Songs have a way of speaking to our souls. They often put words to indescribable emotions, providing unexpected moments of healing throughout our journey with grief. Whether you need a song that helps the tears to flow or one that brings a smile to your face, there’s a song out there to help us reminisce on the good times with our loved ones who have passed on.  

Finding music to uplift us in times of sadness or help us remember precious moments with our loved ones is a way to keep those we’ve lost close. Music often evokes memories and sentimental feelings that can help us as we process difficult emotions. Today, we’re exploring music choices that may help us along our healing journeys. 

How Music Helps Us Grieve

Before we take a look at some songs that may help us remember sweet moments with our loved ones, we first need to learn about why music can help us heal. 

Music has been shown to help us grieve in a variety of ways. First, music helps us connect with our emotions by providing a way to describe them. Since songs have a clear beginning and ending, some people also feel that they are a safe and structured place to momentarily tap into deep emotions. 

Music has often been referred to as the window to the soul. Not only does it allow the listener to glimpse into the soul of the songwriter, but it also connects us through shared experiences and expressions of emotion. Through studies conducted on the power of music and our emotions, it was discovered that music can evoke 13 distinct emotions, including joy and sadness.

Music can act as our guide through our journey with grief. Loss and hardship often elicit emotions that are difficult to navigate. It can feel intimidating — or even impossible — to navigate these emotions on our own. 

Music provides us with a framework for grief and brings us on a journey towards accessing our deepest emotions. Music can help us feel our emotions to help us heal throughout the mourning process, especially during times when we may want to suppress our feelings instead.

Music and Our Memory

Music has the ability to evoke strong emotions and memories from our past. In an instant, a song can transport us back to moments in our lives and the emotions we felt at that time. 

Songs we played in the summers of our youth may bring back memories of joy and bliss. On the other hand, a deceased loved one’s favorite song or a song that played on the night of their passing may bring deep feelings of sadness or difficult memories. 

Studies have shown that music has the ability to engage our neural pathways, specifically the ones that are responsible for our emotions. These studies were even conducted on individuals who had acquired brain injuries as a way to help them recall memories from their past. 

Playing music that is associated with memories of our loved ones can help us remember that they are still with us. Songs help us to access memories that have been stored away, even ones we may have forgotten existed. 

Now that we have established music as a powerful tool when discussing emotions and memory recall, let’s look at a few songs that may help us remember good times with our lost loved ones. 

1. Queen: “These Are the Days of Our Lives” 

This song by Queen is all about remembering the sweet memories of our past, but its melancholy melody shows the lyricist knows a thing or two about hardship. This song was written mainly by Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, in response to lead singer Freddie Mercury’s illness. 

Mercury passed away at the age of 45. After he had fallen ill, Roger Taylor began writing this song as a call to remember the good times we experience with those we love. The song expresses a deep desire to return to earlier days when life was simpler and troubles were fewer. It celebrates sweet moments of friendship and conveys the love he has for his friend. 

The first few stanzas of this song elicit warm memories of friends in their youth playing and having fun. It recalls a simpler time when these friends did not worry about things such as illness and death. 

This song may help those who have lost a loved one to remember the sweet moments and times of love and laughter. While the heart still grieves, this song can open up our hearts and souls to experience blissful memories of good times with a loved one.  

2. The Beatles: “In My Life” 

The song “In My Life” by the Beatles expresses the love the writer has for his past life as well as his present one. He acknowledges the significance that locations can have in our memories, like places he’s been and places where he has created memories. He reminisces about past lovers and old friends, and listeners understand that the songwriter has fond memories from his past. 

The writer (most likely John Lennon) also expresses his desire to experience the present moment with his new love. He seems to anticipate a future with his love while vowing to still remember and value his past. 

This song may help those of us who are grieving to remember significant places that were meaningful to us and our loved ones. The second verse in the song says, “All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall, some are dead and some are living, in my life, I’ve loved them all.” 

These lyrics might help us remember meaningful moments or places that we shared with lost loved ones. 

3. Bruce Springsteen: “Glory Days” 

“Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen paints the good ol’ days as something we look back on when times get tough. The song tells the story of people the songwriter knew from his youth. He describes his experiences sitting with them at the bar as they relive their past, calling those times the glory days. 

