21 Best Songs About Grieving

TRIGGER WARNING: This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about grief, grieving and death which may be upsetting to some people. 
If you are grieving please consider visiting Mental Health America (Bereavement and Grief) or calling them on (703) 684-7722I for help.

Grief is a natural response to loss, and everyone experiences it in their own way. While there is no right or wrong way to grieve, listening to certain songs can help one to express their feelings and cope with their loss. Here are 21 of the best songs on grieving:

“Hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen

This song is about finding hope and beauty in the midst of darkness and despair. It’s a perfect song for those who are grieving and feeling lost. It tells the story of a person who has faced great tragedy but has found hope in the face of it all.

Furthermore, it encourages those going through a hard time to acknowledge their situation, but not become defined by it.

This song is a great first step in the grieving process because it’s so powerful and inspiring. You can begin letting go of your sorrow as you experience the beauty in Cohen’s lyrics.


“I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston

Written first by Dolly Parton in 1974 and made popular by Houston in 1992 for The Bodyguard, it was originally about a professional relationship coming to an end. Houston though angled it more towards a romantic one of course for the blockbuster movie.

No matter the relationship, the lyrics of “I Will Always Love You” speaks to the grief of a relationship that is coming to an end albeit with a love that is still very much present.

It’s a song that can help one accept their loved one is gone, but know they will always have a place in their hearts.


“Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus

Cyrus here sings about being destroyed by love and rebuilding oneself. It’s a powerful and emotional tune that many people can relate to.

Cyrus’s haunting voice and the lyrics of this song capture the raw emotions many people feel after a break-up.

“Wrecking Ball” is for those who have been hurt by love and the destruction of a relationship. The song will really speak to those who are grieving a relationship and for those who are struggling to pick themselves up after a break-up or losing someone they love.


“Fix You” – Coldplay

This song is about “fixing” one you love – namely lead singer Chris Martin’s wife at the time, Gweneth Paltrow. The song was written after meeting Paltrow who’s father, Bruce Paltrow, had recently died.

It’s an incredibly soft song compared to the rest on the album X&Y but one of Martin’s favourites on the LP mainly because it was one that lifted their relationship in the time Paltrow was mourning.

This tune could serve as a great comfort to others who are grieving – both slow and beautiful – making it perfect for those who are sad and need some time to heal.


“Best Day of My Life” – American Authors

A beautiful song about having a perfect day, no matter what may happen. It’s a great pick-me-up for those who are feeling down and feel like happiness is difficult to find. The lyrics capture the essence of pure joy that we all feel it at one time or another.

The album also makes it a great gift for anyone feeling down. The song itself is perfect for people who are struggling with loss or sadness – serving as a reminder that circumstances are not always bad, and there is still some good to be experienced in the world.

For those who may be mourning it is a reminder to take time out of their day and cherish what they have since everything is transient.


“My Heart Will Go On” – Celine Dion

This song is about never forgetting the person you loved, no matter what happens – a beautiful tune about holding on to feelings of love even when the person you love is gone.

Celine Dion’s voice is absolutely incredible here as one might guess – and will always, without fail, give you chills.

This song is one for people who are mourning and hanging on tightly to memories of their loved ones. It may help one accept that their loved one is gone, but they will always have a place in their hearts.


“Hurt” – Johnny Cash

This song is about being destroyed by love and then rebuilding oneself. It’s both powerful and emotional that many people can relate to. Cash’s haunting voice and the lyrics embody the way many people feel after a break-up.

“Hurt” is perfect for people who are in pain due to a lover, but refuse to let go of their feelings. It’s a great reminder that although one may be feeling like a wreck, it will be okay in time.

It is another great tune for people who are struggling to pick themselves up after a break-up or losing someone they love.


“One More Day” – Diamond Rio

“One More Day” is about deciding to give it another try. The lyrics remind mourners that no matter how bad things may be one can always begin again. Furthermore, Diamond Rio’s voice is perfect for the slow melody of the song.

The magic of love and what it means to be in love shine through here.

This song is perfect for people who are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel – serving as a a reminder that everything will be alright in the end regardless of their current situation.

The tune may help one find hope in the midst of sorrow. It is also perfect for people who are feeling lost and alone after a tragedy – offering reassurance that they will make it through this tough time, and that things will get better eventually.


“See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa’s song waxes lyrical about the power of friendship and how it can last forever. The words are beautiful and remind us we will always have our friends by our side no matter what. The melody accompanying is both calming and relaxing.

This song is perfect for people who have lost a friend or family member. It is a reminder that even though they are gone they will never be forgotten.

Furthermore, it’s a tune perfect for those who are feeling lonely and need to be reminded of good times with their loved ones.


“Fire & Rain” – James Taylor

This tune captures the the pain of loss and how some can feel as though they are all alone in the world. The lyrics are incredibly sad but also beautiful.

James Taylor’s voice is perfect for the song and feelings of tragedy really do show through.

This song is perfect for people who are struggling to cope with loss, reminding them they are not alone in their pain because others have experienced the same. It can be comforting for mourners to know they are not the only ones with dark feelings.


