Love Songs for Dead People
August 1, 2010 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Mixtapefilter: I'm working on a mix with the theme of love songs for dead people.

I think it's a great concept, but I don't have much to work with so far. Here's what I've got:

* "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" - Morrissey
* "Little Ghost" - White Stripes
* "I'll Shoot the Moon" - Tom Waits
* "I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy" - Antony & the Johnsons
* "Leader of the Pack" - The Shangri-La's
posted by princelyfox to Media & Arts (56 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Would the Who's "Pictures of Lily" count? He doesn't learn until the end that she's dead, of course.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 8:38 AM on August 1, 2010

"Last Kiss" by Pearl Jam (which I believe is a cover of an old 1950s teen melodrama song)
"Mark Rothko Song" by Dar Williams
posted by lunasol at 8:38 AM on August 1, 2010

Oh, and! "Holland, 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 8:40 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


More literal than what you want maybe: "Song for Nico," by Angels of Light.

Umm... wordless, but "Laura Palmer's Theme" from the Twin Peaks soundtrack?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:42 AM on August 1, 2010

I like the concept.

There are a number of Teenage Tragedy Songs (like Leader of the Pack, Last Kiss), many of which have to do with love.

Do they have to be rock-n-roll? There are also a ton of Murder Ballads on the topic (the catch is that they're generally sung from the perspective of the one who kills the loved one).
posted by cowboy_sally at 8:47 AM on August 1, 2010

The Curse by Josh Ritter
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's Tell Laura I Love Her and it's partner song Tell Tommy I Miss Him, which has the same tune, different words.
posted by jontyjago at 8:51 AM on August 1, 2010

I Am Stretched On Your Grave - Kate Rubsy does a great version.
posted by oulipian at 8:55 AM on August 1, 2010

"Laura Palmer's Prom" by You Say Party! We Say Die!
posted by kidbritish at 8:56 AM on August 1, 2010

Hmm, I'm pretty sure Voltaire has a selection of these. Let me go look.
posted by Night_owl at 9:03 AM on August 1, 2010

Try "Rebel Souls" by the Teen Idols. From the album "Full Leather Jacket" in 2000.
posted by Dr. ShadowMask at 9:03 AM on August 1, 2010

"Spooky" by either Dusty Springfield or the Classics IV.
posted by miasma at 9:05 AM on August 1, 2010

Indigo Girl's Ghost could be read as about a dead person (or just generally feeling the essence or memory of a person hanging around).

And, of course, Henry Lee is a love song to a dead person. :-) (You didn't say it mattered how they died...)
posted by frobozz at 9:09 AM on August 1, 2010

What about The one you really love by the Magnetic Fields? (video's some random show).

Although technically it's a person in love with a person in love with a dead person, but it's something.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:13 AM on August 1, 2010

Xiu Xiu's Ian Curtis Wishlist.
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 9:25 AM on August 1, 2010

Interpreting the word 'dead' broadly: Annie Lennox's Love Song for a Vampire
posted by deeparch at 9:30 AM on August 1, 2010

Tiger Mountain Peasant Song by Fleet Foxes.
posted by occidental at 9:34 AM on August 1, 2010

Cool Chick by Comateens
posted by kimdog at 9:34 AM on August 1, 2010

"Long Black Limousine" by Elvis Presley, off of From Elvis in Memphis.
posted by Madame Psychosis at 9:44 AM on August 1, 2010

"Bela Lugosi's Dead"
posted by sundrop at 9:51 AM on August 1, 2010

My Wife and My Dead Wife by Robyn Hitchcock
And I can't believe no one's yet mentioned Honey by Bobby Goldsboro. (Although it might put you off the whole concept...)
posted by Devoidoid at 9:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, lots of Voltaire songs probably work for this, but Dead Girls is the first that comes to mind.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:55 AM on August 1, 2010

Maybe Fall Asleep by Steel Train.

It wasn't written as a romantic love song, but it could be interpreted that way. And it's just a beautiful song.
posted by mekily at 9:57 AM on August 1, 2010

Maybe it's a bit literal, and not sung for a specific person, but I Love The Dead by Alice Cooper?
posted by Devoidoid at 10:03 AM on August 1, 2010

The first thing I thought of was The Exhumation of Virginia Madison by Strung Out.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2010

Would you consider including "The Long Black Veil" or "El Paso"? Both of those are sung BY the dead person to the one he loves.
posted by wisekaren at 10:17 AM on August 1, 2010

Also the classic "Long Black Veil" has been covered by hundreds of people. It's actually from the POV of a dead or soon-to-be dead person, but I think it works.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:17 AM on August 1, 2010

Ooops jinx.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:17 AM on August 1, 2010

Recently on Rock Town Hall with a decidedly 70s cant.
posted by rhizome at 10:22 AM on August 1, 2010

