Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things to do. Countless musicians have captured the experience. If you’re looking for the perfect farewell song, here are our top recommendations!
1. Hello, Goodbye — The Beatles
The Beatles’ classic song isn’t about parting, but its repetitive chorus, which repeats the words “hello” and “goodbye”, makes it a perfect farewell tune.
2. Candle in the Wind — Elton John
Elton John’s ballad Candle in the Wind was written in honor of Marilyn Monroe on her death and later used for Princess Diana’s memorial service, and it’s long been used as a tribute for loved ones gone too soon.
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3. I Will Remember You — Sarah McLachlan
Long noted for her plaintive vocals, Sarah McLachlan delivers another poignant song in “I Will Remember You”. The song is about the pain of saying goodbye and the hope that your loved one will remember you, even while moving on with their life.
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4. The Dance — Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks’ song “The Dance” reflects on the pain of saying goodbye to someone. But the singer concludes that the pain was worth it, because it meant that he had the memories.
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5. Goodbye My Friend — Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt’s moving ballad is all about getting closure after losing a dear friend, coming to a place of peace and acceptance and feeling ready to say goodbye.
6. Fire and Rain — James Taylor
James Taylor wrote “Fire and Rain” after learning of a friend’s untimely death. The lyrics speak of the shock of sudden loss and losing what Taylor had always thought was a given — that he would see his friend again.
7. Leaving on a Jet Plane — John Denver
John Denver’s song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” was popularized by Peter, Paul, and Mary in 1969. The song is all about leaving someone you love and holding onto the hope that they’ll be waiting for you when you return, even if you don’t know when that will be.
8. Bye Bye Bye — NSYNC
It might not have the poignance of other goodbye songs, but NSYNC’s 2000 hit “Bye Bye Bye” is impossible to resist. If you and your loved ones have a sense of humor, you might find the punchy chorus a good fit for your farewell.
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9. I Hope You Dance — Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack’s emotional power ballad expresses hope for a loved one as they go their own way. In some lines, it sounds like it could be a parent addressing a child, but it also works well for friends or other family members.
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10. To Where You Are — Josh Groban
Josh Groban is the king of the emotional ballads, and “To Where You Are” is no exception. This song is sure to get the tears flowing with lyrics describing how a loved one still seems close by, even after they are gone.
11. Goodbye My Lover — James Blunt
James Blunt wrote “Goodbye My Lover” years after his relationship ended, reflecting back on his regrets and memories with that person. Blunt has an interesting story regarding the inception of the song. Despite the title, there are also lines that fit with the theme of saying goodbye to a friend.
12. If You Leave Me Now — Chicago
Classic rock fans will be familiar with Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now”, later rereleased as a cover by Boyz II Men. The song is all about pleading for a loved one not to go away. We can all relate to the desperation of wanting someone to stay by our side.
13. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) — Green Day
Green Day’s “Good Riddance” is a popular choice for high school graduation celebrations. This song describes what it’s like to be at the end of an era, standing at a crossroads while looking back on the good memories. The early 2000s feel-good nostalgia is the icing on the cake.
14. One More Day — Diamond Rio
Diamond Rio’s “One More Day” is all about wishing you could go back and see a departed loved one for one last day. We’ve all experienced this longing, wishing we could say all the things we needed to during that last, all-important meeting.
15. On the Road Again — Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson’s song is proof that not all goodbyes are bad ones. “On the Road Again” is an upbeat farewell that expresses hope in what is coming, even though the singer is apart from his loved ones.
16. Never Say Goodbye — Bon Jovi
“Never Say Goodbye” is Bon Jovi’s tribute to old friends and wishing that you never had to part. We all wish that we never had to say goodbye to our friends, but we can take comfort in the memories of the wonderful times we had together.
17. Farewell — Rihanna
Rihanna is best known for her powerful ballads and punchy pop hits, but her 2011 song “Farewell” is perfect for saying goodbye. The lyrics are all about the regret of leaving a friend, even while knowing that it’s time for them to move on to bigger and better things.
18. Don’t You Forget About Me — Simple Minds
Simple Minds’ song “Don’t You Forget About Me” was first featured on the soundtrack of The Breakfast Club. It remains a classic goodbye song, imploring the listeners to remember the memories.
