Fenix Funeral shares with you: the top 100 funeral songs

Fenix Funeral shares with you: the top 100 funeral songs

by Martin Jackson2023-04-280

We know that losing a family member, friend, or loved one can be one of the toughest moments of your life, and organising a funeral often adds to the stress and sadness. That’s why Fenix is here: to help make those challenging moments of life and loss simpler, however we can.

With that in mind, we’ve created this list of 100 songs that might be just what you’re looking for. From uplifting funerals that celebrate the life of a fun-loving and much-missed person, to more reflective and peaceful choices, we hope this list proves useful to just about everyone.

About Fenix

We’re proud to act as funeral director or undertakers for people all over England, offering them the most important thing of all: peace of mind. From arranging every aspect of a funeral to just finding the right flower arrangers, we’re here to do whatever it takes to support you – every step of the way.

If you want to take a deeper dive into musical genres, moods, artists, and more, make sure you visit our hub of articles about music – here, you’ll find top-ten lists that cover just about everything you could hope for.

Along with articles about choosing the right music, you might also find useful our articles about what to do when someone dies, arranging a funeral, or how much cremation costs in the UK.

And don’t forget: if you have any questions about planning a funeral – whether it’s for your own future or following the death of a loved one or family member – Fenix is here for you, always. Get in touch today, and one of our personal advisers will be happy to talk you through what we do, and how we work, with absolutely no obligation at all, because we pride ourselves on always being 100% honest, transparent, and fair.

What’s included in this list

1. An all-time top-20 of the most popular funeral songs in the UK

2. Funeral songs listed by relative or loved one (e.g. ‘funeral songs for dad’)

3. Funerals songs by occasion or mood (such as ‘celebration of life funeral songs’)

4. Songs for funerals listed by genre or style (like rock, or ‘songs from the 60s’)

5. Funeral songs listed by artist. 

The top 20 funerals songs most popular in the UK

We know that every funeral is as unique as the person that it’s made to remember and honour, but time and again, people in the UK choose certain songs to play before, during, or after a service. Here you can find the top-20 songs that our personal advisers and the people we work with (such as churches, crematoriums, and celebrants) are most often asked to include.

We’ve not ranked these in ascending or descending order, as we understand that every song holds different meanings for different people – we just hope there might be something here that will create a vivid memory of the deceased, evoke an emotion, or otherwise help create the perfect service.

1. “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

A beautiful and deeply poignant song. It’s about saying goodbye, cherishing the good memories, and honouring the life that’s passed. Originally in Italian, the English translation is very moving: “With you I will go / On ships overseas / That I now know / No, they don’t exist anymore / It’s time to say goodbye…”

This song would fit well for anyone looking for opera funeral songs, or for those looking for Italian funeral songs, or funeral songs from Andrea Bocelli.'

2. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler

A deeply touching song about love and support – and about acknowledging the gifts of a loved one or family member who’s been a constant source of encouragement in your life.

Although recorded by various artists, the version by Better Midler for the film Beaches is perhaps the most famous and most moving. Her vocal range lifts the song to a whole new level, which is why most people choose her version. It’s also a good choice for anyone looking for 80s funeral songs.

3. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

One of the most popular songs for funerals all across the UK, this is a powerful, stirring, and very well-known ballad that conjures ideas of timeless love between two people – even after one has passed away. From seeing your loved one in your dreams to believing they’re still there with you, the lyrics touch a chord with a huge number of people.

Millions around the world know it from the film “Titanic” – which is why it’s one of those Celine Dion funeral songs that gets chosen a lot – and rightly so, we at Fenix believe.

4. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel

A comforting song from two artists much-loved across the UK, it’s about providing support and being there for someone in times of need, no matter what. While some choose it because they consider it a sad funeral song, there are strong elements of hope in the track.

There are a number of other Simon & Garfunkel funeral songs that many opt for, but this is the one that most people turn to, hence why it made the top 20 that we’ve pulled together for you.

5. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

A timeless classic about the strength and endurance of love – even after a death. Houston’s cover was recorded for the 1992 film The Bodyguard – itself a testament to the power of love that overcomes all obstacles.

The song was originally released in the early 1970s by Dolly Parton – so that version might be worth finding if you’re looking for funeral songs from the 70s. But most agree that it’s this version that really hits home when it comes to remembering a much-missed person in your life.

6. “Angels” by Robbie Williams

A truly popular track for many people all across the UK, we at Fenix are frequently asked to include this in funeral services we help to arrange. A touching tribute to those young and old who have passed, the song imagines them watching down on us from above as angels (so it’s also useful for those looking for angel songs for a funeral).

Released in 1997, it’s one of those songs that’s often found in services that want to include more modern funeral songs (e.g. rather than sombre classical tracks).

7. “Amazing Grace” – Various artists

A traditional hymn that offers comfort and hope in the face of loss. Many take it as a reminder of God’s unwavering love for everyone, and the potential for redemption at the end of a life. So it’s a common choice for those looking for Christian funeral songs.

As a song commonly sung at rugby games, it’s a frequent choice for funeral songs for men or women who enjoy that game. Originally written by John Newton in 1772, there are a number of different versions available to choose from.

8. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole

A nostalgic, gently sentimental song that celebrates those memories and shared moments that we all have with our loved ones. Originally released in 1952, it’s a popular choice for anyone looking for 1950s funeral songs.           

Speaking to the love that endures even after a death, it’s a song that many people choose when they’re looking for goodbye songs for a funeral – that is, songs that admit the sadness involved, but that also take strength in saying a final goodbye.   

9. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy ft. Faith Evans

A moving tribute to the deceased rapper Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G.), this song speaks to the depth of grief and the memories left behind by a trusted friend and true great. Exploring how a loved one is still there with you, every step of the way, even after they’re gone, is a deeply moving message.

One of the things that makes this song so moving, and why so many different people select it for their loved one’s funeral, is that it samples the Police’s 1983 hit “Every Breath You Take”, sung by UK legend Sting.

10. “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

A stirring ballad about hope, perseverance, and moving on, this song is a powerful expression of resilience in the face of those challenging moments of life & loss. No matter what changes are coming, the song suggests, they can be overcome.

People looking for funeral songs with this kind of emotion and connection often choose to also look for Johnny Cash funeral songs, so make sure you have a look at our useful list if you think that might help you.

11. “Death Shall Have No Dominion” by Dylan Thomas, performed by Bryn Terfel

This powerful poem, set to music and performed by Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel, connects with a lot of people searching for Welsh funeral songs, and those who think of death as only a part of life.

It also speaks strongly to ideas of strength and commitment, urging those left behind by loved ones to find the resolve to keep going. It’s one of the most rousing, determined songs on this list, in fact.

12. “In My Life” by The Beatles

A nostalgic, often sentimental song about the memories and moments that make life worth living, and one of the first picks for people looking for Beatles funeral songs.

It’s about how our loved ones and family members play such an important role in that, and acts as a stirring tribute to a life well-lived. That makes it a common choice for people in the UK (whether fans of the Beatles or not), who want to find celebration of life songs for a funeral.   

13. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

A well-known and deeply moving song about what it means to lose a child. Many people choose this track when they’re looking for funeral songs for a son, or funeral songs for daughter.  

Expressing the depth of grief and struggle to come to terms with such a profound loss, it’s no wonder this is so common at UK funerals.

14. “Losing You” by Solange

A modern, soulful, powerful song about the pain of loss – and also the journey towards healing. This song words as a tribute to that strength and support that are needed following the death of a loved one.

Recorded and released in 2012, it’s a song that speaks to those who are looking for pop funeral songs, or for Humanist funeral songs, given that these kinds of funerals are more common amongst the younger generations.

15. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra

A song about living life to the fullest, and celebrating the legacy of a life lived well and lived with joy. This might be the most commonly requested track in the UK for those looking for more upbeat funeral songs, and rightly so, we believe.

Amongst all the songs from the American legend, this is the most popular choice for funerals, but have a look at this list if your loved one was a huge fan of the “Chairman of the Board”: Frank Sinatra funeral songs.

16. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Shirley Bassey

A hopeful, dreamy song about finding peace and happiness in a better place, this is a common choice for those who want funeral songs about heaven, without necessarily being strongly Christian, with lyrics about finding a place way up high, once heard about in a lullaby.

There are many versions to choose from, including a beautiful Ukulele track by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole from 2011, but the most common choice comes from those who are looking for Shirley Bassey songs for a funeral.

17. “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John

Originally written as a moving tribute to Marilyn Monroe, this song later became globally famous when it was re-written and released as a tribute to Princess Diana, not long after her death in 1997. At the time, it brought together mourners all over the UK, so it’s no wonder it still has the power to connect people in times of grief.

“Candle in the Wind” is commonly chosen by people who are looking for Elton John funeral songs to honour and celebrate their loved ones, and we can fully understand why.

18. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor

A very powerful song that speaks to the depth of grief and loss felt after the death of a loved one or family member, “Nothing Compares 2 U” is also famous for its music video, in which Sinead O’Connor is seen to be crying – and no wonder, given the power of its lyrics and messages.

While it’s a frequent choice for those looking for Irish funeral songs, this track is much loved all across the UK.        

19. “Always on My Mind” by Elvis Presley

While there are a sometimes overwhelming number of options when it comes to selecting Elvis songs for funeral (and maybe this list we made will help you find the right one), “Always on My Mind” is perhaps the most common in the UK

We believe this has to be because of its powerful lyrics and meaning, that speak to that regret that so many feel after a death: about not being there enough; not caring enough; not showing emotion enough – things that are all too commonly felt after a death.

20. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack

First released in 1969, this classic love song connects with that feeling of love that persists far beyond death, which is what makes it a common choice for those looking for funeral songs for a husband, as well as funeral songs for a wife.

With lyrics that talk about the earth moving at the moment of a first kiss, it’s no surprise that this song is chosen all over the UK for those looking for an emotional farewell to their loved one or partner.

Funerals songs by relative or loved one

When choosing the music for a funeral, you often want to remember what the person loved most. Whether that’s a family member, friend, partner, or other loved one, these short lists might help you find the perfect song to remember them by.

