Losing a parent is always hard.
Everyone has to find their own way to grieve and cope with the loss.
For many of us, music helps us get through difficult times, like the loss of a mother or father.
But it turns out, there aren’t nearly as many great songs about losing a parent as you might think.
There certainly aren’t as many as I thought there would be.
But I still discovered a good amount.
Keep reading for a list of wonderful songs about losing your dad or mom. I tried to include tunes from as many different genres as possible, so there is something for everyone.
Table of Contents
- 1 Songs About Losing Your Mom
- 1.1 Wings For Marie (Parts 1 & 2) by Tool
- 1.2 Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran
- 1.3 Let It Be by The Beatles
- 1.4 Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word) by Celine Dion
- 1.5 Monsoon by Amber Mark
- 1.6 Mama by Il Divo
- 1.7 Death Disco by Public Image Ltd
- 1.8 Mama Liked The Roses by Elvis Presley
- 1.9 Dead Of Winter by Eels
- 1.10 Coat Of Many Colors by Dolly Parton
- 1.11 Roses for Mama by C.W. McCall
- 1.12 Until It Sleeps by Metallica
- 1.13 I’ll Always Love My Mama by The Intruders
- 2 Songs About Losing Your Dad
- 2.1 Song For My Father by Sarah McLachlan
- 2.2 Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day
- 2.3 Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross
- 2.4 Take Away My Pain by Dream Theater
- 2.5 Tank Park Salute by Billy Bragg
- 2.6 My Father’s Eyes by Eric Clapton
- 2.7 The Greatest Man I Never Knew by Reba McEntire
- 2.8 Father by LL Cool J
- 2.9 You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell
- 2.10 Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations
- 2.11 Father, You Believed by Catman Cohen
- 2.12 RIP Dad by Juice Wrld
- 2.13 Never Get Used To by Seinabo Sey
- 2.14 Father by Demi Lovato
- 3 Songs About Losing A Parent: Final Thoughts
Songs About Losing Your Mom
We’ll begin with 13 amazing songs about losing a mom, starting with one (actually two) from my favorite band. Below, I have a list of songs about losing your dad.
Wings For Marie (Parts 1 & 2) by Tool
Tool lead vocalist Maynard James Keenan wrote the two-part song Wings For Marie as a tribute to his mother.
The song was released in 2006 as part of the 10,000 Days album, taking up more than 17 minutes of time on the album between parts one and two.
Maynard’s mother, Judith Marie Keenan, suffered a stroke and was paralyzed for the last 27 years of her life. In fact, those 27 years are what led to the album title 10,000 days.
Wings for Marie is a reflection of Maynard’s feelings towards his mother and how her illness affected him. The first part is a slow, acoustic ballad that talks about his mother’s life before the stroke, while the second part is a heavier, more intense song that deals with his anger about the situation.
The song is easily the most emotional song in Tool’s arsenal. In fact, it is so emotional for Keenan that he no longer performs it in concerts.
Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran wrote Supermarket Flowers and released it in 2017 on his album ÷. It topped out at number 8 on the UK singles chart and number 75 on the US Billboard Top 100.
The song is not actually about his mom, but a tribute to his late grandmother. She passed away while he was writing the album.
Sheeran wrote the lyrics from his mother’s perspective of his grandmother, so it is, in a sense, a song about losing your mom.
He explained in an interview that he often went to visit his grandmother in the hospital while writing his album. One time, there were some flowers on the windowsill that his mother had bought for his grandmother at a supermarket.
That kind gesture inspired him to write the song. It remains one of his most personal and emotional songs.
Let It Be by The Beatles
Released in 1970, Let It Be was written by Paul McCartney. The song was partially inspired by a dream he had about his mother, Mary, who had passed away when he was only 14 years old.
The remaining inspiration came from the tension within the band at the time (of course). McCartney wrote the song as a message of hope and encouragement to himself and the band, urging them to let go of their worries and trust that everything would work out in the end.
In a more general sense, the lyrics of Let It Be are about finding comfort in times of trouble. The refrain “let it be” serves as a mantra for letting go of worries and surrendering to a higher power.
To reinforce that point, the song features a gospel-inspired sound, with a choir and orchestra adding to the uplifting feel of the track.
Let It Be was a commercial success, reaching number one on the charts in multiple countries and becoming one of The Beatles’ most popular songs.
The song has been covered by numerous artists in the years since its release, including Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Elvis Presley.
Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word) by Celine Dion
Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word) was written by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and his then-wife Shania Twain. Lange also produced the track and he and Twain sang backing vocals on it.
