Ah, the timeless tale of Romeo and Juliet. This Italian couple whose families are sworn enemies has inspired countless movies, plays, novels, and, yes, even music.
Romeo and Juliet, whom William Shakespeare created, are perfect subjects for songs. These focus on the idea of star-crossed lovers and their passionate love. Their untimely deaths and enduring love are fertile ground for songwriters to explore.
Today, we have compiled 25 of the best songs about Romeo and Juliet. Read on and discover a rich musical tapestry woven around these lovers.
1. “Romeo And Juliet” By Dire Straits
With so many songs written about Romeo and Juliet, one by Dire Straits leads our list. “Romeo and Juliet” was released in 1980 from their album Making Movies.
While the song draws on the themes of Shakespeare’s play, this song with “Romeo and Juliet” in the title has a twist. It’s a modern-day tale of Romeo’s unrequited love for Juliet. Despite his enduring love, she treats him as “just another one of [her] deals.”
Compared to the mutual love in Shakespeare’s narrative, the song portrays a one-sided love story. They are doomed not by their families’ hatred but by their inability to stay together.
2. “Love Story” By Taylor Swift
3. “Juliet” By Robin Gibb
Like the classic tale, Robin Gibb‘s “Juliet” explores the theme of forbidden love. Gibbs portrays himself as a modern-day Romeo, enamored by a wealthy girl he considers his Juliet.
The song is about the tragedy of unexpressed love and the intensity of hidden passion. The narrator, unlike Romeo in the play, has a hard time expressing his feelings to his Juliet. His past heartbreak keeps him from opening up and showing care.
Gibb’s “Juliet,” in essence, is a fresh take on Romeo and Juliet’s classic tale. It captures the essence of forbidden love and the tragic fate of the star-crossed lovers.
4. “Romeo Had Juliette” By Lou Reed
Another reinterpretation of the classic Romeo and Juliet is Lou Reed‘s “Romeo Had Juliette.” Released in 1989, the song is set against the backdrop of a gritty urban landscape.
The song is a depiction of two lovers navigating their love amid societal chaos and crime. In a world they live in, their characters shine through. Romeo is portrayed as a man with a rebellious spirit longing for love and adventure. Juliette, meanwhile, embodies innocence and vulnerability.
The song perfectly captures the struggles of these lovers as they navigate a city. The end of their love story is far from that of the classic tale, but it presents a more realistic take on Romeo and Juliet.
5. “Not Romeo Not Juliet” By Bryan Adams
Released in 2004, Bryan Adams‘ “Not Romeo Not Juliet” echoes the theme of young love in Shakespeare’s classic. However, Adams’ song focuses more on the challenges of modern love.
“Not Romeo Not Juliet” is about a young couple trying to find their way in the world. They encounter struggles and difficulties, supporting each other through it all. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, the couple battles external and societal pressures.
The title suggests that the couple’s story is far from that of Romeo and Juliet. They will not have the same ending as the star-crossed lovers.
6. “(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet” By The Reflections
In “(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet,” The Reflections draw inspiration from Shakespeare’s play. The song uses the story as a metaphor for a relationship that’s filled with intense passion.
The song’s focus is not on the tragic end of Romeo and Juliet. Rather, it centers on the initial stages of their love story, filled with excitement and romance. It captures the feeling of young love and belief in destiny.
In addition, this song with Romeo and Juliet in the lyrics evokes feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality. It celebrates love and emphasizes the joy of falling in love.
7. “Romeo” By Dolly Parton And Friends Ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
Up next is the star-studded song “Romeo” by Dolly Parton. She teams up with a host of women, such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pam Tillis, Kathy Mattea, and Tanya Tucker. They have their eyes set on their Romeo, Billy Ray Cyrus.
This playful song focuses on Romeo from Shakespeare’s play. However, he isn’t someone caught in a family feud. He is portrayed as a charming man, “a cross between a movie star / and a hero in a book.” No wonder the women are swooning over him.
Essentially, “Romeo” is more about flirtation and attraction, far from the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet. At its core, it’s an entertaining take on the Romeo character.
8. “Romeo Loves Juliet” By Rick Astley
The pop song “Romeo Loves Juliet” by Rick Astley draws parallels to the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. It was released in 2001 as part of his album Keep It Turned On.
While the song does not retell the classic, it uses the characters to explore themes of love. It describes Juliet in a contemporary setting. She is portrayed as a modern woman enjoying her independence. She sips her herbal tea and talks on her mobile phone.
This is a stark contrast to the naive Juliet in Shakespeare’s play. Nevertheless, the core theme of love remains the same.
9. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” By Blue Öyster Cult
The classic rock song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult delves into themes of love and death, much like the story of Romeo and Juliet. The reaper is a metaphor for death, which the song suggests should not be feared.
