Songs about death abound. From Homer to Poe, the canticles of Mesopotamia to Beethoven, ancient mosaics to modern art — death and loss have long been a source of inspiration for the arts.
Plays, poetry, paintings and music have centered around this inevitable part of life since the earliest civilizations. Death rocks us at the very core of our emotions and stirs the deepest corners of our spirit, moving many to express their pain in ways that can be shared.
Music, in particular, has a way of touching the mind and the emotions, acting simultaneously as a coping method for anxious thoughts and a balm for the broken heart.
We all know from experience that music can soothe, comfort, and even heal.
Songs About Losing Someone You Love
Music is undeniably powerful.
Knowing what great power music can have to aid the mourning process, we felt it was only right to compile a list of songs that we believe can help you or a loved one through such a difficult time.
You may be looking for music for the memorial service, or maybe you just need a comforting playlist to calm your troubled mind. Whatever the case may be, listed below is our collection of the 100 greatest songs about losing someone you love.
1. He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones (1980)
A heartfelt and sentimental country ballad, Jones recalls the story of a man who overcomes the loss of his love only when he is finally reunited with her. A short, sweet tribute to undying love.
2. Lay Me Down by Sam Smith (2014)
Lay Me Down is a soulful expression of the pain felt when you lose someone you love. It shakes your world and you’re left wishing you could still be beside them. Powerful, moving, and beautiful.
3. Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne (2004)
A bittersweet song written in the form of a letter to the one that has been lost, Slipped Away encompasses both grief and regret of moments missed.
4. We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn (1939)
Bright, classic and comforting. With an air of promise and joy at the hope of a future reunion, it lightens the atmosphere surrounding loss by looking forward to “some sunny day.”
5. Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney (2005)
A song for a loved one gone too soon. Sometimes, oftentimes, death doesn’t seem fair — especially when it takes those we care for when their story has only just begun.
6. I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans (1997)
A timeless classic. Often, the best way we can find comfort is to reminisce on the one we’ve lost, and look forward to seeing them again.
7. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion (1997)
Few songs can strike the chord of longing like My Heart Will Go On. Beautiful, passionate and resonating, it settles in the soul a knowledge that the one you’ve lost is never far from your heart.
8. Ghost by Justin Bieber (2020)
Upbeat and yet still reverent and full of emotion, Ghost is a refreshing input from the pop scene. Sometimes we have to settle for the memories when we can’t follow where they lead.
Related: Modern Songs for Funerals
9. If I Could Only Bring You Back by Joe Diffle (2004)
Nothing in this world, not wealth or status or accomplishment, can fill the hole left behind when we lose someone we love. We’ll always wish for them to be with us to ease that empty feeling.
10. Not a Day Goes By by Lonestar (2001)
It’s incredible how the memory of someone can carry us through the most difficult times in our life. They never truly leave us when we keep them close to our heart.
11. The Last Carnival by Bruce Springsteen (2009)
Be it literal or metaphorical, The Last Carnival is a poetic depiction of loss. When you’ve lost your partner or friend, the story seems to want to draw to a close. But the show goes on.
12. You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell (2016)
Written for the loss of a close friend, reminiscent longing is in the forefront of this country ballad. They should be here, but they’re just gone too soon.
13. Dance by Nas (2002)
Few griefs can compare to the loss of our mothers. A soulful tribute to the woman we wish we could have one more dance with.
14. Hurt by Christina Aguilera (2006)
Hurt is a grief-stricken expression of remorse and guilt. Hindsight is always 20/20, and we often wish we could turn back the clock and do things differently.
15. In Loving Memory by Alter Bridge (2004)
Realizing how big of a role someone played in your life is part of the grieving process. You often don’t know just how much they meant to you until they’ve gone. They were always beside you, even if you took it for granted.
16. Goodbye by Cage the Elephant (2019)
Saying farewell is one of the hardest parts of losing someone, as it forces us to acknowledge that they are gone. It feels so final, but sometimes finality is what we actually need.
17. We’ll Always Love Big Poppa by the LOX (1998)
Classic hip-hop with a resonating message. Treasuring someone beyond the grave is an essential part of keeping their memory alive and close to you.
