the moment my life was set
That day that I lost you
It's clear as the day we met
How could I ever forget?"
Someone died (or is otherwise gone away), we're very sad, and we're singing about it with a lamenting, slow ballad. Often a Tear Jerker.
Sister Trope to Break-Up Song, Death Song, and In Memoriam. Super-Trope to Celebrity Elegy. May become a Revenge Ballad. Really tragic losses could induce a BSoD Song. Compare Songs of Solace, when characters use music to console themselves In-Universe. Often an example of Album Closure.
See also Really Dead Montage.
Songs about Death:
- "Prologue" from Kotoura-san which plays during the Downer Beginning.
- "Can You Hear Me", an insert song for Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart., is a grief song from the perspective of the younger version of the male lead Haruki as he grows up missing his dead older brother Chiaki. The song ends when he mentions that he finally has people to lean on and people to love in Chiaki's absence, and asks him to watch over him in the afterlife.
- In the Total Drama story, Legacy, Trent writes a song in tribute to his late girlfriend and first love. In the following years, he sings it at most of his gigs, usually as the closing number.
- In Faded Blue, "Sky Blue Goddess (dark reprise)" in chapter 23 is a variation of a song he wrote where Greg mourns the Blue Diamond he knew, after finding out that she had kept Pearl as a slave, among other things she had done as part of the Diamond Authority.
- Julia Ecklar's filk song "One Final Lesson" is meant to be Saavik singing to Spock after he has died in Wrath of Khan. The song explores the various different things she feels at his death; the obvious grief and hurt, as well as anger and frustration that it was Spock who died, rather than someone she wouldn't care about. At the end of the song, she apologizes for showing her feelings openly and having cried when he died, just as the other, human, characters did.
- Tangled: Rapunzel sings a Dark Reprise of the Healing Incantation as Eugene dies in her arms. And then it turns out this can bring him back from the dead, even after she had lost her magical hair.
Please, I know you're in there./ People are asking where you've been.They say "have courage", and I'm trying to./ I'm right out here for you, just let me in.We only have each other. It's just you and me./ What are we going to do?
- Frozen: The first two-thirds of the song "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", are a downplayed version, a grief song about an unexplained separation. The tune is fairly fun and upbeat, although the lyrics are sad. The last verse, however, is about Anna mourning the death of her parents and desperately trying to reach out to her sister, her only remaining family, one last time.
Can there be a day beyond this night?
- In Frozen II, Anna sings the absolutely heartbreaking "The Next Right Thing" after Olaf dies in her arms and Elsa freezes solid.
I don't know anymore what is true
I can't find my direction, I'm all alone
The only star that guided me was you
How to rise from the floor
When it's not you I'm rising for?
- "Bright Eyes", written by Mike Batt and performed by Art Garfunkel, from Watership Down. It plays after Fiver's brother Hazel is shot. While the song itself plays this straight, Hazel survives his injury.
- "The Prayer", the pop and classical crossover standard that originated as a Breakaway Pop Hit from Quest for Camelot, can be this depending on which context it's used in.
- "If Only Tears Could Bring You Back", by Midnight Sons, from Pokémon: The First Movie plays when Pikachu cries because Ash has been turned to granite.
If only tears could bring you back to meIf only love could find a wayWhat I would do, what I would give if you returned to meSome day, somehow, somewayIf only tears could bring you back to me
- A very subtle example at the end of Coco: Miguel may have written the last song, "Proud Corazón", as a tribute to his late Mamá Coco.
- The song "Remember Me This Way" by Jordan Hill was featured in the movie Casper.
- The Lord of the Rings
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, Elves sing a tearjerking lament for Gandalf.
- In The Two Towers, Éowyn's song at her cousin's funeral is a heartbreaker, particularly when one deciphers the Anglo-Saxon.
- In The Return of the King, there is Pippin's song as Faramir's Knights of Minas Tirith charge Osgiliath.
- "I'll Remember (Theme from With Honors)" was written and performed by Madonna for the soundtrack to that movie, which ends soon after the death of a major character.
- In Mary Poppins Returns, Michael Banks sings the heartbreaking song "A Conversation" to his dead wife.
- Faith Hill's "There You'll Be", from Pearl Harbor. The Speedy Techno Remake featured in the Dance Dance Revolution series, however, has much less emotional impact.
- In the film Rhinestone a singer sings a song about the death of his girlfriend and is horrified when the audience starts laughing.
- In A Song Is Born, one of the professors remembers his departed wife with the song "Genevieve". The other professors join in and it becomes a bonding song.
- Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead" from Super Fly.
- "My Heart Will Go On", performed by Céline Dion, from the film Titanic (1997).
- A lot of hinayukki's songs deals with death. "Chiri yuku mono" (Scattering Things) in particular focuses on the bereavement and grief of losing a loved one, while other songs tend to focus on the beauty of reminiscing the memory shared with that lost one.
- In Zack Snyder's Justice League, an Icelandic woman (Salóme Gunnarsdóttir), followed by other women from her village, starts singing the Icelandic lullaby "Vísur Vatnsenda-Rósu", when Arthur Curry/Aquaman leaves the village for the sea. It implies there was something going between Aquaman and her.
- Death of a Pop-Idol has Johnny singing one of these However, although the song seems a straight version, from his perspective, it's also a subversion, as the person he's singing about is still alive and well..
- Egil's Saga: After dropping his initial plan to starve himself to death, Egil expresses his grief about the death of his son Bodvar in the poem "Sonatorrek" (Loss of Sons).
- J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings:
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, the elves of Lothlórien sing a lay for Gandalf, whom they thought was dead.
- In The Two Towers, Aragorn and Legolas sing an emotional lament for Boromir.
- Dante's Vita Nuova includes a three-part canzone written immediately after the death of a woman who made the saints in Heaven envious of Earth for having her. It is largely about Dante running out of tears, suffocating from sighing, and becoming hideous to people after taking the toil of grief.
- In Skippy Dies, the song "3 Wishes" by the story's fictional teen pop star Bethani fulfills multiple roles. Early on, when only a few lines are revealed, it seems like a Silly Love Song that serves as a refrain for Skippy's hopeless love for Lori, but after his death all the lyrics are revealed, showing it's actually a sad song about not having your beloved beside you. When Skippy's friends perform the song at the book's Concert Climax, they express their grief and desire to have him return to them.
“I wish you were beside me, just so I could let you know...I wish you were beside me, I would never let you go...”
- Parks and Recreation featured an Affectionate Parody song, "5,000 Candles in the Wind," for the recently deceased pony and Pawnee's greatest celebrity, Li'l Sebastian.
- The Magicians (2016): After Quentin's death the remaining main characters sing a Softer and Slower Cover of a-ha's "Take On Me" around a campfire. Their singing is interspersed with flashbacks of specific moments with him, and they throw said mementos into the fire as a Due to the Dead.
- "When The River Meets The Sea" from Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas .
- Warren Zevon's song "Keep Me In Your Heart" has been used at least twice as Grief Song. Once in Californication and again in House.
- Adam Sandler's song for Chris Farley, first performed during his Netflix special 100% Fresh, but more famously on his host episode of Saturday Night Live.
- Aesop Rock's "Vititus" is about his grandmother and memories of his upbringing with her, but it switches its tone in the last verse:
'07, Ma called me in London
Tone that could only mean one thing
Your grandmother something, something
Who the fuck's supposed to make the dumplings?note
- The entirety of You The Living's "XXXI" album is about the singer coming to terms with his illness and imminent death.
- The first track is called "Grief", then the theme continues to the last tracks, "Sleeper" and "Outro", which detail his suicide by throwing himself in front of a train. "Outro" is just the sound of The Caledonian Sleeper slowing down.
- The trilogy of "XXXI", "Poly" and "Rituals" is about him meeting, falling in love with, and marrying his wife, feeling guilty about becoming sick and dependent on her, and saying goodbye and beckoning her to move on.
- You The Living are still active, with a sick but alive frontman.
- "The Other Side", by Richard Marx is a tribute to his late father.
