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Songs About Suicide

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Updated October 17, 2012

This is a collection of twenty songs written during the past several decades which have dealt with the dual themes of depression and suicide.

If you have found this page because you are having thoughts of taking your own life, please consider calling a doctor, a suicide hotline or emergency services for assistance. Depression is a treatable illness and you do not have to continue to suffer.

1. "Adam's Song" - Blink-182

According to blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge: "The story behind that is Mark read a letter someone sent him as an email, that a kid wrote before he committed suicide to his parents. We kind of got together and wrote this sad, slow song. It came out sadder than we ever thought it would, which is good too. Any song that moves you is good."

2. "Baby the Angels Are Here" - Wishbone Ash

This 1978 song written by Martin Turner was inspired by his tumultuous affair with an ex-girlfriend while he was still married to his wife. He became so depressed during this time that he ended up suicidal and spent several manic hours reading the Bible to cope with his emotions.

3. "Beyond the Realms of Death" - Judas Priest

Rob Halford's lyrics are about a depressed person who eventually dies, probably from suicide. A well-known 1990 trial claimed the song included a pro-suicide subliminal message.

4. "Breakdown" - Suede

Lead singer Brett Anderson wrote this about the depression and suicide of a close friend.

5. "Cleaning My Gun" - Chris Cornell

Explaining the song to Spinner magazine, Cornell said: "It's a joke about when somebody was feeling suicidal and went home and sort of pretended they're cleaning their gun and blow their head off. It was a metaphor for somebody who was in a bad way or a bad mood or feeling depressed."

6. "Close My Eyes Forever" - Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne

This song doesn't seem to have any particular inspiration. It was written by Ozzy and Lita during a night of drinking, jamming and getting stoned. It went on to be the only top 10 hit of Ozzy's solo career.

7. "Everybody Hurts" - R.E.M.

This anti-suicide song was written by drummer Bill Berry.

8. "Four Walls" - Staind

The album which this comes from, Tormented, is said to be a concept album about suicide.

9. "Gloomy Sunday" - Billie Holiday

This song was originally written in 1933 by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezso Seress, with Hungarian lyrics added by the poet Laszlo Javor. In the following years, several English language versions were recorded with alternate lyrics. Holliday's version included a third verse saying that she was "only dreaming" when she refers to suicide in the second verse. Her convincing delivery was probably inspired by her own struggles with alcohol and drug abuse.

10. "Headfirst For Halos" - My Chemical Romance

This song appears to have started as a joke. Gerard Way was quoted in the band's biography Something Incredible This Way Comes as saying, "if a song is extra catchy or poppy, I will make sure that the lyrics are so f-ed up and dark you can't play that song on the radio." The dual themes of suicide and drug abuse were probably intended to be in contrast to its upbeat sound.
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