Planning a funeral while you’re grieving can be a huge challenge. If you’re looking for the best songs for funerals to honor your loved one, we have 55 of the best options.
These songs cover every genre and mood imaginable to give the audience specific feelings and sentiments based on you and your loved one’s desires:
1. Amazing Grace — Various Artists
Amazing Grace might just be one of the most popular funeral songs of all time. This 1779 hymn is even used in secular settings, making it a great choice for any kind of funeral or memorial service.
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2. Hallelujah — Jeff Buckley
Almost everyone knows Jeff Buckley’s tender ballad Hallelujah. It is beautiful in its original piano version but can also be adapted to the guitar or other instrument.
3. You Can Close Your Eyes — James Taylor
James Taylor’s sweet ballad reassures the listener that they can lay down and rest. The song switches, making it unclear whether the dying person is the singer or listener — or maybe can be interpreted as either.
4. Tears in Heaven — Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton wrote this touching song after his four-year-old son died in a tragic accident. But even if you don’t know the story behind it, Tears in Heaven is bound to get your own tears flowing.
5. My Way — Frank Sinatra
My Way is a popular choice for funerals, a goodbye from the singer to his loved ones. In it, he reflects on his life choices and challenges, and concludes that no matter what happened, he is satisfied that he lived life on his own terms.
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6. Supermarket Flowers — Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran’s song “Supermarket Flowers” tells the story of a man packing up his mother’s things just a few days after her death. She’s still present in all of the small things, including the dishes left in the sink and the tea left in a cup.
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7. Go Rest High on That Mountain — Vince Gill
“Go Rest High on That Mountain” is a hopeful song that speaks directly to the person who has died. In it, the singer urges them to run forward into heaven and be happy about arriving at their eternal reward.
8. You Raise Me Up — Josh Groban
“You Raise Me Up” was originally written for a funeral, but it wasn’t until Josh Groban’s moving cover that the song became widely known. Today, it’s a popular choice for memorial services of all kinds, a tribute to a person who offered unfaltering support to their loved ones.
9. Forever Young — Rod Stewart
“Forever Young” almost sounds like a variation on a traditional Irish blessing. Its opening verses ask the listener to live a good life and know that they are loved. In doing so, they will remain forever young — at least in memory.
10. The Blower’s Daughter — Damien Rice
“The Blower’s Daughter” isn’t about death or dying, but it is about missing someone who occupies your whole mind. The sweet, sad lyrics are well suited to a funeral, and can even be covered for a live performance.
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11. A Thousand Years — Christina Perri
Christina Perri’s song “A Thousand Years” has become linked to the Twilight series, but on its own, it’s a simple love song about being there for someone. “I have loved you for a thousand years, I’ll love you for a thousand more…”
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12. My Immortal — Evanescence
“My Immortal” is about comforting someone through their grief. When a loved one dies, we have to stick together and support one another, even if it feels like it’s not enough. Evanescence’s song is all about someone who is there to comfort you during the hard times.
13. Pie Jesu — Traditional
“Pie Jesu” is part of a Requiem Mass. The best known version is from Faure’s Requiem, composed in the 1890s. It has been covered countless times ever since, from Sarah Brightman to Celtic Woman. The lyrics are a plea to Jesus to give the deceased peace.
14. One More Day — Diamond Rio
“One More Day” is a reflection on what you would say to someone who has passed away if you could just see them one more time. It’s a sentiment that most of us can probably relate to, and one of the hardest life lessons to learn.
15. Time to Say Goodbye — Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
“Time to Say Goodbye” brings together Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli, two of the most talented opera singers of our time. Their beautiful performance is enough to make you sob as they sing about the difficulty of saying goodbye to someone you love.
16. Be Thou My Vision — Traditional
“Be Thou My Vision” is a traditional hymn with a simple but beautiful melody. It can be played on a piano, organ, or guitar, and has an element of nostalgia that fits right in at a funeral. The most recent cover was done by Christian singer Audrey Assad.
17. We’ll Meet Again — Vera Lynn
Vera Lynn recorded “We’ll Meet Again” in 1939, and its simple melody and sweet lyrics have made it a perennial favorite. It has been covered many times in the decades since, including by Johnny Cash. The song is all about hoping to reunite with a loved one but not knowing when that will be.