- The entire "What To Do When You Are Dead" album by Armor For Sleep. The album is a concept album that lyrically explores the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). The trope is inverted, due to the story being told from the point of view of a deceased narrator grieving over his separation from a still living loved one.
- X Japan:
- "Tears", which was written in memory of Yoshiki's late father and is Yoshiki's coping with his suicide. This song was later dedicated to be to late guitarist hide as well.
- A Grief Song trilogy of "Without You," "I.V.," and "Jade," which are three songs that compose a dialogue between Yoshiki and hide, and Yoshiki coming to terms with the loss of his beloved friend.
- "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton was dedicated to his son Conor, and later Princess Diana.
- "Amor Eterno" ("Eternal Love"), composed by Juan Gabriel, and one of Rocío Dúrcal signature songs. It's about the composer's pain over the death of his mother. Rocío Dúrcal usually cries when singing it. Have a handkerchief ready. The song is sometimes sung in funerals. The lyrics are slightly changed: "El más triste recuerdo de Acapulco" ("the saddest memories from Acapulco") is changed to "el más triste recuerdo de este mundo"("the saddest memories from this world").
- Elton John has performed several of these:
- "Candle in the Wind" from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road about Marilyn Monroe. A version with revised lyrics, titled "Candle in the Wind 1997", was about Lady Diana Spencer.
- "Song For Guy" was inspired by the death of Guy Burchett, a messenger boy for Rocket Records (Elton John's record label) who died after being hit by a car.
- "Empty Garden" was about the death of John Lennon.
- The German song Ich hatt' einen Kameraden (I Had a Comrade)]] is traditionally sung at memorial services and military/police/fire brigade funerals in the German-speaking world, causing many Manly Tears.
- "Let It Be" and "Julia" by The Beatles, about Paul and John's mothers respectively.
- "Hate Me" by Blue October is a unique take on this, as it is about lead singer Justin Furstenfeld's immense regrets following the death of his mother while he battled addiction and the feeling that he took her for granted while she was alive.
- "I Drive Your Truck" by Lee Brice was written about a soldier's brother coping with his death by driving his truck.
- Gruesomely parodied by Tom Lehrer in "I Hold Your Hand in Mine", on the album Songs by Tom Lehrer.
- "Night Shift" by The Commodores and "Missing You" by Diana Ross were both responses to the murder of Marvin Gaye. The former also doubles as a tribute to R&B legend Jackie Wilson, who died in 1984 after nine years in a coma caused by a massive heart attack.
- "Scarecrow" by Melissa Etheridge, written about the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. It was named for the fact the man who found him tied to the fence thought he was a scarecrow at first.
- "Prayer for the Dying" by Lisa Hannigan was written about the death of a friend’s mother. "What’ll I Do" can also be interpreted as either this or a Break-Up Song.
- "All Those Years Ago" by George Harrison and "Here Today" by Paul McCartney are both about the death of John Lennon, as are "Empty Garden" by Elton John (mentioned above), "Kid About It" by Elvis Costello, "Life is Real (Song for Lennon)" by Queen and Stevie Nicks' "The Edge of Seventeen".
- Don McLean:
- "American Pie" from the same-named album; the refrain mentions "the day the music died"; Word of God from McLean is that the "February made me shiver/with every paper I'd deliver" line is about the plane crash when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed. The entire song is also a eulogy for the musical scene of the '50s and '60s and the cultures surrounding it, and is grieving for more reasons than just Buddy Holly's death. It provides a focal point, though.
- Another Don McLean song, "Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)", also from American Pie, is a song mourning the tragic life of painter Vincent van Gogh. The subtitle references his famous The Starry Night, which he produced while in the middle of a mental breakdown.
- "Three Stars" by Tommy Dee also pays tribute to Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper, albeit much less subtly than "American Pie." Each verse is a spoken-word tribute to one of the victims of the plane crash. The song was a hit in 1959 shortly after the tragedy.
- Country singer Lorrie Morgan had a minor hit with "If You Come Back from Heaven," a song dedicated to her late husband, singer-songwriter Keith Whitley, who died of alcohol poisoning in 1989.
- Country singer Ronnie McDowell had a million-selling single in 1977 with "The King Is Gone," written in response to the death of Elvis Presley. He even adds a touching, spoken-word "Goodbye Elvis, we'll miss you" at the end of the track.
- In addition to the aforementioned "My Heart Will Go On," Céline Dion's song "Vole" (also recorded in English as "Fly") is a tribute to her late niece Karine, who died of cystic fibrosis in 1993. As a result, Dion has been active in cystic fibrosis charities for most of her career.
- The 1963 song "In the Summer of His Years" was a tribute to assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The song was introduced on the BBC television series That Was the Week That Was by singer Millicent Martin and subsequently became a moderate U.S. hit for Connie Francis, although it was banned by several radio stations who felt it in poor taste.
- JFK is also referenced in Dion's 1968 hit "Abraham, Martin and John," along with fellow assassination victims Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and JFK's brother Robert F. Kennedy. The song was also a minor hit for singer/comedienne Moms Mabley a year later.
- John Denver's song "Flying for Me" pays tribute to the victims of the 1986 Challenger shuttle explosion, with one chorus specifically dedicated to one of the victims, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first civilian in space.
- "In the Backseat" by Arcade Fire, written about the death of Regine Chassagne's mother in a car crash. The lyrics also serve as a metaphor for growing up and having to take responsibility, for added Tearjerking effect.
- "Goodbye Friend" by Bowling for Soup, about a suicide and the singer's guilt ("maybe I could have changed things").
- "Slipped Away" by Avril Lavigne, which she wrote about her grandfather's death.
- "He Was A Friend Of Mine", a traditional folk song that has been covered by many performers. The version by Willie Nelson played during the credits of Brokeback Mountain.
- "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro. The singer is grieving the death of his wife.
- "Darkness" is a depressive ballad dedicated to David Draiman's late grandfather.
- "Inside the Fire" is about the singer's girlfriend who committed suicide.
- "Save Our Last Goodbye" from their album Immortalized is dedicated to Bob Sanders, a close friend of the band, who died of pancreatic cancer. It includes a voicemail from him at the beginning, talking about chemo and hoping for good news.
The shadows of your loss
Are tearing me apart
My world is shattered, in disarray
I'm beaten down, drained emotionally
They say in time the pain goes away
But in my soul it will forever stay
- "Already Gone" is about losing too many loved ones, wishing you had more time, and wondering if you will get to see them in the afterlife.
- "All My Love" by Led Zeppelin, written in memory of Robert Plant's son Karac (who died of an illness).
- "When The Tigers Broke Free" by Pink Floyd is about the death of Roger Waters' father in World War II during the Operation Shingle at Anzio, Italy. Likewise, the main character on The Wall also lost his father the same way (albeit the song is not actually featured in the album itself, but was later released in the album The Final Cut).
- "Mother" from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon is about his late mother Julia, who was fatally hit by a car being driven by Eric Clague, an off-duty cop, when he was 17.
- "Gone Too Soon" from Dangerous by Michael Jackson was originally about his friend Ryan White, who died of AIDS at age 19. More recently, it has also been attributed to Jackson's own death.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers:
- The appropriately named "Tearjerker", about Kurt Cobain, from the album One Hot Minute.
- Also "Transcending", on the same album, about River Phoenix.
- "Dani California" is about the death of the title character, off of Stadium Arcadium.
- "Death of a Martian" is about bassist Flea's dog Martian, and the B-side "Joe" is about The Clash's Joe Strummer.
- "My Lovely Man", off Blood Sugar Sex Magik, was written in tribute to Chili Peppers' guitarist Hillel Slovak, who fatally overdosed on heroin in 1988.
- "Venice Queen", off By the Way, a tribute to Anthony Kiedis's drug rehabilitation counselor Gloria Scott who died from cancer.
- "Brendan's Death Song", off I'm With You, for Brendan Mullen, an old friend of the band's and one of their earliest supporters.
- "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa, as featured on the soundtrack to Furious 7. This particular track was recorded in memory of Paul Walker, and used in the ending send-off from the aforementioned film. Charlie Puth's chorus was inspired by the death of his brother, who like Walker died in a car accident.