The reference to Romeo and Juliet appears in the lines “Romeo and Juliet / are together in eternity … / 40, 000 men and women everyday (like Romeo and Juliet).” Just like in Shakespeare’s play, the song portrays love as something that transcends mortal boundaries.
Take note, though, that the message isn’t tragic. Rather, it talks about accepting mortality and the eternal nature of love.
10. “Romeo & Juliet” By Kasey Chambers Ft. Foy Vance
Drawing directly from Shakespeare’s play, “Romeo & Juliet” by Kasey Chambers, featuring Foy Vance, is a retelling of the tragic story. The song makes specific references to the characters and their doomed fate.
The song begins with “When he said my name, ‘Juliet,'” which indicates the intimate relationship between the characters. The line “He tried to forget that he died in vain for a Capulet” suggests Romeo’s tragic end, who died for his love for Juliet, a member of the rival Capulet family.
In essence, the song focuses on the emotional impact of the couple’s story. It talks about the depth of their love, the challenge of separation, and the tragedy of their deaths.
11. “Your Kind Of Woman” By Supertunes
Nigerian singer-songwriter Supertunes was inspired by the connection between Romeo and Juliet. His song “Your Kind of Woman” reflects the attraction between these characters.
In particular, the line “Be my Juliet oh baby” directly references the longing Romeo feels for Juliet. The narrator is on a quest for the perfect love, searching for a woman like her. This is embodied in the line that says, “I have been searching for your kind of woman.”
The song highlights the intoxicating attraction that Romeo and Juliet share. It mirrors the initial stages of their relationship, where they are drawn to each other.
12. “Romeo” By Wipers
In the post-punk song “Romeo,” the punk rock band Wipers takes inspiration from the turbulent side of love. The titular character is described as someone who walks the city at night while the tall buildings cast shadows “into his burning eyes.”
This could symbolize the emotional struggle Romeo experiences in the play. Remember that he has to deal with the dangerous rivalry between his and Juliet’s families. At the same time, he has to keep their love affair secret.
At its core, “Romeo” uses the character from Shakespeare’s play to explore the complexities, struggles, and dark aspects of love.
13. “The Cinema Show” By Genesis
Released in 1973, “The Cinema Show” by Genesis uses Romeo and Juliet as metaphors in exploring modern love and the daily grind of life. The song is about the couple getting ready for a date at a cinema show.
The lyrics find Juliet as a typical woman clearing her morning meal. Romeo, on the other hand, is looking forward to an intimate night with her after the date.
The song subtly critiques the modern perception of love. It suggests that it’s more about physical attraction than understanding and knowing the other person more.
14. “Roméo Kiffe Juliette” By Grand Corps Malade
Translated as “Romeo Loves Juliet,” “Roméo Kiffe Juliette” is a modern adaptation of the play. However, this one by Grand Corps Malade has a refreshing twist.
Like the original play, the song’s narrative tells the story of a forbidden love between two teenagers, Roméo and Juliette. The song captures their passionate love, mirroring the passion that Romeo and Juliet share in the play.
However, the song offers a happy ending for the couple. Instead of a tragic fate, they are allowed to live happily, as embodied in the line, “To believe that they love each other more in life than in death.”
15. “Romeo & Juliet” By Peter McPoland
Singer-songwriter Peter McPoland wrote “Romeo & Juliet” from the perspective of a boyfriend in love. He uses the characters of Romeo and Juliet as metaphors to express deep emotions and yearnings.
In the lyrics, the narrator expresses his desire to be the Romeo in his beloved’s life. It suggests his willingness to take risks and face challenges for their love.
“Romeo & Juliet,” the title track of McPoland’s 2020 album, has a far happier ending than the classic tale. Near the end of the song, Romeo goes to his knees and asks her to marry him.
16. “Romeo” By Petula Clark
Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in the 1500s. Since then, many have provided their own interpretation of what these characters are like. Petula Clark‘s “Romeo,” in particular, lays down expectations on Romeo based on the classic play.
The narrator imagines Romeo as someone who can easily make a woman fall in love with him. She knows that if she’d “act like a fool / [she’d] be a poor Juliet.” Meeting him makes her realize that he’s “as charming as [Romeo].”
She finds herself falling head over heels in love with him. This is addressed in the lines, “Romeo, why am I so in love with you … / I’ve been yours from the moment you said hello.”
17. “Romeo” By Lucky Dube
Up next, we have the reggae love song “Romeo” by Lucky Dube. Here, Romeo serves as a metaphor to express deep emotions and longing.
While the song mentions Romeo and Juliet, it does not relate to the play by Shakespeare. The narrator is a guy who has been searching for love and found it in her. Loving her has made him a changed man.
In essence, “Romeo” is more about the narrator’s feelings and experiences of love. He may not be like the one in Shakespeare’s play, but he promises that he can be his partner’s own Romeo.