Dion released the song in 2002 as part of A New Day Has Come, her seventh English language album. It was a huge commercial success, cracking the top 10 in multiple countries.
It is still one of Dion’s most popular songs. The song’s music video features footage of Dion’s family and friends, adding to the personal nature of the tune.
The lyrics to Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word) describe the pain of saying goodbye to your mother and the memories that remain. The song features Dion’s signature powerful vocals, with a soaring chorus that captures the emotional depth of the lyrics.
Monsoon by Amber Mark
Amber Mark released Monsoon in 2018. She wrote the song as a tribute to her mother, Mia Mark, who passed away.
The song was a hit with critics and fans. It climbed up to number two on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart and number 28 on the Adult R&B Songs chart.
It also gained popularity on streaming platforms, with the official music video on YouTube racking over 3 million views to date. The song was also featured in popular TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy and The Bold Type.
The song’s success can be attributed not only to its emotional resonance, but also to Mark’s unique blend of genres, fusing elements of R&B, soul, and electronic music.
Monsoon features atmospheric synths and a pulsing beat to create a hypnotic and introspective atmosphere that draws you in.
The lyrics express Mark’s deep pain and emptiness following her mother’s death. They also touch on some of the happier memories that remain.
Mama by Il Divo
Il Divo released their touching song Mama in 2005. The song was written by Swedish production due Andreas “Quiz” Romdhane and Josef Larossiand, who have written more original Il Divo songs than anyone else.
The song is a tribute to the love and sacrifice of a mother who passed away. The lyrics express the gratitude and appreciation for all that singer’s mother did, highlighting the support and guidance she provided.
They also express regret at not having expressed this appreciation enough when he still had the chance.
The song’s stirring melody and heartfelt lyrics have touched the hearts of listeners worldwide. Il Divo’s signature vocal harmonies further amplify the song’s emotional resonance.
Mama’s popularity is been reflected in its chart performance. It cracked the top 10 in several countries, including the UK, Australia, and Canada.
Death Disco by Public Image Ltd
Death Disco was written by John Lydon, who is more commonly known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. After the Sex Psistols broke up, he formed Public Image Ltd, in 1978. A year later, they released Death Disco.
It was first released as a single and later in included on their second album Metal Box, which came out in 1979. It made it up to number 20 on the UK Singles chart.
Lydon wrote the song as a tribute to his mother, Eileen Lydon, who had recently died from cancer. She had asked him to write a disco song for her funeral.
Mama Liked The Roses by Elvis Presley
Mama Liked The Roses was written by Johnny Christopher and released by Presley in 1970. It is a tribute to a mother’s love and the memories that remain after her passing.
The lyrics express the son’s fond memories of his mother, particularly her love for roses and how he remembers her picking them in the garden.
Presley’s soulful delivery combines with an arrangement featuring a gentle acoustic guitar and a simple piano melody to creates a warm and intimate atmosphere. Mama Liked The Roses climbed up to number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Dead Of Winter by Eels
Eels released Dead Of Winter in 1998 on the album Electro-Shock Blues. The song was written by Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E.
He wrote the song for his mother who had recently passed away from cancer. The lyrics paint a picture of his mother in her last days, going through radiation treatment and contrast it with the world continuing as always outside.
Coat Of Many Colors by Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton wrote Coat Of Many Colors in 1969 on the back of a cry cleaning receipt. She was on a tour bus at the time and had nothing else to write on when the song came to her.
The lyrics describe Parton’s mother sewing a coat for her daughter out of rags. Parton remembers being proud of her new coat, even though other kids made fun of her for it.
As it was released, the song comes across as a loving tribute from a daughter to her mother. But there was a final verse that was not part of the released song that has Parton looking back with fondness at this memory after her mom’s death.
Dolly Parton released Coat Of Many Colors in 1971, as part of her album of the same name. The song did fairly well and reached as high as the fourth spot on the U.S. country singles charts.
Roses for Mama by C.W. McCall
C.W. McCall released Roses for Mama on the album of the same name in 1977. It did well and made it up to number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
In the lyrics, the singer talks about going on a trip to Florida to hang out with an old friend. He tells his mom he can’t make it to see her during his vacation, even though she is sort of on the way.
Instead, he decides to send her some roses for her birthday. In the flower shop, he meets a young boy who also wants to buy roses for his mother for her birthday, but does not have enough money.
The singer helps the boy out and also places an order for his own mother’s roses. On the way out of town, he sees the boy again in a cemetery. It turns out the boy wanted the roses for his dead mother.