- "Biko" by Peter Gabriel, a tribute to anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, killed in police custody.
- Another Gabriel tune, "I Grieve", has been used in many films during a Tear Jerker moment. The album it came from, Up, has a number of these, since at the time, Gabriel had just lost his father, and he was still recovering from the trauma of not being able to contact his daughters when they were in New York City during 9/11 (they were okay, though).
- "Matthew 25:21"note by the Mountain Goats pays tribute to John Darnielle's late mother-in-law.
- "Blood Brothers" by Iron Maiden. Initially the song was not a particularly grievous one on its original release, but during the tour for its album Brave New World it became a grief song due to bassist Steve Harris losing his father.
- Pearl Jam: Riot Act has a few songs mourning the PJ fans who were trampled to death in a Danish festival, most notably "Love Boat Captain" ("lost nine friends we'll never know, two years ago today").
- Jimi Hendrix, "It's Too Bad", about Hendrix's troubled relationship with his half-brother Leon.
- My Chemical Romance produced their Concept Album "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" in honor of Gerard Way's recently deceased grandmother Helena (see the song "Helena"), whom he was close to. A Grief Album, really.
- "Let Me In" was recorded live in the studio after the death of Kurt Cobain.
- "Camera" was about the death of an R.E.M. friend from Athens, Georgia who died in a car crash.
- "To Live is to Die". Somewhat unusual in that it's almost entirely instrumental except for James Hetfield reciting a short piece of poetry composed by the departed subject of the song, fallen Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.
- "The God That Failed", about the death of James' mother.
- "Until It Sleeps" is about his parents' battle with cancer.
- "Eva" by Orgy, on their science fiction Concept Album slash Rock Opera Vapor Transmission. Notably, the album is about real people, and Eva is one of only two individuals named by real name, and the only one whose role was explained: she was the late mother of one of their producers.
- Dream Theater's "Take Away My Pain" (about John Petrucci's deceased father) and "The Best Of Times" (About Mike Portnoy's deceased one). There's also "Disappear", which is unusual because James LaBrie wrote it about a hypothetical death scenario, not a personal experience.
- AC/DC: "Hells Bells", towards their deceased ex-singer Bon Scott. In fact, the entirety of Back in Black was dedicated to him.
- Almafuerte's "En este viaje" was written about Ricardo Iorio's deceased wife.
- Michael Kiske wrote "Always", in his first album Instant Clarity, about Ingo Schwichtenberg, his deceased ex-comrade of Helloween.
- The song "Afterlife" from Gamma Ray's album Land of the Free, written by former Helloween lead guitarist Kai Hansen, is also dedicated to Schwichtenberg.
- "Angel's Son" by Sevendust, dedicated to the lead singer of Snot.
- The Grateful Dead's "Bird Song" was written about Janis Joplin after her death, and "Cassidy" is partly about the death of Neal Cassady (its spelling derives from its also being about the birth of staff member Eileen Law's baby Cassidy). "He's Gone" was originally a trope subversion: a slow dirge about erstwhile manager Lenny Hart, who hadn't died yet; he had merely drained the band's bank accounts and vanished. However, after the death of original keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, the song quickly reverted to a straightforward example of this trope in the minds of fans and the band alike.
- There is also a Grief Song about Jerry Garcia; guitarist Warren Haynes wrote "Patchwork Quilt" in memory of Garcia, and has played the song with The Dead and Phil Lesh & Friends.
- Evanescence's Hello, Like You, and My Immortal. The latter was dedicated to Ben Moody's grandfather, according to the liner notes of Fallen. Also The Other Side, My Heart is Broken, Never Go Back and Even In Death.
- Seryoga, by Andrej Bukas, is a particularly heartbreaking example where the narrator describes watching his friend die after being shot by a sniper. It's based off of a real event in the singer's life.
- Nirvana's "Lithium" from Nevermind qualifies, as Kurt Cobain declared it's about a guy who loses his girlfriend ("I miss you/I'm not gonna crack") and resorts to religion ("Light my candles\In a daze, 'cause I found God").
- "Hear You Me" by Jimmy Eat World. It was written in memory of two young women, Mykel and Carli, who ran Weezer's fan club and were personal friends of the band. They both died in a car wreck. "Hear you me" was more or less their catchphrase.
- "Fred Bear" by Ted Nugent is an unusual example of this. While the song is in remembrance of his deceased hunting partner, the song is more a celebration of hunting.
- "Friend of a Friend" and "Word Forward" by Foo Fighters. The former is the only song by the band confirmed to be about Kurt Cobain, and the latter is about Dave Grohl's childhood friend.
- "Friend" was written and recorded in 1992 whilst Cobain was still alive, it becomes more poignant in the updated version.
- Tori Amos' "Playboy Mommy", which dealt with her grief over her miscarriages.
- The entirety of Neil Young's album Tonights The Night is about two friends who overdosed. One of them, guitarist Danny Whitten, bought his last shot with the severance pay from when Neil fired him. Neil was... shaken up, to say the least, and it shows. Also, some of Sleeps With Angels is about Kurt Cobain, who quoted Neil in his suicide note.
- The song The Needle and the Damage Done is also about Whitten, written while he was still alive (but released after his death) and about how heroin destroyed Whitten as a person.
- More recently, "You Never Call" is about Neil's longtime friend and band member Ben Keith.
- David Crosby's beautiful ballad "Guinnevere" is about his fiancèe Christine Hinton, who died in a freak traffic accident weeks before their wedding. It was written before she died, but sung as a tribute to her afterward. "I Could Swear There Was Somebody Here" is his other song for her.
- In honour of Freddie Mercury, the surviving members of Queen wrote, performed and sang "No One But You (Only the Good Die Young)" for the Greatest Hits III album.
- "Together Again" by Janet Jackson was dedicated to friends of hers who died of AIDS.
- "I'll Be Missing You" by Sean "Diddy" Combs (then Puff Daddy), dedicated to The Notorious B.I.G..
- "Once in a Lifetime" by Wolfsheim, which is about the loss of the singer's wife and unborn child in a hurricane.
- "One Moment More" by Mindy Smith, written after her adoptive mother died.
- Within Temptation has "Our Farewell" and "Forgiven", the latter one being written after a friend of Sharon's lost his child though the song itself is about mourning someone who committed suicide.
- "The Other Side" by Paul van Dyk & Wayne Jackson, a tribute to the victims of the Indonesian tsunami. It has a spiritual sequel in the form of "Stormy Skies", which may be a tribute to Hurricane Katrina's victims.
- "Little June" by Groove Coverage, which is about a family member or friend who was murdered.
- Dave Mustaine wrote 'In My Darkest Hour' after hearing the news of the death of Cliff Burton, his former bandmate at Metallica. The song is not actually about Burton, but Mustaine produced it during the grief from the tragedy.
- The B-52s: "Ain't It A Shame". It was not written as a tribute to their guitarist Ricky Wilson, as he played on it. However, it was released the year after his death, and so became a de facto tribute to him. There's also Cindy Wilson's solo song "Ricky" which IS directly about him.
- Alfred Schnittke's Nagasaki oratorio, which is obviously about the bombing of eponymous city. The first movement is even called "Nagasaki, the city of grief".
- Simple Plan: "Untitled (How Could This Happen to Me?)", written from the point of view of someone who is dying at an accident scene caused by a drunk driver. The video for it (produced in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving) gives the song a Dual-Meaning Chorus, having the song sung from the point of view of the drunk driver.
Where'd you go? You left me here, so unexpectedIn the blink of an eye, I never got to say goodbye
- "Gone Too Soon" is about an unexpected death.
- The Genesis song "Since I Lost You" is about the death of a child (the members specifically wrote it about Eric Clapton's son Conor, mentioned above).
- Genesis member Ray Wilson's "Another Day" is about the suicide of a friend.
- "Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely" by the Backstreet Boys, dedicated to Howie D.'s deceased sister, among other lost loved ones.
