No two funerals are the same, just as no two people are. If you are tasked, therefore, with organising the funeral of a loved one, whether it’s a partner, family member, distant relative or close friend, you need to give some thought towards the kind of mood and tone you want the event to have. Funerals by their very nature are obviously very sad, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be all solemn and gloomy.
Although it’s a way to pay respects and remember the dead, funerals are more about the celebrants than the bereft themselves. One aspect that needs to be carefully considered is choice of songs to sing at a funeral. With a diverse range of songs to choose from, this can be harder than you might think. To help, we are going to look at some of the best songs to sing at a funeral, covering different tones and themes.
Christian songs/hymns and those kind of gospel songs to sing at a funeral are still very popular these days, even with people who don’t attend church. Below are five favourites and why people like them.
5. Abide with Me – This is a hymn dates to Victorian times and is about asking God for help and comfort during dark and bleak times. It’s therefore perfect for funerals where a lot of people might need guidance while grieving.
4. How Great Thou Art – This is based on a Swedish poem from the 19th century and is backed by the melody of a traditional Swedish folk song. It’s celebrates the power of God and his creations.
3. All Things Bright and Beautiful – This is an Anglican hymn that is probably known by most people in the country. It’s sang at many churches and remains one of the best gospel songs to sing at a funeral, especially if you’re looking for something with a more upbeat and celebratory tone.
2. Amazing Grace – A famous song across the world, this emotive and almost anthemic song is usually played on bagpipes for funerals and is all about peace after death and salvation.
1. The Lord is My Shepherd – Taken inspiration from Psalm 23, this incredibly well-known song has the strong and comforting message of comfort and guidance. Even people that do not attend church are often familiar with the melody.
As we said at the outset, funerals don’t necessarily have to be a gloomy affair. Many people choose pop songs that have heartfelt and meaningful lyrics. Some of the most popular include:
5. Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman – This is a very stirring and soaring ballad featuring the British soprano Sarah Brightman and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Thanks to the popularity of opera and the memorable chorus, this piece of music has become popular at funerals.
4. Angels – Robbie Williams – This is arguably the song that proved Robbie was a huge star in his own right after leaving Take That. Reflective and emotional, this ballad is often played at funerals.
3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Various – This timeless classic from The Wizard of Oz is a song all about happiness and hope. This makes it perfect for funerals if you’re looking for something emotional, but joyful. There’s a wide variety of choices out there when it comes to this song too, from the original through to modern takes such as Israel Kamakawi’ole’s cover on the ukulele.
2. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle and Monty Python – Of course, not everyone wants a sweet or romantic song played at their funeral, especially if the person was known for their wicked sense of humour. That’s why this song from The Life of Brian about finding the positives is often chosen for funerals.
1. My Way – Frank Sinatra – A reflective sung with Sinatra’s impeccable style and passion, this always about reflecting on a life gone by. If the person lived their life to the full and was at peace with the choices they made, this is a great choice.
The passing of any close loved one is hard, but there is a strong poignancy when a funeral is held for a grandparent. There have been many great songs written that are ideal for a funeral of a grandma or grandpa. Some of the best are:
5. Afire Love or Supermarket Flowers – Ed Sheeran – Ed Sheeran is a popular choice for all kinds of special occasions now. For funerals two songs stand out from his growing collection that are ideal for grandparents. Afire Love is written for his grandfather, while Supermarket Flowers was written for his grandmother. Both are likely to leave a lot searching for the tissues.
4. We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn – For many, this is synonymous with WWII and the pain of loss from conflict. It’s a touching and beautiful song though, perfect for a grandparent’s funeral.
3. Nan’s Song – Robbie Williams – Robbie Williams is a popular choice for funerals, and this is dedicated to Betty, his grandmother when she passed, it’s fitting.
2. Folding Stars – Biffy Clyro – Singer of the Scottish rock trio Biffy Clyro, Simon Neil wrote this song for his mother when she died. It’s louder than many of the others, but incredibly heart wrenching.
1. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler – Taken from the Beaches soundtrack, one of Bette Midler’s most famous songs is also a popular choice of song to be played at funerals. A real tearjerker.
Country music often tackles the darker side of life and there have been many great songs that could be used for a funeral. We’ve picked out five of the best.
5. There You’ll Be – Faith Hill – Originally from the Pearl Harbor movie soundtrack, There You’ll Be is a beautiful and emotive song about keeping someone you love with you.
4. If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away – Justin Moore – This is a powerful song about all the things Justin Moore would do if he could be with his loved ones that have passed.
3. Drink a Beer – Luke Bryan – Bryan wrote this song after losing two of his siblings. It’s all about comforting himself with a drunk of beer at the pier. Something he used to do with that person.
2. The Dance – Garth Brooks – The song sounds like a pretty song about dancing with someone special. Until the chorus when you learn its someone that died. Very emotive and well-delivered, perfect for funerals.
1. Broken Halos – Chris Stapleton – Chris Stapleton wrote this song with Mike Henderson on the day one of his friends died of cancer. It won the Best Country Song Grammy in 2018 and is a beautiful way to send someone off.