Have you ever considered, when you finally face your final curtain, what song you’d like to soundtrack its closing swish? Many have, but, surprisingly, many more have not. However, if you don’t consider it, you may be burdening others with the decision-making process. Worse yet, they might select the wrong song.
Choosing funeral music is more difficult than it appears. It has to be exactly right — encapsulating your entire life in a few minutes, and there are only a few songs that meet the bill. However, there’s a strong chance it’ll be one of these 50 most popular funeral songs when you ultimately make your decision. You’ll see why they made this list if you pay attention to their lyrics.
“My Way” is a straight-up pop monolith as well as a musical memorial for many. Paul Anka wrote the English lyric, and while Sinatra didn’t think much of it at the time, calling the phrase “boastful,” it became one of his most well-known songs, beloved enough that people would choose it as their last musical choice.
“Now that the end is in sight, I must face the last curtain.” It’s no surprise that Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” has been a funeral staple since its premiere in 1969, with an opening couplet like that. Everyone has put their stamp on this classic, from the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious to Elvis Presley.
The chart-topping hit by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth was born out of tragedy. The song is dedicated to Paul Walker, the Fast and Furious actor who died in a vehicle accident in 2013. Since then, many bereaved people have found solace in the song’s hopeful lyrics about seeing a loved one again.
The Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth hip-hop ballad was composed by the latter with a college friend who died in a 2012 motorbike accident in mind before the directors commissioned it as a way of sending Walker and his character Brian O’Conner out and added the rapper to the mix.
“My Heart Will Go On,” the movie theme song for the blockbuster hit “Titanic,” is one of Celine Dion’s most popular songs. If you read the song’s lyrics carefully, you’ll notice that it has a deeper meaning than just love and separation.
The song, like the film, deals with the loss of a loved one due to death. You can’t help but think about all of the nice things you’ve done together during the funeral services of the people you care about, as well as how your life will move forward after their deaths.
Sam Smith’s performance of “Lay Me Down” solidifies his status as a great singer. The song is about his desire to be with his girlfriend as he dies. As a result, “Lay Me Down” is an excellent choice for a funeral ceremony. Smith is expressing his grief over the loss of his partner in this song.
The song’s lyrics indicate that he wishes to lay down with his girlfriend on the casket, exactly like they do every day.
People who live life to the fullest frequently say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” As a result, Bon Jovi’s rock song of the same name is probably an appropriate method to honor individuals whose passing has allowed them to rest finally.
The concert tour took place in the second half of 1993, following the Keep the Faith Tour, which promoted the multi-platinum album Keep the Faith, released in 1992. The tour returned to Europe, Asia, North America, and nations like Australia and Argentina that had not been visited during the previous year’s Keep the Faith tour.
The Waterboys’ folk-rock band initially published “How Long Will I Love You” at the turn of the century. Ellie Goulding, nearly a quarter-century later, breathed fresh life into the song. Yes, for a British charity telethon, the pop singer recorded the acoustic ballad, and its touching proclamation of unconditional love has since become a firm favorite at funerals.
Goulding said of her participation, “I grew up watching BBC Children in Need, so I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s single! It’s an emotional song, and the fantastic response it’s had so far has blown me away.”
Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” was voted the most popular funeral song in the United Kingdom in 2002. Australian performer Kamahl first performed the heartbreaking song, and several musicians covered it before reaching the legendary singer/actress, including Sheena Easton and Gladys Knight.
Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” is a beautiful funeral song that speaks to the heart. The song has a solemn melody that appeals to all generations, old and new, and the message it conveys is even more powerful.
Andrea Bocelli, a tenor, has recorded “Con te partir” in three languages: Spanish, Italian, and English. However, it was the final version, which was a duet with pop star Sarah Brightman, that drew the most attention. It has been performed and recorded many times and in many different forms.
Nowadays, some people choose music to conventional hymns for their funerals to help their families say their goodbyes most distinctively and beautifully possible. The song “Time to Say Goodbye” is a common choice for funeral music.