- "I Will Never Forget" by Kimya Dawson is a surprisingly angry song about suicide, and is much darker than the tunes most people think of when they hear her name.
- Scorpions' "We'll Burn the Sky" had lyrics by Jimi Hendrix's ex-girlfriend, and is apparently about him.
- "Back on the Chain Gang" was the first Pretenders single after the deaths of two band members, and Chrissie Hynde sounded like she was shaking her fist at God.
- A particularly bitter Vietnam War-era example: "One Last Cold Kiss" by Mountain, about a swan whose mate is killed by hunters.
- The Whitlams:
- "Blow Up The Pokies" is about former band member Andy Lewis' struggle with depression and a gambling addiction before he committed suicide.
- The 'Charlie Trio' of tracks from the 'Eternal Nightcap album' are about the suicide/accidental death of band member Stevie Plunder.
- "The Curse Stops Here" is about Tim Freedman being the 'last one' of the original band members alive, and his determination to survive while the other two had given in to suicidal thoughts.
- "Byron's Song" by Rebekah Ann Curtis is about the titular friend's death from cancer.
- Ryan Dan's song "Tears of an Angel" is a poignant tribute to their four-year-old niece, who died of leukemia while they were recording their 2007 album.
- Skillet has "Lucy" from their 2009 album, which was originally written about an aborted baby.
- Pato Fu's "Canção pra Você Viver Mais" ("song for you to live more"), inspired by a terminal disease of the singer's father.
- Also from Brazil, Barão Vermelho's "O Poeta Está Vivo" ("the poet is alive"), an homage to the band's former singer who died of AIDS.
- La oreja de Van Gogh: "Jueves" is written apropos Madrid's subway bombings. As such, it tells the story of a pair of Star-Crossed Lovers who confess their feelings right before they die. The song's overall message is that of mourning all the lost lives because every single one of them had their own spark and contained their own romantic or epic tale.
- Delta Goodrem:
- A Year Ago Today, about an aunt who passed.
- "Wish You Were Here" about a friend who passed while she was out of the country.
- Several of the songs off the Rush album Vapor Trails could be interpreted this way, such as "Ghost Rider" and "The Stars Look Down". Given that the album was written after the death of Peart's daughter and wife and Peart's lengthy recovery from both, it's difficult to not see every song on the album as a grief song in some light.
- "So Far Away" by Avenged Sevenfold, in honor of their late drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan.
- Nightmare, the album that produced "So Far Away", seems to be an entire album of this. The saddest, and most disturbing, is "Fiction", which was written by The Rev and seems to be about his own death.
- Years earlier, the band's second album Waking the Fallen contained "I Won't See You Tonight, Parts I and II", a suicide ballad inspired by former bassist Justin Sane, who survived a suicide attempt but had to drop out because the medications he was prescribed left him psychologically unfit to tour or record.
- "House Carpenter" by Hurt seems to combine this with Obsession Song.
If you're not breathing, why am I
- Gary Numan wrote "A Prayer for the Unborn" when his wife suffered a miscarriage after finally becoming pregnant via IVF treatment. In his early performances you can hear his voice crack with emotion when he sings it live. No word on whether the sonogram typically projected behind him during this song is the real thing.
- "The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga was written about her grandfather, who was dying, and an intimate moment she saw him share with her grandmother in the hospital. It's not sad, so much as it's about accepting life will always come to an end, but you need to experience life anyways. When she plays the song in a capella, the song shifts to a ballad, and goes become more of a sad grief song.
- "Nur zu Besuch" (translates as "Just Visiting") by the very popular German band Die Toten Hosen. It's about the vocalist's mother and the lyrics describe a visit to her grave. It's very simple and low key, peppered with little ordinary details and mostly avoids Purple Prose and soppiness, and it's all the more effective for it. ("And your garden... It's really doing well. Although you can tell it's missing you very much. And there's still mail arriving, addressed to you in big letters. Even though everyone knows you've moved away.") Unlike most other grief songs, this one ends on a note of acceptance and with the hope for an end to depression.
- James Blunt:
As strong as you were, tender you'd go / I'm watching you breathing for the last time / A song for your heart, but when it is quiet / I know what it means and I'll carry you home./ I'll carry you home.
- "No Bravery", which is a grief song for an entire country / people / the person James Blunt was before going to war.
- "Carry You Home" seems to be this too:
- "My Angel" was written after the death of Kellie Pickler's grandmother.
- Bone Thugs-in-Harmony honored several deceased friends (including Eazy-E) in "Tha Crossroads".
- "Cryin' For Me (Wayman's Song)" by Toby Keith is a tribute to Toby's friend Wayman Tisdale, and has been described as being too depressing even for Country Music. Heck, it even got too depressing for Toby himself — he couldn't bring himself to sing it at Tisdale's funeral.
- "Baby Doe" by Steve Taylor, which is about fairly well-publicized cases in the eighties of babies being starved to death.
- "Not For Keith" by Peter Hammill is about the death of his former bandmate in Van Der Graaf Generator.
- "Who Knew?" by P!nk is about a friend who died of a drug overdose.
- Her song "Beam Me Up" is about a friend's baby who died.
- "A Gray A.M. You Will Never Get To See" by Glass Casket. The song is about lead singer Adam Cody's sister, who was killed in a car crash and who the album was dedicated to.
- Brantley Gilbert's "Saving Amy," about a girl he knew in high school, is an interesting twist in the grief song. It deals with a woman recovering from the death of her fiancée, who died (presumably in an accident) on the night he proposed. However, it's told from the deceased boyfriend's point of view, begging God that while it's too late to save him, it's that "there's still hope for saving Amy" from living her life grief-stricken. It then goes on to chronicle the woman's slow climb out of depression, and at the end, he thanks God for "saving Amy" when he is reunited with her years later. It's a heartbreakingly powerful song.
- "Youtopia" by Armin Van Buuren featuring Adam Young is another example sung from the deceased lover's point of view, set to an uplifting trance instrumentation. The video has the bereaved girlfriend reminiscing of their happy times together on a camping trip.
- Juliana Hatfield wrote "Trying Not To Think About It" about the death of her friend Jeff Buckley.
- Taylor Swift
What died didn't stay dead
- "Ronan", named for a four-year-old who died of cancer, and using his own mother's words for the lyrics.
- folklore (2020) and its companion album evermore are written in isolation due to quarantine from the COVID-19 Pandemic, naturally have a couple of songs about this topic:
- "epiphany" from folklore is a song about the pandemic and the weight it cost on medical workers.
- "marjorie" from evermore is about mourning a lost loved one and how Taylor will never fully know how wonderful that love one was. It was named after Taylor's grandmother, who died when she was fourteen.
What died didn't stay dead
You're alive, you're alive in my head
What died didn't stay dead
What died didn't stay dead
You're alive, so alive
- Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart" is by itself a standard Break-Up Song, but the video has the boyfriend die in a motorcycle accident.
- Public Image Ltd. have "Swan Lake", or "Death Disco" from Metal Box if you own the single, which is about the death of John Lydon's mother. Due to PIL's musical style, this is not immediately apparent.
- R.I.P. Millie by Noiseworks is about a friend who died from cancer.
- Aqua's "Turn Back Time" is quite a contrast to most of their other songs, which are generally silly. Although not explicitly stated in the lyrics, the song is implied to be about someone who died while the person regrets not spending enough time with them, not saying how she really feels, and/or getting into a fight with them just before they died.
- The song "Omdat ik Je Mis" (Because I miss you), about the singer's late parents debuted on the Dutch reality show The Best Singer-Songwriter. It clearly moved the judges and got very positive reviews in the media the next day, to the point where the YouTube video of the audition skyrocketed to over 2,000,000 views in the first weeks (to compare ... there are about 20,000,000 Dutch speaking people in the world).
- Although no specific person is mentioned in the song, Kansas' "Dust In the Wind" is definitely about grieving over the fragility of life and how short it can be. An immediate response after hearing this song has to be "oh my God the songwriter's grandmother/childhood friend/puppy just died."
- Coldplay's "Fix You", inspired by the singer's then-wife mourning her father's death.
