Among modern and traditional funeral traditions, music is one thing they both share. Funeral songs can help family and friends grieve together. Music evokes certain feelings that can help people share their thoughts, ideas, memories of their loved one, and more.
When it comes to picking funeral songs, there are plenty of genres to choose from, and even more songs you can pick to commemorate your loved one. As with many other aspects of the funeral, do your best to find a funeral song that is personal to the bereaved. Those with pre-planning arrangements will often choose a song that they identify with, for instance, “My Way” by Frank Sinatra is a popular one among pre-planners.
Remember, there is no right or wrong song to play at a funeral. It should be a song that comforts everyone and at the same time, celebrates the life of your loved one.
If you find picking a funeral song for your arrangements or your loved one’s celebration of life challenging, consider one of these popular funeral songs.
1. “Bye Bye” by Mariah Carey
This beautiful song talks about how we feel after losing someone. It also conveys a sense of making peace with their departure. In the chorus, Mariah Carey sings, “But, it’s like you’re gone too soon. Now the hardest thing to do is say bye bye.”
2. “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle
A beautiful song that was never intended to be a funeral song, but now offers comfort to parents after losing a child. With lines like, “I couldn’t ask God for more, man, this is what love is. I know I’ve gotta let her go, but I’ll always remember.” It’s no surprise this song is an emotional one for grieving parents.
3. “Sad Song” by We the Kings
Trying to explain our feelings after losing someone close to us is challenging enough. This song helps people process those feelings. The chorus goes, “Without you, I feel torn. Like a sail in a storm. Without you, I’m just a sad song.”
4. “Well Done” by Deitrick Haddon
A song at religious funerals that speaks about a man’s desire to go to Heaven. With powerful lines like, “When this life is over. I just wanna have eternal life, oh wanna hear him say, well done, well done, well done, you can come on in.”
5. “A Mother’s Prayer” by K. Michelle
A song about a mother’s prayer wishing the best for her child. Often chosen for a child’s funeral, the song is all about wishing and wanting the best for a child in Heaven. Lines like, “And even though I’m not there to tuck you in every day, I’m not far away. This is what a mother prays,” can help families feel closer to a lost child.
6. “Broken Halos” by Chris Stapleton
This song was written by Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson on the same day Chris lost a childhood friend to cancer. Lines like, “Angels come down from the heavens. Just to help us on our way. Come to teach us, then they leave us. And they find some other soul to save,” give people a feeling of comfort.
7. “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross
A funeral song often chosen to commemorate the life of a parent. The song talks about the fond memories the singer has of his father and how much he and his mother miss him. The chorus sings, “If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him, I’d play a song that would never end.”
8. “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa
The song talks about the depth of a loss but shares a message of hope that one day you’ll see your loved one again. With lyrics like, “It’s been a long day without you, my friend. And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again,” it’s easy to see why so many grievers can relate to this song.
9. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton
Genre: Soft Rock
Clapton wrote this song after losing his 4-year-old in a tragic accident. A somber song that conveys a message of perseverance in lines like, “I must be strong and carry on. ‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven.”
10. “Time to Say Goodbye” Sarah Brightman and Adrea Bocelli
Genre: Easy Listening
This emotional opera song was meant to be a farewell song to a dear friend, and it has turned into a popular funeral song to give loved ones the ultimate farewell. With lyrics like, “When you were so far away. I sit alone and dream of the horizon. Then I know that you are here with me, with me,” it can offer many a sense of comfort.
11. “Goodbye My Friend” by Linda Ronstadt
Losing a close friend is never easy. This song is a tribute to that friend, and it can bring comfort and hope to a grieving friend. With emotional lyrics like, “I know I’ll never see you again, but the time together through all the years, will take away these tears. It’s okay now… goodbye, my friend.”
12. “Mama” by Il Divo
This beautiful song is a heartfelt tribute to a loving mother. A song often played at a mother’s funeral that can bring comfort and peace to the children. Each verse packs emotional lines line, “Mama I hope this makes you smile. I hope you’re happy with my life, at peace with every choice I made. How I’ve changed along the way, and I know you believe in all of my dreams. And I owe it all to you, Mama.”
13. “Ave Maria” by Various
Perhaps the most popular funeral song of all time. Ave Maria is a traditional hymn often chosen for religious funerals. Those who choose to host a funeral in a church will usually select this song as a prayer for the soul of their loved one.
14. “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx
A song that talks about losing someone close and the feelings we face when grieving. The lyrics convey feelings of guilt, often experienced with grief, but it also shows hope and acceptance. “I took for granted all the times that I thought would last somehow. I hear the laughter. I taste the tears. But I can’t get near you now,” says the song.
15. “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn
A heartfelt song that talks about losing someone and keeping hope that in the future, you’ll meet again. A song not just to the bereaved, but to everyone that we’ve lost. The song starts by saying, “So will you please say hello to the folks that I know. Tell them I won’t be long. They’ll be happy to know that as you saw me go, I was singing this song.” What’s a better song to choose for a funeral?
Choosing a Funeral Song
If you’re making pre-planning arrangements, you can select a song you want to be remembered by. Some people choose classical songs, others go with rock and pop. In the end, it’s your choice. Talk with a funeral counselor to help you get through your list of potential songs and pick the one that will bring peace, comfort, and lovely memories to those you’re leaving behind.
If you’re choosing a song for a loved one, then think of their personality and their favorite music. Make sure the song you want is one that brings you hope, comfort, and serenity. Contact a funeral counselor today to help you plan a thoughtful and beautiful memorial or funeral service for your loved one.