18. Hero — Mariah Carey
“Hero” is about finding someone who saves you from pain and trouble. It can be used as a touching tribute at a funeral for someone who exemplified this role in other people’s lives. That might mean as a teacher, parent, community helper, or even just as a friend.
19. I’ll Be Seeing You — Billie Holiday
Billie Holliday was one of the best female singers of the twentieth century, and her haunting vocals aren’t soon forgotten. In “I’ll Be Seeing You”, she sings about knowing she’ll see a loved one, if not in person, then in all the familiar things that they have touched.
20. I’ll See You Again — Westlife
So many songs on this list are about the hope of seeing a loved one again. That’s one of the hardest parts of being bereaved, and Westlife describes it beautifully: “In my darkest hour I tell myself I’ll see you again, see you again…”
21. Temporary Home — Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood’s Christian faith comes out in her song “Temporary Home”, which compares moving to a new house to the knowledge that life on earth is temporary. Christians believe they shouldn’t fear death because it is simply a way of going to their true home.
22. Asleep — The Smiths
Sometimes, death is a long time coming. Oftentimes the people that we bereave at a funeral had an illness or disease for months or years before they finally pass over to the other side. Singing the words from The Smiths at the funeral can be appropriate in these situations: “Don’t feel bad for me/I want you to know/Deep in the cell of my heart/I will feel so glad to go.”
23. Spirit in the Sky — Norman Greenbaum
Norman Greenbaum’s hopeful 1969 ballad expresses no fear for death; the lyrics are all about how he looks forward to going to where he belongs and living a second life with a “spirit in the sky”. Whether you believe that or not, it’s a beautiful image.
24. Dance With My Father — Luther Vandross
“Dance With My Father” is about remembering small things and wishing you could experience them again. The lyrics describe a father dancing with his small child. Now grown, the child wishes he could dance with his father one more time.
25. When I’m Gone — Joey + Rory
“When I’m Gone” is written from the perspective of a mother preparing for her own death and helping her child prepare, too. Not all of us get the chance to get ready for our final days, so the lyrics imagine what we would say if we had the opportunity.
26. Only For You — Heartless Bastards
“Only For You” isn’t about grieving, but it is about a relationship with someone you love so much, they’re the only one you could bare your heart to. Depending on your relationship with the deceased, it could be a perfect choice for the funeral.
27. Follow the Sun — Xavier Rudd
“Follow the Sun” is a song about how the days keep passing, the world keeps turning, and time will always march on. For some people, it can be a comforting thought after losing a loved one.
28. The Call — Regina Spektor
This song never fails to give us shivers. Regina Spektor’s sweet voice is the perfect carrier for the mournful melody. The lyrics reassure the listeners that there is no need to ever tell each other goodbye, because you’ll be together once again in the future.
29. Angel — Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan is known far and wide for her sweet voice, which is perfect for songs like this. Angel might be considered a bit overdone, but there is a reason that it’s a classic. No matter what you think, the plaintive melody is bound to stir emotions.
30. Go On Without Me — Brett Eldredge
“Go On Without Me” is about knowing that it’s your time to go and hoping that your family learns to be happy without you. It might just be the hardest thing we ever have to do.
31. Life is Eternal — Carly Simon
Carly Simon’s beautiful song is about how we look at death as a horizon — we just don’t understand that it is only one perspective, and there’s so much more beyond it.
32. Broken Halos — Chris Stapleton
In “Broken Halos”, the singer reflects on how everyone who has passed away is someone who was loved and cherished by the people in their life.
33. How Long Will I Love You — Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding shows her tender side in “How Long Will I Love You”, in which she reflects on how love is eternal and unyielding, no matter what comes.
34. Live Like You Were Dying — Tim McGraw
“Live Like You Were Dying” is a country ballad about a man who learns his father is dying. His father’s advice is to live every day as though it could be your last.
35. Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) — Billy Joel
Lullabye is a record of the evening conversations Billy Joel had with his daughter. He reflects on how those memories will last forever.
36. Satisfied Mind — Jeff Buckley
Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Satisfied Mind” is a reflection on the most important things in life and how all the riches in the world can’t replace them.
37. Feels Like Home — Chantal Kreviazuk
Chantal Kreviazuk’s song could be interpreted as a love song, but ultimately it’s about a person who makes you feel safe and at home. It’s a beautiful melody for paying tribute to a loved one who has passed on.