Remember that you don’t always have to employ a solemn tone when learning how to write a eulogy. While losing someone close to you might be heartbreaking, it can also be beneficial to remind everyone of all the positive memories they have left behind.
When it comes to selecting music to play during a funeral, the same may be said. A joyful and upbeat song can be a better alternative to the normal, depressing selections heard during worship.
If I saw you in heaven, would you recognize my name? “Would it be the same if I met you in heaven?” asks Eric Clapton in his emotionally charged popular song. It reached the top 10 in more than 20 countries and won Grammys for Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance when it was released in 1991.
Like many beloved ballads, the song’s development was significantly impacted by its creator’s emotional state. Clapton’s sadness stemmed from the death of his 4-year-old son Conor in a car accident.
“If Tomorrow Never Comes” has been a major hit for two different artists. Indeed, 1989 saw Nashville. With the story of a man who wonders how his partner would deal if he died suddenly, Garth Brooks achieves his first Billboard Country Singles chart number one. Former Boyzone frontman- Ronan Keating topped the UK charts with his incredible cover 13 years later.
Brooks’s debut song with partner Kent Blazy was “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” which encourages listeners to express to their loved ones how they feel about them while they’re still living.
Soon after suffering a stroke, Luther Vandross wrote “Dance with My Father,” which he died of two years later. The song is a homage to Luther’s late father and is particularly heartbreaking because it was one of Luther’s final compositions.
Luther’s father died while he was young, and his favorite memory is of him dancing with the kids in the house – therefore, the song. The song was nominated for Grammys for Best Male R & R&B Vocal Performance, Song Of The Year, and Best R & R&B Album.
Of course, some people choose to be a little more playful with their funeral music of choice. The title tune from AC/1979 DC’s album “Highway to Hell” inspired Angus Young’s portrayal of the traveling lifestyle. It’s also served to lighten the tone during various funeral services, taking on a more tongue-in-cheek meaning.
“Some of the more strange songs we hear work quite well within the service because they express the person’s character,” said a Centennial Park official.
Coldplay’s discography is littered with songs that sound like contemporary hymns. The 2005 smash “Fix You,” with its church organ-like background and lyrical message of mourning, is possibly their most funeral-appropriate song. That isn’t all, though. Chris Martin, the band’s leader, has even called the X&Y track their “most essential song.”
Perhaps he’s implying that, despite such immense loss, you can finally come to terms with it and reach a level of clarity that will allow you to move past the empty/surreal feeling and into a place where you feel alive and comfortable once again.
Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” has everything a great funeral song should have: emotional words, a catchy tune, and soul. The first few sentences can be related to practically everybody who has lost a loved one, but they also feel quite personal. The Nat King Cole lyrics transport you back to happy memories and wonderful experiences in just a few minutes.
Take a moment to listen to Nat King Cole’s words if you’re having trouble coming up with a selection of funeral tunes. “Unforgettable” may be the one tried-and-true funeral music that uniquely speaks to you.
The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” often misunderstood as a love ballad, is performed from the perspective of a stalker. However, 14 years later, Puff Daddy and his band decided to turn the 1983 smash into a heartfelt tribute song. “I’ll Be Missing You” was released just months after The Notorious B.IG. died, and it quickly became part of the canon of funeral-friendly pop songs.
The song topped the charts in several countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. With over 1.4 million copies sold, it is the best-selling rap track in the UK.
Snow Patrol, a Scottish Northern Irish band, wrote “Chasing Cars” for the Grey’s Anatomy season finale in 2006. The song was an instant hit. “Chasing Cars” is still selling in various nations years after it first aired. It went on to become the 14th best-selling single in the United Kingdom.
Gary Lightbody, the band’s lead singer, described “Chasing Cars” as the “purest love song I’ve ever written” in an interview with Rolling Stone. Perhaps this is why so many people associate this music with funerals. “Chasing Cars” is one of the most popular songs in UK history, even outside of funerals.
