The pain of dealing with the loss of someone can be harsh, and your emotions can overpower anything that you have ever felt before.
Typically, when we hear the “loss of someone,” we think of death. But we lose people more often than we think. Breakups, divorce, ending of friendships, and fighting and parting ways with the people we love are all forms of loss.
Have you ever experienced these feelings from losing someone? It's still painful to even think about, but in life we have to face all types of challenges — highs and lows that will help us develop and grow as people.
Music is something that brings us all together, soothing the heart and mind when something tragic is going on. Music is the key ingredient to ensure we can get through anything if we play the right song to uplift us.
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We've compiled a list of the most relatable songs about grief, death, and losing someone. See if you resonate with any of these, and use them as a way to bring some comfort to your grieving heart.
50 Songs About Death and Losing Someone to Help You Cope With the Grief of Missing Them
1. “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton
Clapton wrote this song after the death of his son, Conor, who fell out of a hotel window when he was four years old. It's a reminder that the loss of a child is something you never quite get over.
"Would you hold my hand / If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand / If I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way through night and day / 'Cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven"
2. “I'll Be Missing You” by P. Diddy ft. Faith Evans & 112
This song came out shortly after the passing of The Notorious B.I.G. Recorded by his good friends, Biggie's memory lives on through his loved ones.
"It's kinda hard with you not around (yeah) / Know you in heaven smilin' down
Watchin' us while we pray for you / Every day we pray for you
'Til the day we meet again / In my heart is where I'll keep you friend
Memories give me the strength I need (uh-huh) to proceed / Strength I need to believe"
3. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
While this song became a hit after being the main song in "Titanic," it offers a bittersweet sadness in knowing that a loved one isn't really gone — they are always in your heart.
"You're here, there's nothing I fear / And I know that my heart will go on
We'll stay forever this way / You are safe in my heart and
My heart will go on and on"
4. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day
Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote this song about his father, who passed away when Armstrong was only 10 years old.
"Summer has come and passed / The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends
Like my father's come to pass / Twenty years has gone so fast
Wake me up when September ends"
5. “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor
James Taylor's heartbreaking song is his genuine reaction to the death of a dear friend, as well as his own struggles with drug addiction and fame.
"Won't you look down upon me, Jesus / You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day / My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way"
6. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
Originally recorded by the band Nine Inch Nails, Cash covered this song in 2002. It deals with themes of addiction, depression, and self-harm.
"What have I become / My sweetest friend?
Everyone I know / Goes away in the end"
7. “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan
Famously known for being the background song on ASPCA commercials, "Angel" was actually written in memory of Jonathan Melvoin, the Smashing Pumpkins' touring keyboard player, who passed away from a heroin overdose.
"I need some distraction / Oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins / Let me be empty
Oh and weightless and maybe / I'll find some peace tonight"
8. "If I Had Only Known" by Reba McEntire
It's normal to feel grief after losing a friend, especially when all those "what if?" moments come to mind. In death, we realize just how fragile life is.
"If I had only known / I'd never hear your voice again
I'd memorize each thing you ever said / And on those lonely nights
I could think of them once more / Keep your words alive inside my head
If I had only known / I'd never hear your voice again"
9. “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel
The lyrics themselves are a reminder that life is much too short for some, though the true inspiration for the song was a woman Joel had a crush on in high school.
"Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray / They built you a temple and locked you away
Aw, but they never told you the price that you pay / For things that you might have done
Only the good die young"
10. “Beloved” by Mumford & Sons
Singer Marcus Mumford wrote this song about watching his grandmother pass away while at her bedside.
Said Mumford of the music video, "Everyone knows loss in one way or another. This song is about that. But there's wildness and beauty in it as well, and a deep honoring, that became the beginnings of this song that we worked up called, 'Beloved.'"
