One of the many wondrous things about music is that it takes on the entire range of human emotion. From joy to sorrow, the words a musician expresses can help lift a heart in happiness or help the grief stricken heal. Musical tales of love, loss and grief are a familiar theme. Break out the tissues, because this list of haunting songs about death will most likely bring many a tear to your eye should you choose to listen to any-or all-of them. They may also serve as therapy if you are coping with a loss.
“Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks. Jacks sings a farewell to 3 loved ones in this popular 70’s song. This tearjerker includes the timeless lyric, “Goodbye Michelle, It’s hard to die When all the birds are singing in the sky. Now that the spring is in the air with the flowers everywhere, I wish that we could both be there”. Saying goodbye was never so sad yet so sweet.
“The Dance” by Garth Brooks. This sad country song never mentions death specifically, yet it speaks of the pain that comes from remembering those lost. It captures that grief in the lyric “Yes my life, it’s better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
“Candle in the Wind” by Elton John. This song was originally written in honor of Marilyn Monroe but was rewritten and re-released after the death of John’s dear friend Princess Diana. Both women were struck down well before they should have been and the song’s chorus “You seemed to live your life like a candle in the wind, never knowing who to cling to when the rain set in” rings true for each.
“Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine. Teddy Bear is a little boy whose father was a truck driver who died while on the road. One day, he gets on his father’s CB and begins talking with a trucker. He asks for the boy’s address and stops to visit. When he gets there, all of the truckers who had been listening arrive as well. This lyric will melt the frostiest heart “We wish each and every one of a special prayer for you cause you just made my little boy’s dream come true. I’ll sign off now before I start to cry. May God rise with you, 10-4, and goodbye.”
“I’ll Be There” by Escape Club. This often overlooked song was eclipsed by the Escape Club’s smash hit “Wild, Wild West”. Rumor has it this song was greatly influenced by the movie “Ghost”. This haunting song is a reminder that our loved ones may be gotten but they are certainly here in spirit. The lyric “Don’t be afraid, oh my love. I’ll be watching you from above. And I’d give all the world tonight to be with you. Because I’m on your side and I still care I may have died, but I’ve gone nowhere. Just think of me and I’ll be there” says it all.
“Don’t Take The Girl” by Tim McGraw. This song tells the tale of Johnny and his “girl” from childhood into their adult years. The following lyric is heart wrenching, “Doctor says the baby’s fine, but you’ll have to leave cause his momma’s fading fast. And Johnny hit his knees and there he prayed. Make this my last request,take me out of this world. God, please don’t take the girl.”
“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. This song was written by Clapton after the accidental death of his son, Conor in 1991. You can hear his pain and anguish as he sings “Would you know my name if I saw you in Heaven?”.
“Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson. This song is about teenagers Tommy and Laura, who are madly in love. Tommy wants nothing more than to get married and enters a race, hoping to win the money for a wedding ring. His dreams end tragically when his car flips over in flames and he dies. “Tell Laura I love her. Tell Laura I need her. Tell Laura not to cry, my love for her will never die” are his final words.
“Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt. According to the Bereavement Register, this song is the most requested song for funerals. Ironically, this song is about the end of a relationship, not a death. The lyric “You touched my heart you touched my soul. You changed my life and all my goals.” reaches into that part of us that resonates with the pain of loss.
“Gravedigger” by Willie Nelson. Many believe that when you die, everything ceases to be. This song offers a different perspective as one last request is made. “Gravedigger, when you dig my grave could you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain?”