Upon seeing this, the singer turns back around and tells the florist he will deliver the roses to his mother personally.
Until It Sleeps by Metallica
American heavy metal band Metallica released Until It Sleeps on May 20, 1996, as the lead single from their sixth studio album, Load.
The song is about the emotional pain that lead singer James Hetfield experienced during his mother’s battle with cancer. The word “It” in the title refers to the cancer.
You can interpret the lyrics in a few ways. Some see Hetfield as describing his own emotional pain over the loss of his mother, while others see him describing his mother’s physical pain during her losing battle with cancer.
Some also see the lyrics as being about something entirely different. They believe Hetfield was singing about anger issues.
Whatever the song is about, there is no doubt it is connected to Hetfield’s loss of his mother. There is also no doubt the song resonated with audiences. It hit the tenth spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
That makes it Metallica’s highest-charting single and their only top ten hit in the United States. Until It Sleeps took the top spot on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It also topped the charts in several other countries, including Australia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, and Sweden.
I’ll Always Love My Mama by The Intruders
I’ll Always Love My Mama was written by the legendary songwriting duo of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, along with Gene McFadden and John Whitehead. It was released in 1973 and included on the album Save the Children.
The song was inspired by Gamble’s mother, and it is a tribute to a mother’s love and sacrifice. The lyrics expresses a son’s gratitude and loyalty to the woman who raised him.
They describe the many ways in which a mother shows her love for her child, from cooking meals to cleaning the house, and express the son’s appreciation for all that she does.
I’ll Always Love My Mama was a successful song. It made it up to number six on the R&B charts and number 36 on the pop charts.
The song is often played on Mother’s Day and it has been covered by a number of other artists sice it’s release. Perhaps the most famous are Boyz II Men, who included their version on their 2007 album Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA.
Songs About Losing Your Dad
Next, we have 14 songs about losing a father. Again, I tried to include as many genres as I could.
Song For My Father by Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan wrote Song For My Father about her adoptive dad who died from cancer in 2010. She released the song in 2014 as part of her album Shine On.
Many songs on that album dealt with the death of her father and also with her ongoing divorce. The album was quite successful, topping the Canadian Albums Chart and reaching number four on the US Billboard 200.
Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day
Green Day released Wake Me Up When September Ends as the fourth single from their seventh studio album, 2004’s American Idiot. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song about the death of his father from cancer when he was 10 years old.
The song was a big hit, although not quite as big as the previous singles from the album. It didn’t make it to the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart (it hit number 2), and it peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100.
It also climbed to number two on the Adult Top 40 chart and the Mainstream Top 40 chart. Internationally, it was a top ten hit in the UK, New Zealand and Belgium, and it even topped the charts in Czechia.
Wake Me Up When September Ends became became forever linked to Hurricane Katrina, which happened at the end of August in 2005. The song became a rallying cry of sorts. It also been used to honor the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Interestingly, the music video does not deal with any of these events, nor with the death of a father. It depicts a young couple separated by the Iraq War. The man who went off to fight does not make it back, so the video does deal with the same theme of loss. Just not the loss of a father.
Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross
American R&B singer Luther Vandross released Dance With My Father in 2003. It was the lead single from his thirteenth and final studio album of the same name.
The song was co-written by Vandross and Richard Marx and is based on Vandross’s personal experience of losing his father to diabetes when he was just eight years old. At the time of its release, Vandross himself was in the hospital, which impeded the song, and the entire album, somewhat.
Despite the lack of real promotion, the song was a huge success. It climbed up to number 38 on the US charts and won two Grammy Awards, one for Song of the Year and one for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
Take Away My Pain by Dream Theater
American progressive metal band Dream Theater released Take Away My Pain in 1997, as part of their fourth studio album, Falling into Infinity. Guitarist John Petrucci wrote the song about his father’s battle with cancer and eventual death in 1996.
The lyrics detail Petrucci’s struggle to come to terms with his father’s illness, especially in the final days. His father had come to accept that he would die and actually look forward to it, because it would take away his pain.
. The song’s emotional depth is further enhanced by Petrucci’s soulful guitar work and James LaBrie’s powerful vocals. “Take Away My Pain” was well-received by critics, who praised its emotional impact and the band’s musical prowess. The song has since become a fan favorite and is often included in the band’s live performances.
Tank Park Salute by Billy Bragg
Tank Park Salute is a song by English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, from his 1996 album Don’t Try This at Home. The song is based on his personal experience of losing his father to lung cancer when he was 18.
