Can you name ten best country songs about death? Death and funerals are popular themes in country music. Death by accident, murder, suicide, and natural causes are represented in the many country songs about death. Here are ten of the most poignant and well-known songs, from some of the greatest country singers of all time.
- “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is a great country songs about love and death. George Jones sings the story of a man betrayed by a woman he never stopped loving until the day he died. “They placed a wreath upon his door / And soon they’ll carry him away / He stopped loving her today.”
- “When God Comes And Gathers His Jewels.” “When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels" is a Hank Williams song about a young man who says his final goodbye to a loved one. The pastor comforts him: "When God comes and gathers his jewels / All his treasures of diamonds and gold / You’ll meet her up there in heaven so fair.”
- “Beyond The Sunset.” “Beyond the Sunset” is another Hank Williams song about death. The inspirational song tells of a glorious, blissful world, “beyond the sunset, when day is done.” “Should you go first and I remain / One thing I’ll have you do / Walk slowly down that long, long path / For soon, I’ll follow you.”
- “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?” “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?” is a Carter Family hit. It asks a serious question. “When death shall close these eyelids / And this heart shall cease to beat / And they lay me down to rest / In some flowery bound retreat / Will you miss me?”
- “Ballad of Forty Dollars.” In “Ballad of Forty Dollars,” Tom T. Hall tells of a memorial service for a man who died without repaying the money he owed. "I hope he rests in peace,” the narrator says, “the trouble is, the fellow owes me forty bucks.”
- “Delia’s Gone.” Many country singers have recorded “Delia’s Gone,” including Johnny Cash. It is probably inspired by the story of an African-American teenager who was murdered on Christmas Eve. “Jailer, oh jailer, jailer, I can’t sleep / ’cause all around my bedside, I hear the patter of Delia’s feet / Delia’s gone."
- “Ellis Unit One.” “Ellis Unit One” is a country death song by Steve Earle, recorded for the movie “Dead Man Walking.” It focuses on the death penalty’s effect on the prison guards who carry it out. “They transferred me to Ellis Unit One / Swing low, swing low, swing low and carry me home.”
- “Wreck On The Highway.” In “Wreck on the Highway,” Roy Acuff sings of a fatal car crash. A picture of whiskey, blood, and glass is stamped on the narrator's heart. “I wish I could change this sad story, that I am now telling you / But there is no way I can change it, for somebody’s life is now through.”
- “The Carroll County Accident.” “The Carroll County Accident” is a Porter Wagner signature song. He sings of a one-car accident just inside the county line. Examining the wreckage, the narrator finds evidence of an extra-marital affair–and promptly destroys it, vowing never to mention it. “‘Cause the county ordered Dad a marble monument / I lost him in the Carroll County accident.”
- “The Funeral.” “The Funeral,” by Hank Williams, is one of the saddest country death songs. When music coming through a church window beacons a man to enter the church, he discovers a family gathered for the funeral of an African-American boy. The preacher says God knew they needed sunshine for a while. “And He let you keep and love it, till your hearts were bigger grown / And these silver tears you’re sheddin’ now is just interest on the loan.”
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