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Best Goodbye Songs for Family & Friends

Music can often highlight the best moments of our lives. The same can be said about the bittersweet art of saying goodbye when you’re moving. That’s why we’ve gathered almost 10 hours of music related to goodbyes. Whether you’re moving away, moving on, experiencing a breakup, or starting a new adventure — we have songs to help get through it. We’ve compiled a playlist with a wide mix of genres, eras, and feelings about saying goodbye to family and friends. 

Some of the hardest goodbyes are the ones that are sudden, unexpected, and don’t allow the luxury of parting words or gestures. At times it’s a choice, while at others it’s chance. If you’re fortunate, you get to say farewell. But that often doesn’t make the transition easier. Is it any wonder that many of life’s most stressful events involve goodbyes?

If you’re struggling with a goodbye, why not assemble a Goodbye Playlist for yourself or someone important in your life? Below, we have a long list of pop, rock, and country favorites to get you started. Our list includes songs that are wistful, melancholy, celebratory, grateful, and even snarky. You’re bound to find some to ease you through this transition.

If you are struggling to say goodbye when you are leaving, we have compiled a playlist that will make it easier for you to leave. The list of songs belongs to all genres like pop, rock, and country. Our list of songs is wistful, melancholy, celebratory, grateful, and even snarky.

So, listen to all these songs to ease the transition process.

1. “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLauchlan

It’s heard at funerals, and it’s played at graduations. It’s been in movies, and the haunting melody instantly brings tears. But what is Sarah McLachlan’s hit song really about? Is it about death, heartbreak, or Alzheimer’s? That, my friends, is up for interpretation.

2. “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John

Originally, Sir Elton and Bernie Taupin wrote this song to honor Marilyn Monroe. In 1997, a rewritten version was sung as a tribute to Princess Di after she died in a car accident. Regardless of who was being honored, the song is definitely a sad goodbye.

3. “Careless Whisper” by George Michael

George Michael’s song about regret, despair, unfaithfulness, and goodbyes was a big hit in 1984. It was originally recorded when George Michael was part of the pop duo Wham! It’s most memorable lines are “I’m never gonna dance again / Guilty feet have got no rhythm.”

4. “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago

Chicago’s bass player, Peter Cetera, wrote and sang the lead vocals for “If You Leave Me Now.” It was released on Chicago X in 1976 and was one of only five non-disco songs to make it to number one during that period. The song was used in 2010 to raise money to fight breast cancer.

5. “The Dance” by Garth Brooks

This song is about the passage of time, and its poignant melody has made it a popular choice for funerals. But is the speaker in the song talking about someone who has died or a break-up? Perhaps only Garth knows. 

6. “Goodbye My Friend” by Linda Ronstadt

This is a heartbreaking song about the death of a friend. 

7. “Seasons in the Sun” by Westlife

This song, also performed by The Fortunes, is about a man preparing to die when “birds are singing in the sky, and spring is in the air.” He asks that his friends think of him, and their seasons in the sun that they spent together.

8. “Who You’d Be Today” by Kenny Chesney

Listen to this sad country song while thinking about a loved one who was taken too soon. The ending line says it all: “ God knows how I miss you.”

9. “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor

James Taylor lost a childhood friend, but his family and friends chose to keep this “distracting” news a secret. Taylor wrote the song in lament for his lost friend.

10. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul, and Mary

We know. This song sounds like it should be a sad song. But the speaker in “Leaving on a Jet Plane” hopes that the goodbye he says in this song is not permanent. He asks his beloved to wait for him while he is gone, so they can get married when he returns. 

11. “Good Riddance” by Green Day

This goodbye song should be at the top of the playlist for every 18-year-old leaving for their first year of college. It’s a song about reflection and hope.

12. “Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC

Ok, maybe this song isn’t particularly “happy,” but the video is kind of funny. And the NSYNC boys are undoubtedly happy to get away from the controlling woman. 

13. “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson

The king of road-trip songs, Willie Nelson’s classic is undoubtedly a “happy” goodbye song. After all, he “just can’t wait to get on the road again.”

14. “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Can you even listen to this song without thinking of the end of Dirty Dancing? Even though the song is reflecting on past experiences, it’s happy and upbeat.

15. “So Long, Farewell” by Von Trapp Family Singers

This upbeat song from The Sound of Music is multi-purposed. It can be sung when it’s time for children to go to bed. It can be sung at the end of a music festival. And it can be sung when you are running away from the Nazis.

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