18. Heaven by Beyonce (2013)
Mournful, powerful and so, so beautiful. As tightly as we hold onto someone, sometimes heaven just can’t wait and we’re forced to let go.
19. One More Day by Diamond Rio (2001)
Often after a loss, we fill our minds with regrets that we didn’t cherish our time more deeply with the one we lost. We wish for one more day to tell them how much they mean to us and just how much we love them.
20. To Where You Are by Josh Groban (2001)
Written in the wake of the tragic loss of his fiancé, To Where You Are was Groban’s outpouring of love and grief, as well as a musical masterpiece. Somber and beautifully intimate, it speaks to the fragile heart.
Songs About the Death of a Friend
21. One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men (1995)
The aftermath is always filled with “I’m sorry.” Sorry we didn’t spend more time with them, sorry we didn’t tell them how wonderful they were… But there is always the hope of looking forward to that one sweet day when we see them again.
22. Who Knew by Pink (2006)
Another modern take from the pop scene, Who Knew relates the shock of losing someone suddenly. We never know when we will see them for the last time, so cherish every memory.
23. Wish You Were Here by Incubus (2002)
The title says it all for this soft rock track. Wish You Were Here encapsulates the feeling of wishing that special someone was close to you again, experiencing all of life’s ups and downs the way things used to be.
24. Helena by My Chemical Romance (2004)
Sometimes we need peaceful, somber tracks to soothe our hearts. But sometimes we need something a little heavier to cope with the powerful emotions we experience. Helena, raw and abrasive, fits the bill perfectly in that case.
25. Gone too Soon by Michael Jackson (1991)
In the way only Michael Jackson could, Gone Too Soon takes us on an emotional journey that travels to the fondest of remembrances.
26. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975)
Questions always surround loss. Why did they have to leave? How could they leave you behind? Why them? All questions you wish you could ask them.
Related: Best Rock Songs for Funerals
27. King of Sorrow by Sade (2001)
King of Sorrow speaks to the difficulty of carrying on daily life after a loss. Ultimately, each day passes and not much changes, but to you the world feels like it’s upside down.
28. Difficult (Dudey) By Eminem (2011)
Raw and powerful, Eminem grieves the loss of his dearest friend on this rap track. Moving on is never easy, and Difficult embraces that feeling in a gritty, poetic flow.
29. Yesterday by The Beatles (1965)
Often seen as a love song, Yesterday also speaks to loss and grief as we fondly look back on our time with the one we loved. Everything changes so quickly when we are suddenly left without them.
30. Ocean Breathes Salty by Modest Mouse (2004)
Carrying with it both fondness and angst, this track bounces between sad frustration and a hope that the one gone finds a better place.
31. Radios in Heaven by Plain White T’s (2001)
Written as a tribute to a close friend that passed, Radios In Heaven is packed with powerful word pictures that tug on the heartstrings, especially if you’ve lost someone.
32. Cryin’ For Me by Toby Keith (2009)
Sometimes the tears don’t come right away. Sometimes they won’t until something like a voice memo or a letter or card triggers those feelings. Then the tears fall, and they can fall as long as they need to.
33. I Miss My Friend by Darryl Worley (2002)
The loss of a spouse or a lover is so earth shattering. They were a confidant and a life partner, and most importantly they were your friend.
Related: Comforting Messages for Loss of Wife
34. Music for a Nurse by Oceansize (2005)
This somber and mournful track resonates with that unspeakable grief that escapes through mumbled words and hushed cries. It’s calming melodies juxtapose the sad lyrics to form beautiful memoriam.
35. Goodbye by DMX (2006)
Heavy hip hop beats drive home the reality that goodbyes are inevitable. You never know when you’ll see someone again, so say your farewells while there’s still time.
Songs About Dying Young
36. Sissy’s Song by Alan Jackson (2008)
Such a stirring and lovely ballad, Sissy’s Song sweetly commemorates a young woman gone too soon, but at peaceful rest in heaven.
37. Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head) by Powfu featuring Beadadoobee (2020)
Contrasting the previous tracks on this list, Death Bed is written from the perspective of the dying individual, full of regret that they have to leave their love behind. Hopes and dreams are recounted with sorrow as they’ll never come to fruition.
38. Gone Too Soon by Daughtry (2011)
Gone Too Soon was written for an infant child lost before they had the opportunity to experience life. What would they look like? What would they love or be talented in? All questions that surface in the heart of a grieving parent.
Related: Funeral Songs for Child Loss
39. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa (2015)
Heartfelt and reverent. We hold onto the hopes that we will, in fact, see our loved ones again someday at the end of our own journey. We’ll have so many stories to tell and smiles to share.
40. Ronan by Taylor Swift (2021)
In Swift’s own words Ronan encapsulates “heartbreak and healing, rawness, tragedy and trauma, and an imagined future alongside someone.” The track recounts a mother’s words to her young son whom she has lost to a terminal illness.
41. Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day (2004)
Another beautiful song stemming from the artist’s personal loss, When September Ends chronicles the desire to hide away during the time of mourning. Seasons pass in a haze until grief becomes bearable and the normal passage of time resumes.
42. Little Bonnie by Drive-By Truckers (2006)
Blaming one’s self for the loss of someone dear, especially a child, is quite common. Such is the narrative of the song Little Bonnie.
43. Old Money by Lana Del Rey (2014)
Our hearts are always willing to go to those who leave before us, as much as we know that’s not the correct response to grief. They would want us to live on in their stead, knowing they’ll wait for us.
44. Candle in the Wind by Elton John (1973)
Candle In the Wind is probably one of the more iconic memorial songs ever written. Originally a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, the song has become a symbol of all those who have passed in the prime of their life.
45. Coldest Winter by Kanye West (2008)
Kanye bids an impassioned farewell to someone already gone on this powerful and emotional cover. Memories are the only thing that bring comfort for the brokenhearted.
46. If You’re Reading This by Tim Mcgraw (2007)
If You’re Reading this is written from the perspective of a soldier who has left home knowing he won’t return. He’s left a letter to his loved ones, instructing them as to how he wishes to be laid to rest. A favorite choice for the veteran or serviceman.
47. Gone Too Soon by Simple Plan (2011)
Unexpected loss is so hard to cope with. No time to say goodbye, or exchange smiles or loving words. Gone Too Soon encapsulates that feeling perfectly.
48. Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran (2017)
Another beautiful tribute to mothers, Supermarket Flowers is mournful, yet hopeful and laced with gratitude for those “angels in the shape of our mums.”
49. Guernica by Brand New (2003)
We often wish we could switch places with those we are losing. Better for them to live on in our place, right? That’s the real meaning of sacrificial love, and the feelings conveyed in Guernica.
50. Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross (2003)
So heartwarming and sentimental is this reminiscence of a son about his father. The prayer for one more chance, for just one more dance.
51. Concrete Angel by Martina McBride (2001)
Loss of a child, to any circumstance, is unbearable. Concrete Angel tells the story of a little girl who got her wings too early.
Saddest Songs About Death & Dying
52. Fade In/Fade Out by Nothing More (2017)
Fade In/Fade Out is an impassioned retelling of the last moments between a father and son, and the former’s words of wisdom and direction. Heavy, powerful and intimate.
53. Save a Place for Me by Matthew West (2008)
As much as it hurts that they’re gone, we have to stop and remember that they’re free from the weight of this world. We tearfully look forward to when we will see them again.
54. Dog Years by Maggie Rogers (2017)
Another piece written from the one that has passed, Dog Years is a comforting reminder that they are always with us and always will be.
55. My Immortal by Evanescence (2003)
Beautiful, resonating and mournful. My Immortal has become a source of comfort for many, as it expresses the pain we experience so specifically, yet in a way that can be related to by almost anyone.
56. Sweet Old World by Lucinda Williams (1979)
Sweet, yet laced with embittered feelings — there are so many emotions that are carried with loss, and we can’t help but express them. Sweet Old World does just that.