Funeral songs for a dad

1. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

Depending on the age of your dad, you might find that Pink Floyd funeral songs are high on the list. If so, this song has a poignant, nostalgic feel, while also not falling too much into the territory of sad or sombre songs.

Expressing feelings of loss and longing, the song states again and again how it wishes a much missed loved one were here. At just over 5 minutes long, it’s also not as lengthy as some Pink Floyd tracks.

2. “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers funeral songs are a popular choice all over the UK for funeral songs for dad, especially for those services that are commemorating a dad who was into country music and someone who would want popular music (rather than classical, or opera, for example) to be remembered by.

Released in 1981, this track speaks about how much we come to rely on someone, and how their strength and care is then keenly felt when they’re no longer around.

3. “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Bing Crosby

For those looking for funeral songs for the older generation, many people in the UK tell us that they would like Bing Crosby funeral songs at a service – especially this track from 1944 (which has also been sung by Billie Holiday).

With its lyrics about seeing a much missed person in all the familiar places they used to share together – from the café to the playpark – it’s a song that deeply moves many sons and daughters who have lost their dad, and all those who knew him. 

Funeral songs for a mum

1. “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

When it comes to funeral songs for mum, one of the most popular tracks that gets played at a service in the UK is “What a Wonderful World”, because it speaks to the joy and care that many people want to remember and celebrate.

As touching as it is recognisable, and with its lyrics about flowers, rainbows, and finding the light within the darkness, no matter what, we find this is a fitting tribute for many mums.

2. “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King

Released in 1971, and popular ever since, this song is a good alternative to more traditional funeral songs.

It won the Grammy for ‘Song of the Year’, and speaks to the idea that no matter how down or troubled you get, you can always “close your eyes and think of me” – a powerful message that will resonate with all those who will deeply miss the care, love and attention provided by their mum.

3. “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men

For more modern funerals, and perhaps younger mums, this is a heartfelt tribute to mothers everywhere. A number-one R&B single by the American R&B group Boyz II Men, this song is fondly remembered by people all over the UK.

Expressing deep gratitude and love for the strong, nurturing women in all our lives, this 1997 song speaks about how it’s our mothers who teach us everything, drive us on to succeed, and are always there for us – no matter what.

Funeral songs for a husband 

1. “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac

Every funeral is unique, just like all of our loved ones are unique. But perhaps your husband was a fan of this classic band, and therefore you need help choosing a fleetwood mac funeral song.

Our experience tells us that “Dreams”, from 1977, is one of the most commonly picked, due to its uplifting and well-recognised melody, and its messages about overcoming loss, and finding the bright side of life even when things get tough.

2. “Endless Love” by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie

If you’re planning a funeral service for your husband, perhaps a song that celebrates the love you shared is a good choice. This song, released in 1981, is remembered by many as a testament to the deep connection between two people that grows and develops as they spend their time together.

Sung as a duet, it powerfully portrays that every marriage is about teamwork, shared commitments, and powerful support – and that together they were stronger. It’s also a good option for those looking for Lionel Richie funeral songs. 

3. He Nath Jodi Hath by Mrityu Mangalya

At Fenix, we also understand that the UK has a wonderfully diverse population, and that some people will want to create a service that features, for example, Gujarati funeral songs or Hindu funeral songs.

This song asks God to give a soul eternal peace, and to carry a soul through all the troubles that might await it, messages that many people find reassuring when it comes to the death of a loved one, especially a husband.

Funeral songs for a wife

1. “Green Green Grass of Home” by Tom Jones

As a favourite performer of women all over the UK for decades, it’s no surprise that Tom Jones funeral songs are popular.

“Green Green Grass of Home”, released in 1967, is rich in nostalgia, with lyrics that show love for the family, and for the places that we remember well from our childhood days. It could be perfect for a more uplifting, celebratory service, in which family and friends gather to remember what was best about someone. 

2. “When We Were Young” by Adele

For younger people, or for those who kept up with modern music, Adele funeral songs are becoming increasingly popular.

The talented, award-winning singer has many tracks to choose from, but in our experience, people often select “When We Were Young” from the 2015 album “25”. With its nostalgia about those golden years when a couple were younger, and all the movie-like feelings that are caught up in the memories of those days, this is a powerful choice for remembering a wife.

3. “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald

For an older generation, the popularity of Ella Fitzgerald funeral songs has never waned, and we’re often asked for advice on which one to select for a funeral service to remember a wife.

The legendary jazz singer has many to choose from, but we find “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” is a moving tribute. With its positivity, along with its intimacy (with lyrics about going to sleep at night next to the one you love), this is a track that will create a swell of emotion about your departed wife.

Funeral songs for grandma 

1. “Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow

Losing a grandmother is always a deeply sad occasion, but a funeral service for someone who’s lived a long life and also be a time of celebration or appreciation for all that was achieved in their life.

That’s why many people choose this song, released in 1978. With its messages about how one special person can make you smile, brighten your day, it speaks to many people who are looking for a tribute to their favourite grandma with a Barry Manilow funeral song.