"And time, is not on our side / But I'll pretend that it's alright
She says the Lord has a plan / But admits it's pretty hard to understand
Before you leave / You must know you are beloved
And before you leave / Remember I was with you"
11. “Dream On” by Aerosmith
Some songs deal with grief and death on this list, but "Dream On" by Aerosmith is about longing to become somebody, and all the negative things you have to put up with to get there. Because sacrificing can come with its own form of mourning.
"Every time when I look in the mirror / All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone / It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way / Everybody's got the dues in life to pay"
12. "Dance with My Father" by Luther Vandross
Vandross wrote this song about his father, thinking and reminiscing about their memories together in his youth. Vandross' father passed away when he was seven years old.
"If I could get another chance / Another walk
Another dance with him / I'd play a song that would never ever end
How I'd love love love / To dance with my father again"
13. “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth
The loss of a friend to tragedy is almost unbearable. And this song, in particular, was written as a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker, as well as a friend of Puth who died in a motorcycle accident.
"It's been a long day without you, my friend / And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We've come a long way from where we began / Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again"
14. “One More Day” by Diamond Rio
If you could have one more day with a loved one, what would you do? Diamond Rio sings about this feeling, and how one day is never enough.
"One more day, one more time / One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again, I know what it would do / Leave me wishing still for one more day with you
One more day"
15. "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" by Willie Nelson
Nelson has hinted that this song is about his ex-wife, but at live performances, dedicates it to his son, Billy, who died in 1991.
"I knew someday that you would fly away / For love's the greatest healer to be found
So leave me if you need to, I will still remember / Angel flying too close to the ground"
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16. “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight” by Cutting Crew
Many of us know just how painful heartache is, and losing the one you love to a breakup. Or, in this song's case, it's about the pain of only have one night of passion with the object of your affection.
"Is there any just cause for feelin' like this?
On the surface, I'm a name on a list
I try to be discreet, but then blow it again
I've lost and found, it's my final mistake
She's loving by proxy, no give and all take
'Cause I've been thrilled to fantasy one too many times"
17. “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam
Allegedly, "Last Kiss" was written about all the devastation and accidents Wayne Cochran, the band's drummer, had seen in his hometown. Cochran later dedicated the song to two 16-year-old girls who died in a car accident.
"Oh, where oh where can my baby be? The Lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven, so I got to be good / So I can see my baby when I leave this world"
18. “Joanne” by Lady Gaga
Joanne was Lady Gaga's aunt who passed away at 19 years old from lupus, complicated by a sexual assault. The song deals with her father's grief at losing his sister.
"Take my hand, stay Joanne / Heaven's not ready for you
Every part of my aching heart / Needs you more than the angels do"
19. "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill
No matter what, after you lose someone you truly love, they never actually leave you. In your heart and dreams is where they remain forever.
"In my dreams, I'll always see you soar above the sky / In my heart, there will always be a place for you, for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me / And everywhere I am, there you'll be
And everywhere I am, there you'll be"
20. "In My Life (I Love You More)" by The Beatles
Arguably one of the most beautifully written Beatles songs, it's an autobiographical look into John Lennon's life, and the loss of his friends and family.
"But of all these friends and lovers / There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning / When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection / For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them / In my life, I'll love you more"
21. “Driving Nails in My Coffin” by Ernest Tubb
After a breakup, especially one you didn't see coming, the pain of being without your partner manifests into sadness and despair. It may even feel like you, yourself, are dying.
"Now ever since the day / That we've parted
I've been so sad and so blue / I'm always thinking of you love
And I just can't quit / Drinking that old booze
I'm just drivin' nails in my coffin"
22. "Together Again" by Janet Jackson
Inspired by the loss of a friend to AIDS, as well as a letter from a fan about the death of his father, Jackson added an upbeat tempo to quite a sad song.
