Death is something everyone encounters in their life, and the best artists turn their pain into something for others to relate to. So naturally, there is no shortage of songs about death to express grief, mourn, and play at funerals. From rock, metal, pop, country, and rap, there is something from everyone on this round-up of the best 60 songs about death.
I’ll Never Love Again by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga sang I’ll Never Love Again in A Star Is Born. The song is about her character mourning the death of her husband.
Angel by Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan’s Angel is a song about the death of another musician. McLachlan was moved when she learned of the death of Smashing Pumpkins keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin in 1996.
Ronan by Taylor Swift
Ronan by Taylor Swift is one of the most underrated songs about death. The singer included it in her remaster of Fearless. It is about a little boy who died of cancer. Swift was moved when she read Ronan’s mother’s blog about it.
Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day
Wake Me Up When September Ends is one of the most well-known songs about death for fans of rock music. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote it about his late father, who died when the musician was a child.
Candle in the Wind by Elton John
Candle in the Wind by Elton John is one of the most well-known songs about death because the singer performed it at Princess Diana’s funeral. The song was actually written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and the short but turbulent filled life of the actress.
If I Die Young by The Band Perry
As the name suggests, If I Die Young by The Band Perry is about dying young. The song’s protagonist details their funeral wishes as they face an early death.
Brendan’s Death Song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Brendan’s Death Song is a tribute to a friend of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brendan Mullen. Mullen died just as the band began to work on their 2012 album I’m With You.
Walk by Foo Fighters
Walk by Foo Fighters is about not wanting to die. Frontman, and former Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl once explained the song is also about the immediate aftermath following the death of Kurt Cobain, where he had to carry on without him.
The Show Must Go On by Queen
The Show Must Go On by Queen is about the final months of Freddie Mercury and about powering through in the face of adversity.
If Tomorrow Never Comes by Garth Brooks
If Tomorrow Never Comes by Garth Brooks is a song about sharing love with people before they die. It encourages listeners to tell their loved ones how important they are before it’s too late.
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan is about being close to death and making peace with it.
Last Kiss by Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam’s Last Kiss is actually a cover. The song was actually written by Wayne Cochran, but the Pearl Jam rendition is one of the most well-known covers. The song is about a teenage couple who dies when their car crashes during a date.
Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler
Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings is a pretty popular funeral song due to its soft melody and lyrics about adoration for another person.
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
As the title suggests, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is a song about making peace with death. Blue Oyster Cult singer Buck Dharma once explained he wrote the song when thinking about what would happen if he died young and about how it doesn’t make sense to live in fear of something inevitable.
When It Rains by Paramore
Paramore’s When It Rains is about trying to work out how someone suicidal was feeling and wishing they had reached out for help. The song is about a friend of frontwoman Hayley Williams who passed away.
Let It Be by The Beatles
The Beatles’ Let It Be can be interpreted in many different days, so this is not always looked at as a song about death; and more as a song about letting go of worry. However, Sir Paul McCartney once explained the song was about his late mother coming to him in a dream and telling him everything would be alright.
Hurt by Christina Aguilera
Hurt by Christina Aguilera is an apology to her late father for the resentment she felt towards him during his life.
Father by Demi Lovato
Similar to Christina Aguilera’s Hurt, Demi Lovato’s Father is about looking back at her troubled relationship with her dad and sending him peace after he died of cancer.
Gone Too Soon by Michael Jackson
As the name suggests, Michael Jackson’s Gone Too Soon is one of the songs about death about something dying young. The tract is dedicated to Ryan White, who befriended the singer before passing away of AIDs.
Gone Away by The Offspring
Gone Away by The Offspring is about coming close to death. The song was inspired by an incident where singer Dexter Holland and his wife witnessed a shooting in an ice cream store. Fortunately, no one lost their life in the incident, but the singer found himself thinking about death and grief.
