Songs about death can help you cope with the challenges of losing a friend, spouse, or loved one. In life, nothing is permanent. And that reality can scare us and unsettle us at times. But even in loss, we can find hope, inspiration, and love. After all, everyone on this planet has experienced loss at some point in their life. So use these death songs to help you cope with your painful loss, let your tears all out, and build yourself back up. In this article, we’ll share some of the most touching songs about death to help you on your journey.
20 Songs About Death, Loss, and Grief
1. Marjorie – Taylor Swift
In this touching song about death, Taylor Swift sings about her grandmother Marjorie who’s words are still replayed in her mind. She feels her grandmother is still with her through the legacy of the little lessons she told Ms. Swift growing up. She sings, “you’re alive, you’re alive, in my head,” which reminds you that even though you lose someone physically doesn’t mean that you need to let them go from your memories. You can reflect on all the things your loved one loved doing, write down all the expressions you’ve heard them say and keep them alive through your stories, thoughts, and memories.
2. If I Die Young – The Band Perry
Most people assume that they’ll die before their children. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. For parents who’ve lost a child or young children who’ve lost a friend, they can listen to this death song by The Band Perry about dying young. The lyrics “the sharp knife of a short life, oh well, I’ve had just enough time” remind you that even though someone dies young doesn’t mean that they haven’t had an impact on the world while they were here. This song about death is a tear-jerker but one that can also help you find inner peace.
3. Slipped Away – Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne’s death song is about her grandfather, who passed away. The song is about how sometimes you don’t get a chance to say goodbye to someone you love. It’s about not getting the closure you need but how you still miss the person so much. This death song is about how complicated it can be to lose someone and not be able to bring them back to you. The end is permanent, making it harder to let go. The lyrics, “I’ve had my wake up, won’t you wake up? I keep asking why,” are all about how sharp the realization of death is, but you still want to live in denial of it happening.
4. I Would Die For You – Jann Arden
This song about death talks about Jann Arden’s willingness to die for the person she loves the most. If you’re currently losing someone you love to illness and wish you could trade places with them, this death song may help you cope with grief. The lyrics, “Don’t you know I could not survive without you in my life,” painstakingly highlight how hard it is to lose someone like a life partner or spouse. Most people can’t and refuse to even picture a life where their partner isn’t around. There’s a desperation to die for them because then you won’t have to be the one to suffer the aftermath of the loss.
5. Fix You – Coldplay
This death song by Coldplay has powerful lyrics that’ll get the tears streaming down your face. The lyrics “And the tears come streaming down your face, when you lose something you can’t replace” highlight how hard it is to lose someone. When you’re grieving a loss, you can’t help but cry a waterfall of tears. The song’s highlight is the guitar solo towards the end of the song, where you’ll likely cry hysterically when dealing with death, loss, or grief. However, the lyrics end on a positive note reminding you that someone will be there to fix you by helping you see the “lights that guide you home.”
6. Move Along – The All American Rejects
Move Along, a song about death, was written to share an anti-suicide message. The powerful death lyrics include “hands are shaking cold, these hands are meant to hold, speak to me,” which describes how cold a body becomes when a person dies. It shows how lifeless the body becomes after death. However, the song also shares a message of hope, “When all you’ve got to keep is strong, move along, move along, like I know you do.” It’s about moving forward after loss. The song will keep your spirit alive and well as you cope with death.
7. Death Bed – Powfu and beabadoobee
Songs about death aren’t always as literal as the song Death Bed, which is about a young man on his deathbed, reflecting on the things he’ll miss out on in life while still feeling grateful for what he’s had. It’s about reminiscing on all the happy moments you’ve had with your loved ones at the end of your life and being fortunate enough to have some special memories. The lyrics, “I hope I go to heaven, so I see you once again,” are a touching sentiment that there is still hope for an afterlife with our loved ones, even once we’ve left the physical world.
8. Supermarket Flowers – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran’s Supermarket Flower is a song about losing your mom. The lyrics “when I fell down, you’d be there holding me up, spread your wings as you go” are about how supportive your mom has been for you, but even with tears in your eyes each time you blink, you’ve got to let her go for her next chapter. It can be hard to think about anything else when a parent dies, and that grief is described beautifully in this song about death by Sheeran.
9. Candle In The Wind – Elton John
According to one of the songwriters, this iconic song about death is all about how so many people die young when they’re famous. While originally written about Marilyn Monroe, the songwriter said it could’ve also been about Sylvia Plath or Kurt Cobain. The lyrics were rewritten when Princess Diana died as well. The lyrics “these empty days without your smile” highlight the struggle of losing someone because we’ll never forget the best of them, like their smile or laugh, making it something we’ll never have again.
