

That’s the theory behind this song by Weezer.

The narrator is left wondering when she will “break the silence” and “let me know,” but she is informed that “you’re nineteen days late,” and “still I sit and wait.”

Nineteen days? My guess is that she has put you out of her mind, mate. Get over it!

14. “Waiting On The World to Change” by John Mayer

The world has never stopped being a challenging place to live.

Tragedies and wrongdoings have never been in short supply throughout history.

When we observe the widespread indifference toward our fellow humans, we can’t help but wish that the current state of affairs would be different.

This sentiment is conveyed by John Mayer in his joyful song titled “Waiting On The World To Change,” which is centered around a topic that will never become out of date as long as there is unrest in the world.

15. “Wait” by The Beatles

The Beatles wrote “Wait” while they were filming in the Bahamas, with the intention of including it in their Help! album.

However, the song was ultimately scrapped at the eleventh hour. The song is about the difficulty of maintaining relationships over vast distances, which is a common source of stress for traveling musicians.

The narrator is seen assuring his girlfriend that he is on his way home and encouraging her to “wait till I come back to your side” so that they may “forget the tears that we’ve cried.”

He has not wavered in his commitment. To some extent, at least: “I’ve been good / As good as I can be.”

16. “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses

The wait is over – the moment you hear “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses you will feel more calmed and reassured that whatever you’re waiting for will eventually come.

All you need is a little patience.

17. “Tired Of Waiting For You” by The Kinks

And sometimes you just don’t want to calm down – you’re too impatient.

In “Tired Of Waiting For You”, The Kinks are waiting for someone special. And they’re getting tired of it.

They released this catchy tune in 1965, so hopefully whoever they were waiting for eventually showed up.

18. “In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett

Here comes another song about waiting released in 1965.

Wilson Picket played a huge role in the development of American soul music. And in his fantastic track “In The Midnight Hour”, he is waiting to meet his lover.

19. “If This Was A Movie” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “If This Was A Movie” is a heartfelt ballad about waiting for something to change.

In the song, she wants to get back together with their ex, and she basically wants her life to be a movie.

But in reality, breakups aren’t easy, and sometimes just need to wait it out…

If you’re out there

If you’re somewhere

If you’re moving on

I’ll be waiting for you.

20. “I’ll Be Waiting” by Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz released “I’ll Be Waiting” on his 2008 studio album “It is Time for a Love Revolution”.

It’s definitely one of the most romantic songs on the album.

It’s a sincere promise that he will wait for his love and be there for them whenever they call him.

21. “Waiting On A Friend” by The Rolling Stones

Unlike many other songs about waiting, “Waiting On A Friend” isn’t about romance.

In their mellow rock tune, The Rolling Stones are reminding us that we also need to appreciate good friendships. It’s worth the wait.

22. “I’m Waiting For The Day” by The Beach Boys

“I’m Waiting For The Day” is a rather hopeful but also sad tune about waiting for someone to start loving again. However, that someone is in love with their old flame…

The song is taken from The Beach Boys’ iconic album “Pet Sounds”.

23. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael

Let’s proceed with iconic artists and listen to “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael.

It’s an autobiographical song about heartache, patience, and fighting for real love.

24. “Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner

Foreigner’s classic 80’s tune “Waiting For A Girl Like You” is about finding that special person after a long time of being alone.

If you’re still in the process of waiting for someone, keep your head up – things can change before you know it.

25. “Wait” by Maroon 5

In “Wait” by Maroon 5, Adam Levine promises to make up to his ex-girlfriend. He is telling her to wait for him.

But according to the music video, things aren’t going so well for him…

26. “Nothing Arrived” by The Villagers

“Nothing Arrived” by The Villagers reminds us that we also need to be mindful during our waiting process and pay attention to whatever crosses our path.

We might miss something meaningful otherwise.

27. “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” by Jack Johnson

In his song “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”, Jack Johnson is giving advice to his friend who is waiting for someone to love him back.

Nevertheless, it’s a hopeful, chill song that could certainly help you become more patient.

28. “I’ll Be Waiting” by Adele

“I’ll Be Waiting” is a hidden gem from Adele’s album “21”.

It’s a song about lost love and waiting for someone to love you again.

Despite the story behind it, it’s a surprisingly lively and hopeful tune.

29. “Trainsong” by Andrea von Kampen

“Trainsong” by the American singer Andrea von Kampen is a mellow song about waiting for someone to return on a train.

It’s a classic notion of waiting for someone to come home – and Andrea von Kampen captures that feeling perfectly.

30. “Waiting Game” by BANKS

Released in 2014, “Waiting Game” is a slightly different type of waiting song – but it works.

After all, Banks is known for making captivating, dark pop tunes that will make you feel different kinds of emotions at the same time.

31. “Wait” by M83

Speaking of a rollercoaster of emotions, “Wait” by M83 should definitely go on that list.

It’s an intense and beautifully made song about expectations, hopes, and waiting.

More importantly, it’s also about moving on in life.

32. “To Be With You” by Mr. Big

“To Be With You” by Mr. Big was a true hit in the ‘80s. And in a way, it still is.

The lyrics of the song are pretty straightforward – it’s a story about devotion and waiting for things to turn out well.

33. “Wait For Me” by Daryl Hall & John Oates

This is another love song about lost love, waiting for someone, and wanting to get that one more chance.

The legendary pop duo released it in 1979 – and we wonder if they’re still waiting.

34. “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day” by Bruce Springsteen

And in his 2002 classic rock track, Bruce Springsteen is waiting for a sunny day.

And sometimes that’s all you need – the warmth and hopefulness of sunshine after a long period of cloudy and rainy days.

35. “Time After Time” by Cindy Lauper

Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time” is arguably one of the most iconic songs about waiting, love, and devotion.

The song has numerous cover versions, and it has also been used in a number of movies and TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy”, “The Simpsons”, and “Glee”.

“Time After Time” is evidently timeless.

36. “Waiting For Love” by Avicii

Where there’s a will, there’s a way… That’s how “Waiting For Love” by Avicii starts.

It’s a reminder that anything is possible when you put your mind to it and when you’re patient. Even true love…

“Waiting For Love” was released in 2015 as the lead single from Avicii’s second studio album, “Stories”.

37. “Waiting For Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez

“Waiting For Tonight” was released on J Lo’s debut studio album “On The 6” in 1999.

So in a way, this track marked the beginning of her singing career – the one she’s been waiting for.

The song got nominated for the Grammy award for the best dance/electronic record, and it generally became a universal hit.

38. “Patient Love” by Passenger

“Patient Love” by Passenger shows us that love also has to be patient.

However, the song is also a bit melancholic, especially because of the lyrics:

Well four will not wait for three

For three never waited for two

And though you will not wait for me

I’ll wait for you.

39. “Patience” by Take That

Robbie Williams and Take That gave us good advice in 2006: just have a little patience.

The song was released as the first single from their comeback album, “Beautiful World”, and got a Brit Award for Song of the Year.

40. “What You Waiting For?” by Gwen Stefani

For the end of this waiting playlist, we saved an absolute pop hit: “What You Waiting For?” by Gwen Stefani.

The song got multiple awards, but it also conveys an important message: everything in its own time.

People (especially young adults) often feel pressure to fulfill all kinds of expectations.

But the truth is, there’s enough time to accomplish all those things. Of course, only if you want to – and not because society expects that from you.

Songs About Waiting – Final Thoughts

Waiting is an inevitable part of our lives.

But if you surround yourself with good music, you’ll probably become more patient, regardless of what you’re waiting for.

And as they say: good things come to those who wait.

Similar Playlists:

Songs About Memories

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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