Funeral Songs


Planning a funeral is difficult enough without having the responsibility of choosing the perfect song for the service. There are plenty of options, but that almost makes it harder. It is an impossible task to find the most fitting and appropriate funeral music.  

There are the usual choices such as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and Eva Cassidy’s “Over The Rainbow”. But these are just the popular options.

The song chosen to memorialize the deceased loved one should be both personal and meaningful.

Whether it be sung by a choir, performed by a special friend, played instrumentally, or as background music, the guide below might help you find inspiration in choosing the perfect song to remember your loved one.

in-Valhalla Favorite

Before we list songs by relationship, I wanted to share my favorite funeral song for your consideration. It is one of the most memorable and striking songs I’ve heard. Here’s a link to the original, by Johnny Cash. I prefer the cover for the 2019 war film 1917.

Wayfaring Stranger – Performed by Jos Slovick
I am a poor wayfaring stranger
I'm travellin' through this world of woe
Yet there's no sickness, toil, nor danger
In that bright land to which I go

I'm going there to see my Father
I'm going there, no more to roam
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

I know dark clouds will gather 'round me
I know my way is rough and steep
But golden fields lie just before me
Where God's redeemed shall ever sleep

I'm going home to see my mother
And all my loved ones who've gone on
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

I am a poor wayfarin' stranger
I'm travellin' through this world of woe
Yet there's no sickness, toil, nor danger
In that bright land to which I go

I'm going there to see my Father
I'm going there, no more to roam
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

Funeral Songs According to Relationship

When picking a fitting funeral song for a loved one, it helps to pay attention to the lyrical content. The lyrics behind a song sometimes explicitly narrate the message we might want to express but could not explicitly say. After all, music is a good way to cope with loss.

Listed below are the best funeral songs we could find according to your relationship with your special person.

Songs for Mom

  1. Celine Dion – Goodbye’s The Saddest Word 

This ballad is a beautiful dedication to the loss of a mom. In this Celine Dion song, she sings “There is no other love like a mother’s love for her child,” which poignantly encapsulates motherly love.

  1. Elvis Presley – Mama Liked The Roses

A timeless Elvis Presley classic, this song perfectly captures love and loss for a mother through personal recollections. With its nostalgic lyrics singing “Oh, mama liked the roses and when she had the time, she’d decorate the living room, for all us kids to see, ” this song is fitting in times of grief and remembrance for a mother. 

  1. Ed Sheeran – Supermarket Flowers

Ed Sheeran wrote this song for his late grandmother from the perspective of her mom. The lyrics vividly narrate the personal longing for a mother who recently passed. In the song, Sheeran sings “You were an angel in the shape of my mum,” which sums up the appreciation for the grace and kindness of a mother.

Songs for Dad

  1. Luther Vandross – Dance With My Father

Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father” is popular for a reason. It is emotional, poignant, and resonates with every father. With its heart-wrenching lyrics reminiscing life and loss, it perfectly evokes ache, nostalgia, and appreciation of a loved one.

  1. Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up

Fathers are sometimes heroic figures to their children. If you want to honor your dad who had a monumental role in your life, Josh Groban’s ballad would perfectly express your love and appreciation.

  1. Holly Dunn – Daddy’s Hands

This song is full of nostalgia for a father who formed wonderful memories with his family. In Holly Dunn’s lyrics, she reminisces about the sacrifices her father has made and appreciates him as she sings, “If I could do things over, I’d live my life again, and never take for granted the love in daddy’s hands.”

Songs for A Child

  1. Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven

Eric Clapton wrote this song following the death of his young son. “Beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure, And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven,” he sings. This song is both sentimental and beautiful as Clapton imagines his son being in heaven.

  1. Billy Joel – Lullabye

This Billy Joel ballad sings from a perspective of a father trying to answer his daughter’s questions about death. In the song he sings, “Goodnight my angel, time to close your eyes” which serves as a dedication for a child to say goodbye to.

  1. Chris Daughtry – Gone Too Soon

In this song, Chris Daughtry sings about the sadness over the loss of a young person. This song reflects on a child who would have lived a life if anything had been different. In the song, Daughtry sings “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you, I’m always asking why this crazy world had to lose, such a ray of light we never knew.”

Songs for A Friend

  1. Mariah Carey – One Sweet Day

In Mariah Carey’s Song “One Sweet Day”, she sings about the loss of a special person and knows in her heart that she’ll see them again one day. The lyrics can resonate with anyone who has experienced grief and longing for any loved one.

  1. James Taylor – Fire and Rain

 In “Fire and Rain”, James Taylor sings about the death of a childhood friend. His lyrics feature an emotional take on loss and redemption. “Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone, I just can’t remember who to send it to, Susanne the plans they made put an end to you”, he sings.

  1. Wiz Khalifa – See You Again ft. Charlie Puth

This modern song was dedicated to the late Paul Walker after his accident. The fitting lyrics narrate how the singer looks forward to seeing his friend again. “We’ve come a long way from where we began / Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again,” he sings.

Choosing the Best Song

These are just a few examples of fitting songs you could use to honor a special person. Another way to choose the best funeral music is to consider the favorite songs or genre of your loved one. Try picking a song that would best remind you of the person you are dedicating it to. Keep in mind

  • The deceased’s musical taste
  • The occasion (e.g., funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life)
  • The religious or cultural beliefs of the deceased and their loved ones
  • The desired mood or atmosphere of the service or memorial
  • The length of the song
  • The availability of a live performer or recording

To see popular options from the past, check out this article, where funeral home directors are surveyed on the most frequent song choices.

Traditional Options

Some traditional songs that are often played at services or memorials include:

  • “Amazing Grace”
  • “Abide with Me”
  • “How Great Thou Art”
  • “I’ll Fly Away”
  • “Amazing Peace”
  • “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”
  • “Nearer, My God, to Thee”
  • “Rock of Ages”
  • “O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?”
  • “Hallelujah”

Nontraditional Options

There are many non-traditional songs that can be played at services or memorials, such as:

  • “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
  • “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel
  • “Imagine” by John Lennon
  • “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  • “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
  • “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
  • “Dancing Queen” by ABBA
  • “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
  • “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
  • “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty


How can I choose a song that is both meaningful and appropriate for a service or memorial?

The best way is to consider the deceased’s musical taste, the occasion, the religious or cultural beliefs of the deceased and their loved ones, the desired mood or atmosphere of the service or memorial, the length of the song, and the availability of a live performer or recording. It is also important to remember that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a song for a service or memorial. The most important thing is to choose a song that will help to honor and celebrate the life of the deceased.

What should I do if I can’t decide on a song?

If you can’t decide on a song, you can ask friends, family, or other loved ones for their suggestions. You can also talk to your funeral director. If you’re still having trouble, you can always hire a professional music director to help you choose the perfect songs for your service or memorial.

What if I don’t like any of the traditional songs?

If you don’t like any of the traditional songs, you can choose a non-traditional song that has special meaning to you or to the deceased. You can also choose a song that is from the deceased’s favorite genre of music.

What if I (or someone else) want to sing a song at the service or memorial?

If you want to sing a song at the service or memorial, you should talk to the funeral director or officiant first. They can help you choose a song and length of performance that is appropriate for the occasion and that will fit in with the overall flow of the service or memorial. This is a setting where making a mistake reflects poorly on not only the performer but the service in general so make sure you rehearse!


Thanks for reading! We hope you find this helpful. If you have suggestions or feedback, send us an email at info@in-valhalla.com.