Let’s be honest, we’ve all thought about it, some maybe more than others. Which songs make up the perfect soundtrack for your final farewell? It’s a highly personal decision, and an opportunity to leave a lasting impression. We all want to decide how we are remembered and what better way to do that than with a carefully considered collection of favourite songs.
How do you want to make your mourners feel? Inspired to live life to the fullest? Do you want to give them a reason to laugh? Comfort them with a song that says ‘I’ve had a wonderful life and I’m ready’? It requires as much thought as choosing a first dance song, albeit a little less joyful.
Deciding on the perfect tune to bid family and friends a final adieu can be a tough gig. If you’re choosing on behalf of a loved one, it is even tougher. We’ve put together twenty of the best funeral songs to hopefully inspire you and make these decisions a little easier.
Uplifting funeral songs
Few people want to be remembered by a melancholy tune, instead opting for something that reflects their personality and how much they celebrated life.
‘My way’ by Frank Sinatra is a classic, empowering and uplifting funeral song, with heart-filling lyrics that are sure to prompt both smiles and tears.
‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is an updated, twinkly, enlightening version of the classic. The beautiful, inspiring lyrics will be endlessly comforting to loved ones of the deceased.
Many choose a song that is in stark contrast with the somber mood of the day to make people laugh. Some favourites of ours are ACDC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ and Queen’s ‘Another one bites the dust’. BeeGees ‘Staying Alive’ is another fantastically ironic track that is sure to have the congregation’s feet tapping. The thought of loved ones having a reason to smile on such a sad day is a comforting one for many people.
Modern funeral songs
‘River’ by Leon Bridges is incredibly moving that has everything you’d want in a soulful funeral song. It is both uplifting and sad, and the chorus ‘take me to the river, I wanna go’ is a balm for broken hearts.
Many may know ‘Feels Like Home’ by Chantal Kreviazuk from the 2009 film ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. Another heartfelt track to lift spirits with the lyrics ‘It feels like home to me. Feels like I’m all the way back where I belong’.
Music lovers will be familiar with Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven’. A tear-jerker for sure, but with sweet consoling lyrics like ‘Beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure, and I know there’ll be no more, tears in heaven’.
Whether you’re a Bob Dylan fan or prefer Adele’s version of ‘Make you feel my love’, it’s as soothing to a sorrowful heart as lemon and honey to a sore throat.
Hymns for funerals
Traditional hymns are on the decline, but for some there is no nicer way to say goodbye than in a beautiful church singing a traditional hymn. Some of the most popular funeral hymns being ‘The lord is my shepherd’ (Psalm 23/Crimond) closely followed by ‘All things bright and beautiful’ and ‘Abide with me’.
‘How great thou art’ according to a poll from BBC’s songs of praise, is the nation’s favourite hymn. Just behind this is a firm favourite ‘Amazing grace’.
Popular funeral songs
‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ by Bette Midler and Celine Dion, ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli, along with the classic ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams are popular funeral songs that everyone knows.
The mellifluous ‘We’ll meet again’ by Vera Lynn is both sanguine and sorrowful in equal measure, while ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ from Monty Phython’s ‘Life of Brian’ (Eric Idle) is another popular choice. A song to celebrate life just as it is, for all of the ups and downs, hard times and good times – and isn’t that a marvellous note to end on?