2. “Memory” by Barbara Streisand

From a similar era, people in the UK are also often looking to find the Barbra Streisand funeral song.

With a voice as powerful as the emotions in her songs, “Memory” (from 1981) is a classic example of her work and a song that many people find a fitting tribute to a lost grandmother. With its lyrics about remembering the old days, when life was beautiful, it could be the perfect choice for your grandma.

3. “The Special Years” by Val Doonican

Irish singer Val Doonican, known for his smooth voice and laid-back style, has long been a beloved favourite of the older generation. Which is why so many people in the UK and Ireland want to find the right Val Doonican funeral song to remember their grandma.

“The Special Years”, from 1965, remembers everything that makes a life worth celebrating – from marriages to family – which is why many people choose this truly heart-warming track to honour a grandmother’s long life.

Funeral songs for granddad 

1. “Everyday” by Buddy Holly

Depending on the age of your grandad, you might be searching for Buddy Holly funeral songs, to ensure that his funeral services honours the American singer he loved so much. In our experience, the most common song chosen by people is “Everyday”, from 1957.

It’s a more upbeat, lively song, with lyrics about the power of love to make things seem better, as well as the speed with which a life passes (like a rollercoaster). So it’s more suited to a celebratory funeral, rather than a sad or sombre one.        

2. “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens

For younger grandads, many people in the UK want to find the best Cat Stevens song for a funeral. With his insightful lyrics and powerful voice, there’s a number to choose from, but our recommendation is “Morning Has Broken”.

With its messages about praising things in nature, from blackbirds to springtime, dew fall to sunlight, it’s an inspiring song that is as moving now as it was when it was released in 1971. It’s also great for a funeral that wants to mention things like “praise” and “heaven” without relying on traditional hymns

3. “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” by Rod Stewart

British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart is played at funerals the length and breadth of the country. While there are a huge number of options from across the decades, when it comes to choosing the best of Rod Stewart funeral songs, this is probably the most common for a grandfather’s funeral.

With its lyrics about filling hearts with gladness and filling life with laughter, along with giving praise and thanks for the good things, this is most often our pick for a service celebrating a long life.

Funeral songs for the older generation 

1. “Here You Come Again” by Dolly Parton

When it comes to older people who have passed away, it might be best to choose more traditional songs (rather than so-called “popular songs”, for example). One option that has been used again and again in the UK is “Here You Come Again”.

When it comes to Dolly Parton funeral songs, this may be the most appropriate given its core message about how one person can bring such joy and lightness to someone else’s life. As a relatively upbeat song, it’s used most often at celebratory funerals.

2. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

Released in 1965, this all-time classic song is played at funerals frequently, thanks to its deep expressions of love and loss. The plaintive song tells the story of a man who is pleading for God to speed his partner's love to him, and telling them that they’ll meet again some time soon.

It’s one of the most popular choices of funeral songs from the 60s, and we have no doubt it will remain so for many years to come.

3. “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que sera, sera)” by Doris Day

As one of the most uplifting and celebratory songs that can be played at a funeral, this is the top pick of many people looking for Doris Day funeral songs.

Released in 1956 (and made famous in the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”), it will touch the heartstrings of everyone of a certain age with its nostalgic messages about remembering childhood, parental love, and looking both towards the past and the future.

Funerals songs by mood or occasion

Every person is unique, which is why every funeral is different. Some are small, quiet, and reflective. Some are large, celebratory events that ask people to only wear bright colours. (You can read more about what to wear to a funeral in this article.) Hopefully, this list of funeral songs arranged by mood and service-style will help.

Funeral love songs      

 1. “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion

For funerals that are intended to celebrate and remember the strong love between two people – or to recognise the love between family members – this song is a strong choice.

Its power-ballad style, together with a stirring piano accompaniment and Celine Dion’s unique vocal performance, all combine to express the idea that love (“a force from above”) can overcome any obstacle, endure any hardship, and bring comfort and solace through even the most challenging moments of life & loss.

2. “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban

For those looking for Josh Groban funeral songs, or anyone planning a funeral that will celebrate the strength of love between two people, this slow, gentle song with emotional lyrics is a popular choice.

Released in 2003, it’s a song that has it all: lush orchestration of strings, rich piano, and a rousing choir. With lyrics expressing gratitude for that support that is provided by a loved one (“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains”), it’s a choice that many in the UK find is just what they need to remember their loved one.

3. “Til Kingdom Come” by Coldplay

A song that Chris Martin has played live at funerals himself, this is a song that many of those looking for Coldplay funeral songs find is a moving choice.

Released in 2005 (as a bonus track on “X&Y”), the song’s folky tone, acoustic guitar, piano, and heartfelt vocals come together to create a stirring tribute to waiting for the right person to come into your life, even if it takes an entire lifetime to happen.

Uplifting and happy funeral songs

1. “Bring Me Sunshine” by Morecambe & Wise

When it comes to uplifting and happy funeral songs, this classic is a firm favourite. Many people ask us how many songs to play at a funeral (and the article linked to here might help), and that always depends on the kind of service you’re planning. But if you want to include an uplifting song, this is one we highly recommend.

