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23 Best Songs About Death, Grief, & Loss

If you’re struggling with grief, these songs might bring you some comfort.



Best Songs About Death

Death is the only guarantee in life, so it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of songs about death from all types of singers and music genres.

Whether they’re tragic songs lamenting the passing of a loved one or tracks that offer an undercurrent of hope and optimism, songs about death are ubiquitous.

In this article, you’ll find the best songs exploring this sensitive topic, from classic rock songs to contemporary chart-topping pop music.


The 23 Best Songs About Death

With songs about death coming from all genres and eras, we’ve aimed to cover as broad a range of music on the subject as possible.

This ranges from country music classics and rock ballads to more unusual death songs to help ensure this list is as definitive as possible.

Let’s get started and begin our playlist of the 23 best songs about death, grief, and loss:


23. “A Hero’s Death” – Fontaines D.C.

Fontaines D.C. approaches the topic of death with “A Hero’s Death,” their fast-paced rock song laced with irony.

The vocals repeat the lyrics “Life ain’t always empty” as they sing about someone who is dying and might also be a hero.

The Irish post-punk band released the song on their 2020 album, A Hero’s Death, earning praise from critics and fans.


22. “Hurt” – Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera’s take on death in the 2006 pop song “Hurt” discusses her feelings about losing her father.

“Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face,” sings Aguilera, capturing how loved ones take time to fade from our memories once they’re gone.

A hugely popular mainstream singer, Aguilera also performed one of the best songs about fighting, “Fighter,” released in 2002.


21. “I’ll Be Missing You” – Puff Daddy (feat. Faith Evans & 112)

Perhaps one of the most popular songs about death came from Diddy, working in collaboration with Faith Evans and 112.

“I’ll Be Missing You” sings about the day “when you went away, what a life to take, what a bond to break.”

Its popularity came in part due to being based on another hit song, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.


20. “Who You’d Be Today” – Kenny Chesney

While death is always regrettable, the death of someone young is perhaps more tragic, as Kenny Chesney covers in “Who You’d Be Today.”

This song about death wonders what would have become of someone had their life not been tragically cut short.

It echoes familiar themes about how the good die young, and the song reminds us to cherish those around us whenever we can.


19. “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley

“Hallelujah” is one of those songs about death that has been covered many times, with Jeff Buckley releasing his version in 1994.

It’s a touching song that anyone who grieved will likely be moved to tears when hearing, and it is one of Buckley’s best covers.

A prolific singer-songwriter, Jeff Buckley also performed one of the best songs about flowers, a cover of Ertha Kitt’s “Lilac Wine.”


18. “I’ll Be Seeing You” – Cat Power

Cat Power took a tender and downbeat approach to “I’ll Be Seeing You,” her 2022 indie song about a recently deceased loved one.

It reflects the concept of how we see dead loved ones in the world around us, from the morning sun to a new full moon.

Powers released the track on her 2022 album Covers, which included her cover songs for artists such as Lana Del Ray and Iggy Pop.


17. “See You Again” – Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood has written many sad songs throughout her career, with “See You Again” contributing to the long list of death songs. 

The lyrics capture this perfectly, singing, “Said goodbye, turned around and you were gone, gone, gone, faded into the setting sun.”

Carrie Underwood is no stranger to receiving accolades for her music, with 16 nominations and eight Grammy Awards won in her career.


16. “Play Dead” – Björk

One of the most unique and idiosyncratic performers of her generation, Björk has established a reputation for authenticity.

With “Play Dead,” she worked with producer David Arnold to create a quirky, catchy song about death that takes a more unconventional approach.

She also produced and performed one of the best songs about silence, “It’s Oh So Quiet,” released on her 1995 album Post.


15. “Dead And Gone” – The Black Keys

Returning to songs about death to have emerged from the rock scene, The Black Keys released “Dead and Gone” on their album El Camino.

Death here is a state of mind, reflecting the singer’s feelings of isolation and loneliness rather than explicitly singing about a dead person.

It’s another classic rock tune from The Black Keys, who have been producing albums since the early 2000s and mixing blues, psychedelia, and classic rock.


14. “The Devil You Know” – Kovacs

A conversation about death wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the devil, representing the dark underbelly of the concept.

Kovacs brings him into the picture with their song “The Devil You Know,” a catchy tune that doesn’t take the subject too seriously.

Dutch singer Kovacs has collaborated with renowned electronic music producer Liam Howe, known for his work with Ellie Goulding and FKA Twigs.


13. “Die A Happy Man” – Thomas Rhett

The manner in which we die is often more important than death itself, as Thomas Rhett appreciates with his song “Die A Happy Man.”

Here, happiness equates to love, with the lyrics, “Oh, if all I got is your hand in my hand, Baby, I could die a happy man.”

Released on Rhett’s 2015 album Tangled Up, it’s one of the more popular country songs about death from the genre.


12. “Doing It To Death” – The Kills

The Kills takes a darker, albeit slightly tongue-in-cheek, approach to death with their hit single “Doing It To Death.”

