50+ Great Songs About Death to Help You Grieve

Updated

Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure.

Music helps us get through the tough times. Much like the memories of our deceased loved ones, music carries on for generations. Whether we are facing our own mortality or the death of a loved one or friend, music can bring us peace. 

Jump to these sections: 

Through music, we can find quiet reflection to express and feel our emotions. It guides us on a journey of memories and it reminds us that we are not alone. Light a candle, find a relaxing seat, queue up the playlist, and allow these songs to ease your mind and heart. 

Tip: If you're planning on gifting or sharing a playlist, make sure your loved one has an ad-free listening experience. We recommend sending a Spotify gift card along with your playlist's URL. 

Tip: If you recently lost a loved one, our post-loss checklist can help you sort through the complicated tasks and challenges you might be facing. 

Best Sad Songs About Death 

Sadness is one of the most common emotions when it comes to death. It's important to honor our sadness and allow ourselves to lean into the sadness of death. 

1. “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton 

A reminder that it’s okay to cry and grieve the loss of a loved one. 

2. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Diddy, Faith Evans, 112

A popular 90’s song about turning back time and the shock that death can bring. 

3. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion`

A classic song that reminds us that love carries on beyond death. 

4. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day

Death can sometimes feel like a heavy weight on our shoulders and that’s okay. 

5. “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor 

Written by James Taylor in 1970 after finding out about the loss of a good friend. His family attempted to keep this secret and Taylor expresses his feelings about it.  

6. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

A somber ballad about loneliness and guilt that can occur when facing death. The original is by Nine Inch Nails, but we found the Johnny Cash cover pulled on the heartstrings a bit harder. 

7. “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Kraus 

A heart-chilling story of a wife losing her husband and facing her own death. 

8. “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan 

Grab some tissues for this one! It’s a heartbreaking song of hope and comfort in a time of deep sorrow. 

9. “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks 

This song explores the contemplation of death and the hope that our loved ones know how much we love them. 

10. “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman  

A sweet serenade that helps us come to peace with saying goodbye to a loved one at the time of death. 

ยป MORE: How do you host a virtual or hybrid funeral? Start here

 

Best Happy Songs About Death

Death doesn’t always have to be somber. It is a part of life and in some cultures, it's often celebrated.  

11. “Only The Good Die Young” by Billy Joel 

Billy Joel wrote this song as a lighthearted reminder to live life to the fullest.

12. “Beloved” by Mumford & Sons 

A beautiful, upbeat song that reminds us to leave no words left unsaid. 

13. “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum

A foot-tapping tune about facing our mortality and what might come of us after. 

14. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan

A peaceful contemplation about confronting the fear around death. 

15. “Dream On” by Aerosmith 

A message to seize every moment and embrace life until the bittersweet end. 

16. “American Pie” by Don McLean 

An upbeat song about the death of three famous musicians and the music that lived on. 

17. “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth 

This song reminds us that a bond of love is never lost, even after death. 

18. “One More Day” by Diamond Rio 

This song expresses the desire we often face in hopes we can have one more day with our loved ones. 

19. “Live and Die” by The Avett Brothers 

A sweet song that reminds us that we all have death in common. 

20. “I’ll Fly Away” by Gillian Welch Alison Kraus (Written by Hank Williams) 

A soothing, upbeat tune about embracing death when it arrives. 

If you're planning a celebration of life or memorial service with a virtual funeral planning service, such as GatheringUs, you can add these happy songs to your custom memorial slideshow or another part of the service.

Best Upbeat Songs About Death 

These tunes remind us that it's okay to add lightness and humor to the topic of death. 

21. “It’s The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M. 

A catchy tune that implies death is near and there is nothing to fear. 

22. “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight” by Cutting Crew 

This popular 80’s songs explored the little deaths we experience in life. 

23. “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam 

An upbeat musical arrangement about losing a loved one in a fatal accident. 

24. “I Shot The Sheriff” by Eric Clapton 

A song that explores a battle of life and death between a sheriff and citizen. 

25. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult 

An invitation for society to drop the taboo around Death. 

26. “The Great Gig in the Sky” by Pink Floyd

This song doesn’t have lyrics because it’s intended to be a rhythmic exploration of death.  

27. “Driving Nails in My Coffin” by Ernest Tubb

 An old country classic that talks about becoming closer to death. 

28. “People Who Died” by The Jim Carroll Band 

It’s almost impossible not to tap your foot while listening to this graphic song about death. 

29. Highway to Hell by AC/DC 

This rock tune explores what being on a journey to hell might be like. 

30. “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen 

A song that explores impermanence and symbolizes that death is happening every moment. 

Best Calming Songs About Death

When death ways heavy on your heart, crank up the volume and let these tunes soothe you. 

31. “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie 

A sweet song to represent a special bond between a friend or lover. 

32. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler 

A heartfelt song to remind our loved ones what they mean to us. 

33. “I’ll Stay With You” by Beth Hart

This song highlights the bond with a deceased loved one and suggests an afterlife. 

34. “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw 

An invitation to live the life of our dreams before it’s too late. 

35. “Let It Be” by The Beatles 

This encouraging song reminds us that we can face death with peace and acceptance. 

36. “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry 

A young perspective on embracing death, detailing a beautiful reflection on life.  

37. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers
A popular tune that transcends time and warms the heart. 
38. “The Last Goodbye” by Billy Boyd 

An uplifting reflection on the final chapter of life. 

39. “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe 

A religious song about someone embracing a continuation after death.  

40. “Remember Me” by Miguel 

This sweet lullaby became popular in the Pixar film, CoCo, where a little boy explores Land of The Dead. 

Best Angry Songs About Death

Death is something that evokes a lot of emotions. It’s healthy to allow ourselves to tap into our anger around death. 

41. “Until the Day I Die” by Story Of The Year 

An angsty song that compares heartbreak to death. 

42. “Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance 

A son’s recount of his father talking to him about death. 

43. “Fade to Black” by Metallica 

This song explores feeling angry about life and calm about death. 

44. “Slipped Away” by Avril Lavigne 

Written for her grandfather, Avril Lavigne expresses her deep sadness and regret about his passing. 

45. “Ready to Die” by The Notorious B.I.G 

Speaks to murder and not being afraid to die out of spite. 

46. “Gone Away” by The Offspring 

A song that belts out about the pain and sting of death. 

47. “Here Without You” by 3 Doors Down

A song about loneliness and longing for someone who has died. 

48. “I Will Not Say Goodbye” by Danny Gokey 

This song gives us permission to stay in our grief for as long as we need. 

49. “Soil” by System of A Down 

A song that explores the emotional state of guilt and regret after the death of a close friend.  

50. “Dead” by My Chemical Romance 

Not all relationships end on a positive note at the time of death. This song explores the feelings of saying goodbye to someone you didn't like. 

Looking for more? Take a look at our picks for the best funeral songs for loved ones, too. 

Icons sourced from FlatIcon.