19. One Last Time — Ariana Grande
Some goodbyes are more difficult than others, and Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time” shows just that. The song is about telling someone goodbye and telling them that you’re sorry at the same time, and the enormous emotions that accompany such a daunting task.
20. Goodbye Stranger — Supertramp
Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp was released in 1979, but the lyrics are still relatable today. The song is all about feeling lost and adrift after losing a loved one and coming to terms on your own. It’s a feeling that many of us can relate to in our own lives!
21. I’ve Had the Time of my Life — Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Almost everyone has heard Bill Medley’s classic ballad, made famous by its use in Dirty Dancing. The song is a powerhouse tribute to great memories and the people who change your life.
22. Homeward Bound — Simon and Garfunkel
Simon and Garfunkel’s gentle folk tunes are perfect for songs about yearning — like their 1966 song Homeward Bound. The song is about saying goodbye to family and friends to move to a new place.
23. Beautiful Goodbye — Maroon 5
Maroon 5’s 2012 song “Beautiful Goodbye” is an underappreciated tribute. In it, the singer describes watching someone try to say goodbye and struggling through their pain.
24. Happy Trails — Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
Most of us grew up hearing this song, and it automatically brings back the warm glow of nostalgia. It’s also such a happy song, wishing a loved one happiness until you are reunited once again.
25. Ain’t No Sunshine — Bill Withers
“Ain’t No Sunshine” is an iconic song that describes the pain of missing someone. We all have people in our lives whose absence seems to affect everything, making us feel like every day is gloomy without them.
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26. You’ve Got a Friend — Carole King
Not to be confused with the 1995 Randy Newman hit, Carole King’s song “You’ve Got a Friend” is a classic on its own! In the song, she promises her friend that even though they are parting, she’ll always be there when they need her.
27. Hit the Road Jack — Ray Charles
If you have a sense of humor, you might enjoy Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack”. There are no sentimental goodbyes here — just a playful chorus demanding that the listener hit the road and not look back.
28. Send Me On My Way — Rusted Root
If you don’t like melancholy goodbyes, Rusted Root’s classic “Send Me On My Way” might be the perfect choice. This upbeat song is relentlessly hopeful, inviting the listener to help the singer take off on their next journey.
29. Separate Ways — Journey
Journey is probably best known for their 1981 hit “Don’t Stop Believin’”, but the song “Separate Ways” a few years later is unmissable. The song is all about the pain of saying goodbye to a loved one and how lonely we often feel afterward.
30. How Can I Help You Say Goodbye — Patty Loveless
If there is one experience that almost anyone can relate to, it’s moving to a new home as a child. Patty Loveless’ 1993 hit is written from the perspective of a child being comforted by her mother, then comforting her in turn at the end of her life.
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31. Go Your Own Way — Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” might be a breakup song, but the lyrics are relevant to all kinds of goodbyes. It’s particularly poignant for the end of a relationship or an era, inviting the listener to set off on their own path.
32. I’ll Fly Away — Johnny Cash
“I’ll Fly Away” has been covered many times, but Johnny Cash’s version is nigh irresistible. This old Gospel song is technically about leaving this life to go to heaven — but the metaphor is valid for earthly farewells, too.
33. Don’t Speak — No Doubt
Ska band No Doubt released their song “Don’t Speak” in 1995. The song is about telling someone farewell and asking them to let you finish without interruption, while reflecting on the memories of your time together.
34. Don’t Forget to Remember Me — The Bee Gees
The Bee Gees did so much more than Stayin’ Alive. On the same album was their 1970 song “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”, which is all about holding on to memories after saying goodbye to someone.
35. Goodbye, Goodbye — Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara’s 2013 hit “Goodbye, Goodbye” earned an award for Best Pop Video. The song is about recognizing that a relationship can’t continue and choosing to say goodbye is sometimes the best option.
36. Home We’ll Go — Walk Off the Earth
WOTE’s collaboration with Steve Aoki isn’t about saying goodbye to a person, but it is about taking leave of a period of life. “Home We’ll Go” is all about overcoming difficulties together and then heading back home with your loved one.
