Music pulls on our heart strings in ways speech doesn’t. It makes us cry, it makes us feel understood, it finds ways to communicate things we often struggle to say out loud. It’s magical; and when it comes to grief and sadness, it’s no different.
So here’s a list of our 15 favourite songs about death and grief. Because sometimes you just need a ballad and a big box of tissues, right?
1. In The Arms of An Angel | Sarah McLachlan
A classic. A tear-jerker.
2. My Heart Will Go On | Celine Dion
3. Tears In Heaven | Eric Clapton
You might not recognise the title of this song, but once you hear it, you’ll absolutely know it (and likely want to sing along with it). Eric wrote this song after this four-year-old son passed away. He used the song-writing process as a way to deal with and process his loss.
4. Who Knew | P!nk
A powerful song about P!nk’s friend who died from a drug overdose. This one is slightly more upbeat than the others – it calls for angry dancing in your bedroom, we think.
5. Beloved | Mumford & Sons
The experience of losing a loved one, put beautifully into lyrics and music (because we’d expect nothing less from Mumford, would we?).
6. If I Die Young | The Band Perry
7. Remember Me | Coco (Pixar)
Want our recommendations for movie scenes about heaven (for kids)? Click here.
8. Gone Away | The Offspring
This song is about the singer’s close call with death when he and his wife were ordering ice creams in Baskin-Robbins. A gang opened fire in the ice cream parlour. Nobody was killed, but he was understandably shaken after the experience.
9. Slipped Away | Avril Lavigne
A song about Avril’s grandfather’s passing. She sings about the world no longer being the same now that he’s gone.
10. Supermarket Flowers | Ed Sheeran
Even if you haven’t lost your grandmother, this song is bound to prompt those tears. Ed sings about his grandmother and the positive impact she had on his life.
11. Wake Me Up When September Ends | Green Day
This song was written by the lead singer of Green Day whose father passed away from cancer when he was just a boy. The singer locked himself in his room and asked his mother to wake him up when September ended; the month his dad had died.
12. Hurt | Christina Aguilera
Written after Christina’s father died. She didn’t have a great relationship while he was around, but after his death she realised he did love her after all.
13. Gone Too Soon | Michael Jackson
When Michael was at school, his friend was kicked out because he had AIDS. He wrote this song to his friend, and then when Michael passed away the song was sung to remember him and Princess Diana, too.
14. Heaven | Beyonce
All about closure and knowing that the deceased had a wonderful life.
15. My Immortal | Evanescence
While the lead singer of Evanescence hadn’t recently lost anyone when she wrote this song, she wrote ‘My Immortal’ about grieving someone you love.
Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube are filled with every grief-related song that’s ever been written. If you’re looking for a song to add to your funeral playlist (which can be noted down in your Funeral Wishes), we’ve put another guide together with the 10 Most-Played Funeral Songs.
And if you haven’t yet written a Will, you can write one online today.