38. Candle in the Wind — Elton John
Elton John first composed Candle in the Wind in honor of Marilyn Monroe on her death in 1962. It was rearranged 35 years later for Princess Diana’s memorial service, and it remains a popular song for funerals today.
39. If Tomorrow Never Comes — Garth Brooks
“If Tomorrow Never Comes” is a country ballad about saying the important things. The singer ponders if his wife will know how much he loved her if he died suddenly.
40. See You Again — Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth
Sometimes even after someone has died, we can imagine what it would be like to meet them and talk about our day. “See You Again” is about meeting with friends that you miss.
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41. Drops of Jupiter — Train
Train lead singer Pat Monahan composed “Drops of Jupiter” after having a dream about his late mother, visiting him after exploring the constellations. No matter what you believe about the afterlife, it’s a beautiful metaphor and perfect for a funeral.
42. Keg on my Coffin — Chris Trapper
Save this song for the funeral of someone with a sense of humor, but “Keg on my Coffin” is a surprisingly sweet and gentle song. The singer urges mourners to keep the good times rolling after he is gone, and “smile and know I loved you ‘til the end.”
43. Ave Maria — Various Artists
Religious and secular people alike love the song “Ave Maria,” and you’ll hear it performed at weddings and funerals of all kinds. The song is familiar to most of us, and it has been covered countless times. But no matter how many times you hear it, it’s still breathtaking.
44. A Picture of Me (Without You) — George Jones
Many of us can relate to feeling like part of us is missing after losing a loved one. George Jones’ song compares grieving to a colorless sky, a world without music, or an empty church. It’s a testament to one of the most difficult parts of grief — learning how to live without that person.
45. Wind Beneath My Wings — Bette Midler
Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” might just be one of the best power ballads of all time. But it’s a particularly poignant song, making it a favorite no matter how many times we hear it. It’s the perfect song to celebrate someone who lifted up those around them.
46. Angels Among Us — Alabama
Angels “Among Us” is a moving song about the people who help us throughout our lives. The singer speculates that some of them might be angels. Whether or not you believe something similar, you’d be hard-pressed to keep a dry eye during this song.
47. The Old Rugged Cross — Various Artists
Evangelist George Bennard wrote “The Old Rugged Cross” in 1912, and it’s remained one of the most popular hymns in the United States. This simple, beautiful hymn has been covered countless times and can be adapted for almost any instrument.
48. I Hope You Dance — Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” is a perfect contemporary send-off for a funeral. The lyrics speak of all one’s hopes for a person they love as they go off on their own path. They can just as easily apply to a person who has left this life.
49. Wish You Were Here — Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd might be an unconventional choice for a funeral, but of course, it depends on the person being celebrated! “Wish You Were Here” is about missing someone who has gone away, all while wrestling with some of life’s biggest questions.
50. If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away — Justin Moore
“If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” is about the experience of feeling like your departed loved ones are close and how strange it is to see the places where you made memories with them. They might be far from you, but their presence is still always on your mind.
51. Butterfly Kisses — Bob Carlisle
Bob Carlisle’s 1997 song isn’t about death or dying, but it is about the love of a father for his daughter and the pain of watching her grow up and learn to live without him. It can be a poignant choice for a father’s funeral, and there won’t be a dry eye in the audience.
52. Halo — Beyoncé
In its Top 40 version, Beyoncé’s “Halo” is a punch power ballad. But the singer also composed an acoustic version, which she sang on request for a terminally ill fan. The gentle performance brings out all the sweet parts of the singer’s voice, making it perfect for a funeral.
53. The Dance — Garth Brooks
Grief is a funny thing, as Garth Brooks reflects in his song “The Dance.” It can hurt so badly, but it’s also a reminder that losing it would mean never having the memories with our loved one who has gone on.
54. Only Time — Enya
Enya’s ethereal hit “Only Time” isn’t explicitly about grieving a lost loved one, but it is about how time is always moving on and we’ll learn the answers to life’s questions as it does. For some people, the knowledge that the world keeps turning no matter what happens can be a significant comfort.
55. Lay Me Down — Sam Smith
Sam Smith’s 2014 song describes all the complicated feelings of losing someone — grief, loneliness, and worrying that they’re all right. These emotions can be difficult to put into words when we’ve lost someone we love, which is one reason why music can help.
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