This song by Mariah Carey and the Boyz II Men is a tribute to David Cole, who died of an illness on January 24, 1995. Many singers have recorded covers and renditions of the song to this day.
Because we never know when they’ll say goodbye, “One Sweet Day” delivers a message of expressing significance, care, and happiness to those we love. Regrets arise when we take someone for granted and fail to express our gratitude for their presence in our lives.
The simplest words as it appears can sometimes be the most effective. Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” as a farewell to Porter Wagoner, her long-time mentor and ex-boyfriend. Two decades later, Whitney Houston’s bombastic performance gave the song to a new audience, and both versions have consistently appeared on published lists of funeral favorites.
Decades later, it was presented to composer David Foster by actor Kevin Costner, who rewrote the song as a pop music ballad for Houston, who recorded it for the 1992 film “The Bodyguard.”
One of the more literal funeral song options is “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” Bob Dylan originally wrote the folk-rock epic for the 1973 western Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. However, the version recorded by Sunset Strip thrashers Guns N’ Roses has grown more popular among the bereaved.
The tone of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” portrays a sense of desperation; it captures the deep-seated terror we may feel in the moments leading up to an unplanned, definite death. Acceptance is also present in the lyrics, acceptance of what the speaker perceives to be the end and beginning of one thing and another.
Eric Idle of Monty Python performs the song. The comedian wrote it for the cult comedy troupe’s film Life of Brian, released in 1979. It has now become a popular soccer stadium chant as well as a humorous farewell.
The song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” was written to spoof the Disney movie song style. It could be considered a response song to the entire genre, especially to songs like Pinocchio’s “Give a Little Whistle.” Its appearance at the end of the film, when the main character appears to be doomed, is ironic.
Ed Sheeran is an English singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor who has received numerous awards for his memorable album names and catchy songs that can capture the hearts of both ladies and boys. In the United Kingdom, he has been certified seven times platinum. Ed Sheeran began his career by auditioning and singing in tiny places and eventually gained fame for his debut track “The A-Team.”
Because it was too personal for Ed, the song Supermarket Flowers wasn’t featured on the album Divide. His grandfather was the one who persuaded him to include it because it was a special memory for his grandma, who had passed away.
Hundreds of singers have covered the love song “Always on My Mind” over the years. For example, Willie Nelson won a Grammy in 1982, while Pet Shop Boys topped the UK charts five years later. However, one of the more somber funeral hymns is Elvis Presley’s 1972 rendition, which was recorded shortly after his marriage ended.
His energizing renditions of songs and sexually provocative performance style, along with a singularly potent blend of influences from all walks of life during a pivotal period in race relations, made him both popular and controversial.
The song “Dancing Queen” may appear to be an unusual choice for a funeral. On the other hand, the Swedes were known for disguising melancholy elements within their upbeat Swedish pop sound. Some feel that this 1976 song is sung from a woman’s perspective, reflecting on her youth and realizing that it has passed her by forever.
Since its release, Abba’s most well-known song, Dancing Queen, has filled dance floors worldwide. George McCrae’s 1974 dance classic Rock Your Baby served as an influence for the song.
Robbie Williams’ hallmark hit “Angels” was the first song he co-wrote with regular collaborator Guy Chambers. And the moving ballad, written for the late uncle and aunt of the former Take That star, is still one of their favorites. With its talk of salvation, the Life Thru a Lens cut has become a regular sound at funerals in the United Kingdom.
Robbie Williams sings about his guardian angel, who provides him with protection and affection in this song. This song is about Williams’ obsession with the paranormal, according to his biographer Chris Heath: “When I wrote ‘Angels,’ I believed that stuff – that’s why I wrote ‘Angels.'”
“You Raise Me” has been a hit for Irish groups Westlife and Celtic Woman and Welsh tenor Aled Jones. On the other hand, Josh Groban was the first musician to bring the stirring song to the attention of the globe in 2003. Originally, the song was written by Rolf Leland, the frontman of the new age group Secret Garden, who also sung it at his mother’s burial.
