The 13 Most Popular Funeral Songs For Saying Goodbye (2024)

Music is an incredible thing. It has the power to connect a room full of people and help them share the same emotions. This is why music has long been a staple in funeral ceremonies.

Playing music that perfectly encapsulates who the deceased was can be a beautiful moment. But because it is so important, if you’ve recently lost a loved one you might be fretting over finding the perfect song.

To help you through this difficult time, we’ve prepared a list of the 13 most popular funeral songs to give you some ideas.

Hint: if you’re looking for something a bit more optimistic, skip to songs 9-13.

1. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole’s beautiful voice and ukulele strings have made this version of the classic song one of the most popular funeral songs of all time. Best played to signify a long, happy life reaching its end, its calm melody is perfect for saying goodbye.

2. Wake Me Up When September Ends

Green Day’s classic ballad was written by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong to commemorate his father. His pained, delicate vocals contrast with explosive percussion and guitar riffs to simulate the journey people go through when they are grieving. This is a very therapeutic song to use if you want a moment where people can release their emotions.

3. Wasn’t Expecting That

Jamie Lawson’s absolute tear-jerker dominated the charts – and for good reason. Telling the story of a relationship from its beginning to its tragic end, this song is an ideal choice for farewelling a partner. Notably, it focuses most on the positive years of the relationship, not the end, making it a beautiful way to remember the good times with your partner.

4. Fix You

Coldplay’s Fix You is a common entry on most popular funeral songs lists. Even so, don’t be afraid that using it will seem unoriginal. Its timeless lyrics, angelic vocals and slow building melody are sure to have the audience reflecting on the life of the deceased and their relationship with them – which is what a good funeral song does.

5. I Will Follow You into the Dark

Death Cab for Cutie’s understated song is in some ways closer to a heartfelt eulogy recital than music. The softly spoken vocal delivery is chillingly authentic, and the instrumental subtly enhances it without ever taking away from the message. A harrowing promise that you’ll reunite with them in the afterlife, it’s a beautiful song to play to farewell your partner.

6. Waves

Dean Lewis explores the grieving process, and how it comes and goes in the titular ‘Waves’, in this melodic song. Sure to become a mainstay in funeral ceremonies in the future, it can be used to farewell any loved one because its themes of loss and acceptance are universal.

7. My Heart Will Go On

Celine Dion’s classic will sound familiar if you’ve ever seen the film Titanic, itself a film that deals heavily with loss. This is one of very few songs that can cause your eyes to well up just from the ethereal instrumental alone. Lyrically, it is a timeless ode to a lost loved one, making it one of the most popular funeral songs of all time.

8. Supermarket Flowers

Ed Sheeran has penned several of the most popular funeral songs so it was hard to narrow it down to one. What sets Supermarket Flowers apart is how literally it describes the days after losing a parent. From packing up their photo albums to clearing out their fridge – it’s heartbreaking stuff. Don’t be surprised when even people who have just dropped by to give their condolences are crying after relating it to their own experiences.

9. Drops of Jupiter

Train’s smash hit is a popular funeral song when you want the tone to be an upbeat celebration of life rather than a sombre farewell. With powerful vocals and a quick tempo in parts, people really struggle not to sing along! Plus, the lyrics discussion of travelling through the stars and constellations are perfect for those who believe their loved one is ascending to the heavens.

10. What a Wonderful World

Louis Armstrong’s scratchy, slow vocals as he sings the titular lyric, “What a Wonderful World”, will make you feel thankful for the time that you got to share with your lost loved one. This slow song is quietly optimistic, urging your audience to reflect on how the deceased made their world wonderful, rather than focusing on their departure.

11. Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Bobby McFerrin’s song starts with a chirpy whistle, and has good vibes throughout. In a time of immense loss, it is an inspired choice to play something simple, cheerful and optimistic. If the deceased was known to be a carefree, happy person, this popular funeral song might just be the perfect fit.

12. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Eric Idle, of Monty Python fame, may not have intended for his whimsical tune from his film, The Life of Brian, to become one of the most popular funeral songs, but here we are. With a cheeky whistle riff and lyrics poking fun at the idea of death, this song is perfect for farewelling someone who was a little bit of a larrikin.

13. Highway to Hell

ACDC’s Highway to Hell might seem like a strange choice for a funeral song, and yet it is one of the most popular for farewelling Dad’s. If they were rockers and had a good sense of humour, the irony of the song’s title and its upbeat nature are sure to get the audience laughing and on their feet. Remember, funerals don’t have to be sombre. Sometimes the best way to say goodbye is to rock on in their honour one last time!

A Funeral Director Makes Difficult Choices Easy

If you’re having difficulties choosing a popular funeral song, or any other aspects of the service, a funeral director can help guide you. They treat helping people farewell their loved ones as a privilege, and will always do their best to get to know you and your family.

At Coast Family Funerals, we can direct burial and cremation services and help you with all the necessary preparations.

If you’d like to discuss our options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The 13 Most Popular Funeral Songs For Saying Goodbye (2024)


What is a good song to say goodbye at a funeral? ›

Here are some of the most popular funeral songs:

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')

What is the best song for saying goodbye? ›

Our top 10 sad songs about moving away
  • “A Bad Goodbye” – Clint Black and Wynonna Judd.
  • “I Try” – Macy Gray.
  • “Don't You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds.
  • “Wherever You Will Go” – The Calling.
  • “Please Don't Go Girl” – NKOTB.
  • “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (Also check out the original by Dolly Parton)
Nov 4, 2021

What is a cheerful song to end a funeral? ›

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 #1 song for funerals? ›

The most requested song for a traditional funeral service is “Amazing Grace,” a Christian folk hymn written by English poet John Newton. Many find the message of forgiveness and redemption a beautiful tribute to the mercy of God.

What's a good song when someone passes 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 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 song close your eyes at a funeral? ›

“You Can Close Your Eyes” – James Taylor

This soft, acoustic melody with uplifting and thoughtful lyrics makes this song one that serves as a beautiful tribute to the deceased.

Who is the song How do I say goodbye dedicated to? ›

Background. Lewis wrote the song for his father, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2019.

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 music called when you leave a funeral? ›

After the committal when the service concludes, a piece of music is often played as the mourners leave (referred to as 'exit music').

What do you call the last song at a funeral? ›

A dirge (Latin: dirige, nenia) is a somber song or lament expressing mourning or grief, such as may be appropriate for performance at a funeral.

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's a good song celebration of life? ›

Top memorial service songs
  • 1. “ A Whiter Shade of Pale,” by Procol Harum. ...
  • 2. “ Angel,” by Jon Secada.
  • 3. “ Angels,” by Robbie Williams.
  • 4. “ Candle in the Wind,” by Elton John.
  • 5. “ Clouds,” by Zach Sobiech.
  • 6. “ Dancing in the Sky,” Dani and Lizzy.
  • 7. “ Dreaming My Dreams With You,” by Waylon Jennings.
  • 8. “

What is a good closing hymn for a funeral? ›

The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended

One of the most popular funeral hymns, the text tells of God's eternal love and life after death. Background: Written in 1870 by a Cheshire vicar, John Ellerton, The Day Thou Gavest has become one of England's favourite hymns.

What is the music at the end of a funeral called? ›

After the committal when the service concludes, a piece of music is often played as the mourners leave (referred to as 'exit music'). Classical music and hymns are more traditional choices, inspiring calm, grandeur and reflective thinking.

What is an uplifting hymn for a funeral? ›

Happy and uplifting hymns for a funeral include:

Morning Has Broken. Lord of the Dance. Shine Jesus Shine. Great is Thy Faithfulness.

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