When choosing music for a funeral you might consider rock, R&B, pop or country. You can select songs that hold personal significance to your loved one, songs that thematically fit together, or songs that uplift and encourage. Here are some of the most popular funeral songs from a variety of genres.
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Country songs for funerals
Country songs often have lyrics that reflect relationships, and they often resonate with those experiencing grief. A few picks:
“Go Rest High on That Mountain,” by Vince Gill
Gill wrote this song after the loss of his friend and brother. This moving and emotional song can serve as a beautiful tribute to someone you hold dear.
“Heaven Was Needing a Hero,” by Jo Dee Messina
Written after the death of a female soldier serving in Iraq, this song acknowledges missing someone deeply while knowing they were needed in heaven. Sorrowful lyrics honor a lost loved one by commending a life lived bravely.
“Temporary Home,” by Carrie Underwood
This song reminds us that Earth is our temporary home. The words offer hope that there is more to this life and that we don’t need to fear death.
“Country Roads,” by John Denver
Known and loved all over the globe, “Country Roads” paints a beautiful picture of “home.” In the setting of a funeral, when Denver sings the lyrics “take me home,” the words help death feel more like a place of comfort and rest.
“Drink a Beer,” by Luke Bryan
This song captures the surprise and speechlessness we can feel when we lose someone unexpectedly. The lyrics bid farewell to a loved one while dealing with raw emotion.
Rock songs for funerals
Rock music is beloved for its fun, familiarity and complexity. If your loved one listened to rock, here are some songs to consider:
“Tears in Heaven,” by Eric Clapton
A touching song about the tragic loss of a child, “Tears in Heaven” is often played at children’s funerals.
“Wish You Were Here,” by Pink Floyd
With its poetic, storytelling lyrics, this song conveys the relatable emotions of missing someone and wishing they were still with us.
“Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin
One of the most popular rock songs ever, “Stairway to Heaven” reminds the listener to find spiritual meaning in the journey of life.
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” by Aerosmith
This song evokes strong feelings of love and devotion. Written for the movie Armageddon, the lyrics can apply to relationships of all kinds.
“Everybody Hurts,” by R.E.M.
A reminder that we all experience hardships and difficult times, “Everybody Hurts” was originally written for teenagers. The song’s lyrics reassure us that everyone feels pain as a normal part of life.
R&B songs for funerals
Relaxing and smooth, R&B songs often revolve around love and close relationships. Here are a few for a funeral playlist:
“I’ll Be Missing You,” by Sean Combs
This emotional tune is a tribute to someone cherished and missed. The lyrics explain that life leaves many reminders and isn’t the same without the missed loved one.
“Unforgettable,” by Nat King Cole
A classic, “Unforgettable” is a tribute to a loving relationship. Our loved ones are unforgettable and their memories stay with us forever.
“It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” by Boyz II Men
This song acknowledges that goodbyes can be hard to say and explores the feelings that come with loss.
“Dance With My Father,” by Luther Vandross
A perfect tribute to a beloved father, this song fondly remembers the love between father and child. The simple moments in life—such as being twirled around as a child—are often what we cherish most.
“I Will Always Love You,” by Whitney Houston
When Houston sings this powerful ballad originally written by country singer Dolly Parton, you really feel that love is everlasting.
Pop songs for funerals
Often catchy and enjoyed by people young and old, pop music can lift the mood and remind us of the good times. A few popular choices:
“I Will Remember You,” by Sarah McLachlan
The lyrics of this song are a promise to cherish the memories. It reflects on the light that a loved one brought into the world.
“Candle in the Wind,” by Elton John
Originally written to honor the loss of Marilyn Monroe, “Candle in the Wind” gained even greater popularity after Elton John performed the song at the funeral of Princess Diana. It reflects on a life tragically ending while a legend lives on.
“You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings,” by Bette Midler
If you looked up to your loved one or were significantly supported by them, this song may feel like a proper tribute to someone brave and encouraging.
“I Was Here,” by Beyoncé
The lyrics of “I Was Here” remark about the desire to live a full life that leaves a mark. The song could be used to honor the difference your loved one made in the world.
“Lay Me Down,” by Sam Smith
An emotion-driven song highlighting the emptiness felt after loss, “Lay Me Down” demonstrates the overwhelming feelings many experience after a loss.
Create a playlist
Some families might opt to play a song or two at a loved one’s service. Others might want a whole playlist. Your funeral director can help you curate the perfect music for a loved one. If you’re planning ahead, you might opt to curate your own playlist on a streaming service like Spotify, Tidal or Apple Music.
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