10 Radio Friendly Songs About Dying

Your favourite artists facing the final curtain...

Warner Music

Death. The last hurrah. The final curtain. The big sleep. Like it or not, father time is coming for all of us one day, and as terrifyingly mind-boggling as that may seem, there’s nothing we can do about it.

But while it might sound macabre, there’s a pretty strong argument to be made that death gives life meaning. In the same way that you always enjoy the last choc ice in the freezer the most, knowing that we have an increasingly limited stint on this mortal coil forces us to appreciate what life we have left.

For different people, that means different things. While some will look to go out in a blaze of glory, others will feel compelled to philosophise on the nature of existence, and more acutely, what comes afterwards.

Whether it’s heaven, worm food, or the chance to come back as a flea on the rump of a golden retriever, we all have our beliefs on what awaits us in the great unknown, and the same goes for some the most reknowned musicians on the planet too.

After all, death is, somewhat ironically, such a big part of our lives that it only makes sense for it to be a widely recurring theme in the art we consume and the songs we listen to as well.

10. Bob Dylan - Knocking On Heaven's Door

Dylan, perhaps more than any other artist in living memory, has embodied the role of the poet philosopher wholeheartedly. The folk maestro has a song and an opinion on just about anything you could imagine, so it only makes sense that one of his most beloved tracks is about death.

Originally written for the 1973 film Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, the mournful ballad plays over a scene in which a character is fatally wounded in a shootout and slowly begins to edge towards the pearly gates. Minor spoiler alert, apologies.

From its understated gospel influence to the reflective lyrics that talk of a mounting darkness, the song has an almost religious quality to it, and even by Dylan’s own inimitable standards, it carries a humbling profundity.

Subsequent covers from the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Eric Clapton would bring a newfound sense of spectacle to the track, but the original is still the most hauntingly beautiful by quite some distance.

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