30 Best Songs About Losing Someone

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Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

Maybe you are looking for songs about losing someone because you have broken up or perhaps you are grieving a genuine loss. Either way, songs can help us to emotionally release the way we are feeling healthily.

Although songs about death and grieving tackle a sensitive subject, they aren’t always somber or depressing.

Some of the best songs about losing someone are a positive reflection of the loved ones’ life an in-memorandum homage of sorts. And though many of them are written personally by artists who are recounting their loss, many are so honest that they are relatable to anyone who has lost somebody close.

30 Songs About Losing Someone

1. Eric Clapton – “Tears In Heaven” 

Tissues at the ready as we are opening our list of contenders for best songs about losing a loved one with one of the most prolifically used funeral songs of all time.

Sadly, the track was written after Eric Clapton experienced the death of his child who tragically fell from a window.

This truly special song about loss has made a real impact, it’s been covered by countless artists over the years that followed its release and it makes for a stunning tribute to Eric’s four-year-old son Conor.

2. Celine Dion – “My Heart Will Go On”

 Love it or hate it, (the jury is still out for many) this late-nineties power-balled is considered one of Celine’s signature songs. It was featured on the motion picture soundtrack for Titanic and was the world’s best-selling physical single.

The lyrics are a little sugary for some and much like her heart it does feel like it goes ‘on’. But it can’t be ignored that the lyrics and the subject matter of the factually-based movie make it a top suggestion when it comes to comforting songs after death takes its grip.

3. Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men – “One Sweet Day”

 Does anyone remember this poignant R&B track?

Not typical of the artist’s usual topics, which generally centered around love, this one has a little more to say.

The narrative tells of reuniting with loved ones making it a great example of one of those positive songs about loved ones in heaven for the ever-faithful among us to relate to.

It was inspired by real-life losses and has a lot of cultural and social points to make it also touches heavily on the AIDS epidemic.

4. Modest Mouse – “Ocean Breathes Salty”

Next up is something a little less recognized but a track with very powerful words to share. This 2004 single has a lot of commentary on physical death and carrying the memory of the person on with you.

“Your body may be gone, I’m gonna carry you in.
In my head, in my heart, in my soul.”

It is a song for lost loved ones with very touching lyrics and a great music video to boot.

5. Vera Lynn – “We’ll Meet Again”

We are going straight back to the renowned with this war-time sing-along from songstress Vera Lynn. The song was written to see off the soldiers leaving for war but also has lyrics that are loose enough to suggest that they will indeed “meet again some sunny day” regardless of whether they are lost on the battlefield or not.

Filled with, encouragement, and that quintessential British “keep calm and carry on”rallying vibe. Vera sings us a sweet goodbye, that makes for a beautiful remembrance song for loved ones to this day!

6. Robbie Williams – “Angels” 

This lullaby-like ballad very quickly made its way around the world and propelled Williams into his solo career. Written in part after the miscarriage of a baby, it deals with the subject of death in a very bittersweet manner.

“When I’m feeling weak and my pain walks down a one way street
I look above and I know I’ll always be blessed with love”

It is again one of the most commonly chosen remembrance songs at funerals.

7. Mumford & Sons – “Beloved” 

“Before you leave
You must know you are beloved
And before you leave
Remember I was with you”

A moving song about death with strong lyrics full of heart-tugging emotional content that makes it one of those songs to listen to when someone dies that hits home.

8. Lewis Capaldi – “Before You Go”

More of the same from Capaldi, with his heartfelt track, that he wrote based upon his childhood experience of losing his aunt to suicide.

The artist himself has said that it is “by far the most personal tune” that he has ever written. Personal songs make for some of the best songs about losing someone, if there is such a thing as best?!

“So, before you go
Was there something I could’ve said
To make your heart beat better?
If only I’d have known you had a storm to weather”

9. The Righteous Brothers – “Unchained Melody”

Some songs about losing someone aren’t as black and white with the looming theme of death ever-present in the lyrical content.

“Unchained Melody” is one such song about loss, it is understated enough that it could be about losing a love interest as opposed to physically losing someone from the world.