A UK classic from two comedians who will always be remembered fondly, it’ll be hard to find someone who doesn’t smile when this comes on.

2. “The Dance” by Garth Brooks

A song that’s both nostalgic and celebratory – which is exactly what more and more people across the UK want from their own funeral or the funeral they're planning for a loved one (perhaps with the help of Fenix acting as their funeral director).

“The Dance” was released in 1990, has a skilful acoustic guitar accompaniment and Brooks’ distinctive vocals, with lyrics that have an uplifting message about the power of memories and the love that endures even after a much-loved person has passed away. Also a great choice for those looking for country funeral songs.

3. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder

A common choice for those looking to organise a funeral for their husband, wife, or partner, this is a bittersweet song that’s both full of joy and celebration while also being tinged with the sadness that comes from knowing this much-loved person has now passed on.

Sung and played beautifully in Stevie Wonder’s classic recording, this is sure to raise both a smile and get people reaching for some tissues and giving thanks for all the people in their life that bring them happiness.

Celebration of life songs for funeral 

1. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

A song with the perfect message for those loved ones who wanted their funeral to be a time for celebration of a good life, rather than a time of sadness and mourning.

With its upbeat tone, and lyrics about making the best of whatever life throws at you, it’s a celebratory song that’s popular all over the UK. It’s also a song that just about everyone knows, so it’ll bring people together – and maybe even get them singing along.

2. “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy

A good choice for anyone looking for instrumental funeral songs that are all about melody and emotion, without having to rely on lyrics, this classical, lyrical piece is characterised by smooth-flowing melodies and gentle harmonies – which many find the perfect match for a funeral that’s not about grief or sadness.

The title means “light of the moon”, and the song is as calming and inviting as the title itself, it’s also chosen by those looking for funeral reflection songs.

3. “Halo” by Beyonce

More people across the UK every year are choosing to play pop music, indie bands, rock bands, and others, because they want to create a service that is an honest and celebratory remembrance of their loved one’s life.

With its positive, uplifting message about love and devotion, “Halo” (released in 2008) is one of the most common choices for Beyonce funeral songs. Its stunning melody and deeply moving lyrics make it a moving tribute.

Funny funeral songs

1. “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presley

Elvis is a common choice for all kinds of funerals, from the sombre to the celebratory, but this song is also a popular choice for those looking to add some humour to a funeral service in the UK. It’s especially common for those looking for funeral exit songs.

While raising a smile – or even some laughter – is not everyone’s cup of tea for a funeral. We know, however,  that some people both deserve and want a funeral that’s not about being sad, and instead is about bringing together loved ones and raising a toast to a life well lived. 

2. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python

A true British classic: this song, taken from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, is chosen by many who want to raise a smile at a funeral.

With its cheery (and very whistle-worthy) musical style and its lyrics about looking on the bright side of things, no matter what, this is a common choice for those who want to raise a smile for at least part of a funeral service, and could be a great choice for any looking for upbeat funeral songs.

 3. “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen

Another great option, either for a stirring entrance funeral song, or to be played at any other time during a service, for someone who brought laughter and joy to their family and friends, or someone whose last wishes were that their funeral shouldn’t be a dour affair.  

As a classic song in its own right, it’s sure to both raise a smile and get people humming along – which is something that can be hard to achieve at some funerals. If you’re still looking for more funny songs, our list of Ken Dodd funeral songs might prove useful. 

Songs for non-religious funeral 

1. “Blowin’ In The Wind” by Bob Dylan

With a growing number of the UK’s population choosing non-religious funeral services, we hear more and more requests for songs and artists that suit this kind of service. One of the most popular choices is Bob Dylan funeral songs.

Released in 1963, it’s an ambiguous song in some ways, with no call to a higher power or afterlife. But it speaks to the passage of time, and to ideas of trying to find an answer in the world all around us. It’s also one of the most recognisable songs around, so it produces a strong feeling of togetherness at every funeral.

2. “Till the Next Goodbye” by The Rolling Stones

“Till the Next Goodbye” by one of England’s most famous bands, is found on the 1974 album “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll” and is the first choice for many people looking for Rolling Stones funeral songs, or for funeral rock songs.

While it’s melancholy and moving – speaking about goodnights and goodbyes and longing – it also suggests that love can overcome vast distances, and great obstacles. Above all, it’s a testament to the power of human love, which many find suitable for a non-religious service.

3. “Orinoco Flow” by Enya

A beautiful and well-known melodic song, Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” is famous for its lyrics “Sail away, sail away” – which is why so many choose it to be played at a non-religious funeral in the UK.

It’s definitely the most famous of Enya funeral songs – and for a good reason. With its ethereal, meditative style, and lyrics about sailing the world while saying goodbye, it’s a song that will be heard at many more funerals in the future. 

Sad funeral songs

1. “With or Without You” by U2

When it comes to songs that might match a more sombre mood at a funeral, this track from U2’s 1987 album “The Joshua Tree” is a popular choice.

