Losing a friend is never easy.
Everyone grieves and deals with such a loss in their own way.
Some, like myself, turn to music.
And thankfully, others write music.
I decided to rack my brain and dig up the best songs about losing a friend I could find.
If you have recently lost someone close to you, I hope some (or at least one) of these songs can help you heal.
Keep reading for my list of great songs about the death of a friend
Table of Contents
- 1 Songs About Losing A Friend
- 1.1 See You Again by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
- 1.2 Brendan’s Death Song by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- 1.3 Afterimage by Rush
- 1.4 One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
- 1.5 So Far Away by Avenged Sevenfold
- 1.6 Lighting Crashes by Live
- 1.7 I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
- 1.8 Gone Too Soon by Michael Jackson
- 1.9 Candle In The Wind by Elton John
- 1.10 Hollow by Pantera
- 1.11 I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy (Featuring Faith Evans and 112)
- 1.12 Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
- 1.13 One More Light by Linkin Park
- 1.14 You’re Never Over by Eminem
- 1.15 Black Gives Way To Blue by Alice In Chains
- 1.16 Who Knew by Pink
- 1.17 They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
- 1.18 Here Today by Paul McCartney
- 2 Songs About Death Of A Friend: Final Thoughts
Songs About Losing A Friend
All of these songs about losing a friend are excellent, but different in their own way. I tried to include as many genres as possible here, so hopefully there is at least one song you will enjoy.
See You Again by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth was created for the movie Furious 7 as a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident during the filming of the movie.
The song became an instant hit, reaching the top of charts worldwide and breaking records for streaming and digital downloads. In the US, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks, though not 12 consecutive weeks.
See You Again is a reminder of the importance of cherishing our loved ones and the memories we have with them. It is a touching tribute to a beloved actor and friend. It could have easily made out list of the best sad rap songs, but the competition was fierce.
Brendan’s Death Song by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Brendan’s Death Song is a somber track by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers from 2011. The song is a tribute to Brendan Mullen, a music promoter and close friend of the band who passed away in 2009. The melancholic melody and reflective lyrics capture the feelings of loss and grief that come with losing a loved one.
The song’s subdued tone is a departure from the Chili Peppers’ typical energetic and funky style. But it showcases their ability to explore different emotions and themes through their music. With Brendan’s Death Song showed us how to remember a friend who left us far too soon.
Afterimage by Rush
Rush released Afterimage on their 1984 album Grace Under Pressure. They dedicated the song to their friend Robbie Whelan. He lost his life in a car accident in 1983.
Whelan had worked as an assistant on the Rush albums Moving Pictures and Signals, among others. The lyrics deal with the grief at the loss of a friend and how you try to carry on in the aftermath.
One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men is a timeless ballad that stands out for the beautiful harmonies between the singers. The song was released in 1995 and became an instant hit, breaking several records and staying at the top of the charts for sixteen weeks.
Carey began penning the song after losing her friend David Cole, but it eventually turned into a tribute to loved ones who have passed away in general. The lyrics do a great job of conveying the pain we feel when we lose someone dear to us.
So Far Away by Avenged Sevenfold
American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold released So Far Away in 2011, as a tribute to their late drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, who passed away in 2009. The song was written by lead vocalist M. Shadows and was included in the band’s fifth studio album, Nightmare.
The lyrics express the pain of losing a close friend and the regret of not having a chance to say goodbye. The chorus of the song is a great example:
How do I live without the ones I love?
Time still turns the pages of the book it’s burned
Place and time always on my mind
I have so much to say but you’re so far away.
Lighting Crashes by Live
Live’s lightning crashes was released in 1994. It was a huge hit for the band and made them instantly famous. I remember this song being absolutely everywhere back then.
The band wrote the song for a friend of their who had recently died when she was hit by a drunk driver. While their friend inspired the song, the meaning of the Lightning Crashes lyrics are also about the cycle of life as a whole.
I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
I Will Remember You was written by Sarah McLachlan, Séamus Egan and Dave Merendaby. It was first released in 1995 on the soundtrack for the movie The Brothers McMullen.
After its release, the song became a top ten hit in Canada and made it up to number 65 on the US Billboard Hot 100. A 1999 live version climbed all the way up to spot number 14 on the US chart.
The lyrics to I Will Remember You talk about treasuring the memories of good times, especially those shared with people you love. McLachlan sings about special times she shared with someone and wanting to keep the memories of that time alive.
connection alive. The chorus reminds us not to take life for granted and to hold on to the memories we have of our loved ones forever. The song is a bittersweet reminder of cherishing the memories we have with those special people in our lives.
Gone Too Soon by Michael Jackson
Gone Too Soon was written by Larry Grossman and Buz Kohan. Dionne Warwick was the first artist to perform the song, but she only sang it at a live performance and never recorded it. Her performance was a tribute to a number of actors and musicians who had been lost.
Michael Jackson was so moved by Warwicks rendition that he asked to record his own version. He dedicated his version to Ryan White, a young boy who died from complications of AIDS.
He included the song on his Dangerous album, which was released in 1991. He later released it as a single 1993. It was the ninth and final single from the album and its peak of number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 meant that 9 songs from Dangerous made the top 40.
Candle In The Wind by Elton John
Elton John’s Candle in the Wind compares good people to a candle in the wind. They are wonderful, but a windy day can quickly extinguish them. When that happens, the song implores us to do what we can to honor and remember those who are lost too soon.
John wrote Candle in the Wind as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and included it on his 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. In 1997, Elton John performed a new version in memory of Princess Diana.
