What follows is a list of songs about saying goodbye. While it is not a list of the best funeral songs, some on the list are certainly about death.
Since we don’t want you to become dangerously dehydrated from crying over sad songs, we also threw in some “happy” goodbye songs on the list as well.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Best Sad Goodbye Songs
- Best Happy Goodbye Songs
- Best Funny Goodbye Songs
- Best Goodbye Songs for Friends
- Best Goodbye Songs for Family
- Goodbye Songs for School or Graduation
- Goodbye Songs for Coworkers or Retirement
- Goodbye Songs for Breakups or Divorce
- Goodbye Songs for Funerals
If you're facing a goodbye, why not prepare for it by creating a playlist of your favorite songs? You can even share it along with a Spotify gift card for a unique, personalized gift.
Here are some ideas. We’ve divided them into categories, so you can pick the right ones to correspond with your mood.
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.
Even though these songs are about saying goodbye, they may not be appropriate choices to play at a funeral.
1. “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLauchlan
It’s heard at funerals, and it’s played at graduations. It’s been in movies, and the haunting melody instantly brings tears. But what is Sarah McLachlan’s hit song really about? Is it about death, heartbreak, or Alzheimer's? That, my friends, is up for interpretation.
2. “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John
Originally, Sir Elton and Bernie Taupin wrote this song to honor Marilyn Monroe. In 1997, a rewritten version was sung as a tribute to Princess Di after she died in a car accident. Regardless of who was being honored, the song is definitely a sad goodbye.
3. “Careless Whisper” by George Michael
George Michael’s song about regret, despair, unfaithfulness, and goodbyes was a big hit in 1984. It was originally recorded when George Michael was part of the pop duo Wham! It’s most memorable lines are “I’m never gonna dance again / Guilty feet have got no rhythm.”
4. “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago
Chicago’s bass player, Peter Cetera, wrote and sang the lead vocals for “If You Leave Me Now.” It was released on Chicago X in 1976 and was one of only five non-disco songs to make it to number one during that period. The song was used in 2010 to raise money to fight breast cancer.
5. “The Dance” by Garth Brooks
This song is about the passage of time, and its poignant melody has made it a popular choice for funerals. But is the speaker in the song talking about someone who has died or a break-up? Perhaps only Garth knows.
6. “Goodbye My Friend” by Linda Ronstadt
This is a heartbreaking song about the death of a friend.
7. “Seasons in the Sun” by Westlife
This song, also performed by The Fortunes, is about a man preparing to die when "birds are singing in the sky, and spring is in the air." He asks that his friends think of him, and their seasons in the sun that they spent together.
8. “Who You’d Be Today” by Kenny Chesney
Listen to this sad country song while thinking about a loved one who was taken too soon. The ending line says it all: “ God knows how I miss you.”
9. “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor
James Taylor lost a childhood friend, but his family and friends chose to keep this “distracting” news a secret. Taylor wrote the song in lament for his lost friend.
Not all goodbyes are sad. Sometimes “goodbye” equals “good riddance.” Sometimes goodbye songs are songs of hope.
10. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul, and Mary
We know. This song sounds like it should be a sad song. But the speaker in “Leaving on a Jet Plane” hopes that the goodbye he says in this song is not permanent. He asks his beloved to wait for him while he is gone, so they can get married when he returns.
11. “Good Riddance” by Green Day
This goodbye song should be at the top of the playlist for every 18-year-old leaving for their first year of college. It’s a song about reflection and hope.
12. “Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC
Ok, maybe this song isn’t particularly “happy,” but the video is kind of funny. And the NSYNC boys are undoubtedly happy to get away from the controlling woman.
13. “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson
The king of road-trip songs, Willie Nelson’s classic is undoubtedly a “happy” goodbye song. After all, he “just can’t wait to get on the road again.”
14. “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Can you even listen to this song without thinking of the end of Dirty Dancing? Even though the song is reflecting on past experiences, it’s happy and upbeat.
15. “So Long, Farewell” by Von Trapp Family Singers
This upbeat song from The Sound of Music is multi-purposed. It can be sung when it’s time for children to go to bed. It can be sung at the end of a music festival. And it can be sung when you are running away from the Nazis.
16. “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds
This song is played at the beginning and end of The Breakfast Club. Oddly enough, the Scottish group, Simple Minds, had to be convinced to record this song.
17. “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol
Even if you have said goodbye to your love, it is important to keep dancing.
18. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is the queen of the “who needs you?” goodbye songs. “Shake It Off” is just one example.
19. “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
Goodbyes are sometimes easy. Gloria Gaynor’s power anthem has been inspiring people to move on for generations.
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Whether you are leaving a job you hate or saying goodbye to a toxic relationship, here are some songs that put a lighthearted spin on saying “adios.”
20. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam
This song has been used at basketball games, political rallies, and game shows.
21. “Happy Trails” by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
“Happy Trails” is the trademark song of cowboy singers Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
22. “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed
This country singer and film star had a hit with “East Bound and Down.” This goodbye song from Smokey and the Bandit was about hauling Coors beer across state lines. This is the perfect song for a long road trip.
