The future of music

45 Songs About Suicide

December 6, 2023
Songs About Suicide

Exploring the profound and often heart-wrenching world of songs about suicide, I’ve carefully curated a collection that resonates with the emotions and experiences surrounding this sensitive topic.

This article offers insight and understanding, guiding you through a journey of musical expression and empathy.

Table of Contents

Top songs about suicide

  • Billie Holiday – “Gloomy Sunday”
  • Eels – “Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor”
  • Blaine Larsen – “How Do You Get That Lonely”
  • Lewis Capaldi – “Before You Go”
  • James Taylor – “Fire and Rain”
  • Blink 182 – “Adam’s Song”
  • The Notorious BIG – “Suicidal Thoughts”
  • New Order – “Ceremony”
  • U2 – “A Day Without Me”
  • Jamestown Story – “Goodbye I’m Sorry”

1. Billie Holiday – “Gloomy Sunday”

Kickstarting what isn’t likely to be the most chipper of lists is one of the most famous suicide songs.

Rezső Seresshungarian’s early 1930s composition is even known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”.

An urban legend rumored to have been a suicide trigger for many, even Billie Holliday’s version was even banned by the BBC up until 2002.

2. Eels – “Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor”

The saddest suicide songs are usually written from experience as is the case with “Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor”.

The suicidal lyrics are short and abrupt and reflect the subject matter.

Written from the perspective of Mark Oliver Everett’s sister Elizabeth who sadly committed suicide after failed electro-shock therapy. 

3. Blaine Larsen – “How Do You Get That Lonely”

This country song is again written regarding a true suicide case close to home for the writer.

The day he received a call from his daughter’s school to take her home.

She was upset to learn that her boyfriend’s body had been found that morning, he had committed suicide.

The lyrics are blunt, they don’t tiptoe around the reality;

“Found him face-down on his bedroom floor”

4. Lewis Capaldi – “Before You Go”

Yet another emotional song about suicide that was sadly inspired by genuine loss. 

Written as a reflection on his aunt’s suicide Capaldi once confessed that this number was “by far the most personal tune” he had ever written. 

“..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”

5. James Taylor – “Fire and Rain”

A 1970 track centered around drug addiction, depression, and loss; namely the suicide of Suzanne Schnerr, James Taylor’s childhood friend.

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again.”

6. Blink 182 – “Adam’s Song”

This is another example of a song about suicide based on real events, inspired by a teen suicide letter the bassist had read in a magazine it was one of Blink 182’s more serious songs.

It was rumored to have been written about a mutual friend’s overdose but this was debunked.

7. The Notorious BIG – “Suicidal Thoughts”

As the name suggests, this one is a rap song about suicidal thoughts that gives brutally honest insight with contradictory narratives running.

We hear lines like “Suicide’s on my fuckin’ mind, I wanna leave … I swear to God I feel like death is fuckin’ callin’ me” typical of songs about wanting to kill yourself but we also get a counterpoint;

Get a hold of yourself” /“You talkin’ some crazy shit now”

Not many songs with suicidal lyrics that show both sides of the coin.

8. New Order – “Ceremony”

This next one might not truly be a suicide song on the surface, but many think of it that way as it was one of the last things recorded by Ian Curtis of Joy Division before his suicide. 

The band released it with his original muffled vocals.

The song was not ‘written’ yet and some of the lyrics were guessed by voice recognition software.

9. U2 – “A Day Without Me”

On a semi-related note…

When this single was released there were rumors that the song’s lyrics were about the death of Ian Curtis.

It is however actually about losing someone in your social circle, but many stubbornly deem the lyrics about suicide regardless.

10. Jamestown Story – “Goodbye I’m Sorry”

Someone dies by suicide roughly every 16 minutes. 

The reasons behind the decision vary but more often than not depression and mental health play a big part.

“Goodbye I’m Sorry” features lyrics that show the writer feels worthless and like they won’t be missed.

“And I’m sorry, but this is my fate.
Everything is worthless, no one who wants me to stay.
And I’m sorry, but I’ve waited too long.
So here’s my goodbye, no one will cry over me.
I’m not worth any tears.”

11. Ozzy Osbourne – “Suicide Solution”

As well as mental health, drugs and alcohol can be held culpable.

Ozzy wrote this song whilst struggling with the vices himself and it makes the point that alcoholism is just killing yourself slowly. 

“Wine is fine
But whiskey’s quicker
Suicide is slow with liquor”

12. Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss- “Whiskey Lullaby”

This country duet is another song with lyrics that draw the comparison between alcoholism and slow suicide. 

“He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger”

Powerful imagery.

13. Nine Inch Nails – “Hurt”

There are an alarming number of possibly triggering songs about self-harm, that quite often go hand in hand with the subject of suicide. 

One well-known example that fits our suicide song list vibes is “Hurt” by NIN. 

“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real”

14. Linkin Park – “Numb”

We could have probably included any number of Linkin Park songs, after his death touched so many, the majority of the sadder lyrics Bennington penned are now considered suicidal.