"Dream about us together again / What I want, us together again, baby
I know we'll be together again, 'cause
Everywhere I go / Every smile I see
I know you are there / Smilin' back at me
Dancin' in moonlight / I know you are free
'Cause I can see your star / Shinin' down on me"
23. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O’Connor
Written by the late, great Prince, "Nothing Compares 2 U" remains one of the greatest love songs; in this case, about being unable to find a love as great as the one with your ex-lover.
"Since you been gone I can do whatever I want / I can see whomever I choose
I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant / But nothing / I said nothing can take away these blues
'Cause nothing compares / Nothing compares to you"
24. "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers
What is your life like without your partner, the one you love most? That is what is so thought-provoking about this wonderful son.
"Wonder this time where she's gone / Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone / And this house just ain't no home
Anytime she goes away"
25. "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts
Beautifully recorded by multiple artists, "What Hurts the Most" is about a lost love, lamenting on the life two lovers could have had if their relationship didn't end.
"What hurts the most was being so close / And havin' so much to say
And watchin' you walk away / And never knowin' what could've been
And not seein' that lovin' you / Is what I was trying to do"
26. "Someone Like You" by Adele
Not all relationships end amicably, but it takes a big person to wish your ex well. And in this globally successful hit, Adele expresses her sorrow with her stunning vocals and lyrics.
"Never mind, I'll find someone like you / I wish nothing but the best for you, too
'Don't forget me,' I beg / I remember you said, 'Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead'"
27. "I Can Dream About You" by Hall & Oates
Recorded as a cover song, the narrator talks about how they only feel at peace when they are asleep, as the object of their love appears in their dreams.
"No more timing each tear that falls from my eyes / I'm not hiding the remedy to cure this old heart of mine
I can dream about you / If I can't hold you tonight
I can dream about you / You know how to hold me just right"
28. "Yesterday" by The Beatles
"Yesterday" is about the loss of a relationship, ending in a breakup. Overcome with nostalgia, McCartney's vocals show the pain of longing to be together again.
"Why she had to go, I don't know / She wouldn't say
I said something wrong / Now I long for yesterday
Yesterday / Love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away / Oh, I believe in yesterday"
29. "Hello Darlin’" by Conway Twitty
After ending a relationship, you may, by some twist of fate, run into your ex years later. In this song, the narrator reveals that he regrets letting his ex-love go, and that he will always wait for her.
"What I'm tryin' to say is / I love you and I miss you
And I'm so sorry / That I did you wrong
Look up darlin' / Let me kiss you
Just for old time's sake / Let me hold you in my arms
One more time"
30. "A Picture Of Me (Without You)" by George Jones
Imagine what life would be like if you didn't have the one you love by your side. Just as the song describes, life would be incomplete.
"Can you picture Heaven with no angels singing / Or a quiet Sunday morning with no church bells ringing
If you've watched as the heart of a child's breaks in two / Then you've seen a picture of me without you"
31. "Only One" by Kanye West
Co-written with Paul McCartney, West's song is a tribute to his daughter, North, from the viewpoint of his mother, Donda West, who passed away in 2007.
"'Cause every road that leads to heaven's right inside you / So I can say
Hello my only one, just like the mornin' sun / You'll keep on risin' 'til the sky knows your name
Hello my only one, remember who you are / No you're not perfect but you're not your mistakes"
32. "Better Together" by Jack Johnson
Being separated from your partner — physically or emotionally — can leave you heartbroken. Especially when it's your other half, you aren't happy until you're together again.
"And all of these moments / Just might find their way into my dreams tonight
But I know that they'll be gone / When the morning light sings
Or brings new things / For tomorrow night you see
That they'll be gone too / Too many things I have to do"
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33. "It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette
We all have regrets, but what if your chance to be with the love of your life has passed? It's a lonely experience, and all you can really do is hold on to the memories together.
"Lay a whisper on my pillow / Leave the winter on the ground
I wake up lonely, this air of silence / In the bedroom and all around
Touch me now / I close my eyes
And dream away"
34. "Just a Dream" by Carrie Underwood
In one of the saddest music videos, Underwood's tearjerker song is about a young woman about to marry her lover, who is a soldier, at their wedding, only for it to actually be his funeral.