"Beloved Wife" by Natalie Merchant. Maybe "Casimir Pulaski Day" by Sufjan Stevens.
posted by thinman at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2010

This is probably not what you had in mind, but "Code Blue" by TSOL might work. Maybe.
posted by camneely at 10:45 AM on August 1, 2010

"Yellow Butterfly" by Meg and Dia has a mom singing about a little daughter who accidentally drowned on her watch. It's not romantic love, but it's love still, I guess. (It's a pretty haunting song)
posted by joyeuxamelie at 11:04 AM on August 1, 2010

"Your Ghost" by Kristin Hersh, with Michael Stipe singing harmony. So awesome!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 11:07 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Houses on the Hill" by Whiskeytown.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 11:22 AM on August 1, 2010

Oh My Darling Clementine!

Also, City Rain, City Streets is one (of apparently many?) of Ryan Adams' songs about his ex-girlfriend Carrie Hamilton, who died of cancer in 2002.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:30 AM on August 1, 2010

My first thought was Ween's Cold Blows The Wind, but after a little digging it turns out that this song has many admirers. So if their version doesn't tickle, you definitely have choices.
posted by Chichibio at 11:35 AM on August 1, 2010

Not romantic love, but certainly platonic love: A Man of Great Promise by the Style Council -- Paul Weller's eulogy for a close friend (and member of the original Jam lineup) who died of an overdose.

Also, Neil Finn's song The Climber was inspired by the death of Rob Hall during the 1996 Everest disaster.
posted by scody at 11:52 AM on August 1, 2010

Well, cowboy_sally mentioned Murder Ballads, and it reminded of the Nick Cave album of that name. Where the Wild Roses Grow (youtube vid) is played as a love song between two people, leading up to the twist... which is given away if you read the name of the album.

sample lyric: "I kissed her goodbye and said 'All beauty must die'"

The same album features a cover of the Bob Dylan song "Death is not the end" (youtube of cover version) which I think would make a perfect closer to a mixtape of this sort.
posted by aristan at 12:19 PM on August 1, 2010

Pet Shop Boys' Being Boring is a general lament for friends lost, if that helps?
posted by Sutekh at 12:45 PM on August 1, 2010

Tell Laura I Love Her is from the perspective of the dead one.

Have you thought about the totally obvious -- CANDLE IN THE WIND? (i've opted for the Lady Di version as that was the one my generation was subject to)
posted by custard heart at 12:57 PM on August 1, 2010

James Taylor - Fire and Rain
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2010

Violent Femmes - Johnny
posted by davey_darling at 1:57 PM on August 1, 2010

The Decemberists Yankee Bayonet
posted by troublewithwolves at 2:21 PM on August 1, 2010

ben folds five - magic
posted by somanyamys at 2:30 PM on August 1, 2010

Some more:

Lucy - the Divine Comedy (based on Wordsworth's Lucy poems)
Leilani - the Hoodoo Gurus (best ode to the tragedy of volcanic tribal sacrifice ever)
Hole in the River by Crowded House, about Neil Finn's aunt's suicide. (More broadly, nearly every song on Crowded House's Time on Earth album is infused with grief and love over the suicide of former drummer Paul Hester -- e.g., Pour le Monde. But this may be venturing further afield than the parameters of your question. Ditto Mother by John Lennon.)

If murder ballads are OK:
Delia's Gone - Johnny Cash
I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye - Willie Nelson
posted by scody at 4:11 PM on August 1, 2010

I second I'll follow you into the dark by Death Cab for Cutie. Also suggest that you listen to Long Black Veil as done by Mike Ness. (I'm sure there are a lot of great versions out there, I'm just fond of Mike Ness and Social Distortion.)

And it seems like Jason Webley should have something to offer, as he stages an annual concert each fall when he "dies" and another in the spring where he comes back to life. But I'm having trouble coming up with a specific song.
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:43 PM on August 1, 2010

Spoiler Alert! The entire Hospice album by The Antlers would fall pretty squarely under this theme. This song in particular deals with the moment of passing.
posted by dubusadus at 5:03 PM on August 1, 2010

Mystery - Hugh Laurie
posted by Abbril at 5:25 PM on August 1, 2010

Dearly Departed by Devotchka.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2010

Hmm, that link didn't go so well. "Dearly Departed." My apologies.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 9:12 PM on August 1, 2010

"Heroin Girl" - Everclear
"Paint A Vulgar Picture" - The Smiths
"Back On The Chain Gang" - The Pretenders
And I can't believe nobody's mentioned "Tears In Heaven" by Eric Clapton yet!
posted by SisterHavana at 9:44 PM on August 1, 2010

Okay, coming to chime in again. "Rest in Peace" -- James Marsters, on the Buffy soundtrack. More of a love song from a dead person, really.
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:31 PM on August 6, 2010

« Older Help a Pasty Sister Out   |   How to lose weight gained as SSRI side effect? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.