Like the NIN track above this one is a song about self-harm. In the video, an unpopular outcast young female student cuts the word ‘NUMB’ into her arms. 

“I’ve become so numb
I can’t feel you there”

15. Blue Oyster Cult – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”

Don’t fear the Reaper, is more of an inevitability of death song as opposed to a specifically suicidal song but a good contender for our selection nonetheless.

“All our times have come
Here but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper

16. Johnny Mandel – “Suicide Is Painless”

A famous song about suicide, made popular because it featured as the theme tune for M*A*S*H.

It was also recorded by the Manic Street Preachers but we have put the Mandel version as the miserable manic bunch will undoubtedly feature further down.

“That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please”

17. Joan Baez – “Railroad Boy” 

Suicide is a very common folksong theme, retold by many folk singers the songs have lulling melodies and tell the tale of a ‘forsaken girl’ who takes her own life when her lover looks elsewhere.

They make for some of the saddest songs about suicide ever written.

In Baez’s spin on the classic tale, she is found by her father

“He went upstairs to give her hope
An’ he found her hangin’ by a rope”

18. Third Eye Blind – “Jumper”

“And well, he’s on the table
And he’s gone to code”

These jarring lyrics tell of a narrative that frontman Stephan Jenkins built around a gay guy jumping off a bridge and killing himself, loosely inspired by a bullied friend.

Wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend

19. Papa Roach – “Last Resort”

Listening to songs about killing yourself isn’t all that healthy but for many an apathetic teen, “Last Resort” was perfect for your playlist.

Sometimes you want a soundtrack to suit your nihilistic alter ego’s mood-just maybe don’t listen on repeat.

20. System Of A Down – “Chop Suey!”

The same goes for this one, in reality, many rock songs about suicide are not looking to promote it. 

It sounds counterintuitive but listening to song lyrics about suicidal thoughts can make your internal battles smaller. 

SOAD speaks of the ‘self-righteousness’ of suicide.

21. Tim McGraw – “Kill Myself”

Some songs about wanting to die are metaphorical. Tim cleverly hides this with brilliant writing.

He talks about tying up loose ends around the house and not leaving a note and later reveals the metaphor…

“This is not some cry for help
It’s goodbye, I wish you well
Because I love you I had to kill myself

Not your average ‘kill myself song’.

22. The Smiths – “Asleep”

This song’s suicidal theme is purely speculative.

“Sing me to sleep
I’m tired and I
I want to go to bed”

Here, Morrissey notoriously wrote such miserable lyrical content any number of them could be considered suicide music.

23. Coldplay – “Fix You” 

Our suicide songs list has to include some songs about suicide prevention.

Fix you is one of the songs most frequently mentioned by suicide loss survivors and suicide survivors and with simple yet poignant lyrics that encourage you to thrive like those below, it isn’t difficult to see why;

“Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you”

24. The Fray – “How to Save a Life”

In a similar vein, this track from The Fray’s 2006 album with the same name also became a huge suicide prevention song.

The lyrics speak heavily to those suffering from suicide loss.

And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life”

25. Nickelback – “Lullaby”

Lullaby Is a song about suicidal people written from the survivors’ perspective.

In the lyrics, Kroeger tells his friend that they are not alone.

Stop thinking about the easy way out
There’s no need to go and blow the candle out
Because you’re not done.
You’re far too young
And the best is yet to come”

26. R.E.M. – “Everybody Hurts” 

Despite the sensitive subject matter, R.E.M. manages to leave the listener somehow feeling hopeful. 

The lyrics gently uplift you and allow you to forgive yourself.

They are accepting, unifying, and encouraging.

“When you think you’ve had too much
Of this life to hang on”

27. Simple Plan – “This Song Saved My Life”

Music is powerful, the chorus lyrics of Simple Plan’s something hit put it very plainly;

I was broken, I was choking
I was lost, this song saved my life
I was bleeding, stopped believing
Could have died, this song saved my life

28. Three Days Grace – “Never Too Late”

Unsurprisingly there is no shortage of ‘suicide rock songs’.

The genre tends to write about less conventional topics.

But this one is a motivational, anti-suicide song of sorts. 

“Even if I say, “It’ll be all right”
Still, I hear you say, you want to end your life
Now and again we try to just stay alive
Maybe we’ll turn it all around, ’cause it’s not too late, it’s never too late

29. Billy Joel – “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)”

We can’t talk of suicide prevention songs without mentioning “You’re Only Human”.

The ultimate reminder that it’s okay to make mistakes and feel like giving up, so long as you don’t!

It is no secret that Billy Joel attempted suicide himself this upbeat number speaks of the brighter times ahead:

“Don’t forget your second wind
Sooner or later you’ll feel that momentum kick in.”

30. Skillet – “The Last Night”

An epic Christian rock duet with gratuitous opening lyrics;

“You come to me with scars on your wrist”

The song resolves as the friend vows to prevent their suicide.

“I won’t let you say goodbye. I’ll be your reason why.”


