Thinking about death and what comes after you cross into the next life can be a scary thought. Death affects us all, whether you are The Beatles, Elvis, or a car mechanic. Songs about death can help someone come to terms with their eventual fate.
Whether you are the person who is dying or you know someone who is dying, check out these songs about dying, which can help you enjoy the life you have left to live.
1. “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry
The best and most prominent song on our list of songs about dying is the iconic Billboard hit “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. The melody in this song beautifully describes the funeral the singer wishes to have if they die young. While we don’t promote dreaming of dying young, it truly is one of the best songs about dying.
2. “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” from Les Misérables
From the hit musical Les Misérables, this song shows the pain felt when losing friends. This ballad is sung shortly after a battle when one of the main characters must come to terms with the fact that he won’t see his friends again.
3. “Everybody Dies” by Billie Eilish
At some point in this life, you have to come to terms with your own morality. No one gets to live forever, and your endpoint is unknown.
Billie Eilish has written many songs about dying and suffers from depression herself, which is evident in her heartfelt tunes on the topic.
Songs by Billie Eilish can be hard to listen to, and we don’t recommend them to anyone in a fragile state.
4. “Lazarus” by David Bowie
David Bowie died in 2016. But before he left this earth, he left one last song, which is also one of his greatest songs, describing how he would be looking down at those he left behind on earth. It’s almost as if the singer knew his end was near when he released this anthem.
Related: David Bowie’s Net Worth
5. “Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey is another artist who has many songs about dying. This song, in name, seems like it would be about dying, but the song instead focuses on a relationship (and is a bit of a love song) which was doomed to end before it even began.
Basically, it takes on any meaning that you want it to.
Also, check out “Without You,” which is another sad song by this artist that deals with the topic of death and the sorrow which surrounds it.
6. “Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen
When a family member is about to die (or you are), you may think about what it would even mean to live forever and how lonely it would truly be. Queen sang a song about exactly this topic, and it is even sadder when you consider the lead singer, Freddie Mercury, died not too long after this song was released.
Related: 31 Inspiring Facts About the Band Queen
7. “Ghost” by Justin Bieber
Songs about dying can also help you to process a recent death. This particular ditty is by Justin Bieber and is a powerful display of the grief which comes from death.
Bieber’s lyrics specifically talk about how he would settle for a ghost of the individual he loved but lost. It has a catchy rhythm and a chorus we can relate to.
Related: 34 Interesting Facts About Justin Bieber
8. “How Do I Say Goodbye?” by Dean Lewis
There comes a time in life when you will get horrible news about a loved one. It is never the right time for a family member to die.
This heartbreaking song by Dean Lewis is one of our favorite songs on this list. It talks about learning how to say goodbye to someone who has been with you your whole life.
9. “Before You Go” by Lewis Capaldi
Even if a death isn’t sudden, it can be hard to handle. This next song on our list of songs about dying shows how the singer felt and some of the things he wanted to say before someone in his life left.
10. “If I Would Have Known” by Kyle Hume
When someone dies, it leaves a hole in your life that they used to occupy. Kyle Hume sings about this, and anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one will be able to relate to the lyrics “If I would have known that you wouldn’t be here anymore.”
11. “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw
Because you never know when your death may be, it’s important to live each day like it were your last. Tim McGraw sings about just this in his Grammy-winning song “Live Like You Were Dying.”
This song has been labeled one of the greatest songs of all time and it’s easy to see why.
12. “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe
No one on this earth knows for sure what comes after death. MercyMe is a Christian band, and in their hit song, they sing about imagining what heaven will be like.
“I Can Only Imagine” is beautiful and is top of the list for funeral songs if you want one that is sad but also filled with hope for the future.
Many of the songs on this list are rock and roll ballads, but this is one of the few pop songs on our list.
Related: 15 Best Christian Songs to Add to Your Playlist
13. “Listen Before I Go” by Billie Eilish
Suicide is never the answer. Billie Eilish herself, even though she suffers from severe depression, has gone out of her way to advocate for getting help when you feel like nothing will ever get better.
She wrote this song about suicide. It’s graphic, so don’t be afraid to skip it if you are easily triggered.
If you or someone else needs help or is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.
14. “When I’m Gone” by Joey + Rory
When someone dies, life goes on. It’s sad but true.
This Joey + Rory track is an excellent song to listen to when you love and miss someone. Joey wrote this song in 2008, and in 2014 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which claimed her life in 2016.
Many artists have covered this song over the years, and it’s one of the duo’s most famous songs. Don’t confuse covers of this song with “When I’m Gone” by Eminem, which is also a tragic song about dying but doesn’t have the same lyrics.
15. “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts
The worst part of facing a loved one dying is saying goodbye. This song about dying from Rascal Flatts conquers just that, helping you deal with the goodbye that is coming. It can also be applied to relationships that are ending. We think this is one of Rascal Flatts’ best songs.
16. “Clouds” by Zach Sobiech
Once a YouTube sensation, “Clouds” was written by a high school senior, Zach Sobiech, who was told he had terminal bone cancer. The song sings about the view from the clouds when someone dies.
Zach lost his battle with cancer in 2013, ending any potential singing career he may have had, even though this is one of the best songs ever written.
17. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
One of the greatest hits of all time, this classic by Led Zeppelin embodies the sadness one feels when someone dies. While it is missing the usual guitar riffs this band is known for, this is one of the best rock tracks of all time.
Related: The History of the Greatest Musicians of All-Time: Led Zeppelin
18. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
This song is close to the end of our list of songs about dying because we aren’t sure if it is about dying. While it has some of the same aspects as the other songs on the list, and it discusses wishing someone was there, it can also be applied to a romantic ending, not necessarily death.
19. “Last of a Dying Breed” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
What happened to the band Lynyrd Skynyrd was truly tragic. If you don’t know, some of their members (their singer and guitarist) died in a plane crash in the 70s.
This song, along with many others, earned this band their spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is considered one of their most popular songs.
20. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra
Although the legendary singer hated his hit song, this song by Frank Sinatra was thought to be about what it meant to live when you were facing the prospect of dying.
While it isn’t as obviously about dying as some of the other songs on this list, we had to include this song because the verses are amazing.
Related: How Did Frank Sinatra Die? His Final Words, Legacy, and More
21. “Never Say Goodbye” by Bon Jovi
Along the lines of dealing with the death of a friend, we can’t forget the song “Never Say Goodbye,” which is a bit of a poem to a friend who has either died or is about to die.
Saying goodbye to a friend is tough, even with some 80s rock music, but with this song, by Bon Jovi, you don’t have to.
22. “Supermarket Flowers” by Ed Sheeran
Like Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran is known for his songs about dying. This one is supposedly written about dealing with the death of a friend, but it is the perfect soulful melancholy song to sing along with when you miss a loved one who has died.
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