Many funeral songs are contemporary songs you may hear on the radio or already have on your iPod. They are not necessarily the religious hymns you are used to hearing at a funeral, but instead are more contemporary ballads that pack a lot of meaning. Popular songs include tunes by legendary rockers such as the Beatles, Bette Middler and Eric Clapton to name a few.
The Way We Were
Barbara Streisand's ode to the memory of a loved one is from the hit 1973 movie, The Way We Were. It's a beautiful love song to play at a spouse's funeral as a tribute to marriage. Barbara has a way of setting the mood in her voice, and her soothing yet beautiful sound is great for a woman's memorial.
Let It Be
This 1970 tune by The Beatles can help heal grieving hearts by offering hope for a new day in this tribute to acceptance and peace. This is a good song for one who was a music fan during the Beatles' heyday or a music aficionado in general.
Another perfect love song that is commonly played at funerals is this hit by legend Bette Midler. Released in 1979, this song also offers renewed hope for those who are grieving. This is a great tribute song for the memorial of a spouse or lover, as it speaks of this great love, but also acknowledges that after winter, there can be renewed hope.
Turn! Turn! Turn!
Taken from the Bible's Book of Ecclesiastes, the entire title of The Byrd's tune is Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season). This song is about how death is part of God's plan just as is everything else that happens in life. This is a good song to use for the funeral of someone who accepts the circle of life, or who might want a more modern take on a familiar memorial Bible reading.
Tears in Heaven
Legendary rocker Eric Clapton released this song in 1992 about the pain he felt after losing is young son who tragically died at the age of four. It tells a parent's tale of sadness and hope. This song is commonly played at the funerals of young children and makes a fitting tribute for anyone who died too young.
Circle of Life
Elton John's hit from The Lion King is self-explanatory as death, and then birth again, completes the circle of life. Life is only temporary and people complete their journey where they started in a great circle. This song is great for someone you look up to and can be comforting for those who value spirituality.
Dance With My Father
If you need a song for your father's funeral, this 2003 Luther Vandross hit is a good choice. The lyrics allow mourners to reminisce about their childhoods with their fathers.
My Heart Will Go On
Celine Dion's hit from the movie Titanic is the ultimate love song. It speaks to the fact that although your loved one has died, your memories with them have not. Thus, they go on living as long as they are remembered. This is a particularly poignant song to play at the funeral of a spouse.
Stairway to Heaven
For a friend or family member who has passed, this is a classic song that's really emotionally fueled. That guitar solo gives guests a moment to reflect on how epic this person truly was. Use this song for the loss of your best friend or even a sibling.
All of My Love
All of My Love was written by Robert Plant to remember his son that tragically passed away at a young age. You can hear the pain and beauty behind every single word. A child is always a parent's baby so they should have all of your love even in death. This is the perfect memorial song for the funeral of a son or daughter whether he or she is a child or an adult.
Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd always offers introspective music. This song expresses how people grieve: they wish the person was there with them. This song can be used for any type of memorial service as the sentiment extends to anyone that has passed on, but the song expresses a closeness to the person that has left.
Candle in the Wind
Originally written to commemorate Marilyn Monroe's death, Elton John's song is a beautiful ode to those that are lost too soon. The song expresses well the pain behind losing a partner or someone close, too early, as there is a lot of emotion tied to the lyrics.
There are few songs that speak to someone's life like Frank Sinatra's My Way. Essentially an ode to living life to its fullest, this song embodies the character of someone who lived every day as if it was his last. Play at a memorial service for someone who was full of personality.
Calling All Angels
Train put together a song that's a little more uplifting, especially in a funeral setting. This song almost shows a sense of belonging as other angels surround the loved one. It alludes to the idea of perhaps the loved one not being far away, which can be comforting. Calling All Angels is great if you're looking to have something a little more upbeat.
Come Away With Me
Nora Jones offers that lounge-type of feel. Her songs seem to have that extra element of class associated with them. Come Away With Me takes guests on a bit of a journey as the notion to come away with the loved one brings you down memory lane. Use this song at a funeral or memorial for a lost spouse or partner as the memories tied to them will be so significant.
Here's a song that has a bit of a religious undertone to it. If your family is looking for music that's a bit more spiritual, but still modern, Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah strikes the right chord. Guests might even sing along since the song is so strong.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole speaks to a hope that the one the recently deceased is now in a better place somewhere over the rainbow. The original version of this song was, of course in The Wizard of Oz, but this version is more mellow and introspective. It's an amazing and appropriate choice for anyone, especially someone who has passed away after a long illness.
What a Wonderful World
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong gives great hope to listeners as he croons about all the things in life that are good. This song is perfect for sending guests off with a sense of hope; even though today might be dark, there are still many wonderful things to be thankful for and appreciate.
Wind Beneath My Wings
This song comes from the movie Beaches, and it is a great choice for a funeral because it pays respect and homage to someone that is very close to you who passed away. The words are so easily relatable to anyone who has experienced a close and deep friendship.
I Will Always Love You
I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston brings a tear to people's eyes because it's so powerful and heartfelt. This song is the ultimate ode to love that will never die and shows your loved one that you miss them as they are watching over you.
Songs of Sorrow
When it comes to setting the mood at a funeral, it's all about the music you choose. Whether you are looking to bring a little sunshine in the room, or have everyone reminisce about the recently deceased, or even celebrate his life, the perfect song selection can help people contemplate and remember.
There isn't a right or wrong genre or artist. Evaluate the person who has passed and select a song that speaks to their personality.