57. The Prayer by Kid Cudi (2008)
Kid Kudi’s The Prayer is a prospective hope for his eternal future as he prepares his mind and heart, as well as his fans, for his eventual demise.
58. I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie (2006)
When our hearts are tied to another’s, it’s easy to say we’d do anything — and go anywhere — for their sake. That includes following them into the dark when our own time comes.
59. Like You’ll Never See Me Again by Alicia Keys (2007)
A beautiful reminder to cherish every moment that we are given on this earth. All of those little, sweet moments build our memories for the future.
60. Don’t Take the Girl by Tim McGraw (1994)
A song that could melt the coldest of hearts, Don’t Take the Girl follows the story of a young couple as they face life’s perils.
61. What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts (2008)
Regrets flood this emotional power ballad. There’s always so much we wish we could have done or said to them before they left, but time isn’t always on our side.
62. Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley ft. Alison Krauss (2003)
There are few songs on the charts today that can compare to the tragedy of Whiskey Lullaby. A heartbreaking story of two lovers who really couldn’t live without each other.
63. Fade to Black by Metallica (1984)
Feelings of emptiness are so overwhelming at times that “coping” seems impossible. Each day is a battle we’re tempted to give up on when someone we love has gone.
64. Keep Me in Your Heart by Warren Zevon (2003)
A short, sweet reminder from the one we’ve lost as they start their next journey. Keep Me in Your Heart turns sentiments to song in this hopeful ballad.
65. Into the Light by In This Moment (2014)
Into the Light is a beautifully sorrowful goodbye, as well as a grateful prayer that the one we’re losing will be freed from their pain here on earth.
66. Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2016)
Skeleton Tree feels more like a sigh of relief than anything else. They may have left, but for them everything is now alright.
67. Make Heaven Wait by Wayne Brady (2008)
This is a sentiment we’ve all felt at one point or another. We wish we could “press rewind,” ask for more time, and Make Heaven Wait.
68. One More Light by Linkin Park (2017)
This touching ballad reminds us that even through the horrible inevitability of loss, it’s important to let people know how much we care.
69. Vivian by Delta Spirit (2010)
An emotion packed tribute to a lover lost. Mournful but still hopeful, looking forward to the day when they are reunited.
70. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (1992)
Another of the more infamous songs of remembrance, Tears in Heaven was Clapton’s personal tribute to his young son, Conor, after he tragically passed. Sweet, intimate and reverent.
71. Beloved by Mumford & Sons (2017)
A powerfully emotional track reflecting on Mumford’s loss of someone very dear to him. In his own words, the song is laced with “wildness, beauty, and a deep honoring.”
Songs for Grieving
72. Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. (1992)
Comforting, peaceful reminders pour through the lyrics of Everybody Hurts. There is some solace to be found by remembering that you aren’t alone in your mourning.
73. Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish (2019)
One of the most gifted young lyricists of the modern era, Eilish’s poetry hits hard in Everything I Wanted. Sometimes our dreams are the only place where we can seek comfort from the one we’ve lost.
74. Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World (2001)
Heartfelt and intimate, Hear You Me, often remembered as “May Angels Lead You In” is a beautiful tribute ballad. A prayer for those we love as they enter their eternity.
75. Even in Death by Evanescence (2000)
Sometimes accepting the reality of loss is the hardest part of grieving. We never truly feel that they are gone, because their presence is still so near.
76. When You’re Gone by Avril Lavigne (2007)
There’s such a hole left in our hearts when we’ve been robbed of someone’s presence. When You’re Gone translates this feeling powerfully.
77. In the Arms of the Angel by Sarah McLachlan (1997)
In the Arms of the Angel is a sorrowful prayer that the one we love be released from the pain they endure. What we truly want for them, even in our own pain, is for them to be at peace.
78. Fire and Rain by James Taylor (1970)
We never have as much time as we hoped. So often we don’t realize when the last time we’ll see someone is, until it’s too late. We thought we’d see them at least one more time.
79. Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground by Willie Nelson (1980)
Nelson’s heartfelt message to his “angel,” knowing that their time is limited, and they must return to the heaven they came from. Such an endearing and comforting song.
80. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (1994)
Though most often seen as a love song, Hallelujah carries with it a somber air of remembrance. Love known and lost leaves many broken hallelujahs in its wake.
81. The Dance by Garth Brooks (1989)
Losing someone we love sometimes makes us wish we could have bypassed the pain, but we realize we could never replace the wonder of the time we had with them. It is worth the pain in the end.
82. Here Today by Paul McCartney (1982)
Reflecting on a beautiful relationship that seems to have never fully come to fruition, McCartney’s sorrow and regret are at the forefront of Here Today.
83. Our World is Grey by As Cities Burn (2007)
Heavy and mournful anger sets the tone for this track. Anger and frustration are common and relatable forms of grief, and both are fully present in Our World is Grey.
84. Over You Miranda Lambert (2011)
Questions like “how could you go” often plague our hearts in a time of grief. But we know they wouldn’t have left if they had a choice. They would’ve stayed next to us.
85. The Light Behind Your Eyes by My Chemical Romance (2013)
A sorrowful “farewell” to those who have already left, and a hope that those we ourselves leave behind remain strong in our absence.
Songs to Lift Your Spirits
86. Dancing in the Sky by Dani & Lizzy (2016)
A hopeful and uplifting song, though riddled with notes of sorrow over loss. We always hope that those we’ve lost are truly happy in their eternity.
Related: Uplifting Songs for Funerals
87. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley & The Wailers (1980)
“Don’t worry about a thing, because everything is gonna be alright.” That’s the message Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds delivers to him and to the listener. Hope for a bright new day is on the horizon.
88. I’ll Fly Away by Allison Krauss and Gillian Welch (2000)
I’ll Fly Away is a bright, time honored tune that has granted comfort and peace for decades. Surely, some glad morning, we will all fly away from the cares of this world.
89. Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey (2014)
Tell Your Heart to Beat Again is like a blanket of comfort for the cold heart. Looking forward to a new beginning and a new day, leaving the darkness behind us as we cannot let it define our existence.
90. Love is Stronger Than Death by The The (1993)
Even in the midst of grief there is always knowledge of a new, coming season. The return of spring, of blues skies, and a day where those we’ve lost will rise.
91. Just Be Held by Casting Crowns (2014)
What is more comforting than to know there is always Someone who can hold us, even in the darkest and most desperate of times of grief? We can rest in the promise that we’re never alone.
92. American Pie by Don McLean (1971)
There are few songs over which there has been more debate as to their true meaning than American Pie. Ultimately, it has been accepted as a tribute to legends gone too soon. Full of nostalgia and heartwarming word pictures, it’s a classic for a reason.
93. See You Again by Carrie Underwood (2013)
Sweet and comforting is the knowledge that we will be with our loved ones again on the other side of eternity. We carry their love and memory with us every day until we See Them Again.
94. Fly by Celine Dion (1996)
As tragic as it is to lose a child, we find solace in the fact that they’ll never have to experience the hardships of this world. They get to fly away from it all, even if we are left behind.
95. I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin (2008)
How wonderful to know there is a victory that has overcome death and the grave, and given us a peace that passes understanding. Joy and love will triumph over loss and pain.
Related: Christian Funeral Songs
96. Live and Die by The Avett Brothers (2012)
Quaint and wholesome, Live and Die is a descriptive verse of the bond that remains strong and unbending in life and in death.
97. Sunshine on My Shoulders by John Denver (1971)
Sunshine On My Shoulders is a beautiful song about feeling the presence of the one we’ve lost all around us. While somber, its lovely reminiscence is heartwarming.
98. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
Famous for its comforting and poetic lyrics, few songs can compare to Bridge over Troubled Water. Remembering that someone is there to lean on in times of loss and hardship means the world to an aching heart.
99. There Will Be a Day by Jeremy Camp (2008)
Surely, there will be a day when the sorrow we’ve experienced will melt away, and we will be renewed by the promise of a joy-filled and painless eternity for the ones we love.
100. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1990)
Few songs can lift the spirits and cause us to look to a brighter day more than Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s beloved rendition in particular is so warm and full of love.
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