This song is about overdoing things and making bad life decisions in the heat of the moment or when drunk on the town.

The Kills released this as their lead single from their fifth studio album, Ash and Ice, released in 2016.


11. “If I Die Young” – The Band Perry

The Band Perry brings us back once again to a song about death coming too early, with “If I Die Young.”

The song highlights how someone who dies young can still impact the world and can help us find inner peace if we’ve lost someone early.

It’s an especially encouraging song for parents who have had the misfortune of outliving their children and need something to lift them up.


10. “Clubbed To Death (Matrix Soundtrack)” – Rob Dougan

Rob Dougan’s track “Clubbed to Death” will be familiar to anyone who has seen the hit science fiction movie The Matrix.

It’s a powerful and impactful piece of music that brings back memories of the movie and can also make you reflect on death from a new angle.

Dougan is known for effortlessly blending multiple genres, and his production skills are fully displayed in this powerful song.


9. “Whiskey Lullaby” – Brad Paisley ft. Alison Krauss

While death is often a tragic loss, losing someone due to suicide can be even more heartbreaking, as “Whiskey Lullaby” explores.

Brad Paisley uses the song to recount the story of a man who takes his own life after being betrayed by his lover.

Stricken by guilt, the lover then takes their own life as well in one of the saddest songs about death you’re likely to hear.


8. “Lazarus” – David Bowie

David Bowie has produced dozens of songs throughout his career, with “Lazarus” perhaps the most prescient of them all.

Seen by some as predicting his death, the song was written after he discovered he had cancer and reflects his emotional response.

Bowie’s status as one of the greatest musicians who ever lived is reflected in some of the best songs of all time, including his 1971 masterpiece, “Life on Mars?”


7. She Thinks His Name Was John” – Reba McEntire

“She Thinks His Name Was John” by Reba McEntire is another melancholy song about death with a dream-like quality.

A vague memory of someone lost permeates the lyrics, “And in the end when she was barely hanging on, all she could say is she thinks his name was John.”

McEntire released “She Thinks His Name Was John” in 1994 on her album Read My Mind, and it was the first country song to address the topic of AIDS.


6. “Brendan’s Death Song” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

There are no prizes for guessing the subject matter of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Brendan’s Death Song,” dedicated to Brendan Mullen.

It’s also, in its way, one of the most upbeat songs about death, perhaps in memory of the positive note Brendan left on their lives.

There’s an acceptance of death that runs through its core and how it can pave the way for inspiration and new beginnings as we move forward.


5. “Everybody Dies” – Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish cuts straight to the point and tells it how it is with her iconic song “Everybody Dies,” turning this dark thought into captivating music.

“Everybody dies, surprise, surprise,” Eilish sings in the song, continuing, “We tell each other lies, sometimes, we try.”

It was released as part of the ironically-titled 2021 album Happier Than Ever, which further cemented her reputation as one of the icons of pop music.


4. “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” – Justin Moore

Country music is perhaps the most common genre to produce songs about death, such as “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” by Justin Moore.

Moore uses death songs to connect with those loved ones who can no longer be reached and whose wisdom he still seeks.

He released it as a single from the album Outlaws Like Me, leading to his second number-one hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts in 2011.


3. “Slipped Away” – Avril Lavigne

Popular singer Avril Lavigne has penned several powerful tracks, including one of the best songs about change and many more hit releases.

With “Slipped Away,” Lavigne tackles the topic of death with typical lyricism and delicacy as she reflects on her recently deceased grandfather.

She was on tour at the moment of his death and wrote the song to reflect her tragic loss and what it would be like to live without his presence.


2. “The Dance” – Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks takes the concept of death and looks at it through the prism of dancing as a metaphor for the interplay between two people.

For a moment, all the world was right,” he sings before adding, “But how could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye.”

The song is one of many releases by Brooks to have picked up an award from an illustrious career at the forefront of country music.


1. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day

The title of the song “Wake Me Up When September Ends” comes from Green Day’s lead singer and is about the death of his father when he was ten years old.

It discusses how he locked himself away in his room on the news of his father’s cancer, not wanting to face the reality of his impending death.

Green Day is also known for one of the best karaoke songs of all time, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” about the failure of the American Dream.



So that’s it for our complete guide to the best songs about death you can listen to if you’re struggling with grief or reflecting fondly on a deceased loved one.

While death can be depressing, these songs have shown how diverse music can be when tackling how death impacts our lives.

Since death is perhaps the only certainty in life, we can anticipate many more songs to explore the concept in fresh and exciting ways in the years to come. 

Which songs about death have moved you the most over the years? Leave a comment below.

Andy has been producing music since the early days of Cubase and spent much of the 2000s mixing house and techno with his trusty Technics 1200s. Fast forward two decades, you'll find him in his home studio experimenting with the latest music production software, tinkering with Ableton plug-ins, and occasionally trying (and failing) to complete Cuphead for the hundredth time.

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