31 Songs About Grief & Loss You May Unfortunately Be Able to Relate to

Songs About Grief You May Unfortunately Be Able to Relate to

Grief is a powerful experience that is often difficult to describe in words. It’s painful to grieve, and healing from tragedy requires lots of time. Distinct sounds, smells, visuals can quickly bring back memories of a lost loved one or a tragic experience that tears your eyes.

The following songs about grief are soothing and often written and performed by musicians and artists who have a connection to the tragedy.

“Let It Be” by the Beatles

Song Year: 1970

This famous Beatles song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and provided a sense of hope and comfort during a difficult time. The song is a reminder to not stress about what you cannot change, but let things be, and there will be a resolution.

“Everybody Hurts” by REM, A Song About Loss

Song Year: 1992

REM’s powerful song “Everybody Hurts” is about dealing with grief and loss at a point when you want to give up. This rock ballad is inspiring, with an encouraging message to hand on, even when things get tough. Tragedy and loss are a part of the human experience, a strong theme in this song. When you feel isolated in your suffering, it’s important to grieve but also to know that you’re not alone.

“My Heart Will Go on” by Celine Dion

Song Year: 1997

Celine Dion’s Titanic theme song is an emotional song about loss and healing, which became a big hit in the late 1990s.

This song blends the experience of sadness after losing someone with a sense of strength and resilience in honoring them and living life to the fullest in their memory. It’s a deeply touching song that resonates with many fans of the Titanic film and anyone who’s lost their partner or spouse.

“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

Song Year: 1992

“Tears in Heaven” is a tribute to Eric Clapton’s son, who passed away very early in life. Will Jennings and Eric Clapton wrote this song, and it is considered one of the saddest songs about losing someone unexpectedly. It’s a profoundly heartfelt tune that’s worth listening to for its raw, authentic emotion.

“The Greatest Man I Never Knew” by Reba McEntire

Song Year: 1992

Reba McEntire’s song is about the complex feelings of losing someone you love, who is stoic and not old-fashioned. She sings about a father who worked hard and spent little time at home, rarely expressing his emotions, even though there was genuine love.

“The Greatest Man I Never Knew” is a song about regret and mourning, wanting more love and time with someone who didn’t share a lot during their life. Growing apart is a tragedy in itself, and a common theme is songs about grief and sadness.

“Hurt” by Christina Aguilera

Song Year: 2006

Christina Aguilera’s song “Hurt” is about losing her father and how she didn’t forgive him for his mistakes before he passed away. She felt emotional pain from growing apart, and there was a lot of blame and distance between them. While she longs for reconnection, there’s sadness because it's too late. This is a song that many people can relate to, especially if they are estranged from family or someone who was once close to them.

“A Long December” by Counting Crows

Song Year: 1996

There is often a specific time of year or occasion where thoughts and feelings about a lost loved one resurface. An anniversary or special event reminiscent of someone dear can be a painful experience and one that songwriters often include in songs about grief. “A Long December” recounts losing someone injured in a car accident and remaining with her in the hospital during the last days of her life.

The song describes the feelings of sadness and grief from holding out hope as the days and weeks of the month blur into a long, aching month. There’s a bit of hope in this Counting Crows song that healing will bring happier years in the future.

“Angel” by Sarah McLachlan

Song Year: 1999

“Angel” is a heart-breaking song about finding a sense of hope during a dark time of loss. This song offers comfort and longing for a sense of peace during sorrow. Sarah McLachlan’s songs are often intensely emotional and thought-provoking, and this song will tug at your heartstrings.

“I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

Song Year: 2006

This song expresses a strong bond with a close friend or lover, pledging to stay with them until the end of life. It’s not entirely about loss, but rather touching and an emotional ballad about following someone through the darkest times in life without leaving them alone.

“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler

Song Year: 1988

Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” was a top hit featured on the Beaches film soundtrack. The film, and the song, are about the unwavering strength and support we receive from a good friend and how much their loss impacts us when they’re gone. The song is tragic but offers a sense of gaining strength and comfort from having someone valuable in our lives, even after they are gone.

“Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails and Johnny Cash

Song Year: 2002

Originally written and performed by Nine Inch Nails, “Hurt” was also beautifully covered by Johnny Cash, a song about facing mortality and loneliness. While both versions of this song are impactful, Johnny Cash’s rendition offers a more emotional pull and reaction.

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

Song Year: 1995

This emotional ballad is beautifully sung and evokes strong emotions when saying goodbye to someone as they pass away. It’s a song about making peace with loss and finding the strength to continue through life, even after we face death.

“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor

Song Year: 1970

James Taylor wrote this song in 1970 following the loss of a close friend. While his family kept this tragedy a secret from James, he decided to address his mixed emotions and sadness in the song. He expresses the complex feelings of facing a tragic loss kept secret and the hurt and betrayal from this experience.

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

Song Year: 1987

This popular Cutting Crew song doesn’t deal with facing death or loss in this way, but rather, the regrets we have when we hurt someone. In this song, “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight,” the singer recounts feeling bad when he has an affair with someone other than his partner on New Year’s Eve. He feels the heaviness of this mistake and a fear of losing his partner because of his actions.

“Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day

Song Year: 2004

Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” is an emotional song about the lead singer’s father, who passes away when he is just ten years old. As a result, he locks himself in his room and tells him, mother to only wake him once September is over. The song is touching and deals with isolation and depression that takes over during the grieving process.

