The 10 best songs for goodbyes say farewell to lovers, loved ones, parents, lifestyles and homelands. Some of the goodbye songs are about loss, and some are about moving on to new things. Some of the meanings in the goodbye songs are straightforward, while others have hidden and multiple themes. Here are the 10 best goodbye songs.
- “Leaving on a Jet Plane”– This song, written by John Denver in 1966, was a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary. The tune has a fellow saying goodbye to his sweetheart. As the lyrics go, his bags are packed, and he is not sure when he will be back, but he does vow to think of his love while he is gone.
- “So Long, Farewell”– This upbeat song comes from the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and is performed twice in the 1965 movie, “The Sound of Music.” The first performance in the film has the Von Trapp children saying goodnight; in the second performance, the family is singing in a concert as they are about to flee Nazi Austria. They are saying farewell to friends and their native land.
- “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”– This tune by Elton John and Bernie Taupin was a hit in 1973. The song is interpreted as a biographical sketch of Bernie Taupin. Taupin was seeking a simpler lifestyle. Taupin wanted to control his destiny, leave the limelight and “go beyond the Yellow Brick Road.”
- “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday” – This 1967 Rolling Stones hit was written by Keith Richards and sung by Mick Jagger. The tune tells the story of a free spirited woman who “comes and goes” and no one can “hang a name” on her. Richards has stated that he wrote the song for a groupie; he has also said he wrote the song for his former girlfriend.
- “American Woman”– This 1970 song was a hit for the Canadian Band, “The Guess Who.” Many people interpret this song as anti-American and anti-war because of the lyrics regarding the American “war machines” and “ghetto scenes.” Band members have explained the tune came out after a grueling American tour, and they were glad to return home to local Canadian girls.
- “The Streets of New York” – This Irish ballad has a lad leaving Ireland at the behest of his father to live with his uncle; as the lad arrives in Brooklyn, his uncle is killed. The young man gets a job in construction and returns to Ireland for his father’s funeral. He sells the farm and returns to America. The song ends 22 years later as he reminisces about Ireland. In the last lines of the song, we find out he is now a NYPD officer keeping “law and order on the Streets of New York.”
- “Auld Lang Syne”– This classic New Years Eve song is about friends that have parted and have reunited to recall old times. The goodbyes were said long ago; one of the messages here is to not let good friendships lapse.
- “Hit the Road Jack” – This lively Ray Charles hit is more than a goodbye song; it is the story of a lady telling her man to leave. This song is usually sung in an upbeat manner. Jack is told: “and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more.”
- “You’ll Be in My Heart” This song has Phil Collins telling someone that they will always be in his heart. Although there is never an explicit goodbye, we know a farewell occurred. Collins urges in the tune: “I may not be with you, but you gotta hold on.”
- “Happy Trails to You”– This wonderful tune is the signature song of Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans. This lovely tune tells us to keep smiling until we meet again. This upbeat song is filled with well wishes.
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