“You Raise Me” is a stirring hymn that has the power to heal our damaged hearts and souls. The words and lyrics are powerful enough to remind us how fortunate we are to have God with us.
“Over the Rainbow,” written for the 1940 film The Wizard of Oz, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It also became Judy Garland’s hallmark tune, which everyone covered from Israel Kamakawiwo’ole to Ariana Grande.
Judy Garland wrote a letter to lyricist Harold Arlen, “‘Over the Rainbow’ has become part of my existence.” It’s so symbolic of everyone’s dreams and wishes that I’m sure it brings tears to some people’s eyes when they hear it. I’ve sung its tens of thousands of times, and it’s still my favorite song.
“Make You Feel My Love,” a late Bob Dylan classic, first released on the legendary troubadour’s 1997 album Time Out of Mind. A decade later, it was given a fresh lease on life when Adele, one of the most successful contemporary musicians, sang the song.
You couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a cheerful song about expressing love or a sad song about telling someone who doesn’t love you that you love them when you first heard it. You can make the words express any emotion you desire because they are so wonderfully worded and strong.
“Stairway to Heaven” is one of the funeral canon’s longest pop/rock songs, clocking in at eight minutes and two seconds. Led Zeppelin covered the song for their fourth album in 1971. The slow-building but ultimately majestic sound has often been chosen by fans as the ideal musical send-off.
This is a song that encourages us to follow our hearts and do what we know is right. It reveals how others around us are engrossed in life’s temporal pleasures and never reach spiritual consciousness. Nonetheless, it accepts that many of us have internal conflicts.
For many years, Vera Lynn’s 1939 classic has been a popular choice for funeral services. It was written on the eve of World War II, and it reflected the feelings of many families who had to say their goodbyes as their loved ones went off to fight. This British tune, however, is more than just a piece of history.
Many individuals have used Vera Lynn’s piercing voice as a memorial to a loved one because it offers hope amid loss in a universally appealing way. Queen Elizabeth II mentioned the song in her speech about the world’s challenges in 2020.
The rock titans Aerosmith recorded “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” for the blockbuster Armageddon, making it one of the ultimate movie ballads of the 1990s. After more than a quarter-century in the business, it handed Steven Tyler and his band their first number one hit in the United States. Many bereaved people have used it to say their final goodbyes to a loved one.
Its triumph coincided with the film’s phenomenal box office performance, helping to introduce a new generation of fans to a band that had already been around for nearly 30 years.
Syd Barrett, a member of Pink Floyd’s band, is the subject of the song. Barrett’s addiction to LSD cost him a significant portion of his life and creative abilities, forcing him to leave the band in 1968.
This was a moment when the band was riding high on the success of their single The Dark Side of the Moon, and there was a lot of pressure to do something to match it. Barrett attempted to resurrect his music career by going solo, but his mental breakdowns got the better of him at the time.
“You have to know when to hold them, when to fold them/When to walk away when to run.” Throughout the story of an encounter with a gambler, Kenny Rogers’ Grammy winner appears to offer various pieces of wisdom.
This 1978 hit also serves as an appropriate self-penned obituary, with one verse proclaiming, “the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep.” Rogers was a true crossover artist, with songs in both country and mainstream music.
In 1971, singer-songwriter John Denver’s ballad “Take Me Home, Country Roads” came close to reaching number one. Co-written by Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff, the song is about a man’s longing to return home to West Virginia. It’s also been employed by bereaved families who desire to assist in guiding their loved ones to a better place.
It could be regarded as a funeral or cremation song to signify that the deceased is finally going home and reunited with the Lord in Heaven. It is about letting go of a loved one and allowing them to continue on their journey once their earthly life has come to an end.
Bill Withers laments losing a loved one who takes the sunshine with them when they depart in this soul classic. Even though it wasn’t composed about death, the song has become a natural complement to funerals.
