Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (2024)

Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (1)

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Choosing funeral songs is often seen as an important part of personalising a funeral service for your loved one. It is a chance for you to pay tribute to their personality, their hobbies, or simply say farewell with one of their favourite songs.

While classical music for funerals or funeral hymns have traditionally been the funeral music of choice, pop ballads, TV theme tunes and happy funeral songs have become some of the most popular funeral songs in recent years in the UK.

Here we take a look at 20 of the most popular funeral songs in the UK to honour the memory of a loved one.

1. Last of the Summer Wine theme tune

This iconic tune opened every episode of all 31 series of Last of the Summer Wine, the classic BBC sitcom about a trio of mischievous old friends living in West Yorkshire. Beloved by many, the programme was praised for showing that later life is still full of adventure. It’s nostalgic melody makes it a popular funeral song for a loved one who loved the show.

2. Canon in D by Pachelbel

A moving and uplifting funeral song , Canon in D is the most celebrated piece by composer Johann Pachelbel, and perhaps one of the most famous pieces of classical music ever. It’s now a favourite at weddings and funerals alike, loved for its gentle tone and beautiful harmonies.

3. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (7)Celine Dion performing in Birmingham in 2017. Photo via Wikimedia.

Best known for its appearance on the Titanic soundtrack, this song is, for many people, the ultimate ballad about eternal love. It’s sad and beautiful, but also offers a reminder that remembrance can keep a loved one close even after they’re gone, making it a great choice for funeral music.

4. Soul Limbo by Booker T. & the MG’s

This upbeat tune was used as the theme for the BBC’s Test Cricket Highlights for many years, making it popular funeral music for lifelong cricket fans. Apart from its sporting associations, this cheerful song is the audio equivalent of a ray of sunshine – perfect for celebration of life funerals.

5. You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers

Another sporting anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone is the flagship song of Liverpool Football Club and known by heart by every true fan. It is also a song about hope through adversity and solidarity in the hardest of times, making it a touching addition to a funeral service.

6. Angels by Robbie Williams

Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (8)Robbie Williams performing in London in 2016. Photo by Drew de F Fawkes.

Robbie Williams’ classic pop ballad Angels, co-written by Guy Chambers, is an endlessly popular choice for funeral music, thanks to its poetic lyrics and powerful melody. Surprisingly, it only reached number 4 in the UK charts when it was released in 1997, but by 2005 had been voted the song that most Brits wanted played at their funeral.

7. Enigma Variations – Nimrod by Edward Elgar

A stirring piece of classical music from one of Britain’s most treasured composers, Nimrod is deeply moving, both sad and hopeful. It has long been thought to be a dedication to Elgar’s close friend AJ Jaeger, who helped him through difficult times.

8. My Way by Frank Sinatra

An absolute classic, My Way had previously been the number one funeral song for many years running, according to the Co-op’s annual funeral music survey. For good reason too – it’s the ultimate tribute to a life well-lived: “I’ve lived a life that’s full, I traveled each and every highway, and more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

9. No Matter What by Boyzone

Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (9)Boyzone performing live in 2015. Photo via Wikimedia.

Originally written for the musical version of Whistle Down the Wind, No Matter What was recorded by Boyzone in 1998 and shot to number one in the UK charts. This ballad of enduring love and determination has remained a popular funeral song since its initial chart success.

10. Match of the Day theme tune

The UK is a nation of football fanatics, as proved by the popularity of this theme song. It’s the opening tune to one of the BBC’s longest running shows, having started in 1964 and is an iconic melody for anyone who follows football. As a result, it’s a popular funeral song for devoted footie fans.

11. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle

This song from the Monty Python film Life of Brian is irresistibly catchy and cheerful, many Brits want this song for their own funerals, perhaps to tell one last joke or as a genuine attempt to make their grieving loved ones smile on what would otherwise be a joyless day. The popularity of this funeral song shows that Brits can’t help but poke fun at themselves.

12. Hello by Adele

Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (10)Adele performing in Birmingham on her 2016 tour. Photo via Wikimedia.

Although this ballad is about a break up, Adele’s powerful vocals and a memorable melody has made this a popular song for funerals. Indeed, several of Adele’s heartfelt love songs have become a significant moment at many people’s funerals since she first hit the charts.

13. Lay Me Down by Sam Smith

This powerful and emotionally raw ballad directly addresses the longing and despair of missing someone you love. Since its release in 2014 it’s been embraced by the nation as one of its most popular funeral songs and a heartfelt way to say goodbye.

14. Diamonds by Rihanna

Rihanna’s evocative 2012 hit makes a fitting celebration of the life for someone special. The imagery of diamonds and stars has made this tune the perfect funeral song for someone whose memory will shine bright long after they are gone.

15. How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding

Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (11)Ellie Goulding performing in Stavern in July 2016. Photo by Tore Sætre.

Originally recorded by The Waterboys, Ellie Goulding’s stripped back and beautiful version of this song was the official song of the 2013 Children in Need campaign. It’s about unconditional and eternal love, and is a wonderful tribute to a special relationship as a piece of funeral music.

16. Flying Without Wings by Westlife

One of Westlife’s best-loved songs, Flying Without Wings is a tribute to the power of true love. The popularity of this chart-topping hit as a funeral song may be down to its uplifting lyrics. It’s a song about celebrating and acknowledging the good in life, rather than mourning.

17. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa

The hip hop song See You Again featured on the soundtrack of the 2015 film Furious 7. It was written as a tribute to one of the film’s stars, actor Paul Walker, who tragically died before filming was completed. It became one of the most popular songs on YouTube, with over three billion views, and its touching subject matter has made it a popular funeral song.