The original version is about Monroe’s life being tragically cut short as a result of her skyrocketing fame. The updated version is about the grief John, and many others, felt at the loss of the beloved Princess Diana.
Hollow by Pantera
Hollow is a power ballad included on Pantera’s 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power. The band wrote the song about a friend in a coma. Singer Phil Anselmo has said it was not about a specific person, but a number of people in such a situation. The chorus of the song makes this clear:
What’s left inside him?
Don’t he remember us?
Can’t he believe me?
We seemed like brothers
Talked for hours last month
About what we wanna be
I sit now with his hand in mine
But I know he can’t feel
Hollow is now one of Pantera’s most famous songs, but it never charted when it was first released. They were not a band that did a lot of ballads, but Hollow and Cemetery Gates are now two of their best-loved songs.
I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy (Featuring Faith Evans and 112)
I remember this song getting near constant airplay back in the late 1990s. Puff Daddy sampled Every Breath You Take by The Police and that is what made this song such a huge hit. It certainly wasn’t Puff Daddy’s rapping.
But it is a good song. I’ll Be Missing You was written as a tribute to Puff Daddy’s friend, rapper Christopher Wallace, also known as The Notorious B.I.G., who was murdered in 1997. The song topped the charts in several countries and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1998.
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd, released Wish You Were Here as the title track of their ninth studio album. The song was inspired by former band member Syd Barrett, who had left the band due to substance abuse and mental health issues.
But, opposite to the popular belief, the song is not actually about Syd Barrett. Both Waters and Gilmour had stated as much. This article goes into detail on the lyrics and meaning of Wish You Were Here. We also have a similar article on the lyrics and meaning of Comfortably Numb.
One More Light by Linkin Park
Linkin Park released One More Light in 2017, as the title song of their seventh studio album. It was the last major single to feature vocals from Chester Bennington, who tragically took his own life the same year.
Mike Shinoda wrote the song with Eg White. He wrote it for his friend Amy Zaret, who had died from cancer in 2015. After the death of another friend, Soundgarden singer and guitarist Chris Cornell, they dedicated a live performance of the song to him.
Shinoda said he intended the song to give love and comfort to all those who had lost someone. When Chester Bennington died in 2017, the remaining band members found themselves in that situation again, closer than ever, and the song took on new meaning.
Of course, the band have a number of songs about related topics. For example, their hit Numb is featured in our list of songs about depression here.
You’re Never Over by Eminem
Eminem released You’re Never Over in 2010 on his seventh album Recovery. He wrote the song in memory of his friend and fellow rapper, Proof, who was part of the group D12. Proof was shot and killed in a nightclub in Detroit in 2006.
The lyrics talk about the impact Proof had on Eminem’s life and career. Eminem remembers that Proof believed in him when he was in a low point of his life and he knows Proof would be proud of the success he was now enjoying.
Black Gives Way To Blue by Alice In Chains
Black Gives Way To Blue is the title track of Alice in Chains’ fourth studio album, released in 2009. The album was their first in 14 years, after the death of original vocalist Layne Staley in 2002.
The song was written as a tribute to Staley, with the lyrics expressing the band’s grief over his passing and the difficult time they had processing the loss and moving on from it.
Jerry Cantrell, who was formerly the backup vocalist, sings lead on the song. He was also responsible for writing it. He asked Elton John to contribute a piano solo to the song, because Stayle had been a big fan of Elton’s John accepted, since he was also a fan of Stayley’s and Alice in Chains. He even sang backup vocals on the song.
Who Knew by Pink
Pink’s Who Knew was released in 2006 as the second single from her fourth studio album, I’m Not Dead. Pink wrote the song in collaboration with Max Martin and Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald about the loss of a friend of hers t a drug overdose.
Although she wrote it with the one friend in mind, she intended the song to be about a number of friends who died in a similar fashion, and also about the death of friendship in general.
Who Knew was not overly successful in the US at first, but it was re-released in 2007 after featuring in a few TV shows. Then it managed to climb all the way to number nine on the Billboard Top 100.
They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
They Reminisce Over You by hip-hop duo Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth was released in 1992 as part of their album Mecca and the Soul Brother. The song was not a huge it at the time of release, but has come to be regarded as a classic of the hip-hop genre.
They wrote the song in part to honor their close friend Troy Dixon, wit the third verse talking to him directly. The other verses look back on C.L. Smooth’s life growing up.
The distinguishing feature of the song is the saxophone that plays continuously. The band also sampled the bass from a cover by Tom Scott of the Jefferson Airplane song Today.
Here Today by Paul McCartney
Here Today was included on Paul McCartney’s 1982 album Tug of War. He wrote the song in 1981, less than a year after the murder of former bandmate in The Beatles, John Lennon. He wrote it about his relationship with John Lennon, which was often contentious.
In the lyrics, McCartney imagines having a conversation with Lennon about whether the two of them actually truly know each other. McCartney seems to feel that despite their bickering and the fact that they did not seem to understand each other that well, they were actually quite close and fond of each other.
Songs About Death Of A Friend: Final Thoughts
I hope some of these songs about losing a friend helped you in some way. As mentioned, I tried to include as many genres of music as possible, but I know I missed some.
If you have suggestions for additional songs that should be on this list, especially ones in genres that are underrepresented (or not represented at all), please let me know in the comments below.
Sometimes, you might not have a friend who has passed away, but one who is going through something difficult.
They might be struggling with something like anorexia or bulimia, but feel like they can’t ask for help. Perhaps one of these songs about eating disorders could help them understand they are not alone in struggling with something like that.