See You On The Other Side by Ozzy Osbourne
See you On The Other Side is a song about death from the perspective of the person dying. The protagonist tries to comfort their loved ones by assuring them they’ll see them on the other side.
The Last Carnival by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen wrote The Last Carnival to pay tribute to his late friend and organ player Daniel Federici. He once explained that the carnival theme is because Federici was a vital part of the broadway where he grew up.
In Loving Memory by Alter Bridge
In Loving Memory is dedicated to the band’s guitarist Mark Tremonti’s late mother.
Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavinge’s Slipped Away is about her grandfather who died while she was on tour, so the singer struggled with not being able to say goodbye.
Miss You So Much by Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus wrote her song Miss You So Much to pay her respects to a friend’s late boyfriend, who died of an overdose. “I wrote that song about how … once someone’s gone, they’re not really gone; if you love them, they’re here,” she explained.
Therapy by All Time Low
Therapy by All Time Low is a song about death that’s about trying to cope with the loss. It is about singer Alex Gaskarth losing his brother.
I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy ft. Faith Evans and 112
I’ll Be Missing You is a tribute to fellow rapper Notorious B.I.G., who was shot in the late ‘90s. It was performed by 112, Faith Evans, and P. Diddy (who was formally known as Puff Daddy).
See You Again by Carrie Underwood
See You Again by Carrie Underwood is another popular funeral song and a song for mourning. The singer once explained that she was touched by how many people the song resonated with. “To many it’s a song about moving on after the death of a loved one — about wanting to see that person again, and knowing that eventually, they will,” she shared.
Fly by Celine Dion
Celine Dion’s Fly paints a beautiful image of heaven and grief. The singer wrote the song after her niece Karine died of cystic fibrosis.
Amelia by Tonight Alive
Amelia is another song about death that details suicide. Singer Jenna McDougal wrote this song after learning that an old friend she grew apart from had taken her life.
Visiting Hours by Ed Sheeran
Visiting Hours by Ed Sheeran is a song about death that details wishing we could visit loved ones in the afterlife to ask for advice and guidance and to fill them in on what they missed. The singer penned the song to pay respects to his late mentor Michael Gudinski.
Who Knew by Pink
While some fans might interpret Who Knew by Pink as a track about not being able to see the future, it’s a song about loss. While the song is about the death of a friendship, it’s also about friends who died from drug use.
Only One by Kanye West ft.Paul McCartney
Kanye West has been pretty open about his late mother Donda, and even named his most recent album after her, so the rapper has several songs about death. One of the most popular is Only One, which was intended to be a message from Donda to West’s eldest daughter North.
See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth
See You Again is about hoping to meet passed loved ones again one day. The song was commissioned for the movie Furious 7 and is a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker.
Far From Heaven by Evanescence
Far From Heaven is a song about struggling with faith. It is believed to be inspired by the death of singer Amy Lee’s brother Robby Lee in 2018.
Death Is Not The End by Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s’ Death Is Not The End is about how the dark moments do not last forever. It also details how life carries on regardless.
Blow Away by Kate Bush
Kate Bush dedicated Blow Away to her late lighting director Bill Duffield who died in an accident before the opening night of her Tour of Life in 1979. The singer explained the track is intended to ease people’s fear of death and is about how music can last forever, even if life doesn’t.
There You’ll Be by Faith Hill
There You’ll Be is a song about death that covers how those who have died are always with their loved ones.
Go Rest High on That Mountain by Vince Gill
Vince Gill initially began writing Go Rest High On That Mountain after fellow country singer Keith Whitley died in 1989 but finished it after his brother died a few years later.
Terrible Things by Mayday Parade
Terrible Things by Mayday Parade is a song from the perspective of a father telling his son how he met his mother but warns his son not to fall in love as life cruelly took her away.
I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab For Cutie
I Will Follow You Into The Dark is about being aware of how you and everyone you love will pass away one day. Frontman Ben Gibbard told NME, there’s a period in your life when it feels like you’re going to weddings every weekend, but later a period where you’re going to funerals all the time. He said it’s about appreciating being young.