18. You Raise Me Up by Westlife

Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (12)Westlife at the Nobel Peace Price Concert 2009. Photo by Harry Wad.

Originally written and released by Irish-Norwegian band Secret Garden, Westlife had a number one hit with this song in 2005. It is also now sung as a contemporary hymn in some churches. It’s an emotional but ultimately uplifting funeral song about finding hidden strength in difficult times.

19. Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz

Originally sung by Judy Garland in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, this song has been performed by numerous artists, including Eva Cassidy and Ariana Grande. Its wistful lyrics and beautiful melody have made it a moving and popular choice for a funeral song to remember a loved one.

20. Time to Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

This Italian song was made famous by renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli in 1995, who also teamed up with English soprano Sarah Brightman in 1996 to release a version of the song partly sung in English. The song’s poweful melody and heart-wrenching lyrics have secured its place as one of the most popular songs for funerals.

You can more guidance and support for planning a funeral service in Help and Advice.

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Funeral Music: 20 Most Popular Funeral Songs (2024)


What is the most played song at funerals? ›

Here are some of the most popular funeral songs:
  • My Way – Frank Sinatra.
  • Angels – Robbie Williams.
  • The Best – Tina Turner.
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler.
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle (Monty Python's 'Life of Brian')
  • Time to Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli.

What is a good entrance song for a funeral? ›

Music for Funerals Entrance. The entrance music sets the tone for the ceremony, evoking emotions of reverence and respect. Popular choices often include classical pieces like "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber or "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert.

What is the happy song to finish at a funeral? ›

1: What a Wonderful World– Louis Armstrong

One song particularly embodies what a “happy funeral song” sounds like to most people. This timeless gem is Louis Armstrong's “What a Wonderful World,” a poignant and uplifting melody that transcends cultural boundaries.

What is the classic song always played at funerals? ›

A timeless classic that's recognized and loved by countless people, Ave Maria might be the most popular classical song for funerals. Many believe it's the perfect piece for honoring loved ones, as it's an adaptation of the traditional Roman Catholic prayer.

What is the number one song requested at funerals? ›

Amazing Grace has been a popular choice for funeral music for many years.

What is a good song for a loved one who passed away? ›

Here are some of the most recommended sad songs for grief: Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven. Sarah Mclachlan - In The Arms of an Angel. The Beatles - Let It Be.

What is the most popular funeral hymn? ›

Many people find comfort in including religious songs in their loved one's service and certain hymns have remained the most appropriate funeral song choices over the years.
  • Be Not Afraid. ...
  • Lord Of All Hopefulness. ...
  • Nearer My God To Thee. ...
  • I Am The Bread Of Life. ...
  • Love Devine. ...
  • The King Of Love My Shepherd Is. ...
  • Lead, Kindly Light.

What is the holy song for funerals? ›

The Lord's My Shepherd (Psalm 23)

Based on Psalm 23, The Lord's My Shepherd is a well-known comforting hymn which is extremely popular at Christian funeral services.

What is the exit song for a funeral? ›

"'What a Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong and 'Time to Say Goodbye' by Andrea Bocelli are timeless choices, while 'Supermarket Flowers' by Ed Sheeran and 'Wind Beneath My Wings' by Bette Midler also hold a special place in people's hearts, as they beautifully capture the essence of love and loss.

What is the song for the celebration of life? ›

"I've Had the Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. This is a timeless classic that encourages us to cherish the time spent with loved ones. Its uplifting chorus, "I've had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you," is perfect when paired with moments of celebration and gratitude.

What is the cheerful hymn for a funeral? ›

17. The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended. This is a hymn that uses the metaphor of day and night. This is another classic funeral song that is uplifting and hopeful, rather than sorrowful: “The dawn leads on another day, the voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strain of praise away.”

What are good songs to play at your funeral? ›

Poignant and uplifting funeral songs
  • I'll See You Again – Westlife.
  • Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy.
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler.
  • Nothing Compares to You – Sinead O'Connor.
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd.
Jun 20, 2023

What is the oldest funeral song? ›

Hurrian Hymn No. 6” is considered the world's earliest melody, but the oldest musical composition to have survived in its entirety is a first century A.D. Greek tune known as the “Seikilos Epitaph.” The song was found engraved on an ancient marble column used to mark a woman's gravesite in Turkey.

What is the most played country song at a funeral? ›

Top 12 Country Songs for a Celebration of Life Service
  • Just a Closer Walk With Thee (Patsy Cline) ...
  • Angels Among Us (Alabama) ...
  • Go Rest High on That Mountain (Vince Gill) ...
  • The Dance (Garth Brooks) ...
  • Daddy's Hands (Holly Dunn) ...
  • One More Day (Diamond Rio) ...
  • When I Get Where I'm Going (Brad Paisley, featuring Dolly Parton)
Jan 26, 2018

What is the saddest song to play at a funeral? ›

Sad funeral songs
  • I'll See You Again – Westlife.
  • Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy.
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler.
  • Nothing Compares to You – Sinead O'Connor.
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd.
Jun 20, 2023

What is the most beautiful hymn at a funeral? ›

Top 10 Hymns for a Funeral Ceremony
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness (written by Thomas O. ...
  • I Need Thee (written by Annie Hawks and Robert Lowry, 1872) ...
  • Abide With Me (written by Henry Francis Lyte, 1847) ...
  • 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (written by Louisa Stead, 1882) ...
  • Amazing Grace (written by John Newton, 1779)
Jul 21, 2017

What is the most played religious song at a funeral? ›

1. Amazing Grace. A funeral staple, this classic hymn beautifully expresses the heart of the Gospel – God's gift of salvation by grace alone. The timeless lyrics remind mourners of the hope found in Christ even in the darkest times of grief and loss.

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