50 Songs About Death, Grief & Losing Someone

Photo: getty
grieving woman
Heartbreak

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.

RELATED: 25 Encouraging Grief Quotes To Share With Someone Who Is Grieving The Loss Of A Loved One

50 Songs About Losing Someone

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.

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.

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

Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees

Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please"

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"

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"

RELATED: 5 Ways Losing Someone You Love Can Make You So Much Stronger

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's 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"

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"

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

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"

RELATED: The Reality Of Losing Your Friend To The Same Disease You Have

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

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"

RELATED: How To Mourn The Loss Of Someone You Don’t Know

Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, and astrology. Visit her author profile for more content.