23. “Hello, Goodbye” by The Beatles
Who knows what this song is about? This song was released during a time when The Beatles were experimenting with “randomness” in their music. You can’t have a list of goodbye songs without including it on the list somewhere.
24. “These Boots Were Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra
Although the song itself isn’t funny, watching the video of Nancy Sinatra performing this song will undoubtedly leave a smile on your face.
25. “Take This Job and Shove It” by Johnny Paycheck
How many people have dreamt of saying goodbye to their jobs by playing this Johnny Paycheck classic? Does anyone else think that the singer’s last name is slightly ironic?
26. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” is another song that says, “I’m out of here.”
27. “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon
Hopefully, when it comes time to say goodbye to your significant other, you will come up with the perfect rhyming couplet. “Hop on the bus, Gus.” Or “Drop off the key, Lee” are excellent examples.
28. “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles
Ray Charles’s mean woman tells him goodbye in this classic song from the 1960s.
29. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
Yeah, we know that this song isn’t meant to be funny. It’s intended to be a song of heartbreak and regret. But who can keep a straight face during the long string of “I know”? After all, the lyric is repeated 26 times.
Saying goodbye to friends is difficult. These songs are a combination of “goodbye” songs as well as “I’ll be there for you” songs.
30. “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban
This beautiful song with an Irish melody acts as a fantastic tribute to an inspirational friend.
31. “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King
Carole King’s classic friendship song is the perfect song to play to a friend who is getting ready to move away.
32. “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen
Are you ever surprised by how many songs from the 1970s were sung by Queen? Here is another song about friendship that celebrates those special people in our lives.
33. “So Long. It’s Been Good to Know You” by Woody Guthrie
Written during the dust bowl, “So Long” is about a person driven west by the horrible storms in the American Midwest in the 1920s. Although the situation was dire, the song is rather upbeat and hopeful.
34. “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” by Bee Gees
This song celebrates the love of good friends.
35. “Goodbye Stranger” by Supertramp
Fans of “The Office” will remember Michael Scott’s version of this song called “Goodbye Toby.” Regardless of which version is your favorite, this is a classic song of goodbye.
36. “Farewell” by Rihanna
“Wherever you’re going, I wanna go.” This underrated hit by Rihanna is the perfect song to listen to when saying goodbye to a friend.
37. “Tonight, Tonight” by The Smashing Pumpkins
Whether you are leaving high school or flying away on a weird, zeppelin-type contraption, this is a melancholy song that reflects on endings and beginnings.
38. “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
This song of friendship can be used to send away a friend who is facing an unseen future.
39. “No Such Thing” by John Mayer
Another end-of-high-school song. John Mayer’s “No Such Thing,” reminds us to live deliberately as we say goodbye to one stage of our lives and enter another.
While there aren’t many songs that say goodbye to family members, there are many songs that talk about missing home. Here are some to add to your playlist if you are feeling particularly homesick.
40. “Home” by Michael Buble
Michale Buble wishes he had never said goodbye as he sings his song celebrating home.
41. “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel
Simon and Garfunkel wish they were “homeward bound.” Instead, they are “on a tour of one-night stands, my suitcase and guitar in hand.”
42. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles
This song is about every teen’s desire to get out of Dodge and regretting that decision later on in life.
43. “Take Me Home” by John Denver
We choose to ignore that John Denver was from Roswell, New Mexico, when we listen to this song about going home to the West Virginia mountains.
44. “My Wish” by Rascal Flatt
This song is the perfect one to add to a graduation playlist. “May your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small.”
45. “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran
This song tells the story of saying goodbye to home and looking forward to returning.
46. “Homegrown” by Zac Brown Band
This is the anti-goodbye song. It questions the need to ever say goodbye when you have everything you need at home.
47. “I’m Movin On” by Elvis Presley
This story is not necessarily about regret, but it is definitely about saying goodbye.
48. “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles
This beautiful song about going down a road that you’ve seen before will remind you of returning home.
49. “Home” by Phillip Phillips
“Hold on to me as we go.” This song is about leaving but starting over in another location together.
We hope we've given you plenty of goodbye songs to add to your goodbye playlist, whoever or whatever you’re moving on from.
Goodbye Songs for School or Graduation
Graduation, especially high school graduation, is a significant milestone. You may feel a bit melancholy as you prepare to say goodbye to your classmates. Here are some goodbye songs for high school or college graduation.
50. "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins
The chorus for this song is as follows:
"You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this."
51. "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack
This song is written from the perspective of a mother offering advice to a child who is leaving her nest. Included in this advice is the following:
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance.”
And, of course, the speaker hopes her child will always dance when given a chance.
52. “Photograph” by Nickelback
Even though the lyrics of this song imply that the speaker didn't actually graduate, this song still qualifies as a graduation song. It's about looking at photographs and remembering the past.
"(I miss) I miss that town
(I miss) I miss their faces
(You can't) you can't erase
(You can't) you can't replace it
(I miss) I miss it now
(I can't) I can't believe it
(So hard) so hard to stay
(Too hard) too hard to leave it."
