Songs to play at a funeral

Kate BucklandBlog

When we think of funerals, we don’t immediately jump to thinking about songs to play at funerals and celebration. Even though funerals are sad occasions, it’s important to remember that they serve the purpose of celebrating a life, and music is an inherent part of celebration.

The music chosen for a loved one’s funeral plays an important role in setting the tone for the event. Music is a sensory, emotional experience, so it’s important to get it right. When choosing songs to play at funerals, there are a number of things to think about. Firstly, you should consider the preferences of the person who has passed away, and whether they had any favourite songs or had voiced any wishes about music to be played at their funeral or memorial service. If they have expressed such wishes, it’s important that these wishes are respected.

The next thing to consider is what you want to achieve through your choice of songs? If your lost loved one was religious, it may be that you decide to keep the funeral music to a selection of appropriate hymns, however even these can be used to uplift, provide comfort or to give a moment of reflection depending on the choice. In our experience as funeral directors, we often find that religious families choose to mix both hymns and other songs into the service.

The following is a list of songs we think are great for funerals. Some of them might not seem like songs to play at funerals, but listen to the lyrics if you are unsure and decide for yourself. These are not in any particular order and we have not categorised them. They are all great songs in their own right – some sombre, some emotional, some are uplifting and even a few humorous and quite possibly inappropriate songs in their very own list at the end.

Let us know if you have anything to add!

  1. You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up (Official Music Video) | Warner Vault – YouTube
  2. Take These Wings – This song is beautiful done by a pair of vocalists Take These Wings – YouTube
  3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow –OFFICIAL Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole – YouTube
  4. Amazing Grace [OFFICIAL VIDEO] Amazing Grace – Pentatonix – YouTube
  5. What a Wonderful World – WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD. – Louie Armstrong Cover by Abby Ward – YouTube
  6. My Way – Frank Sinatra – My Way (Remastered 2008) – YouTube
  7. Supermarket Flowers  Ed Sheeran – Ed Sheeran – Supermarket Flowers [Official Audio] – YouTube
  8. Halo – Beyonce – Beyoncé – Halo – YouTube
  9. Everywhere – Michele Branch Michelle Branch – Everywhere [Official Music Video] – YouTube
  10. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling The Calling – Wherever You Will Go (Official Video) – YouTube
  11. Follow the Sun – Xavier Rudd Xavier Rudd – Follow The Sun [official music video] – YouTube
  12. Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum Spirit In The Sky – YouTube
  13. I’ll See You Again – Westlife I’ll See You Again – YouTube
  14. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven (Official Video) – YouTube
  15. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings (Official Music Video) – YouTube
  16. Hero – Mariah Carey Mariah Carey – Hero (Official HD Video) – YouTube
  17. You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone (Official Video) – YouTube
  18. Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (Official Music Video) – YouTube
  19. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion Titanic – My Heart Will Go On (Music Video) – YouTube
  20. A Song For Dad – Keith Urban Song For Dad – YouTube
  21. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Guns N Roses or Bob Dylan Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – YouTube
  22. Love Me Now – John Legend John Legend – Love Me Now (Official Video) – YouTube
  23. If Tomorrow Never Comes – Ronan Keating or Garth Brooks Ronan Keating – If Tomorrow Never Comes – YouTube
  24. Time To Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli – Time To Say Goodbye – YouTube
  25. In The Arms of an Angel – Sarah McLachlan Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Video) – YouTube
  26. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python – Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (Official Lyric Video) – YouTube
  27. You’re My Best Friend – Queen Queen – You’re My Best Friend (Official Video) – YouTube
  28. See You On the Other Side – Ozzy Osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE – “See You On The Other Side” (Official Video) – YouTube
  29. Who Knew – P!nk P!nk – Who Knew (Official Video) – YouTube
  30. Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me) – YouTube
  31. Angels – John Farnham John Farnham – Angels – YouTube
  32. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars (Official Video) – YouTube
  33. Every Breath You Take – The Police or Puff Daddy The Police – Every Breath You Take (Official Video) – YouTube
  34. Together Again – Janet Jackson Together Again – YouTube
  35. Fathers and Daughters (Never Say Goodbye) Michael Bolton Fathers & Daughters Lyrics – Fathers & Daughters (Michael Bolton) – YouTube
  36. Mama – Il Divo Il Divo – Mama – YouTube
  37. One Sweet Day – Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men – One Sweet Day (Official Video) – YouTube
  38. Forever Young – Alphaville Alphaville – Forever Young (Official Music Video) – YouTube
  39. This Is Your Song – Ronan Keating or Elton John Ronan Keating – This Is Your Song (Official Video) – YouTube
  40. The Prayer – Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion Andrea Bocelli, Céline Dion – The Prayer – YouTube
  41. Pie Jesu – Hayley Westenra Pie Jesu – Hayley Westenra. – YouTube
  42. Sing Me To Heaven – Bradley Walker Bradley Walker – Sing Me To Heaven (Live) – YouTube
  43. When the Roll is Called Up Yonder – Alan Jackson When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder – YouTube
  44. Candle In The Wind – Elton John Elton John – Candle In The Wind – YouTube
  45. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (Official Video) – YouTube
  46. Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt James Blunt – Goodbye My Lover [OFFICIAL VIDEO] – YouTube
  47. Fly – Celine Dion Céline Dion – Fly (Official Audio) – YouTube
  48. Softly As I Leave You – Elvis Presley Elvis Presley – Softly, As I Leave You – YouTube
  49. My Old Friend – Tim McGraw My Old Friend – YouTube
  50. Fields of Gold – Eva Cassidy Eva Cassidy – Fields of Gold – YouTube
  51. Even Though I’m Leaving – Luke Combs Luke Combs – Even Though I’m Leaving (Official Video) – YouTube
  52. The Love I Leave Behind – Graeme Connors The Love I Leave Behind – YouTube
  53. Knee Deep – Zac Brown Band Zac Brown Band – Knee Deep Feat. Jimmy Buffett (Official Music Video) | You Get What You Give – YouTube
  54. Angel – Sarah McLachlan Angel – YouTube
  55. See You Again – Charlie Puth Wiz Khalifa – See You Again ft. Charlie Puth [Official Video] Furious 7 Soundtrack – YouTube
  56. The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – YouTube
  57. Jealous of the Angels – Donna Taggart Donna Taggart – Jealous Of The Angels (Official Music Video) – YouTube
  58. I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance (Official Music Video) – YouTube
  59. When You Believe – Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey – When You Believe (Official HD Video) – YouTube
  60. I’ve Had The Time of my Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life [Official Video] – YouTube