- "Someone's Watching Over Me" by Geri Halliwell, which was about her father who died shortly before she became famous.
- Pride and Fall's "Passionate Pain":
It's cold outside, my lips are tremblingYour blood in my hands, that once held me warmI wanted to trust, I wanted to lustIt's our guilt, our blameThe passionate pain we needNow lay your head down to restI will help to prevent the fallThere's a feeling hidden deep inside meAnd I will manage to lock it inBefore it hurts
- Savatage has "Alone You Breathe" on Handful of Rain, dedicated to Jon Oliva's brother Criss. Criss was a founding member and lead guitarist for Savatage until he was killed by a drunk driver in 1993. The song is dedicated to him but not actually about him or his death.
- "Nefertiti" from Fireaxe's Food for the Gods
My queen, Nefertiti, please don't leave me now.I pray to Aten to give you life anew.My queen, Nefertiti, you're all I'm living for.Aten, why did you take her from me?
- "Believe" by The All-American Rejects is about the sudden death of a loved one and hope that they will meet again.
- It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest by The Fugs has two:
- "Ramses II Is Dead, My Love"
Ramses the II is dead my loveHe's left from Memphis to HeavenPtah has taken him on his solar bargeAnd walked him to Nat's celestial shoresHeaven is waiting for Ramses IIHe's gone to Ptah's great side.
- "Burial Waltz"
Do not surround me with wreaths of flowersNor place upon my body the signs of a fetishNor crescent, cross, phallus or sunBut bury me in an apple orchardThat I might touch your lips again
- "Ramses II Is Dead, My Love"
- Jacques Brel's "Jojo" was written for his best friend, Georges Pasquier, who had died from cancer. Only half a year after recording the song Brel would die from the same disease. He had announced this on Jojo's funeral: "I'm next."
- PJ Harvey's "To Talk To You" is about the death of the singer's grandmother.
- Sufjan Stevens' album Carrie & Lowell is practically a Grief Album (the titular Carrie being the singer's recently deceased mother). "Death With Dignity," "Eugene," and "Fourth of July" are among the more straightforward song examples.
- "Drink a Beer" by Luke Bryan is about the death of someone close. While he didn't write the song, it was given to him because he was inspired by the deaths of his brother and sister.
- "Over You" by Miranda Lambert, about the death of a boyfriend. It was co-written by Blake Shelton about the death of his brother when he was a teenager.
- Trance producer RAM made the song "RAMelia (Tribute to Amelia)" as a tribute to his wife who had unexpectedly passed away at the time. Much like "Youtopia", the instrumentation is a very bright uplifting melody that manages to still bring the tears on.
- Fat Joe's "I'm Gone", written about Guru, famed Gang Starr MC who had just passed away at the time.
- Gang Starr themselves had a song called "In Memory Of...", dedicated to friends of the group and people they admired who had passed away. Harsher in Hindsight? You bet.
- "I'll Just Say Goodnight" by Canadian jazz singer Carol Medina, written by James Collins about a friend who died of AIDS.
- "I Miss You" by Miley Cyrus, about her late grandfather, former Kentucky State Representative Ron Cyrus.
- "A New Hope" by Broken Iris mourns the loss of someone (likely The Lost Lenore):
Always, always out of just reach from my over frustrated, shameful handsAnd I never, never expected that IWould ever, no never, take for granted your precious timeTo your grave I spoke holding a red, red roseGust of freezing cold air whispers me, that you are goneSpent a lifetime of holding on just to let goI guess I'll spend another lifetime searching for a new hope
- "Best Friend" by The Rooms is a cheerful song about a man mourning his best friend's recent death.
- The entire Neutral Milk Hotel album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is about the singer's obsession with Anne Frank and her death.
There are lights in the cloudsAnna's ghost all aroundHear her voice as it's rolling and ringing through me
- "Cold, Cold Earth", the Hidden Track on Allison Moorer's album The Hardest Part, is about her parents' murder-suicide.
- "M" by Kent is about Jocke Berg's grandparents when his grandmother was terminally ill.
- "Clouds" by Before You Exit, "Blink of an Eye" by Tori Kelly and "Christina's Song" by MAX were all written for Christina Grimmie. The first act listed was touring with her at the time of her assassination.
- "Jealous of the Angels" by Jenn Bostic is a traditional example of this trope. It received a Colbert Bump in the United Kingdom when it was played on the long-running BBC segment Our Tune, and was subsequently released as a single there.
- Shiny Toy Guns' "When They Came For Us" is about families mourning loved ones lost to war. "But most of all, the little ones, and their shiny toy guns".
- Mono Inc.'s "The Tide" is a lament for a comrade who drowned or otherwise died in a war.
- Tom Smith's "A Boy and His Frog", a tribute to Jim Henson in the voice of Kermit. Look at that, you're already crying.
- Ed Sheeran
- The first half of "Afire Love" Is about his grandfather's battle with Alzheimer's, and the second half is about his death and funeral.
- "Small Bump" ends as this, with the reveal that the baby the song was about was miscarried. It's not dedicated to any family in particular, but it still counts in the father's POV.
- "Supermarket Flowers" is about his maternal grandmother's death from the POV of his mother. Specifically, the days following the funeral when it's time to clean up items like the titular flowers and try to get back to normal life.
- To an extent, Alec Benjamin's "I Built a Friend", about his robot friend's suicide via spilling water on himself. Alec says it's based on a real robot.
- Home is what happens when Horror musician Myuuji uses his powers for good; a beatific piano song dedicated to his late father.
- Linkin Park:
- "Valentine's Day" is about mourning someone that died.
- "One More Light" was about a friend of the band's who died of cancer. It was later dedicated to Chris Cornell and then Chester himself.
- "Looking For an Answer" was about how co-lead singer Mike Shinoda felt during the aftermath of frontman Chester Bennington's suicide.
- Mike's solo EP and subsequent album of the same name,Post Traumatic consist of these, most notably "Over Again", written on the night of Chester's tribute concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
- Ayria's "Underneath the Water" is apparently about a friend or significant other of hers who either was murdered, drowned, overdosed, or all three, and how she regrets being unable to save him/her.
- "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan was dedicated to The Smashing Pumpkins keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, who died of a heroin overdose in 1996.
- M:G's "Falling Angel" tells of a loved one who "went back to God".
- "So I Could Find My Way" by Enya. It's actually about her producer's mother, a role model of hers who died during the production of Dark Sky Island. It's actually surprisingly heartwarming for a grief song, especially when Enya gets subtly misty-eyed in the music video.
- Juice Wrld's "Legends" and "Rich and Blind", released together as the EP Too Soon... is dedicated to fellow Soundcloud rappers Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. Unfortunately, a year later they could just as easily apply to himself.
- The trance song "Dancing in the Sky" by Shanya.
- Madeline Harper Guest has a few songs that can be interpreted this way, especially "One More Time" and "Not Ready".
- Train's "Drops Of Jupiter" is about Pat's mother's death and how he likes to think she's just on an adventure somewhere.
- George Michael's "Jesus To A Child" and "You Have Been Loved" from Older was dedicated to his lover Anselmo Feleppa, who had died from AIDS in March 1993. "Mother's Pride", from Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1, was for all the people who died in war.
- The Crüxshadows' Astromythology album has "My Telescope" and "Astronauts".
- Clan of Xymox's "I Couldn't Save You".
- The Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey collaboration, One Sweet Day is about missing someone who died that they previously took for granted.
- Mariah also included a tribute to her late father, "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy," on her 2002 album Charmbracelet.
- She also has a song on the Glitter soundtrack called "Twister", written in memory of her stylist/friend Tonjua Twist who died of suicide a year before the movie came out.
- "Choosing His Angels" by Solarstone and Alex Karweit, another uplifting trance tune in the vein of "Youtopia" and "RAMelia", is about a best friend of Karweit's who died in a car accident while responding to his wife's Distress Call about a home invasion.
- Ariana Grande's "ghostin'" from thank u, next has been interpreted as her thanking her then-fiance Pete Davidson for putting up with her as she mourned her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller.