“Man of the Hour” – Pearl Jam

Written by Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s “Man of the Hour” plays during the end credits of the 2013 Tim Burton film Big Fish

The film is about the relationship between a father and son. As his father is dying, the son remembers all the tall tales he was told about his dad’s life and thinks he never knew his father at all. In the end, he learns he knew his father better than he thought. 

“Man of the Hour” is a song about grieving that takes the grief of losing a father, turning it into a tribute. It is a song about how complicated parent-child relationships can mend. 


“The Circle Game” – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell wrote “The Circle Game” from the 1970 album Ladies of the Canyon as a reaction to Neil Young’s “Sugar Mountain.” Feeling Young’s song to have a dour outlook on aging, Mitchell wrote one with a little more hope. 

“The Circle Game” uses the metaphor of a carousel to talk about the cycle of life. We’re always moving forward, and while we can’t go back, as long as we’re on the ride, we’re still moving forward. We change, but there is always hope. This song is about grief with the message that even with a loss, even when it’s bittersweet, there is still much to look forward to. 


“Shine On You Crazy Diamond” – Pink Floyd

In 1968, Pink Floyd kicked Syd Barrett out of the band. His addiction and mental illness were affecting his relationship with the band members and his ability to get on stage and play.

Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” released as part of the 1975 album Wish You Were Here, was written by David Gilmour, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright as a tribute to Barrett. 

Even though Barrett was still alive, he was clearly not doing well. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is an epic nine-part song full of grief, sadness, and love. The song roots for Barrett as it mourns him. 


“And i’d go a thousand miles” – Montell Fish

Montell Fish has been making waves with songs about grief. 2022 brought his album JAMIE, an album entirely about loss. 

The low-fi R&B “and i’d go a thousand miles” is, on the surface, a sweet song about wanting to reconnect with a lost love. However, it goes much deeper than that and is an intensely haunting song about not wanting to let go and about the love not letting you go, even when the person has left or has passed. 

This song echoes the most profound emotions of a grieving person and can be cathartic to listen to when you need to feel like you’re not alone.


“Supermarket Flowers” – Ed Sheeran

Often musicians use their songwriting to express their real-life grief. Ed Sheeran wrote “Supermarket Flowers” from his mother’s perspective when his grandmother died. His grandfather encouraged him to put it on his album, Divide

“Supermarket Flowers” is a raw song about the grief of a newly lost parent. 


“Do You Realize??” – The Flaming Lips

With “Do You Realize??” the Flaming Lips, a band most known for their surreal and absurdist sensibilities, wrote song lyrics about grief and love so well that it is frequently played at weddings and funerals. 

Not telling someone how you feel before they’re gone is a common source of guilt while grieving. The overwhelming message of “Do You Realize??” is that life is fleeting, and you should appreciate what you have and let people know how much you love them and that you see their beauty.


“Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” deals with the grief one feels while facing an illness or the idea of their own death. The inspiring message of this song is to live life as fully as you can and leave with as few regrets as possible. 

It is still a sad song that asks the listener if you’re going to die anyway, why let fear keep holding you back? 


“I Don’t Want to Get Over You” – The Magnetic Fields

First released on The Magnetic Fields’ triple album 69 Love Songs, “I Don’t Want to Get Over You” is a song about the grief of the end of a relationship. 

With Stephin Merritt’s low and thick voice, he sings a song about not wanting to get over a relationship. He sings about all the things that might help him get through it, but he’s not interested in any of them. 

Because if you can easily get over the loss of loving someone, how much could you have really loved them? Loss is sometimes a part of love, and it is ok not to want to get over someone right away. 


“Tears in Heaven” – Eric Clapton

When Eric Clapton lost his four-year-old son to a tragic accident, he wrote “Tears in Heaven,” but it was so personal he wasn’t sure he wanted it to be released. The director of the movie he wrote it for, Rush, convinced him that the song might help other people. 

Performing the song helped Clapton through the loss and grieving, but it was an extremely dark time in his life, and he no longer plays it live. 


“American Pie” – Don McLean

While most songs about grieving are about personal grief, Don McLean’s “American Pie” is slightly different. Don McLean’s song was inspired by the plane crash on February 3, 1959, that killed Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens.

While the song does touch on the personal grief the narrator felt, “American Pie” is a lyrically epic song that captures a slice of American history. The song does not just grieve the loss of Buddy Holly and the others but the loss of innocence as music, society, and politics became darker and more fraught. 

“American Pie” is a song about cultural grieving. It has been a hugely successful song. It was number one in the US for four weeks in 1972 and continues to appear on film and screen. 


“Let It Be” – The Beatles

“Let It Be” by The Beatles was written by Paul McCartney. One night while he had been going through a rough time, Paul dreamed of his late mother, Mary, speaking to him, offering advice to help him through, which was the impetus for the song. 

This iconic number was on The Beatles’ final album of the same name. It was a rough time for members of the band themselves. 

“Let it Be” is a hopeful song because it is a song about acceptance, about letting go of control. It’s ok. Time will move forward. Things will get better. It’s ok. 

Writer

Born and raised in Austin, David is a dedicated writer and avid fragrance lover. When he's not trying out perfumes, he enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants.

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