Funny and/or inappropriate funeral songs

It turns out that the use of inappropriate funeral songs is a thing these days… who knew?! We were very surprised to find that the following songs are actually quite popular for funerals.

We ask that you please judge the use of these songs very carefully in a funeral, however if the person who has passed was known for their great sense of humour and getting the last laugh then these just might go down a treat! However, don’t make this decision alone. Make sure you run it past the rest of the family too and if everyone is not in agreeance that your passed loved one would have seen the funny side, then it’s inappropriate to use any of these songs.

I’ll sleep When I’m Dead – Bon Jovi Bon Jovi – I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead – YouTube

Highway To Hell – ACDC AC/DC – Highway to Hell (Official Video) – YouTube

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead Munchkinland / Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead – YouTube

Another One Bites the Dust – Queen Queen – Another One Bites the Dust (Official Video) – YouTube

Going Underground – The Jam The Jam – Going Underground (Official Video) – YouTube

Ha Ha You’re Dead – Green Day Ha Ha You’re Dead – YouTube

You’re Gonna Die Soon – Sarah Silverman You’re Gonna Die Soon – YouTube

Roll me up and Smoke me When I Die – Willie Nelson Willie Nelson – Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die (live video) – YouTube

She’s a Zombie Now – The Meteors The Meteors – She’s A Zombie Now – YouTube

Light My Fire – The Doors The Doors – Light My Fire – YouTube