- The Christian hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" was inspired by the lyricist (Horatio G. Spafford) passing by the site of a sinking that took his four daughters.
- Sting had a whole grief album with 1991's The Soul Cages, which he created as a means of coping with his parents' deaths from cancer. Consequently, the album contains perhaps the darkest material he had ever put out since his days with The Police.
- New Order also had a grief album ten years prior in the form of their debut album, Movement. The album was recorded and produced less than a year after the suicide of Ian Curtis, frontman of New Order's previous incarnation, Joy Division. The band were still very much in shock over his death at the time, and the emotional scars from it are more than present in the music and lyrics; this factored into the band's Creator Backlash towards the album, feeling as if it was created too soon after Curtis' death and that it presented an almost voyeuristic look into the band members during their period of mourning.
- David Bowie's "Everyone Says 'Hi'" (from Heathen) was written as a reflection of his grief towards the passing of his mother in 2001; quite fittingly, the lyrics are narrated from the perspective of a young boy who had just learned of his father's death.
- The war ballad "Stand to your Glasses Steady,'' about drinking to deceased comrades.
- "Long Gone", by Guy, which was dedicated to several influential musicians and personal friends who had died prior to the song's recording.
- Kate Bush's song "A Coral Room" from Aerial, written for her mother's death.
- After his wife died in childbirth, American gospel pioneer Thomas Dorsey wrote "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", which has become a staple hymn and recorded by numerous gospel, soul, and country artists.
- Sir Arthur Sullivan wrote "The Lost Chord" at the bedside of his dying brother Fred, and composed his "In Memoriam" Overture after his father died.
- Kim Wilde:
- Nine Inch Nails has "I'm Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally" from The Fragile (1999), about the death of Trent Reznor's grandmother.
- In "Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobby Gentry, the narrator learns about the title character's suicide when her family mentions it in casual dinner conversation, having no idea how close the narrator and Billie Joe were and how much their indifference hurts her.
- "Farewell Youth" by The Menzingers is about attending an old friend's funeral. The song recounts the narrator's history with the deceased friend, and expresses sorrow over the loss of both the friend and of his own youth and relationships with old friends.
- Interface's "Labyrinth".
- "My Way" by Frank Sinatra starts off as this, from the viewpoint of a man facing death after a full life. But as he looks back on his life he finds peace with himself, eventually concluding that, good or bad, he at least did it his own personal way.
- Defied by the Gordon Lightfoot song "Old Dan's Records," which is about honouring a passed friend by dancing all night to his record collection.
- Shaquille O'Neal recorded a tribute rap for former teammate Kobe Bryant, and Bryant's daughter, Gianna, after their unfortunate deaths in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
- Lagwagon's seventh album Resolve was written following the suicide of founding drummer Derrick Plourde, and essentially consists of eleven grief songs and one more optimistic closer that still pays tribute to Plourde by name. The opener "Heartbreaking Music" is among the most explicit.
I wish I were as smart as youI could've changed your mindWould've, should've, the question 'til I dieBut it's always been heartbreaking musicSo close to life we abuse it
- The Offspring has three, the sad "Gone Away," and the more in line with their catalogue "The End of the Line" and "Breaking These Bones."
- The Pogues: "Paris, St Germain" is a truly heart-wrenching example.
My heart's too empty to speak true of sorrow,What's dust is but dust and as dust shall remain.If only I could, I would make a tomorrow,I'd make a tomorrow where you'd live again.
- Dalriada's Igazi Tűz (True Fire) is dedicated to former member Péter Hende who died in 2001
- Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name" (made famous by Robin Mark), which borrows a portion of Scripture from the Book of Job for the bridge, was written in response to the lives lost during the September 11, 2001 attack.
- Assemblage 23's Failure is a grief album dedicated to Tom Shear's father, who committed suicide on October 28th, 1999.
- "Think of Laura" by Christopher Cross is dedicated to Laura Carter, the best friend of the girl he was dating at that time, Paige McNinch. Laura died of a stray bullet when the car she, her parents, and friends rode in was unfortunately caught in the middle of a gang war.
- "Still Here" by Digital Daggers, which is about obsessively clinging to a loved one's memory.
- "Nightshift" by the Commodores in is a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, who both died in 1984. In 2010, they released a version dedicated to Michael Jackson.
- "DEAD FRIENDS" by Demi Lovato is a eulogy for... well, their dead friends, admitting just how desperately they miss them and how wrong it feels that they outlived them.
How am I different?
I did and they didn't
and it doesn't feel right.
- Both "Stay" and "In Legends" by Rachel Rose Mitchell are about a loved one's death and the reactions to it. The singer in "Stay" has clearly made peace with it, despite their clear grief, while the singer in "In Legends"...hasn't.
- "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men is half this, half Ghost Song. The song is a duet between a bereaved widow living in an old house and the ghost of her partner, who may or may not actually exist. Notable for being very peppy for a grief song.
- Lene Marlin's "Heaven Is A Place Nearby" sounds like one of these.
- It's played completely for laughs, but "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Elmo & Patsy is indeed about mourning the loss of a loved one, despite the ridiculous circumstances in which Grandma is said to have died.
- The Unearth song "Last Wish", off their 2011 album Darkness In The Light, is set from the perspective of a person whose soul has been separated from their body, but remains stuck in limbo as long as said body remains on life support. The eponymous wish is for their family to come to terms with their imminent passing, as they themselves have, and allow them to move on to the afterlife. The band members have stated that the song is a tribute to a number of people they've known over the years who ended up in vegetative states for one reason or another, and acknowledged the most obvious of them - founding bassist Chris "Rover" Rybicki, who was struck by a drunk driver while riding his moped in late August 2010, and was taken off life support three-and-a-half weeks later.note
- The Alan Walker song "Diamond Heart" is one, once you pay attention to the lyrics. The singer wishes for the titular diamond heart because it wouldn't break under the weight of the grief, and considers never loving again a better alternative to having loved and lost.
I wish that I did not know
Where all broken lovers go
I wish that my heart was made of stone
- A Flock of Seagulls' "Remember David" from The Story Of A Young Heart, was written for a friend of lead singer Mike Score who passed away.
- Bersuit Vergarabat has "Para Luis", from El Baile Interior, a song dedicated to Luis Alberto Spinetta.
- Cole Swindell wrote his song "You Should Be Here" about his late father. The video even includes a recording of him telling his father about having signed a record deal.
- "7 Years" and "You're Not There" by Lukas Graham, especially the latter, are about singer Lukas Forchammer's late father.
- The Pretty Reckless has two songs from Death by Rock and Roll
- First is "Rock and Roll Heaven" about Chris Cornell mentioning "a garden full of sound" as "Jimi, Janis, and Morrison"
- Second is "Harley Darling" about the band's close friend and producer, Kato Khandwala who was killed in a motorcyle accident
- Anime Slushie:
- For Penny in the RWBY V8E12 podcast. Feen sings a version of "Danny Boy" with her own modified lyrics, while Cube simultaneously recites a rapid-fire mantra about how the show and its writers are not real and can't hurt her. Even the Special Edition Title gets in on it, quoting "One Thing":
I HAD ONE THING AND YOU'VE TAKEN IT FROM ME.
- V8E14 opens with Cube singing a reprise of the Penny song with the lyrics modified even further to commemorate Flesh Penny's death:
Oh Penny girlFrom ep to ep, and all the Rainbow RoadThe season's done, and all the kids are fallingOh robot girl, we loved you so
- For Penny in the RWBY V8E12 podcast. Feen sings a version of "Danny Boy" with her own modified lyrics, while Cube simultaneously recites a rapid-fire mantra about how the show and its writers are not real and can't hurt her. Even the Special Edition Title gets in on it, quoting "One Thing":
- "Fixe" in 1789. *Twice*.
- "Close the Door" from the stage musical Anastasia is about the Dowager Empress Marie officially giving up hope that her granddaughter Anastasia may still be alive.
- "Supper Time." Holy god, "Supper Time." From the 1933 revue As Thousands Cheer, this number is a black woman wondering how to explain to her kids that their father has just been lynched.