"Baby, why'd you leave me, why'd you have to go / I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
I can't even breathe / It's like I'm looking from a distance,
Standing in the background / Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now,
This can't be happening to me / This is just a dream"
35. "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney
A song about someone dying too young, Chesney's lyrics describe the agony of wondering what things would be like if they had the chance to live.
"It ain't fair you died too young / Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away / God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through / Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today"
36. "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye" by Patty Loveless
Loss comes in many forms, and this song explores the pain in moving away from a friend, going through a divorce, and losing a parent.
"Mama whispered softly time will ease your pain / Life's about changing nothing ever stays the same
And she said how can I help you to say goodbye it's okay to hurt and it's okay to cry / Come let me hold you and I will try how can I help you to say goodbye"
37. "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban
While we can't be with our lost loved ones, we can still feel their energy around us. And it can give us hope to hang on to those memories full of love.
"Deep in the stillness / I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration / Can it be
That you are mine / Forever love
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And you are watching over me from up above"
38. “When You’re Gone” by Avril Lavigne
Those in long-distance relationships can relate to this song wholeheartedly. Because there's no comparison to the sadness you feel when you're physically separated from your lover.
"When you walk away / I count the steps that you take
Do you see how much I need you right now?
When you're gone / The pieces of my heart are missin' you
When you're gone / The face I came to know is missin', too"
39. "Always" by Bon Jovi
Some people will always have love and adoration for their ex, even when the ex doesn't quite feel the same way. For Bon Jovi, that love will remain.
"Yeah I, will love you, baby / Always and I'll be there
Forever and a day, always / I'll be there, till the stars don't shine
'Til the heavens burst and the words don't rhyme / I know when I die you'll be on my mind
And I'll love you, always"
40. "The Man Who Can’t Be Moved" by The Script
What do you do when you end a relationship and lose contact? This song is all about that feeling of waiting until your lost love returns, going to the places you'd expect them to be.
"'Cause if one day you wake up and find that you're missing me / And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I could be
Thinking maybe you'll come back here to the place that we'd meet / And you'll see me waiting for you on our corner of the street
So I'm not moving, I'm not moving / I'm not moving, I'm not moving"
41. "Home" by Michael Bublé
Though it's not quite as heartbreaking as many other of these songs, "Home" is about leaving behind a loved one, the pain of being separated, and longing to be home with them.
"And I've been keeping all the letters / That I wrote to you
Each one a line or two / I'm fine baby, how are you?
Well I would send them but I know / That it's just not enough
My words were cold and flat / And you deserve more than that"
42. "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" by Boyz II Men
Whether you're leaving behind a memory, relationship, or nostalgic situation, it's never easy to let go. But you will always carry with you the good memories.
"And if we get to see tomorrow / I hope it's worth all the wait
It's hard to say goodbye to yesterday / And I'll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain / It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday"
43. "My Immortal" by Evanescence
"My Immortal" is about a spirit haunting you, wishing it would leave you alone. But it also doubles as a moving ballad about the pain of loss.
"You used to captivate me by your resonating light / Now, I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams / Your voice it chased away all the sanity in me
These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real / There's just too much that time cannot erase"
44. "So Far Away" by Carole King
Though this touching song isn't about the death of a loved one, it's still painful being unable to be near the one you love most. Especially when it's emotional distance on top of physical distance.
"Oh, but you're so far away / Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door / Doesn't help to know you're so far away"
45. "Ronan" by Taylor Swift
Inspired by a mother's blog about her young son's neuroblastoma and death, Swift wrote this song, donating all proceeds to fight cancer.
"I remember the drive home when the blind hope / Turned to crying and screaming, 'Why?'
