Music is often used at funeral services as a creative way of paying tribute to deceased loved ones. However, grief can make it particularly difficult for caregivers and family members to find the right songs. AgingCare has compiled some of the most popular funeral songs and few tips to help you find music that resonates with your family and honors your late loved one.

Choosing Memorial Songs for Loved Ones

Music is a powerful art form that can evoke memories and a wealth of emotions. When choosing songs to play at a funeral service, memorial or celebration of life, there are a few factors that should help guide your decision. The goal is to select pieces that will help mourners both grieve the loss of the person who has passed and honor their life.

Opt for your loved one’s favorite music or songs that reflect their personality or held special significance in their life. Consider preparing short introductions for each one if you’re only playing a few or including this background information in the program so all funeralgoers can understand the meaning behind these selections. Family members and close friends are excellent sources of special requests and inspiration for music to play at a service.

Before finalizing any selections for the funeral, listen to each song completely and read over the lyrics. YouTube is very useful for searching for and listening to songs, and there are many websites that offer full song lyrics like Lyrics.com and AZLyrics.com. Understanding the content and context of the songs will ensure they are wholly appropriate for the event. If you’re having trouble choosing pieces that honor your loved one or convey your feelings, instrumental funeral music is always a classic, safe choice.

To help you get started, we have curated lists of popular, traditional, contemporary and religious songs (along with samples of lyrics for each) that can give a funeral ceremony or memorial service a special touch.

Popular Funeral Songs

“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler

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” by Mariah Carey and Various Artists

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” by Sarah McLachlan

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” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

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” by Luther Vandross

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” by Alex Lloyd

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” by Barbra Streisand

Midnight
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
Memory

“The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles

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

“Passing Through” by Ronan Keating

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” by Andrew Lloyd Weber

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” by Various Artists

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” by Michael Crawford

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

“Go Rest High On That Mountain” by Vince Gill

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” by Celine Dion

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” by Bruce Springsteen

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” by Mariah Carey

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” by Phil Collins

’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

“Back in His Arms Again” by Mark Schultz

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” by Michael Card

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” by Mary McLaughlin

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

Looking for more song ideas for a loved one’s funeral or memorial service? Check out AgingCare’s sample funeral playlist on Spotify.