18. “Romeo And Juliet” By Johnny Drille
In Johnny Drille‘s “Romeo and Juliet,” the characters serve as metaphors to express intense emotions. It has no direct reference to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
The names Romeo and Juliet symbolize a deep, passionate love. The narrator expresses his yearning for his beloved and willingness to do anything for her. For him, he’s ready to give her anything just as long as she gives him her love.
In addition, he implores her to be his Juliet while he promises to be her Romeo. This signifies a promise of eternal love and devotion, much like the commitment that Romeo and Juliet had for each other.
19. “Romeo & Juliet” By S.O.A.P.
Moving on, we have “Romeo & Juliet” by S.O.A.P., from their 1998 album Not Like Other Girls. The song uses these iconic character names to symbolize passionate and intense young love.
The narrator is experiencing a powerful emotional connection. This is embodied in the lines “It’s a lot like Romeo and Juliet / It feels like something’s happening to me.” She feels like she is Juliet and her beloved is Romeo, much like the ones in Shakespeare’s play.
This suggests that she is going through a similar experience of intense, probably first, love that is both overwhelming and transformative.
20. “Mystery Dance” By Elvis Costello
From Elvis Costello‘s 1977 album My Aim Is True comes “Mystery Dance.” This song uses Romeo and Juliet as characters in the lyrics. Take note, though, that they are not Romeo and Juliet in their traditional roles in Shakespeare’s play.
The song revolves around a couple and their first intimate time together. As it turns out, the guy, Romeo, has no idea how to do it. But he pretends he does so that his lover, Juliet, will not be disappointed.
In the end, Romeo is the one dismayed by how things turned out. After doing it, he’s “still mystified.” Perhaps the expectation is far from reality because he’s “not satisfied.”
21. “Romeo And The Lonely Girl” By Thin Lizzy
The Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy released “Romeo and the Lonely Girl” in 1976. The song uses Romeo as a metaphor for a man who is unlucky in love.
In the lyrics, Romeo connects with a lonely girl. He eventually leaves her even though she has fallen in love with him.
Romeo here seems to be a person less committed than Romeo in Shakespeare’s play. He readily moves on from one woman to another, leaving the lonely girl brokenhearted. As such, the song presents a more modern take on love and relationships.
22. “Happy Ending” By Elvis Presley
Though “Happy Ending” by Elvis Presley is not all about Romeo and Juliet, the song deserves a spot on our list. It references the characters, but the narrator seeks a love story with a happy ending.
In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet meet a tragic end, but in “Happy Ending,” the narrator talks about wanting a love story where the boy and girl meet and never part again. This is obviously the complete opposite of what happened in Romeo and Juliet.
In essence, the reference to Romeo and Juliet highlights his desire for a love story that doesn’t end in tragedy. The song is a hopeful wish for a love story that ends happily for the couple.
23. “Here In Heaven” By Sparks
The darkly comic song “Here in Heaven” by Sparks plays on the tragic ending of Romeo and Juliet. But with a twist.
The lyrics describe a failed suicide pact between two lovers, similar to the tragic end of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. But in the song, only the guy (Romeo) goes through with the pact. Juliet backs out and breaks their “little pact.”
The lyrics are from Romeo’s point of view, now alone in heaven. He feels betrayed because Juliet is not with him, and he regrets his decision. To make things more painful, he knows he won’t be with Juliet for a long time.
24. “Romeo And Juliet” By Biz Markie
Our next song is a playful homage to the story of Romeo and Juliet. Biz Markie‘s “Romeo and Juliet” was released in 1991 from the album I Need a Haircut.
The song begins with Juliet’s famous line, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?” This is followed by the narrator’s take on the situation: “That’s what Juliet asked, but I don’t know now / Maybe he went to get some roses for you.”
“Romeo and Juliet” takes a light-hearted approach to the classic, creating an interesting narrative. It uses familiar elements of Shakespeare’s tale as a backdrop to create a humorous story.
25. “Romeo & Juliet” By Salem Ilese
To end this list, we have “Romeo & Juliet” by Salem Ilese. The song references not only Romeo and Juliet but other couples who did not end up together.
The narrator expresses disillusionment and disappointment in love. She and her lover did not work out, and this affected the way she viewed love. She mentions Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose from Titanic, and even the real-life split of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
The song suggests that the promises made between these couples do not matter anymore. That is because they ended in tragedy or separation.
Summing Up Our List Of Romeo And Juliet Songs
As you’ve seen, Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare’s tale transcended time and boundaries. They come alive in these songs that spin new tales that delve into themes of love, sacrifice, and tragedy.
Each of these songs engages with the story of Romeo and Juliet in unique ways. The characters and the elements of the classic tale serve as the backdrop for the songs’ storytelling.
So that’s it for today. We hope you enjoyed discovering new songs to add to your playlist. And if we missed songs that should be on the list, let us know. We will add them for you.