For centuries, even millenniums, humankind has struggled with the passing of time and unavoidable death.
Some may fear it, some may yearn for it.
But one thing is for sure: no living person has been unaffected by this reality.
The most interesting aspect related to the afterlife, though, is how much of an inspiration fuel is for artists.
Novels, paintings, sculptures, and poems. Thousands of pieces have been ironically born as a result of death.
But we’re not here to chat about museum paintings or gothic literature. We are here for the music.
Check this list with the best songs about death… while you’re still alive…
1. Under The Graveyard – Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne said that 2019 was the toughest and most painful year of his life, due to various medical interventions.
In 2020, the Prince of Darkness released his 12th studio album Ordinary Man, where the song that makes it on the list comes from.
Naturally, it’s about the loneliness that we’ll experience when we make it to our graves.
2. Killed By Death – Motörhead
Lemmy Kilmister escapes death itself in this goofy but badass music video.
It seems that not even Death has been able to get rid of Kilmister’s misbehaviors.
3. If I Die Tomorrow – Mötley Crüe
Some Mötley Crüe members have had near-death experiences.
The most unbelievable story is the one from bassist Nikki Sixx who was officially dead after a heroin overdose but revived when injected with two adrenaline doses by a paramedic.
4. Afterlife – Avenged Sevenfold
Let’s suppose that, somehow, you discover Death is coming to you in a matter of seconds.
There is no way of running away from your destiny. You’ll die no matter what.
In that case, what would you do?
Would you be grateful for what you’ve experienced? Would you protest and beg for more time?
Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold is an example of the latter case.
In this classic, we find a person who can’t accept her fate and tries to escape the great beyond.
5. A Tout Le Monde – Megadeth
A list titled “Best Songs About Death” couldn’t leave out a song from a band with death on its title.
On top of that, Dave Mustaine has composed more than one song where death makes its presence.
However, A Tout Le Monde stands out the most because of the vulnerability that comes when reflecting on mortality.
6. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton had the disgraceful experience of losing a son.
He tried to mitigate his pain by writing Tears In Heaven, which has since become one of Clapton’s classics.
7. You Gotta Move – Mississippi Fred McDowell
A gospel composition that originated as an African spiritual song, later making its way to the American market.
You Gotta Move has a solid and simple statement: no matter your living conditions or experiences, there is no escaping from death.
It has been versioned by many musicians, including Sam Cook, The Rolling Stones, and of course, Fred McDowell.
8. Check Your Head – Buckcherry
The focal lesson in Buckcherry’s Check Your Head is how little problems matter when compared to losing a loved one.
The singer expresses he has lost some friends at a very young age. Thus, daily troubles such as paying bills end up being meaningless.
Instead, one must be happy with nothing but the present moment.
9. Hallowed Be Thy Name – Iron Maiden
The final track on Iron Maiden’s The Number of The Beast tells a lurid tale of a man being led to the gallows pole.
As he creeps toward the ending, the man meditates on his unfortunate fate, wondering why God would let him die if it even exists at all.
One of the most gooseflesh moments is the final verse where the man takes a last look at the world: “When you know that your time is close at hand / Maybe then you’ll begin to understand / Life down here is just a strange illusion”
10. 25 Minutes To Go – Johnny Cash
Similar to the Iron Maiden song, 25 Minutes To Go narrates the story of a prisoner minutes before facing death. This one, however, has some ironic and funny connotations.
Each of the 25 minutes that pass by describes a specific situation before the convict is hanged at the gallows pole.
It’s even funnier if you watch the music video.
11. Heaven – Beyoncé
When Beyoncé had a miscarriage, she wrote Heaven, to pay tribute to her lost child.
12. 21 – Delilah
The singer had a friend of hers who died in prison at the early age of 21, thus, the title of this track.
13. Condolences – Wednesday 13
Condolences is an unsettling song that may suit a funeral of some kind.
The lyrics narrate a person crawling through the darkness, from this world to the afterlife.
14. I Will Not Say Goodbye – Danny Gokey
Grieving someone’s death is a hard-to-deal-with experience. Unfortunately, it could take years, decades, or even a lifetime to recover from it.
It seems that I Will Not Say Goodbye is about this last idea; of choosing not to let go of a lost loved one.
What do you think about it? Do you believe is better to let go or to hold on despite the pain?
15. Angel of Death – Slayer
World War II has left a huge, deep, and permanent scar on our history.
Angel of Death talks about the horrors experienced by Jewish people in the holocaust.
Because although death is a natural aspect of life, it turns into an injustice when done in mass by the hands of a group of people or a single person.
16. One More Day – Diamond Rio
17. Dead! – My Chemical Romance
18. Dead In Hollywood – Murderdolls
19. Die A Happy Man – Thomas Rhett
20. When Death Calls – Black Sabbath
21. Death Comes Ripping – The Misfits
22. Pet Sematary – The Ramones
23. Death By Rock N’ Roll – The Pretty Reckless
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.