- Boris Godunov has the Tsarevna Xenia's lament for her late fiancé. This was one of the parts of the opera that was recomposed from the original version.
- In The Bridges of Madison County, "Always Better" allows Francesca to both mourn her lover and remember the joy of their time together.
- "Candide's Lament" from Candide.
- The Dark Reprise of "If I Loved You" from Carousel is an interesting variant, as it's sung from the viewpoint of a deceased person who's about to leave for the afterlife after being allowed to see his wife and daughter on Earth fifteen years after he died.
- Parodied in Curtains with "The Woman's Dead" (and its reprise, "The Man Is Dead").
- Defied by Zoe in Dear Evan Hansen: After her brother — with whom she had a rocky relationship — dies, she refuses to mourn him in "Requiem" even though it's expected of her.
"Why should I play the grieving girl and lie
Saying that I miss you
And that my world has gone dark without your light?
I will sing no requiem tonight."
- All of William Finn's Elegies, but particularly "When The Earth Stopped Turning"
- "Anytime (I Am There)" is the show's real Tear Jerker, but it's sung from the perspective of the bereaving rather than the bereaved.
- The "Totenklage" (Lamentation) in Elisabeth combines this trope with Dark Reprise. In fact, on some cast recordings, it's known as "Rudolf, wo bist du?" (Rudolf, Where Are You?), calling back to the earlier song "Mama, wo bist du?" After Rudolf's death via Murder-Suicide, Sisi goes down to the imperial crypt, calls for him, mourns him, and regrets her emotional neglect of her only son.
- Parodied with "Why Are All the D'Ysquiths Dying?" from A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. As Monty murders his way to the earldom, the remaining D'Ysquith relatives grow quickly tired of having to attend endless funerals.
- "It's Quiet Uptown" in Hamilton is Alexander and Eliza reeling after the death of their only son Philip in a duel.
- If/Then has "Learn To Live Without", dealing with Liz's grief over the death of her husband.
- "Alabanza" is the neighborhood grieving Abuela Claudia.
- "No More" could be seen as a variant of this in Into the Woods. For sure, though, "The Witch's Lament" is a straight example.
- Iolanthe features an inversion in the climactic scene. Iolanthe veils herself so the Lord Chancellor won't recognize her because she'll be executed if he does, and pleads for him to give his consent for her son Strephon to marry a certain ward of the court. She sings the ballad, "If, In the Bygone Years" in an appeal to his memories of his (supposedly) late wife, who is in fact Iolanthe herself.
- In Jasper in Deadland, Agnes's verse of "The Trade" is her preemptively grieving Jasper as he offers to stay in Deadland so she can return to the Living World.
- Jersey Boys repurposes the song "Fallen Angel", which Frankie Valli wrote for his daughter Francine while she was still alive, in the context of her untimely death by drug overdose.
- Parodied in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat with "One More Angel in Heaven". Joseph's brothers know he isn't really dead, but they put on a show of grief for Dad's benefit.
- Played straight with "Close Every Door", where Joseph has hit rock bottom in prison.
- Lestat has both "Sail Me Away" and the brief Dark Reprise of "Right Before My Eyes".
- "Endless Night" in the stage musical version of The Lion King.
- "Rafiki Mourns."
- "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" is one from Timon and Pumbaa's perspective.
- The revised stage musical of The Little Mermaid has "If Only (Triton's Lament)", in which Triton reminisces about his late wife and laments his lack of control over Ariel without her.
- "Days of Plenty" from the musical of Little Women.
- The final scene of Love Never Dies is a series of reprises that are either dark reprises or turn the material into Grief Songs. "Look With Your Heart", "Once Upon Another Time", and "Till I Hear You Sing", in that order, chronicle Christine's death.
- "I Promise You a Happy Ending" from Mack and Mabel.
- "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" from Les Misérables, dealing with Marius' grief and survivor's guilt.
- "How Could I Ever Forget?" from Next to Normal.
- Notre-Dame de Paris: Quasimodo's "Danse mon Esmeralda" (doubles as BSoD Song), right after Esmeralda's death. He's witnessed the death of the woman he loves and killed his adoptive father. He's resolved to die holding Esmeralda's dead body, because "dying for you is not dying". Yeah, he's pretty broken.
- Also parodied in Oklahoma!, with "Pore Jud is Daid".
- "It Don't Make Sense" from Parade.
- "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" sung by Christine about her father in The Phantom of the Opera.
- The Phantom's mournful "All I Ask Of You" reprise also qualifies, as he is singing about Christine who he believes he has lost forever to Raoul.
- "Gone, Gone, Gone," "My Man's Gone Now" and "Clara, Clara" from Porgy and Bess.
- "'Till We Reach That Day" from Ragtime
- RENT has two straight examples and a subversion:
- "Spy Again" from Spies Are Forever, sung by Agent Curt Mega as he mourns the death of his partner/best friend/lover Owen.
- "Those You've Known" from Spring Awakening. Interesting in that it is sung mostly by the ghosts of the departed.
- Also "Left Behind".
- Many of the songs from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
- "Why" in tick, tick, BOOM. Jon has just found out his best friend Michael has AIDS. The song is about Jon remembering the good times he and Michael had, and wanting to make the best of the time they have left.
- Invoked by Urinetown with "Tell Her I Love Her", which is part Death Song for Bobby and this for Little Sally.
- "Missing You" from A Very Potter Musical is one of these, as Harry sings about Dumbledore's death and Quirrell about having been abandoned by Voldemort.
- Also from the sequel, "Guys Like Potter" (Snape missing Lily) and "Those Voices" (about Lily and James, by Sirius and Harry and Snape).
- Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA has "'Cause You're Still Here", dedicated to aerial performer Yann Arnaud, who fell to his death onstage in March of 2018.
- "No Good Deed". It's heartbreaking to watch, and considered by some to be just as powerful as "Defying Gravity".
- And then there's Glinda's part in "Finale", which doubles as Dark Reprise of "For Good".
- "Each Night He Comes Home to Me" from the Medal of Honor: Underground OST is about a war widow. As a Bilingual Bonus, you can also hear a German version on a radio in-game.
- "Kimi No Kioku" in Persona 3 Which confirmed the Protagonist's Heroic Sacrifice
- In Odyssey's "Final Breath", a vocal Eurobeat arrangement of "Border of Life" from ''Touhou 7: Perfect Cherry Blossom", the singer's character longs to join his deceased lover in death.
- "I'll Remember You" from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is about the parting between two people and how they will remember their dear person even if they will never meet each other again. The song is from Rean, about his recently killed best friend Crow.
- The ending song of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is this, not only in lyrics but even with showing all the comrades who died over the course of the game, drinking peacefully while smiling at Edward.
But since it falls unto my lotThat I should rise and you should notI'll gently rise and I'll softly callGood night and joy be with you all
- RWBY has these in droves. The two most noted examples are "Cold", written in the aftermath of creator Monty Oum's death in between Volumes 2 and 3, and "Forever Fall", which is played over the scene in which Jaune visits Pyrrha's memorial statue.
- The same composer for RWBY had years before, in The Strangerhood, done a Lyrical Dissonance approach on this with "Bye Nikki Bye", which, while motivated by the death of a character, is actually a catchy and energetic rocker.
- The Order of the Stick: When Roy dies in the Battle of Azure City, Haley distracts the distraught Quirky Bard Elan by telling him to sing. He delivers a mournful bit of Magic Music that bolsters his allies, brings their enemies to tears, and even acknowledges that Death Is Cheap and they'll resurrect Roy at the first opportunity.
- "Chorale For Snow White."
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has "Leaves from the Vine", sung by Iroh at a makeshift memorial shrine for his son who died in the siege on Ba Sing Se. The song also acts as a dedication to Iroh's voice actor, Mako, who had died before the episode aired.
- The fourth season of BoJack Horseman brought us "I Will Always (Think of You)", which was initially a duet sung between Honey Sugarman and her son, Crackerjack. It becomes this in a Dark Reprise between Honey (in flashback) and Eddie, mourning her son and his wife, respectively.