Finding the right U2 funeral song is not easy, but we believe this track’s poignant lyrics speak to the depth of feeling caused by a loss. From the physical to the emotional effects, the song traces how the death of a loved one can cause feelings of emptiness and despair.

2. “This is Your Song” by Ronan Keating

Released in 2003 on the album “Turn It On”, this is a relatively modern song, but one that still speaks to those timeless feelings of loss and grief. The lyrics are about living a life to its fullest, and remembering the best things about a person – and how these things all lead to their loss being “the hardest of times”.

Recognisable, contemplative, and moving, this track is the most common choice for anyone looking for Ronan Keating funeral songs.

3. “I Know You By Heart” by Eva Cassidy

A slow, deeply moving song by American singer Eva Cassidy, this song is all about those memories that are etched in our hearts, the shared moments that become so important to us throughout our lives – and even more so after the death of someone we’ve shared that life with.

While there are a number of Eva Cassidy funeral songs out there, this is perhaps the most touching – though it also has a sense of hope within it.

Humanist funeral songs 

1. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

Non-religious Humanist funerals can often be more celebratory than more traditional funerals. With that in mind, many people in the UK choose “Here Comes the Sun”, released in 1969 on the Abbey Road album.

With its uplifting tone, and messages about welcoming a new day, and looking towards the future even after times of cold and darkness, it’s also widely recognised, so playing this song at a funeral will produce a strong feeling of togetherness and shared experience during the ceremony.

2. “Time After Time” by Cindy Lauper

“Time After Time” is another frequent choice for Humanist or non-religious (also called non-denominational) services, and it is definitely the most popular when it comes to Cyndi Lauper funeral songs.

Released in 1983, the song is about how the lost can always be found, and that those who fall will be caught, thanks to the power of love. With its theme of time being the great leveller, it also speaks to those who believe that time is the most powerful force here on Earth (or anywhere else).

3. “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire

Canadian band Arcade Fire is an increasingly popular choice for those looking for indie funeral songs.

Of all the Arcade Fire funeral songs that people consider, “We Used to Wait” is one we recommend. As well as moving, rousing music, its lyrics speak to ideas of lives changing, and hope persisting – as well as a deep nostalgia for times that have passed. Released in 2010, it speaks to the younger generation who, more and more often, are choosing Humanist ceremonies.

Funerals songs by music style or genre

Most people have a favourite musical style or genre – it’s part of who we are, and therefore it’s part of how they should be remembered. With that in mind, this list is here for you to help find songs via styles and genres, all across the decades – from rock to gospel, R&B to acoustic. We hope it will help you find suitable music for the funeral you are planning.

Funeral rock songs

1. “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel

When you’re choosing memorial songs for a funeral, we reassure people that you don’t need to be limited to so-called traditional music, and rock is an increasingly popular genre for services. There are many fitting Billy Joel funeral songs – especially if you’re loved one was a keen fan of the American singer-songwriter.

This track is about how the good and innocent sometimes die too soon – and acts as a kind of celebration for lives tragically cut short. Another good choice for those who want songs with strong, moving lyrics might be a David Bowie funeral song.

2. “Far Far Away” by Slade

One of the most popular Slade funeral songs, “Far Far Away” has a melancholic tone, and speaks to what it means to deeply miss someone you care about. It taps into that often physical yearning that people feel when they lose a loved one.

When friends and family are struggling to come to terms with a loss, songs like this can remind them that they’re not alone, and that others around them are going through similar struggles.

3. “Keep the Faith” by Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi funeral songs have been common in the UK for years, and none more so than “Keep the Faith” from 1992.

With its lyrics about perseverance and hope, and a stirring, uplifting tempo, the song is often chosen by those who want to remember their loved one as a beacon of positivity – as someone who always knew what to do or so to make things okay. (If you’re looking for a British band, then have a look at our list of Genesis funeral songs).

60s funeral songs

1. “The Times They Are A-Changin’” by Bob Dylan

Although many people think of this song in relation to the political and social changes of the 1960s, its message of hope for a better future is often a reassuring thing to hear at the funeral of a loved one.

Its haunting melody, plus Dylan’s distinctive voice, can help create a stirring atmosphere at any funeral. If you’re looking for music from a similar era, then Rat Pack songs for funerals might be of interest. Or, if you’d like British songs from the same period, have a look at these Van Morrison funeral songs.

 2. “My Girl” by The Temptations

Released in 1965, This classic Motown song expresses love and appreciation for a special person, and its upbeat melody and heart-warming message can be suitable for a funeral at which you don’t want the mood to be too sombre. It’s often chosen by partners who want to remember everything they loved about their wife or girlfriend.

Made popular by the moving film of the same name starring Macaulay Culkin, people will no doubt be moved if you play this at a funeral. For other options with a similar style, you might want to read our list of Patsy Cline funeral songs.

3. “Let it Be Me” Everly Brothers

Many people in the UK choose Everly Brothers funeral songs because they bring both a sense of longing and remembrance, but also an uplifting tone.

This track (released in 59 but popular throughout the 60s), is all about giving thanks and praise for meeting that special person. A testament to love, and the profound effect it can have on our lives, it’s a song commonly chosen by people who want to remember their departed life partner.

