Songs are often used at funeral services as a creative way of paying tribute to deceased loved ones. However, it can be difficult for caregivers and family members who are grieving a loss to find the right music to play at the service. AgingCare has compiled some of the most popular funeral songs and few tips to help you find music that resonates with your family and memorializes your late loved one.

How to Choose Music for a Funeral

Music is a powerful creative outlet that can evoke memories and a wealth of emotions. The goal is to select music that will help mourners reflect on the decedent, grieve their passing and celebrate their life. When choosing songs to play at a funeral, memorial or celebration of life, there are a few different factors that should help guide your decision.

Opt for songs that were your loved one’s favorites, that reflect their personality or that held special significance in their life. Consider preparing short introductions so that all funeralgoers can understand the meaning behind these songs. Family members and close friends can be a good source of ideas, special requests and inspiration for music to be played at a service.

Before adding any music to your playlist for the funeral, listen to each song completely (YouTube is very helpful with this) and read over the lyrics (there are many websites that offer full song lyrics). Understanding the content and context of the songs will ensure they are wholly appropriate for the event. If you are having trouble making selections, instrumental funeral songs are a classic, safe choice.

To help you get started, we have curated lists of popular, traditional, contemporary and religious songs that can give a funeral ceremony or memorial ceremony a special touch.

Popular Funeral Songs

“Wind Beneath My Wings,” Bette Midler

Heartwarming Lyrics:
Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

“Hero,” Mariah Carey and Various Artists

Heartwarming Lyrics:
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

“Angel,” Sarah McLachlan

Heartwarming Lyrics:
In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

“Time to Say Goodbye,” Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

Heartwarming Lyrics:
Time to say goodbye
To countries I never
Saw and shared with you,
Now, yes, I shall experience them
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
Which, I know,
No, no, exist no longer
It’s time to say goodbye…

“Dance with My Father,” Luther Vandross

Heartwarming Lyrics:
If I could steal one final glance
One final step
One final dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
Cause I’d love, love, love to
Dance with my father again

“Amazing,” Alex Lloyd

Heartwarming Lyrics:
And I really didn’t want that push today,
No, I really didn’t want to end this way
But the things that seem to bind us,
Are the things we put behind us on this day

“Memory,” Barbra Streisand

Heartwarming Lyrics:
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

“The Long and Winding Road,” The Beatles

Heartwarming Lyrics:
The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here,
Lead me to your door

Traditional Funeral Songs and Funeral Music

“Passing Through,” Ronan Keating

Touching Lyrics:
Now I love her and I miss her
She’s the one who gave me love
She’s the one who made the boy and the man
But her strength burns within me
Like the day she made me stand
Put some courage in your dreaming
Carve your footprints in the sand

“Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,” Andrew Lloyd Weber

Touching Lyrics:
Wishing you were somehow here again
Knowing we must say goodbye
Try to forgive, teach me to live
Give me the strength to try

“Songs of Remembrance” (Instrumental)

“Amazing Grace,” Various Artists

Touching Lyrics:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

“On Eagle’s Wings,” Michael Crawford

Touching Lyrics:
And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
And famine will bring you no fear;
Under His Wings your refuge,
His faithfulness your shield.

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Contemporary Funeral Songs and Funeral Music

“Go Rest High On That Mountain,” Vince Gill

Poignant Lyrics:
Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels’ faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

“My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion

Poignant Lyrics:
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

“You’re Missing,” Bruce Springsteen

Poignant Lyrics:
Pictures on the nightstand, TV’s on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you’re missing, when I shut out the lights
You’re missing, when I close my eyes
You’re missing, when I see the sun rise
You’re missing

“One Sweet Day,” Mariah Carey

Poignant Lyrics:
And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually we’ll be together
One sweet day

“You’ll Be in My Heart,” Phil Collins

Poignant Lyrics:
’Cause you’ll be in my heart
Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

Religious Funeral Songs and Funeral Music

“Back in His Arms Again,” Mark Schultz

Inspiring Lyrics:
I believe that He never let you go
I believe that He’s wanting you to know
I believe that He’ll lead you ’til
You’re back in His arms again

“Even the Darkness is Light to Him,” Michael Card

Inspiring Lyrics:
The Father above does not slumber or sleep
He wakefully watches our ways
Then there’s no reason for you to weep
For the Father above neither slumbers nor sleeps

“Angels,” Mary McLaughlin

Inspiring Lyrics:
For angels must walk before they can fly
And angels must learn to laugh and to cry
The angels are here, they’re among you and I
We’re all learning to be angels