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10 Songs to Dead Friends and Loved Ones

By Adam Morrison

Music can be used to express even the most complicated and darkest of emotions. Here are ten songs whose lyrics are written as a message to cherished ones that have passed on.

Btw, this is the first of several planned Halloween-friendly posts, and I promise the next ones will be more in the fun spirit of the season.

1. The title track from The Gaslight Anthem’s The ’59 Sound muses on, among other things, “which song they’re gonna play when we go.”

2. In Jane’s Addiction’s “Then She Did…” Perry Farrell shares some thoughts with a friend who OD’d, and also mentions his mother, who took her own life when he was three.

3. In “Lucky,” Bif Naked expresses gratitude even while expressing incredible difficulty in moving on from the loss.

4-5. The lyrics of R.E.M.’s “Let Me In” are directed to Kurt Cobain, while those of “E-Bow the Letter” are a message to River Phoenix that Michael Stipe didn’t get to send in time.

6. Tori Amos’s “Playboy Mommy” is a heartbreaking, defiant message to a child.

7. “Say Hello 2 Heaven” is one of a couple of Temple of the Dog songs written about—and in this case, mostly directed to—late Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood.

8-9. Offspring’s “End of the Line” and “Gone Away” express fear and other feelings that come with being without someone after they’ve passed away.

10. In 1991, Pennywise released “Bro Hymn,” a song that bassist Jason Thirsk wrote as an ode to deceased friends. In 1996, after Jason’s tragic passing, the band redid it as an ode to him.

Can you think of anything to add to this list? If so, please do so in the comments.

4 thoughts on “10 Songs to Dead Friends and Loved Ones

  • I recently heard “Stuck in a Moment” was a fictional conversation between Bono and Michael Hutchins that Bono thought should have happened before Michael died. Don’t know if that is true but would certainly qualify for this list.

  • Here Today. Paul McCartney’s song to John Lennon. One of Paul’s greatest solo moments.

  • Ouija Board, Ouija Board by Morrissey

  • Disappoint by Assemblage 23… to his father who committed suicide.

    Though you are gone
    I am still your son
    And while your pain is over
    Mine has just begun


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