37. Dusty Old Dust — Woody Guthrie
First recorded in 1935, the song’s chorus repeatedly bids the listener farewell, thanking them for the memories. The singer recognizes that it’s time to move on, signaling the end of an era.
38. I’m Movin’ On — Rascal Flatts
Sometimes, even painful goodbyes can be a good thing. In Rascal Flatts “I’m Movin’ On”, the singer reflects on moving to a new home and suggests that, even though it’s difficult to bid friends and family farewell, this is a good development nonetheless.
39. The Long and Winding Road — The Beatles
One of the last hits of The Beatles was the 1970 hit “The Long and Winding Road”. The lyrics reflect on how, in some relationships, reunification is inevitable, even if you have said goodbye many times before.
40. Castle on the Hill — Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran’s hit “Castle on the Hill” might not be explicitly about saying goodbye, but it is about leaving home and thinking back on the memories of one’s childhood.
41. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye — Steam
Released in 1969, Steam’s song has become a favorite for graduations and sports games. The song’s hypnotic chorus with its repetitive “hey, hey, goodbye,” makes it a fun farewell tune.
42. Up Up and Away — The Fifth Dimension
“Up Up and Away” is an upbeat, hopeful song that is less about saying goodbye and more about moving on to bigger and better things. It’s perfect for commemorating a retirement, graduation, or move to a new home.
43. Seasons in the Sun — Westlife
“Seasons in the Sun” is apt to get your tears flowing as you say goodbye. The song is written from the perspective of a man who knows he is about to die and hopes his friends remember him and make new memories together.
44. Song to Say Goodbye — Placebo
This haunting, dark song might feel heavy, but it draws on the anguish of saying goodbye to someone that you love. There are a lot of emotions in saying goodbye — Placebo gives light to some of the darker ones.
45. I’ll Be Seeing You — Cat Power
“In I’ll Be Seeing You”, Cat Power bids a loved one a gentle and tender goodbye. There’s no bitterness at the end of this relationship, just respect and gratefulness for the sweet memories that they share.
46. You Raise Me Up — Josh Groban
Josh Groban’s cover of “You Raise Me Up” might not explicitly be about saying goodbye, but it is a moving tribute to a beloved friend and the support they’ve given you. It could fit any kind of relationship.
47. East Bound and Down — Jerry Reed
Jerry Reed’s song about taking beer across state lines is technically a goodbye song, but it’s a fun and upbeat one. You’ll want to turn this one on for your next road trip!
48. The Power of Goodbye — Madonna
It’s hard to choose which of Madonna’s powerhouse ballads is the most moving, but “The Power of Goodbye” is definitely in the running. This captivating song is about the conflict between knowing it’s time to say goodbye and the desire to hang on.
49. Billy Goodbye — Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand’s 2021 hit “Billy Goodbye” is an eminently danceable and upbeat goodbye song. It’s bound to get you grooving through the chorus, which begs the listener to think back on the good times.
50. Beyond the Sea — Bobby Darin
“Beyond the Sea” is technically not about saying goodbye, but it is written from the perspective of two lovers who miss each other and long to reunite.
51. Who Says You Can’t Go Home — Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles
They always say that you can’t go home, but Bon Jovi’s song is a testament to the fact that that’s not always true. Many of us want to leave our hometown while we’re young only to regret it.
52. Farewell and Goodnight — Smashing Pumpkins
Smashing Pumpkins’ “Farewell and Goodnight” is a tender goodbye to a loved one, bidding farewell not just to the relationship but to all the things that the singer loves about them.
53. My Wish — Rascal Flatts
A favorite of retirement parties and graduations, Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish” bids a fond farewell while expressing wishes for the future. There are times when we know it’s time to say goodbye but still hope that good things are to come!
54. You’re My Best Friend — Queen
Is there anyone who can resist Freddie Mercury’s crooning vocals? This 1970s hit offers a nostalgic ballad to friends and great memories, even while preparing to leave them behind.
55. Hollywood Hills — Sunrise Avenue
Hollywood Hills is about saying goodbye to your home and thinking about all the familiar places you will miss. Most of us have had this experience and the song is bound to tug at your heartstrings!