For many, it is simply a love song, a grief-filled song about heartache but like many on our list, it is often used in memory at a funeral.

10. James Taylor – “Fire And Rain”

A sad song about losing someone from the seventies to consider is “Fire And Rain” by James Taylor, the verses of which are cover three sensitive subjects but begin with the suicide of a close friend.

The news of her death came to the performer six months late, as a close friend decided that it may distract him too much and his big break was on the horizon.

The singer laments in the opening lines;

“Just yesterday mornin’, they let me know you were gone
Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can’t remember who to send it to”

11. Carrie Underwood “See You Again”  

This is another example of a song about losing someone which focuses on the idea of reuniting in the afterlife. The song is packed with beautiful scenic imagery and depictions of nature that give it a compelling sincerity.

“I can hear those echoes in the wind at night
Calling me back in time
Back to you
In a place far away
Where the water meets the sky
The thought of it makes me smile
You are my tomorrow”

12. Faith Hill – “There You’ll Be” 

Moving on after someone dies is never easy, for most of us we try to carry a part of them with us as we go through our own journeys in life, to lessen the loss.

This Faith Hill track was featured as the Pearl Harbor Theme and is definitely one of those songs about losing a loved one with a hopeful and faithful spin.

“In my dreams, I’ll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart, there’ll 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”

13. Reba McEntire – “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”

The death of a family member can bring unresolved issues to the surface, it can leave a lot of unanswered questions. We always think we will have more time and that some things can wait to be discussed at a later date.

For some people, the gushing eulogy-like songs about losing someone are not an accurate representation of the emotions that they have experienced.

When someone passes away that you didn’t have the best of relationships with it’s trickier to express but Reba does an excellent job with this track.

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

 Death always hits a little harder when the person dies young. This Kenny Chesney song about losing someone describes missing the person and imagining all of the things they would have done, had they not met their end.

His lyrics are poetic and full of anguish;

“It ain’t fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away”

15. George Jones – “He Stopped Loving Her Today”

This song has a narrative that will choke the hardest of you out there, the premise of the song being that the protagonist promises to love his wife until he dies. The singer speaks about visiting him the day he finally stopped loving his wife in a somber tribute.

“They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today”

16. Tim McGraw – “If You’re Reading This”

Tim McGraw is known for singing some of the rawest country songs and this one is no exception. This one was inspired after the writers read an article about was casualties.

The lyrical format cleverly follows a typical letter home from a soldier posted away from home soil and is hard to read in places without a lump in your throat. Even the opening lines might set you off if the subject is close to heart;

If you’re reading this
My Mommas sittin there
Looks like I only got a one way ticket over here”

Heavy…

17. The Chicks – “Travelin’ Soldier”

Of course, the casualties of war, contribute to many death figures. So it is unsurprising that soldiers feature in more than a few songs about losing a loved one.

That’s the case with this country ballad covered by The (Dixie) Chicks. The story is sad but familiar, a young soldier leaves on a bus for a Vietnam posting promising to write to a pretty girl with a bow in her hair.

His letters detail how things are “getting kinda rough” and finally in the third verse, the worst is revealed.

“And one name read and nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair”

This makes the finishing chorus hook line all the more powerful…

“A soldier’s coming home”

18. Miranda Lambert – “Over You”

Black Shelton co-wrote this one with Miranda and he was inspired by a personal tragedy. Lambert revealed that she felt compelled to record the song because it was too emotionally raw for Blake.

The words are about his older brother killed in a car accident and touch upon the anger that we experience as one of the stages of grief.

“But you went away
How dare you?
I’ll miss you
They say I’ll be okayBut I’m not going to ever get over you”

19. Vince Gill – “Go Rest High On That Mountain”

A class shining example of a genuine ‘eulogic’ song for remembering a loved one after death. It was written after Keith Whitley died but is an unnamed tribute that can pertain to anyone dear.

“Go rest high on that mountain
Son your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a-shoutin’
Love for the Father and the Son”

20. Diana Ross – “Missing You”

Some songs about losing someone are memorials to people with celebrity status, so in a way, the entire audience of listeners can mourn.