If you’re still looking for 1960s songs, then our list of James Taylor funeral songs might be just what you need.

Gospel funeral songs

1. “Till We Meet Again” by Kirk Franklin

Whether you’re looking for songs for a catholic funeral or any other kind of Christian service or remembrance event, this track (released in 1997) features a strong message about meeting a loved one again in heaven.

Along with the slow, stirring melody, the lyrics offer a sense of hope and comfort, which can be reassuring for all those attending the funeral of a friend, family member, or partner who will be deeply missed.

2. “Jesus Promised Me a Home Over There” by Jennifer Hudson

A modern gospel track (released in 2008), this rousing song features an organ, and stunning vocals from Jennifer Hudson, this is a common choice for funerals around the world.

With lyrics that express ideas around death not being the end but rather a time when the soul crosses over to the afterlife (the “home over there”), the song offers hope and reassurance to everyone, whether religious or not, that death does not have to be a time of darkness.

3. “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” by Jim Reeves

A common selection for those looking for Jim Reeves funeral songs, this song has a slow, soothing melody with a stirring organ accompaniment that many people find both appropriate and moving for a funeral.

Covered by many artists over the years, it’s well-known by many, especially those who find solace in the idea that no matter what happens, God will be there to guide and protect them throughout life – and beyond death.    

R&B funeral songs

1. “Know” from Mary J. Blige

A powerful ballad with raw vocals, a soulful R&B style and a gospel-inspired melody, this track is an emotional choice for any funeral.

Reflecting on the importance of self-awareness and growth in anyone’s life, the lyrics describe a journey of self-discovery, in the face of adversity, which can act as a great source of comfort, inspiration, and reassurance for all those who have been affected by the death of a much loved friend or family member.

2. “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men

An R&B track that brings a tear to many at funerals all over the UK, this Boyz II Men song from 1991 is all about remembering the good times spent with someone, and the memories that were created with them together.

Written by Motown writing team Freddie Perren and Christine Yarian, it might also be a good addition to a Motown funeral songs list if that’s what your loved one wanted at their service.

3. “Missing You” from Diana Ross

With its simple but touching lyrics and melancholy melody, this track from 1981 speaks about missing a loved one who’s passed away (“Every day I feel the pain of missing you”), and longing for their return.

This theme is often relatable to people who have lost a loved one, making the song a fitting tribute for a funeral or memorial service. A track that will almost certainly bring people together in a moving tribute to a much-missed person.

Soul funeral songs 

1. “Love Me Now” from John Legend

As a song about living life to the fullest, and always cherishing our loved ones, this song can be heard at many funerals.

The lyrics focus on how vital it is to make the most of our time on Earth, especially when it comes to spending quality time with those closest to us. Legend's soulful, emotional vocals, plus the song’s upbeat tempo, offer hope, encouragement, and even lightness in what might otherwise be a darker time.

2. “Changes” by Charles Bradley

A moving, soulful cover of a Black Sabbath track, this is a good choice for those who want a soulful ballad that reflects on the challenges and difficulties of life

It tells the story of how the struggles that people face are what leads to change and evolution – offering hope for a brighter future even during this challenging time. Bradley’s vocal performance offers moving depth.  And the rhythm & blues style make it a moving track for those who dearly miss their loved one.

3. “Pink + White” by Frank Ocean

Co-written by Pharell Williams, this is a popular choice for those looking for a contemporary funeral song. Contemplative, introspective, but also upbeat, the song reflects on the idea of growth and change – an important theme during those challenging moments that come with the death of a loved one.

For many, Ocean’s song acts as a reminder that, although death may mark the end of one chapter in life, it is also the start of a new one – that hope can always be found.

Hindu funeral songs

1. “Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra” – Various

For anyone planning a Hindu funeral in the UK, Fenix can help. For example, we know that many people play this ancient Sanskrit mantra at Hindu funerals, as it’s believed to conquer death and bring longevity to both the living and departed.

Many people believe it can bring peace and comfort to the bereaved, and it powerfully evokes the belief that death is not an end but a transition to a new existence. (You can read more about Hindu funerals in the UK in our useful article).

2. “Aarti Kunj Bihari Ki” by Anuradha Paudwal

This devotional song (sung by the renowned Bollywood singer Anuradha Paudwal) is a tribute to Lord Krishna and is often played at Hindu funerals all across the UK to offer comfort and solace to the bereaved.

The song starts with an invocation of Lord Krishna, invoking his blessings and protection. The lyrics describe Lord Krishna’s qualities and attributes, such as his mischievous nature and playful antics, his wisdom and compassion, and his love for his devotees.

3. “Shiv Shankar Ko Jisne Puja” by Lata Mangeshkar

Another devotional song, dedicated to Lord Shiva, this track is often played at Hindu funerals to both honour the departed soul and offer comfort to those loved ones who are left behind.

Powerfully sung by another Bollywood legend, Lata Mangeshkar, the musical style is typical of Hindu devotional songs, with a haunting melody, devotional lyrics, and the power to uplift the listener and bring comfort, peace, and security – even during one of life’s most challenging moments.

