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Ideas for Funeral Songs

Updated on November 8, 2017

Consider the choices

There are differing views of what makes suitable funeral music. Many people choose a hymn, even though they, or their loved one, are not religious. This may be for lack of other ideas for funeral songs at a stressful time, or not wanting to step outside more traditional ways.

While these reasons are perfectly sound and understandable, you could make the service more personal by choosing music which meant something to your loved one, or expresses feelings of those attending.

Consider what you want the music to achieve. Should it reflect the sombre mood of the occasion? Maybe help people release emotion, or be a celebration of life? Would it be better to have something easily recognised, or a piece which makes you stop and listen, even come as a surprise?

Of course, you don't want to alienate anyone attending the funeral by choosing something they might deem inappropriate. One would hope that any guest who knew the person who had passed on would understand the choices made.

Ideas to think about

Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton

I believe I can Fly - R Kelly

When September Ends - Greenday

Song for Guy - Elton John

If Tomorrow Never Comes - Garth Brooks/Ronan Keating

Let it Be - The Beatles

Don't fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult

Unbreak my Heart - Toni Braxton

I have a Dream (I believe in angels) - Abba

The Long and Winding Road - The Beatles

How do I Live? - LeAnn Rimes

Kiss from a Rose - Seal

Freebird - Lynyrd Syknyrd

The Dance - Garth Brooks

Never Gonna leave your Side - Daniel Bedingfield

Make you feel My Love

When Adele sang this at the Albert Hall, she said it was for her friend, Amy Winehouse. Amy died at the age of 27. Adele gave a beautiful performance. In the full recording, she stepped to the side of the stage, and shed a few tears. It seems a fitting song for a lost loved one. It has to be said, several of Adele's songs could be suitable.

On a personal note

The last funeral I was involved in arranging, the person had made plans in advance, being elderly. She'd chosen every detail, apart from the music. We found that to be a stumbling block. There were no songs we assocciated with her, which came as a surprise.

We eventually picked a well known hymn, which was played so quietly at the end of the service, people could barely notice. Looking back, that seemed a shame, and fairly impersonal.

If you have a favourite song, why not raise the subject with someone close to you? It doesn't mean you're being morbid - you may well be helping them.

Dust in the wind by Kansas

Close your eyes by Michael Buble

More suggestions

Some people express a wish for an upbeat or reassuring song to be played at their service. While it may raise the odd eyebrow, there is nothing wrong with personal expression. Here are some suggestions.

Why Worry - Dire Straights

Always look on the Bright Side of Life - Eric Idle

Wish me Luck as you wave me Goodbye - Gracie Fields

Don't worry, Be happy - Bobby McFerrin

Que Serra, Serra - Doris Day

Spirit in the Sky - various artists

Coldplay - Fix You

What's the theme?

You may want to consider theme tunes from the large or small screen. Many could be suitable. For example..

Unchained Melody - varoius artists, used in the film Ghost

Inspector Morse theme - Barrington Phelung

Walking in the Air - various artists, used in The Snowman ( Aled Jones sang in the film)

Theme from The Godfather - Nino Rota

Bright Eyes - Simon and Garfunkle (Watership Down)

Lullaby - Pan's Labyrinth

Last of the Summer Wine theme tune

Titanic theme tune, My Heart will Go On - Celine Dion

The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand

James Blunt...Carry you home

Timeless Classic

Ending these ideas for funeral songs with a timeless classic, the beautiful Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues.

Wishing you peace and strength.


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    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 4 years ago from uk

      Thanks, FlourishAnyway, I appreciate your visit. My sister attended a funeral where "Wish me luck as you wave me Goodbye" was played. She said that for a split second, people were shocked, then realized it expressed the character of the loved one perfectly, and gave everyone a smile.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      I like the idea of uplifting songs to commemorate a loved one on their way to the next on this grand journey. You picked some good ones.

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 4 years ago from uk

      Thank you, billybuc, I confess to not knowing that song. Off to Youtube to listen.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      "Angel" by Sarah Mc....timeless and beautiful.

      Good list in an unusual hub. :)