He speaks of a woman who will look back and laugh as she remembers the days of her youth when times get tough and she feels like crying. This song may create feelings of nostalgia as we listen to the lyrics about reliving the good times. We can look back and remember our own memories and moments we may refer to as glory days. 

We might feel like the woman in the song who is close to tears as she copes with her painful present circumstances. Still, she chooses to let her fond memories of the past bring her joy. We can do this, too, as we remember our best moments with a lost loved one. 

4. Maroon 5: “Memories” 

This song by Maroon 5 has an undertone of sorrow despite its upbeat melody. It describes the powerful way memories can bring those we love back to us. The song starts off by saying, “Here’s to the ones that we got, cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not.” 

This lyric lets the listener know that this song is mainly about remembering those we have lost and acknowledging their absence. 

Throughout the song, the writer repeatedly says, “And the memories bring back, memories bring back you.” 

The song expresses feelings of sadness for loved ones who are no longer here. Simultaneously, the song stresses the importance of remembering them by saying that these memories bring our loved ones back. 

We’re each challenged to remember our loved ones when listening to this song, even if it’s painful for us. Our memories keep our loved ones close to our hearts. They remind us of the sweet times we spent together, enjoying life and creating important moments. 

5. Thomas Rhett: “Remember You Young” 

This country song is about the universal experience of growing up. Rhett takes a look at all his childhood friends who have grown up, married, and become parents of their own. Still, he remembers their youth fondly and says he will always remember them young. 

He shows through his song that he finds beauty in youth, saying there is an innocence to be found in it. This is expressed through the verse, “Yeah, I hope when we get to Heaven, He looks at us all like we’re kids, shameless and painless and perfect and ageless, forgives all the wrongs that we did.” 

Perhaps this is how you would like to remember your loved one. You hold close the memory of them when they were young and ageless and when they had so much life in them. This song helps us remember those we love in their most beautiful moments. 

6. Kenny Chesney: “I Go Back” 

This song is particularly relevant to the ways songs can bring up memories of the past. Chesney’s song “I Go Back” recounts the titles of songs that have helped him remember periods of his life and the memories associated with each. 

Chesney says in one of his verses, “And I go back to the loss of a real good friend, and the sixteen summers I shared with him, now ‘Only The Good Die Young’ stops me in my tracks.” 

This verse refers to the song “Only The Good Die Young” by Billy Joel and the way that hearing this particular song makes Chesney remember his old friend and the times they shared. This song may have you thinking for yourself about which songs bring up old memories of your loved one. 

7. Bryan Adams: “Summer of ‘69” 

We love gathering around to hear stories about our loved ones. We love to learn about the wild adventures of their youth, their love stories, and their life lessons. This song by Bryan Adams feels like hearing a loved one share their favorite memories.

In this song, Adams reminisces about a specific summer in his youth that held significant memories for him. He remembers getting his first six-string guitar and forming a band with some high school friends. He also remembers his high school sweetheart and how he would hold her hand on her mother’s porch. He ends a few of the verses with the line, “Those were the best days of my life.” 

This song may help you to think back on stories your loved one told you about their life before they passed. It might also bring back certain memories you’ve experienced with them. It will cause you to ask yourself what you consider to be the best days of your life. 

8. Sarah McLachlan: “I Will Remember You” 

While many of the songs on our list thus far have been fairly upbeat — asking us to remember the good times —  the song “I Will Remember You” takes a somber turn. Some argue whether this song is about a love affair that has ended or the loss of a loved one. Regardless of the type of loss McLachlan is writing about, the song still depicts a relationship with someone who is no longer around.

McLachlan sings, “Weep not for the memories, remember the good times that we had?” 

While she expresses her own pain throughout the song for the loss she has experienced, she also invites the audience to remember the good times. The sweeter the relationship and the memories, the more painful the loss. McLachlan depicts this in her heartbreaking and beautiful song. 

9. Nickelback: “Photograph” 

This song by Nickelback centers around the singer’s childhood. The entirety of the song is spent reminiscing on the best moments of his youth, starting with a picture he finds of himself and his friends. 

He talks about the house he grew up in and the first girl he kissed. He also wonders about going back to school to graduate and the dreams he had of singing to a crowd. 