“I Miss You” was Diana’s ultimate hit, being one of her last releases with major success. The song was composed sadly following discussions with Lionel Richie over the murder of Marvin Gaye by his own father on his birthday of all days. It is

21. LeAnn Rimes – “How Do I Live?”

Written by the songwriter of songwriters Dianne Warwick, this track charted for a whopping 34 weeks. It is one of these songs about losing someone, that isn’t one of those obvious concrete pass-away songs.

It was originally written for the soundtrack of Con Air and recorded by Year Trisha wood, but Rimes’ version was better in the eyes of many.

22. Michael Jackson – “You Are Not Alone”

This Grammy-nominated track was critically received some stating it was perfection and others deeming it ‘trite’. Like the track above it is more akin to a love ballad that expresses isolation as a theme.

The isolation and reflection along with the emotions conveyed in the lyrics and singing delivery compositional delivery make for a comforting song to remember loved ones by. For that reason, it is played at many a remembrance.

23. Puff Daddy – “I’ll Be Missing You”

We live in a world where sometimes it’s tricky to know whether to include or exclude particular artists, but Puff Daddy’s reworking of Stings, classic makes for another great entry when it comes to songs about losing someone and is still well-loved by many despite the artist’s antics.

24. Danny Gokey – “I Will Not Say Goodbye”

This song was written for the American Idol finalist, and he brought a powerful raw emotion to it as he had the first-hand experience required to deliver this song about losing someone authentically.

The accompanying music video illustrates husbands losing wives, parents losing children, and ends with a dedication to the singer’s wife.

25. Alter Bridge – “ In Loving Memory”

As the title suggests, this one is another unfortunate memorial song written from genuine loss experienced by the singer. The song is written in remembrance of his late mother.

The singer gives us an emotional bout of gratitude for all she did;

“I can’t believe you’re gone and
You still live in me
I feel you in the wind
You guide me constantly”

26. Avril Lavigne – “Slipped Away”

A great song that was written personally by Avril about her grandfather at the time of his death, The singer was touring at the time and it hit her. Like many a great artist, she turned her feelings into sincere expression through music, which many found touching.

As she was away, she felt like she missed the chance to say goodbye, something which many sadly relate to. It makes it an earnest song about losing someone.

27. Ed Sheeran – “Supermarket Flowers”

Sheeran penned this passionate and profound number whilst his grandmother was very ill, many believed it to be about his mum but the singer has since spoken up about his gran.

He originally wasn’t going to publically include the tribute, but his grandfather encouraged him to do so at his grandmother’s funeral. It has some very wise lines in it for someone still relatively young to have written…

“Oh I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up, but I know
A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved”

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

Billie Joel’s father died when he was just 10 years old, the singer recalls locking himself in his room and telling his mother to “wake him up when September” is over.

Little did Billie know the line would become crucial to one of the band’s biggest singles.

“Like my father’s come to pass
Twenty years has gone so fast
Wake me up when September ends”

29. Diamond Rio – “One More Day”

The one thing all mourners have in common is the desire to spend just a little bit more time with their loved ones following their deaths. Rio Diamond sings about exactly that in this song. The opening lines set up the hypothetical premise… If they were offered one wish;

“I didn’t ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished for one more day with you”

The lyrics sum up the sentiments of many in a beautiful manner, who wouldn’t wish for time to crawl if they had one more day with someone who has passed.

30. Alan Jackson – “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”

We are leaving you with the farewell of farewells. A track that reflects on the lives lost on that fatal day back in 2001 when the US Twin Towers fell.

The singer was in two minds about the release describing his emotions as “squeamish” he didn’t like the idea of profiting from such tragedy.

The lyrics are full of questions both rhetorical and non.

Final Thoughts

Death goes inevitably in hand with life, as so many artists draw from their reality, we as an audience are privy to some of the most vulnerable songs about loss and grief.

Be it a sad song about losing someone close or hopeful songs about loved ones in heaven, we could all use a list of good songs to listen to when someone dies for a cathartic release.

Typically songs for passed loved ones are full of sentiment and we are sure you will probably agree that the remembrance songs for loved ones that we have rounded up are some of the most candid and beautiful tributes to be found.

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