”My Immortal” by Evanescence

Song Year: 2003

Amy Lee’s voice is an emotional experience, and she sings this incredible song about the loss of someone through death. While the song doesn’t specify an individual who passed away, it’s a powerful ballad that captures your heart.

“If I Have to Go” by Tom Waits

Song Year: 2006

This song is a metaphor for loss in various forms, whether you’re going through a heart-breaking split, the death of someone you love, or another sense of loss or grieving.

It’s a short, thoughtful song, where Tom Waits asks his lover about her commitment and faithfulness. You can either listen to this song literally as the lyric suggests or as a metaphor for impending loss or grief.

“Adam’s Song” by Blink 182

Song Year: 1999

One of Blink 182’s most famous songs, “Adam’s Song,” heavily features challenges many people face, including loneliness and depression. The songwriter, Mark Hoppus, wrote the song about his personal feelings of isolation and sadness while he was single, in such a way that anyone can relate to him. It’s a powerful and thoughtful song and is considered one of the band's more “serious” tunes.

“Gone Away” by Offspring

“Gone Away” by Offspring

Song Year: 1997

This heartfelt ballad, “Gone Away,” was written by Dexter Holland, the band leader, about his girlfriend’s tragic death in a car accident. The sudden and unexpected death of someone special is brutal to process, and grieving can be incredibly hard when there’s no one to relate to, and you feel alone.

“Wish You Were Here” by Incubus

Song Year: 2001

Incubus’ “Wish You Were Here” is a song about the emotional impact of yearning for someone to connect with on a deeper level. It’s not easy to find a person with whom you can connect and share special moments, and loneliness often leaves us feeling sad and unable to reach out to others.

This song can relate to a complex relationship, where communication is complex or misunderstood, or someone is gone, and there’s no further chance of sharing any moments.

“Slipped Away” by Avril Lavigne

Song Year: 2004

Avril Lavigne wrote this song in celebration and memory of her late grandfather. “Slipped Away” is about the difficulty of letting him go and how life will never be the same after he’s gone. It’s a raw, emotional song that expresses the sense of loss and valuable memories left behind.

“Shadow of the Day” by Linkin Park

Song Year: 2007

Linkin Park’s “Shadow of the Day” is a hard-hitting, tragic song about depression and suffering, with the theme of death and loss. It’s a deeply emotional song that touches on the complex subject of mental health and how the feeling of despair can make you feel weak, like you’re fading to dust.

“I Grieve” by Peter Gabriel

Song Year: 2002

“I Grieve” is a song about all aspects of dealing with life, from birth through death. Peter Gabriel uses music as a therapeutic way to deal with emotion and dealing with deep feelings about death. While the song doesn’t deal with a specific loss of someone, it deals with eventually facing loss, which makes the song highly relatable to everyone. This song was featured on the soundtrack for City of Angels.

“Who Knew” by Pink

Song Year: 2006

“Who Knew” is a song about losing someone from a drug overdose, with the sensation of shock and heartache that quickly follows such a tragic loss. Pink expresses how sudden something can strike anytime and how precious memories are from the people we love to leave behind.

“The Brendan Song” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Song Year: 2012

This song was written in the memory of Brendan Mullen, the owner and founder of a punk rock club called The Masque in Los Angeles. He supported the band in the early part of their music career and collaborated with them later on various musical projects. In 2009, Brendan passed away from a stroke while working on a biography about the band. “The Brendan Song” is a tribute to a close friend and business associate of the band.

“Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole

Song Year: 1951

This classic song was initially recorded in 1951 and later covered in a duet with Natalie Cole, where she sings along with her late father. It’s a beautiful jazz song that’s a tribute to someone you’ve lost, and it’s a familiar song requested at funerals. While “Unforgettable” deals with a tragic theme, it provides an upbeat, hopeful feeling throughout the song.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince and Sinead O’Connor

Song Year: 1990

Initially covered by Prince, “Nothing Compares 2 U” became one of the most emotional hits of the early 1990s when Sinead O’Connor covered it. It’s a song that deals with tragedy and love. Sinead sang the song in memory of her mother, who died in 1985 in a car accident. This song resonated with many people at that time, and this song remains a popular song for grieving.

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (1984)

Song Year: 1984

Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of the most covered songs of all time, though the original is often the favorite version of this incredibly emotional song. It’s a legendary song that captivates audiences and fans of Cohen, including new and upcoming singers.

“Broken” by Seether and Amy Lee, A Song About Loss

Song Year: 2004

This raw and emotional song is sung beautifully, which deals with loss and how we all grieve differently, even when we feel the same heartache. Amy Lee is also known for her emotionally charged vocals in Evanescence, which offers songs that deal with sadness and grief.

This song is powerful because each singer’s vocals work in contrast, giving this song such depth and meaning. It’s heart-breaking with a glimmer of hope, in that during loss, there is a chance of finding peace and love again.

“Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw

Song Year: 1994

This beautiful song by Tim McGraw is about losing someone you love and how we sometimes wish we could trade places not to feel the pain and heartache of losing them. “Don’t Take the Girl” can help you cope with emotional loss and keep that particular person in your heart while healing.

“A Woman’s Work” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1988

Kate Bush’s emotional song is about loss and struggling with the unexpected complications of childbirth. It’s a powerful and moving song about feeling helpless during a time when the outcome is uncertain.

Best Songs About Grief, Final Thoughts

Everyone will deal with loss in their unique way and at a pace that is best for them. The soothing sounds of a ballad or tribute to a close friend or family member can calm that sense of loss and provide a sense of comfort and solace. As you go through these rough times, we hope these songs about grief can help get you through.

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