The song spans the memories of his youth as he revisits them and says goodbye. This song tells the story of life, the highs we love to remember, and the regrets we have. 

This relatable song about life can help us look back at our own good times. We can remember the memories we made with our loved ones who are no longer with us. 

10. Ed Sheeran: “Photograph” 

Ed Sheeran also chose to write a song that focuses on the memories we find in photographs. Yet this photograph is one of a long-distance lover that the writer wants to keep near. It conveys the power that photographs have to keep memories of the good times frozen for us. 

He wants the love he has for this person to stay as it was in the photograph, where time is frozen for these two lovers in a happy moment. We want to keep our best moments frozen in time, not wanting to lose the feelings we have when surrounded by those we love. 

For those of us who have experienced loss, we may return to photographs we’ve taken with loved ones to remember how we felt in those moments. Our photographs remind us of beautiful moments and cherished memories. This song will remind us of our own good times and great loves. 

11. Adele: “When We Were Young”

This song by Adele is full of powerful emotions that everyone can resonate with, no matter their experiences. The song is about the passing of time and getting older. It tells of old friends and lovers coming together in a type of reunion to reminisce on life and how things have changed. 

It is a song that helps us reflect on the emotions Adele is singing about. We remember those who have meant the most to us and those who have shaped us.

More than making us reflect on memories, this song makes us consider how our loved ones made us feel. Perhaps this song will create deep feelings of nostalgia as you relate to the way the singer feels about her old friends. 

12. The O’Jays- “Family Reunion”

This song about a family coming together evokes good feelings and memories of sweet family time. It is a song that describes a family coming from near and far to catch up on each other’s lives. It also remembers family members who are no longer with us, expressing a desire for them to be a part of this family gathering. 

This song creates warm feelings as the songwriter tells of the importance of a family gathering. If we have lost a loved one in our family, this song can bring us back to memories of family reunions or gatherings when our loved one was living. We might think back to holidays or special occasions full of laughter and deep connection. 

13. Trace Adkins - “You’re Gonna Miss This” 

This country song tells the story of a daughter who tells her parents about how she longs to grow up. She dreams about her future and what she hopes it to be. Meanwhile, her parents remind her that she will miss the moments that she is living in right now. They remind her that time passes quickly and that she should not wish it away. 

This song invites us to cherish the sweet moments in life and not always look to the next thing. It challenges us to develop a deeper appreciation for the present life. Losing a loved one often does this for us as well. When we understand that life is fleeting, we tend to cherish each moment. 

The singer says, “These are some good times, so take a good look around, you may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.”

As you listen to this song, it may bring memories of the good times that you experienced with your loved one. 

14. John Denver: “Back Home Again” 

The song “Back Home Again” is about someone returning to their hometown after being away for years. The songwriter talks about visiting the farm he grew up on and how it feels just like “a long-lost friend.” This is a nostalgic song, bringing sweet reminders of a childhood that shaped him. 

Listening to this song may help us connect to our experiences of home and our childhood. We can look fondly at times spent with lost loved ones growing up. 

15. Florida Georgia Line - “Here’s To The Good Times”

Finally, this song from Florida Georgia Line provides an upbeat toast to life and its sweetest moments. We decided to end our list with this song because it is a celebration of life and the good times we’ve had with those we love. 

The words of this song tell of memories that many of us can resonate with. The song reminiscences about summer nights with close friends enjoying time together. It evokes positive feelings and fills our minds with memories of the good times. 

This is a feel-good song about the best moments of life that we will cherish forever. 

Wrapping Up

Music has a way of speaking to our souls and helping us return to memories of old. They help us put language to things that we feel but may not know how to express. 

Listening to songs about life and reminiscing on sweet memories with those we have lost can be a healing experience. This list of songs is one we should return to when we want to smile or laugh about the good times we had with our loved ones. 

Music plays a significant role in the mourning process. It provides a pathway for connecting with our feelings of sadness and grief. Music can also evoke positive memories of time spent with those we have loved and lost. Through music, we can connect with our emotions and celebrate the lives of our remarkable loved ones.


Why Are We Moved by Music? | Psychology Today  

Ooh là là! Music evokes at least 13 emotions. Scientists have mapped them | Berkeley News

Why Do the Songs from Your Past Evoke Such Vivid Memories? | Psychology Today