10. Just A Dream – Carrie Underwood
The death song Just A Dream by Carrie Underwood is about losing your military boyfriend. The lyrics, “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,” describe the desperation and emotions you experience when someone dies unexpectedly. The denial stage of grief is highlighted throughout the song as the person desperately wants to believe that the death of her boyfriend is just a dream and not the reality that she has to face now.
11. I’ll Be Missing You – Sean Combs, Faith Evans
This song about death is all about how you’ll miss someone after they’ve died. The lyrics, “Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show,” talk about how not too long ago, you and the deceased used to live life together and make the most of the moment. The chorus reminds you that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing; you’ll always miss the person who has died. This death song is about losing someone extraordinary in your life.
12. Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day
Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends is about how Billie Joe Armstrong lost his dad to cancer when he was only ten years old in September 1982. The lyrics are about how you want to sleep through the anniversary of the death of a parent or loved one because it’s so hard to deal with. The lyrics, “here comes the rain again, falling from the stars,” are about the volume of tears that pour from your eyes. The symbolism of falling from the stars is how his dad is now in heaven or out in the universe after he died.
13. The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
The rock opera The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance is about a cancer patient’s experience dying and their experience in the afterlife. The lyrics, “your memory will carry on,” are about how people will always remember you after you die, so you never truly die. The lyrics provide a ton of heart with powerful words like “do or die, you’ll never make me because the world will never take my heart” is about having the courage to fight when battling cancer or any terminal illness. While you might accept that you’ll die, your heart still loves.
14. One Sweet Day – Mariah Carey and Boys II Men
This song about death is about Mariah Carey’s friend David Cole of C&C Music Factory, who died of spinal meningitis. The lyrics reflect how sometimes people die suddenly, and you don’t have a chance to tell them everything you wanted to. The song is hopeful by highlighting that the person is now in heaven with other friends who’ve died before them. The lyrics “Assumed you’d always be there, I, I, took your presence for granted” touches on how we often fail to take advantage of spending time with people while they’re alive and don’t realize that we can lose someone at any time.
15. Who Knew – Pink
This death song is about losing a friend to an overdose. Pink found one of her friends dead of a drug overdose when she was only 14 years old. This song reflects on her drug past and how this person showed her how to use drugs but ultimately died from it. Pink sings about how they all thought they were cool but ended up being fools. The lyrics, “I’ll keep you locked in my head until we meet again,” are about remembering his life but also remembering that it was drugs that took his life so she doesn’t make the same mistakes with the hope that one day they’ll reconnect in the afterlife.
16. Ashes – Celine Dion
Songs about death, like Ashes by Celine Dion, are about how you can pray for someone to be okay and still lose them. And all the begging you do with the universe just doesn’t work out when someone you love dies. Celine Dion then asks, “Can beauty come out of ashes” as her whole world and all her dreams have gone up in flames. She even asks if her tears can be used to put out the fire because she’s in emotional pain dealing with the tragic loss of her husband.
17. Take On Me (Acoustic) – a-ha
While you’ve probably danced around to this 80s hit at some point in your life, the acoustic version of this song takes on a whole new meaning and is quite haunting. The 2017 acoustic version of Take On Me includes deep lyrics like “you’re shying away, I’ll be coming for you anyway,” which could be symbolized as death coming from you when you’re dying. The lyrics “I’ll be gone in a day or two” can be challenging to hear in someone’s final few days before they die of a terminal illness like cancer.
18. See You Again – Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth
This song about death is about the famous actor Paul Walker who died tragically in a car accident shortly after filming Furious 7, a racing movie. The lyrics, “it’s been a long day without you, my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again,” talk about how hard the day someone dies is and how long that day feels. The song highlights how much you go through with people in life and how much progress you make and how you can only talk about it when you’re in the afterlife with them.
19. Knocking on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
This death song is part of the soundtrack for the movie Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid which Bob Dylan made a cameo appearance in. The lyrics are specific to a death scene in the film. The lyrics, “feels like I’m knocking on heaven’s door,” are about how someone feels like they’re about to die. This song about death was also played by Guns N’ Roses in a tribute to Freddie Mercury when he had died of AIDs.
20. Let It Be – The Beatles
This song about death is all about acceptance. The words let it be are repeated throughout the song to remind you to stop fighting against loss, difficult moments, and obstacles and to accept things as they are. The answer to all of our problems and pain is to let it be. This death song centers around mindfulness and allows things to occur as they happen. And even when something positive happens, you should also let it be.
The songs about death highlighted stories about losing friends, family, partners, and children. While we can’t bring a deceased loved one back to life, we can carry their memories with us throughout our lives. These death songs can help you let your emotions out through waterfall-worthy crying and eventually acceptance. If you’re looking for some coping tools for your grief, you can check out this guided meditation for grief.