- "Something Is Missing" from Jem was originally about Jerrica looking for her earrings, however, a later episode repurposed it to be about Kimber mourning her deceased father.
I feel a loss and it's got me kinda shookI keep on searching but it's nowhere I lookSomething is missing in my lifeCan somebody tell me where it's gone?Something is missing in my lifeSomebody tell me where I've gone wrong with my life?
- It Changes from Snoopy, Come Home.
- In the episode "Mr. Greg" from Steven Universe Pearl sings "It's Over, Isn't It?" not just about Rose Quartz's death, but also lamenting how she lost out in the Love Triangle between her, Rose, and Steven's father Greg.
You won and she chose you,and she loved you and she's gone.It's over isn't it,why can't I move on?
Yes, of course we still love her,and we're always thinking of her,don't you know I miss her too?
- Subverted and Played Straight in "What's the Use of Feeling (Blue)?" from the episode "That Will Be All". Yellow Diamond sings about how Blue should not still be mourning Pink, but Yellow's grief ends up spilling out anyway by the end of the song.
- Owen's song Oh, My Izzy! in Total Drama World Tour, while it has a very upbeat tempo is sang right after Owen breaks up with Izzy, and she is taken out of the game due to head trauma. Coupled with the Art Shift during the song, which is done in Owen's crayon style (which is his imagination.)
Songs about Partings
- "The Time Has Come (Pikachu's Goodbye)" from the Pokémon: 2B A Master album. Although the song itself is a perfectly straight example, when it's actually used in the anime, Pikachu immediately returns as soon as the song is over.
- The ending song to episode four of School-Live! is an English song named "We Took Each Other's Hand" about Miki's feelings for her best friend Kei. The final episode shows Kei Gave Up Too Soon as she would have eventually been rescued with Miki and Taroumaru. She ended up turning into a zombie.
All of your warm tender daysSo many memories with you now goneI feel so lost without you here by my sideWhen I wake up from this dream I want to be with you again
- "Answer 36" from 36 Questions is about Judith asking herself how to accept the fact that she is unable to stop Jase from leaving her, and realizing that she has to make the decision to walk away.
- "Never Gonna Dance" from Swing Time (1936) is a surreal, disjointed song expressing Lucky's sense of desolation when it seems he is losing Penny for good.
- "They Can't Take That Away From Me" from Shall We Dance? (1937) is sung by Peter right after he has married Linda, knowing she's going to divorce him immediately. He sings wistfully about the memories he'll keep from their brief marriage.
- The Muppet Christmas Carol: "When Love is Gone", during Scrooge and Belle's breakup scene. The song was cut from the theatrical version, although the ending credits cover by Martina McBride was retained.
- "Evermore" from Beauty and the Beast (2017)
- "Goodbye May Seem Forever" from The Fox and the Hound
- "Now and Forever" by Carole King is featured in A League of Their Own.
- Double example in Ya Uhozhu (я ухожу), which counts for both death and partings. "Ya uhozhu, - skazal mal'chishka ej skvoz' grust' no nenadolgo *Gunfire*,ty zhdi menya i ya vernus', Ushel sovsem, ne vstretiv pervuyu vesnu." *Cuts to war memorial.* Prishyol domoj v soldatskom tsinkovom grobu.
- "She's Leaving Home" by The Beatles, from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- "The Dance" by Garth Brooks
- By Elton John:
- "Blue Eyes"
- "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues"
- "Leaving on a Jet Plane", by John Denver and others
- Project Pitchfork's "Lament" (ambiguous whether this is about just parting or the love interest's actual death).
- The title track on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here (1975), about the departure of their co-founder and original frontman Syd Barrett, who was forced to leave due to mental illness.
- Metallica's final song with bassist Jason Newsted, "I Disappear" from the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack mirrored his eventual falling out and departure from the band.
- "Dead To Me" by Melanie Martinez is odd in that it is a Break-Up Song, and a bitter one at that, that acts as a grief song as well.
My condolencesI'll shed a tear with your familyI'll open a bottle up, pour a little bit out in your memoryI'll be at the wake dressed in all blackI'll call out your name, but you won't call backI'll hand a flower to your mother when I say goodbye'Cause baby you're dead to me
- While not originally intended that way, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." The band dedicates it to Duane Allman in concert.
- Warren Zevon 's "Keep Me In Your Heart" was written as a message to his loved ones just before he died. It's been used a few times (see Live Action TV Below).
- Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" was originally about her separation from her professional partner Porter Wagoner, but Whitney Houston's cover took on the context of a "grief over death" song when it was played at that singer's funeral, and also at the beginning of Spider-Man: Far From Home where it was played over a somewhat cheesy montage some students put together memorializing the superheroes who had died in the last few Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
- Patty Loveless' How can I Help You Say Goodbye (also recorded by Laura Branigan) is about three times she lost someone special to her; her best friend (moved away), her husband (left), and finally, her mom, and her mother's Arc Words on the subject.
Mama whispered softly "time will ease your pain
Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the same"
And she said "How can I help you to say goodbye? It's okay to hurt and it's okay to cry.
Come let me hold you and I will try,
how can I help you to say goodbye?''
- Sarah McLachlan and Amy Grant both had hit songs titled "I Will Remember You". Both songs could also fit into the "death" category depending on one's interpretation of the lyrics.
- "Back on the Chain Gang" by the Pretenders.
- Covered in Spanish by Selena as "Fotos y Recuerdos" (literally "Photographs and Memories"), which became particularly poignant after Selena's own tragic death.
- Paul Shapera's The New Albion Radio Hour has the Cyborg John O'Brien singing "Daddy Left," about how he left his daughter to join a Super-Soldier program after the death of his wife, and how much he now regrets that decision. His sister Jacqueline gets "The Best of Times", about how she met Dorothy, the love of her life, only for Dorothy to be taken and lobotomized by the city's oppressive government.
- The Crüxshadows' "Home", also from the aforementioned Astromythology.
- The Rain Within's "Small Precious Lights".
- Yellowcard's "One Year, Six Months", though the lyrics allude to the singer reuniting with the person they parted from under bittersweet circumstances.
- Brian May's "Too Much Love Will Kill You" was written about May splitting up with his first wife, and it also served as a song about death after Freddie Mercury lost his battle with HIV/AIDS, with Freddie recording a version alongside Queen for the posthumously-released Made in Heaven.
- While it's typically thought to be about the death of a lover, "Goodbye My Lover" by James Blunt is about a breakup. That didn't stop the song from being used as numerous funerals.
- Assemblage 23's aptly named Mourn album deals with the grief of Tom Shear's divorce and move to a new state, as well as the general decline of the world and life changes brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Pearl Jam's "Black", from Ten.
- Stay I Pray You from Anastasia is about the main characters leaving their beloved homeland after the Russian Revolution.
- "Chavaleh" from Fiddler on the Roof is an interesting case, as Tevye has to declare his daughter Chava dead to him after she marries outside the Jewish faith, but this song makes it clear it's not easy for him. He loves his daughter, yet he believes he has no choice but to disown her.
- "I'm Still Hurting" and Jamie's part of "I Could Never Rescue You" from The Last Five Years.
- "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" from My Fair Lady is this for Higgins who is trying to come to terms with his feelings of loss after Eliza walks out on him.
- "This Nearly Was Mine" from South Pacific
- "Cute Boys with Short Haircuts" and "Friendship Isn't What it Used to Be" from Vanities: The Musical.
- "For Good", from Wicked, sung by Elphaba and Glinda as their final goodbye. Glinda role originator Kristin Chenoweth also sang it on the Grand Finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and as a death grievance song at The West Wing castmate John Spencer's funeral.
- The "I'm Not That Girl" reprise sung by Glinda after Fiyero officially breaks his engagement to her also counts.
- Winx Club: "A Sky Without Moon and Stars" from Season 2, as well as "Like a Ruby" and "Return to Me" from Season 5 (especially the latter), which are dedicated to Musa's mother Matlin, who died when she was young. Same goes with the In Concert song "This Big World", which is also used for Nabu late into Season 4.