The heartfelt lyrics describe the memories Bragg has of his father, their relationship, and the emotions he feels after his death. His father was a soldier and the line “You were so tall, How could you fall?” hits home for many fans.
The title Tank Park Salute refers to the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, England. Bragg and his father visited the museum when he was young.
My Father’s Eyes by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton released My Father’s Eyes on his 1998 album Pilgrim.The song climbed to number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart and it spent five weeks in the second position on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
In My Father’s Eyes, Clapton describes his attempt to see his father’s eyes in the eyes of his own son through the “chain of their blood”, as he puts it. Clapton’s father had died of leukemia in 1985 and Clapton never got a chance to meet him. Tragically, Clapton’s son also died, falling from an apartment window at the age of 4.
The Greatest Man I Never Knew by Reba McEntire
The Greatest Man I Never Knew was written by Richard Leigh and Layng Martine Jr and released by Reba McEntire in 1992. It was the fourth single from her album For My Broken Heart.
Leigh wrote the lyrics about his own father. They describe an emotionally distant father who never really connects with his child and express a hint of regret from the child looking back after the father’s death. The song was well-received, climbing to the third spot on on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
Father by LL Cool J
The 1995 song Father by LL Cool J is a bit different from the other songs on this list. It is not about losing a father to death, but about an absentee father and an abusive one.
LL Cool J wrote the song about his two fathers. His biological father shot his mother and grandfather and then moved away to California. His mom found a new man who ended up being physically abusive.
Father was a big hit, reaching number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the Rap Singles chart. It is included on LL Cool J’s seventh album, Phenomenon.
You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell
The 2016 hit You Should Be Here is a tribute to Cole Swindell’s father who passed away unexpectedly when a truck he was working on fell on top of him.
Swindell co-wrote the song with Ashley Gorley and included it on his second album of the same name as the song. It was a big hit, topping both the Billboard Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts.
The lyrics describe a gathering with friends and the feeling of catching up and reminiscing with old friends you haven’t seen in a long time. But there is a big void at the gathering in the form of Swindell’s recently deceased father. He loved those types of gathering and he should have been there.
Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations
Papa Was A Rolling Stone is a classic soul song from 1972. It was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong and originally released by Undisputed Truth, earlier in 1972. But the version by The Temptations is the one everyone knows and remembers.
The song is a powerful commentary on absent fathers and their impact on their families. The lyrics describe the father’s reckless lifestyle and the pain and suffering it caused his family, even after his death.
The song was a huge success, topping both the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts. Today, Papa Was A Rolling Stone is considered one of The Temptations’ most iconic songs.
Father, You Believed by Catman Cohen
Catman Cohen released Father, You Believed in 2005 on his album How I Want to Die: The Catman Chronicles 1. He actually released two versions of the song, with the second produced by Enrique Iglesias. Cohen himself prefers the Iglesias verison.
The song is a tribute to Cohen’s father, who passed away. The lyrics describe the memories Cohen has of his father and the love and support he provided throughout his life.
RIP Dad by Juice Wrld
Juice Wrld released RIP Dad in 2019 as a tribute to his father who passed away in June of the same year. Tragically, the rapper himself died of a drug overdose in December, 2019.
The lyrics describe the pain and sadness he feels after his father’s death and the impact it had on his life. They detail his struggle to come to grips with his dad’s passing.
Never Get Used To by Seinabo Sey
Swedish singer Seinabo Sey released Never Get Used To in 2015. She dedicated the song to her father who passed away in 2013. It is included on her second album entitled I’m a Dream.
The lyrics describe her trying to come to grips with his absence with lines like “I cry ’cause I remember you, And then I cry when I forget about you. I smile ’cause I remember you, And then I smile again to pull myself through” perfectly capturing the grieving process.
Father by Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato wrote Father after her dad’s passing and included the track on her fifth studio album Confident. The song shows her attempting to come to grips with the difficult relationship she had with her father.
She had been estranged from her father ever since her parents had divorced. Her dad dies from cancer in 2013. Lovato later explained that he had been mentally ill, which was a big reason he never mad room for her in his life.
Songs About Losing A Parent: Final Thoughts
Hopefully you were able to find at least one song that spoke to you among the 13 songs about losing your mom and the 14 songs about losing your dad.
As mentioned, I tried to include songs about losing a parent in as many genres as possible, but I know I missed some. That’s where I need your help. If you have suggestions for songs that should be on this list, please let me know in the comments below.
If you liked this list, we have a similar one of songs about losing a friend.