31. Creed – “One Last Breath”

Creed sets the scene with a despairing man, on his knees, with but one last breath, “six feet from the edge” and begging for help.

Painting a picture that is all too real. The story has a 180 as he reflects and finds a glimmer of hope.

32. Streetlight Manifesto – “A Better Place, A Better Time”

The Better Place/Time that this melancholic ska-punk song preaches about is the time to come and look forward to instead of taking your life.

“So you’re tired of living
Feel like you might give in
Well don’t
It’s not your time…

33. Pennywise – “Come Out Fighting”

Pennywise rallies round in their high-energy punk punch to instill you with the support you need in their song to prevent suicide. 

“Well I know there are times when you’re feeling close to the ground
and there’s times when you may feel there’s no place to call home
and there’s times when the only end in sight is the end you got to
Come out fighting”

34. neil Young – “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)”

Unintentionally, this Neil Young song is associated with suicide because one of the opening lines was quoted by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in his suicide letter.

In an article for NME, he shared that it “freaked him out”’

“My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out than to fade away”

35. Elton John – “I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself”

It’s not all sad suicide songs in our suicidal song list!

Securing itself a spot is Elton John’s tongue-in-cheek parody “I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself”.

A cheerful piano-heavy, tap-dancing ode to moody, dramatic teens everywhere, the best as far as teenage suicide songs go.

Yeah I’m gonna kill myself
Get a little headline news
I’d like to see what the papers say
On the state of teenage blues”

36. Queen – “Don’t Try Suicide”

Mercury gives us his no-nonsense, chipper anti-suicide advice over this jaunty, rhythmically experimental 80s piece that clearly states “you need some help” yet he was criticized for the attitude.

“Don’t try suicide
Nobody gives a damn”

37. Eminem – “Stan”

A critically acclaimed song about suicide from none other than the rap god. 

Although heavily censored, the track propelled the artist in his early days reaching a more mainstream audience.

The clever narratives center around a long epistolary exchange between the busy rapper and his biggest fan. 

By the time Eminem gets around to responding his fan has committed suicide taking the life of his pregnant girlfriend too.  

38. Bo Burnham – “Kill Yourself”

Another total parody rather than a serious suicide song, Bo Burnham says “Suicide is an epidemic” and spills dark humor throughout. 

He leaves us with a few nuggets of wisdom amongst the silly lyrics which are graphic at times.

“life’s toughest problems don’t have simple answers”

39. Fear Factory – “Final Exit”

This track brought the nonprofit organization Final Exit Network the awareness it needed.  

They are a pro ‘right to die’ group that believes in a dignified death for everyone. 

In light of the subject, it is possibly one of the best suicide songs (if ever there were such a thing?)

“There is no compassion
life fades away
This self deliverance the choice
You have made”

40. 311- “Beyond the Gray Sky”

Many songs about committing suicide are preventative, “Beyond the Gray Sky” is another alternative song that embodies this idea.

“Don’t give up the fight to stay alive and even if you have to
Find the reason of another’s pain if they lose you
If not for yourself then those around who care like I do
One day you’ll see the clear blue
Beyond the gray sky”

41. Joan Osbourne – “Crazy Baby”

Another similar rock song about suicide from the perspective of the rock someone suicidal might need is this raw country treat.

Joans voice breaks throughout the chorus.

“Oh, my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh, my crazy baby
Don’t put out the light”

42. Shawn Colvin – “Suicide Alley”

A song that tried to highlight the dangers of living in built-up, poor areas.

Suicide Alley is a well-known two-lane freeway on Route 6 and has no ties with suicide and is ironically one of the state’s safest roads.

“Oh, no, baby don’t go
Walkin’ down Suicide Alley
Downtown baby it’s a million to one
You might as well name your poison”

43. Manic Street Preachers – “Suicide Alley”

A 1988 debut single that may have been a nod to the song above.

“And I’m going down to suicide alley
Where I can be what I want to be”

44. Oingo Boingo  – “Out of Control”

This new wave/pop song has some of the most inspiring and optimistic lyrics about suicide. 

“Don’t you know
That everyone around you
Has felt the pain you feel today
You’re out of control yeah–and you want someone to tell you”

45. Rascal Flatts – “Why”

We are finishing with a touching song about suicide the lyrics don’t gloss over the sensitivity of the subject and hold a beautiful but tragic analogy;

“Who told you life, wasn’t worth the fight
They were wrong, they lied
Now you’re gone, and we cried

‘Cause it’s not like you to walk away in the middle of a song
Your beautiful song”

Final Thoughts

Bottom line, songs about being done with life are unfortunately all too common.

There are no ‘good suicide songs’ as they all come as a result of a pretty dark subject, however, suicide awareness songs play an important role in helping family and friends left behind.

In this list of suicide songs, we have tried to include counter songs for suicidal thoughts, to steer things towards a positive note, rather than just picking sad songs about wanting to die.

Finally, please remember that songs about suicidal thoughts and self-harm and watching music videos about suicide can influence your mood and your actions, so please seek support if needed.

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Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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