Forever Fifteen by Mothica
Mothica’s Forever Fifteen is about survival. She wrote the song to acknowledge how she was suicidal as a teenager and would have been forever fifteen if she had succeeded.
Mourn You Til I Join You” by Naughty by Nature
Mourn You Til I Join You is a song about death that details hoping to meet loved ones again. The track is dedicated to the late rapper Tupac Shakur.
Dead Horse by Guns N’ Roses
Dead Horse by Guns n’ Roses is based around the saying, “you can’t beat a dead horse.” It’s about feeling like giving up but putting yourself back together.
The Funeral Party by The Cure
As the name suggests, The Funeral Party by The Cure is a song about going to funerals. Robert Smith based the song on his grandparents’ deaths.
For Martha by Smashing Pumpkins
For Martha is a tribute to Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan’s mother, Martha, who died of cancer.
Black Gives Way to Blue by Alice in Chains
Alice In Chains wrote Black Gives Way to Blue after the sudden death of singer, Layne Stanly, to say goodbye to the frontman.
Keep Me In Your Heart by Warren Zevon
Like David Bowie’s Black Star, Keep Me In Your Heart was another song about facing death head-on. Warren Zevon wrote the song about coming to terms with terminal cancer before he died – and as a way to urge fans and loved ones to remember him.
Naked As We Came by Iron & Wine
Naked As We Came is another song about the inevitably of death. It details how couples are eventually separated by death, and one will have to bury their partner.
Lazarus by David Bowie
Lazarus by David Bowie was a way to say goodbye to his fans and looks back at his life and career. The artist passed away only days after his album Black Star was released in 2016.
Ocean Breathes Salty by Modest Mouse
Modest Mouse had a unique take when they wrote a death song. Ocean Breathes Salty is about someone who spent so much of their life trying to be good enough to get into heaven that they didn’t get to make the most of their time on Earth.
Everybody Dies by Billie Eilish
Like the title suggests, Billie Eilish’s Everybody Dies is another track about how death is unavoidable and coming to terms with it.
Funeral by Band Of Horses
There are a number of ways to interpret Funeral by Band of Horses. Some see it as how funerals become more common as you age. Others see it as the singer hating social gatherings and comparing them to going to funerals all the time.
Cemetry Gates by The Smiths
The Smiths were no strangers to releasing morbid songs. Cemetery Gates details Morrisey strolling through a cemetery and reminiscing about those he has lost.
I Grieve by Peter Gabriel
I Grieve by Pater Gabriel details the pain of mourning a loved one. The artist once explained that many people use music to cope with difficult times, including grief, which is why he wrote the song.
Helena by My Chemical Romance
My Chemical Romance’s song Helena is one of the most popular rock songs about death. The song is about frontman Gerard Way and bassist Mikey Way’s late grandmother, who was supportive of their music careers.
Looking for an Answer by Linkin Park
Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda wrote Looking for an Answer shortly after the death of frontman Chester Bennington in 2017 to process how he was feeling about the loss.
Jeremy by Pearl Jam
Jeremy by Pearl Jam was initially based on the suicide of a 15-year-old boy, Jeremy Delle in 1991, but the tract took on a darker theme as it details a boy getting revenge on his bullies beyond the grave.
I Don’t Know What To Say by Bring Me The Horizon
It’s common to feel lost for words after someone dies, which is exactly what Bring Me The Horizon tackled in their track I Don’t Know What To Say. Frontman Oliver Sykes wrote the song to cope with a friend dying of cancer.
Leave It Alone by Hayley Williams
Hayley Williams wrote Leave It Alone after her grandmother was injured in an accident and was worried she would die. It’s about the fear of knowing one day we all lose our loved ones.
So, from all angles and all genres, there is no shortage of songs about death, whether you’re mourning, looking for a funeral song, fear death, or need to feel understood.