53. "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw
Here's another song that offers good advice to someone younger who is graduating.
"Hold the door, say 'please,' say 'thank you'
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb
But always stay humble and kind."
54. "I'll Always Remember" by Hannah Montanna
This song is written from the perspective of someone who is graduating and leaving their classmates behind. The second stanza reads:
"I always knew after all these years
There'd be laughter, there'd be tears
But never thought I'd walk away
With so much joy, but so much pain
And it's so hard to say 'goodbye.'"
Goodbye Songs for Coworkers or Retirement
Are you saying goodbye to a coworker who is retiring? There aren't many songs about this specific subject — perhaps because singers and songwriters never retire. Here are some songs that might be appropriate.
55. "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"
The tune of this song is of French origin and dates back to the 1700s. The words were put with the tune in about the mid 1800s. "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" was popular in the UK and US by the mid 1860s.
56. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams
You may have heard this song hundreds of times without really understanding the lyrics. So take a moment to read the words to this "Happy" song as you put it on your retirement playlist.
57. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen
Have there been a string of retirements at your workplace? Then, this song will make everyone smile.
58. "Up, Up and Away" by The Fifth Dimension
Does your friend who is retiring look forward to new adventures? Here's a song about chasing your dreams and leaving the world behind.
59. "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac
This song is about having an optimistic view of life. It advises:
"Why not think about times to come?
And not about the things that you've done
If your life was bad to you
Just think what tomorrow will do."
60. "Take it Easy" by The Eagles
Remind your friend who is retiring to "take it easy."
61. "Listen to the Music" by The Doobie Brothers
People may be happy and sad at a retirement party. Regardless, this song advises us to "listen to the music."
62. "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin
Your friend may be looking forward to sea adventure during retirement. The title of this song may seem to fit the occasion. However, the song's lyrics are about separated lovers who look forward to being reunited.
Goodbye Songs for Breakups or Divorce
This list could include hundreds of songs – all by Taylor Swift. Here are a few songs about saying goodbye after a breakup or divorce.
63. "Sad Beautiful Tragic" by Taylor Swift
The speaker in this song is having difficulty saying goodbye to her lover. "'Cause we had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic love affair."
64. "We Are Never Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift
Perhaps you aren't mourning the loss of your relationship. Instead, you are done with the drama of it. If this describes your situation, you might enjoy this Taylor Swift song.
65. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood
You may feel like getting revenge on a cheating lover. This song describes such a scenario:
"I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive.
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights
I slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats."
66. "Mama's Broken Heart" by Miranda Lambert
This song describes a messy breakup. Her mother's response is as follows:
"Go and fix your makeup, girl. It's just a breakup
Run and hide your crazy and start actin' like a lady
'Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart."
67. "The Winner Takes It All" by Abba
This song is used in Mama Mia. It includes the following heartbreaking words:
"But tell me, does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name?"
68. "Last Kiss" by Taylor Swift
You thought we were done with Taylor Swift songs, didn't you? As luck would have it, we decided to include one more piece by the queen of breakup songs.
Goodbye Songs for Funerals
All of the songs on our list are about saying goodbye. However, not all are appropriate to play at a funeral. So, here are some goodbye songs for funerals.
69. "When I Get Where I'm Going" by Brad Paisley
This song is written from the perspective of someone who is looking forward to Heaven. The lyrics to the chorus are as follows:
"When I get where I'm going
Oh, when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears."
70. "To Where You Are" by Josh Grobin
Do you feel that your loved one is still close? This song is about that possibility:
"Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memories so clear
Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration."
71. "Fly" by Celine Dion
Like many of us, Celine Dion has lost several of her loved ones. Her husband died of cancer in 2016, but this song was written in memory of her niece Karine. Karine died at 16 years old of cystic fibrosis.
Dion had this to say about life and death: “We’re all going to lose people that we love. We lose our mothers and we lose our fathers, and sometimes I think that if I go first, maybe it would be better. But it’s not better. It’s not the way it works. Hopefully, we can be together as long as possible. Every day we have is fortunate. Live for the moment.”
72. "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
We love this song about the reunification of loved ones in Heaven.
The chorus lyrics are as follows:
"And I know you're shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day."
This song was performed at Princess Diana’s memorial service.
73. "Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole
Of course, you may also consider Judy Garland's version of this American classic. However, we like the ukulele version by Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole, who died in 1997.
74. "I'll Fly Away" by Johnny Cash
There are a lot of versions of this famous gospel song. This is one of the most popular Christian funeral songs.
75. "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe
You may find it easier to say goodbye if you imagine what your loved ones might be experiencing in Heaven. This song does just that.
"Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You, Jesus
Or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence
Or to my knees, will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?"
There's A Song for Every Occasion
If this list proves anything, it's that there is a perfect song for every situation and occasion. However, we know you are probably screaming at your device right now because we left your favorite off our list.
Which of your favorite songs did we leave off our list? Create a discussion topic about goodbye songs on our forum so other readers can chime in with their favorites.