A tumultuous fictional love inspired the renowned singer in the 1960s film Days of Wine and Roses. Withers told SongFacts.com, “They were both alcoholics who alternated between being weak and strong.” “It’s like taking rat poison for a second time. He said, “Sometimes you miss things that weren’t especially beneficial for you.”
“I Miss You,” co-written with Frank Ocean, was Beyoncé’s desire to write a classic that she could perform well into old age. The song, which was inspired by the 1980s, has since become one of the superstar’s most popular ballads. Its theme of longing for a past spouse has struck a chord with many suffering people who desire to say their final goodbyes to their departed loved.
In “I Miss You,” Beyoncé, as the heroine, reflects on her relationship with her love interest, with whom she had broken up; nonetheless, she still pines for him and feels self-conscious about it.
In response to the nihilism of the grunge movement, Noel Gallagher wrote one of Oasis’ most anthemic and upbeat songs. “Seems to me that there was a person who had everything and was sad about it,” the outspoken guitarist stated in the Stop the Clocks DVD, referring to Kurt Cobain.
And I still believed getting out of bed in the morning was the best thing ever because you never knew where you’d end up at night.” While this is only a sample of contemporary rock music, it demonstrates a strong rejection of previous conceptions of death and a hopeful outlook for the future!
“Because this life is a bittersweet symphony/Trying to make ends meet, you’re a slave to the money, and then you die,” she says. The Verve’s anthemic 1997 smash may not be the most optimistic song about our time on this planet. Many people still think of it as a means to send a loved one farewell in style because of its passionate strings.
Bitter Sweet Symphony is a 1997 album that explores the ups and downs of life. Unless you let the pursuit of money and goods dictate your life, life is short, and that is what makes it special.
Queen is a well-known brand when it comes to funeral music. However, “The Show Must Go On” is possibly their most appropriate song. Freddie Mercury’s terminal sickness, you see, inspired the epic rock ballad. And the frontman’s health was so severe in the studio that his band members were terrified he wouldn’t be able to finish the song.
On the other hand, Mercury managed to muster enough strength to deliver the song’s inspiring message admirably. The song’s lyrics are about pressing on and making the most of life while you still have it. It’s invariably a reference to Mercury’s deteriorating health and his attitude toward life.
Some funeral homes encourage mourners to avoid songs about fire, especially if the service is to be cremated. However, a popular pick for individuals who can still find humor in a sad scenario is Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
The song was based on the poem Love’s Ring Of Fire, and it was first recorded as “(Love’s) Ring Of Fire.” by June Carter’s sister, Anita, before The Man in Black brought it to the top of the charts in 1963. Cash held out on releasing his track to allow her a chance to chart.
The song “Sailing” by Rod Stewart has been used for a variety of purposes. Following the Falklands War, it was said to have been used to motivate the British Navy. It is also often screamed out on the terraces by fans of the singer’s favorite Scotland soccer team.
However, the Atlantic Crossing album cut has become most known for its use as a funeral song in recent years. For all of the water, sailing, and boating folks, Rod Stewarts Sailing never disappoints! It is such a beautiful song and one that everyone knows and likes!
Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote You’ll Never Walk Alone in 1945 for the musical Carousel. Many artists have covered the song, including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Johnny Cash, and Josh Groban, but Gerry and The Pacemakers’ version is one of the most well-known.
During the 1940s, it was common for this song to be played at funerals as a memorial to loved ones who had died in World War 2. The song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has also become the anthem of Liverpool Football Club in England, and it is played before every home game.
Tina Turner’s 1989 single is an obvious funeral song pick simply because its title is sometimes incorrectly referred to as “Simply the Best.” Bonnie Tyler was the first big-voiced diva to get her hands on the tune, in case you didn’t know. The motivational anthem, however, was made famous by the Queen of Rock and Roll.
Some people even listen to this music while penning funeral poetry for a loved one who has passed away. If you read the song’s lyrics, you’ll notice that it’s about a couple that deeply loved each other; nevertheless, something happened that caused them to split up.