Flowers piled up in the worst way / No one knows what to say about a beautiful boy who died
And it's about to be Halloween / You could be anything you wanted if you were still here"
46. “Goodbye’s the Saddest Word” by Celine Dion
Written as a farewell song to her ailing mother, Celine Dion reminisces about how much her mother loved her. But, in her grief, she stays happy, realizing her memory lives on through her love.
"Goodbye's the saddest word I'll ever hear / Goodbye's the last time I will hold you near
Someday you'll say that word and I will cry / It'll break my heart to hear you say goodbye"
47. “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith
A heartbreaking song sung by a person with the voice of an angel, "Lay Me Down" hits right in the heart, describing the unfathomable loss of not being able to stay with someone you adore, whether due to death or a breakup.
"The moon and the stars are nothing without you / Your touch, your skin, where do I begin?
No words can explain the way I'm missing you / Deny this emptiness, this hole that I'm inside
These tears, they tell their own story"
48. "A Long December" by Counting Crows
According to Adam Duritz, frontman for Counting Crows, “[A Long December] is a song about looking back on your life and seeing changes happening... and for once me, looking forward and thinking, 'Ya know, things are gonna change for the better — maybe this year will be better than the last.'”
"And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe / Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself / To hold on to these moments as they pass"
49. "You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson
Grief can feel all-consuming, but it's important to remember that you are not alone in your pain.
"It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah) / Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah) / And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah) / Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah) / And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)"
50. "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
After feeling inspired by victims of the AIDS epidemic, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men teamed up to give us this beautiful, heartfelt song about losing a loved one, and dreaming about seeing them one sweet day in heaven.
"And I know you're shining down on me from Heaven / Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together / One sweet day"
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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, and astrology.
As an enthusiast deeply immersed in the realm of music and its profound impact on emotions, I bring to you a comprehensive understanding of the therapeutic power of music, especially in times of grief and loss. My passion for this subject is not merely academic; it is a result of personal experiences and a continuous exploration of the ways in which music serves as a poignant companion through life's highs and lows.
In the provided article, the author delves into the universal theme of loss, encompassing various forms such as death, breakups, divorce, and the end of friendships. The focus is on the emotional turmoil that accompanies these experiences and the role of music in providing solace and healing. The article goes on to present a curated list of 50 songs about grief, death, and losing someone, with each song carrying its unique resonance and connection to the human experience of loss.
Let's break down the concepts used in the article:
Loss and Its Forms:
- The article acknowledges that loss goes beyond death and includes various forms like breakups, divorce, and the end of friendships. This expansive perspective recognizes the diverse challenges individuals face in relationships.
The Power of Music:
- Music is highlighted as a unifying force that has the ability to soothe the heart and mind during challenging times. It serves as a crucial element in navigating through the complexities of emotions associated with loss.
Compilation of Songs:
- The heart of the article lies in the compilation of 50 songs that address grief, death, and loss. Each song is presented with poignant lyrics that capture the essence of these experiences. The selection spans across genres and artists, showcasing the universality of these themes in music.
- The article provides insights into the background and inspiration behind certain songs, such as Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven" written after the death of his son and Johnny Cash's rendition of "Hurt," originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails. These details add depth to the understanding of the songs.
Themes in Songs:
- The chosen songs cover a spectrum of themes related to loss, including the death of loved ones, the pain of separation, and the longing for what could have been. Each song contributes a unique perspective on the grieving process.
Expressing Grief Through Lyrics:
- The article quotes lyrics from each song, offering readers a glimpse into the powerful and evocative language used by artists to express the complex emotions associated with loss.
Diverse Musical Styles:
- The list encompasses a diverse range of musical styles, from Eric Clapton's soulful ballad to the rock anthem "Dream On" by Aerosmith. This variety ensures that there is a musical expression for different tastes and preferences.
In conclusion, this article not only serves as a guide to songs that can provide comfort during times of grief but also demonstrates a profound understanding of the multifaceted nature of loss and the healing potential embedded in music.