Acoustic funeral songs

1. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

A slow, romantic ballad that expresses the idea of enduring love – as well as the pain of loss that affects you after the death of a loved one.

Its soft melody and touching lyrics make it a popular tribute to those organising a funeral for someone who was close to them. For ideas in a similar style, you might find our list of Michael Ball funeral songs useful. For an even more nostalgic angle, you might consider our list of Disney funeral songs.

2. “Blackbird” by The Beatles

A classic and much-loved song that is often played at the funerals of people of all ages, whether they were firm fans of the fab four or not.

A simple acoustic track that comes with a strong message of hope and freedom (even in “the dead of night”), it’s a reminder that no matter what, there’s always beauty in the world. If you’re looking for more British artists like the Beatles, you might consider Phil Collins funeral songs.   

3. “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel

This song has a classic folk ballad feel, melancholic without being too negative. With its lyrics about loss and the struggles of life that so many go through, the acoustic guitar arrangement adds to the emotional impact of an already moving song.

Recorded in 1964, it’s one of the most enduring songs of the 1960s. (Another option to consider, if you’re looking for guitar-based tracks, is Willie Nelson funeral songs.

Funerals songs by artist or band

Sometimes there’s a single artist, or band, that just comes to be associated with a person. They’re always playing the same song or album over and over again, even if they’ve heard it 1,000 times. To help you find the right song for a funeral in the UK, this list of some of the most popular tracks listed by artist and band could help.

Elvis songs for funeral

1. “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by Elvis Presley

Released in 1961, this classic song has a gentle melody and lyrics that express a deep, timeless love. It can be a fitting tribute to a lasting and meaningful relationship – whether with a family member, or a partner.

From later in the 60s, many people also choose Carpenters funeral songs, and this list might help you find the perfect track for your loved one’s service. Daniel O‘Donnell funeral songs are also common amongst those who are fans of Elvis.

2. “Peace in the Valley” by Elvis Presley

Recorded in 1957, this gospel-style song with uplifting lyrics about finding peace in the afterlife is a common choice in the UK for those who want to offer comfort and support to those attending a funeral for a loved one.

The lyrics speak of a peaceful place where “all will be bright and bright”, offering the promise of a reunion in the future. If you’re looking for other artists similar to Elvis, many people also choose Johnny Mathis songs for a funeral.

3. “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley

Released in 1969, this is one of Elvis’ most popular songs for funerals in the UK. With a slow, soulful melody and trademark powerful vocals, it’s got an emotional mood that many find well suited to a funeral for a much-missed loved one.

With themes of love, devotion, and the power of forgiveness, it’s a fitting tribute for a funeral where the person being remembered was deeply loved and cherished by family and friends. With distinctive handclaps and keyboard riffs, it’s an interesting choice for those who don’t want to choose more traditional funeral music.

Beatles funeral songs

1. “Let It Be” by The Beatles

A song of comfort and reassurance, this is one of the band’s most timeless and uplifting tracks. Released as a single in 1970, its message is about overcoming difficult moments in life: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be…"

Another British favourite, you might find our list of Cliff Richard funeral songs useful; and many people select songs from this list of Foster and Allen songs for a funeral.

2. “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles

This upbeat and celebratory track from 1967 could help to bring to mind the positive memories and good times shared with a loved one who has passed away. It speaks to the importance of love in all our lives, and says that love is often all we truly need to make the world a better place.

For a more modern but still upbeat funeral, you might want to consider Westlife funeral songs, or even big band funeral songs.

3. “Yesterday” by The Beatles

This classic ballad, which many find deeply moving, is a nostalgic and wistful tribute to the past – making it an ideal choice for a funeral or memorial in the UK. It’s also known by just about everyone, which many find reassuring at a service.

Many find that funeral solo songs can produce a similarly melancholic feeling as this track. Or, if you’re looking for an American performer from the Beatles era, Roy Orbison funeral songs are frequently chosen. 

Queen funeral songs

1. “Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen

This ballad explores themes of mortality and overcoming death, making it a popular choice for funerals all over the UK. With powerful vocals and emotional lyrics, many find that it offers solace and support during one of life’s most challenging moments.

From a similar era, and often played together, Abba funeral songs can add a celebratory, uplifting tone to any funeral. Other people opt for Runrig songs for a funeral, with the Celtic rockers providing stirring tracks with a 70s and 80s feel.

2. “Love of My Life” by Queen

A heartfelt, wistful tribute to losing a loved one, “Love of My Life” is played at many services at which people want to remember the best side of a partner, family member, or friend. With a gentle melody and tender lyrics, it evokes feelings of comfort as well as loss.

If you’re looking for a more modern band who offer similar levels of uplifting music, you might consider Take That funeral songs, or even Boyzone funeral songs.

3. “Somebody to Love” by Queen

An upbeat, uplifting song that many choose to help raise the mood during a challenging time. It’s a song that reminds us all that love and support are all around us, even during difficult times. surrounds us. A joyful, celebratory track.

If you’re looking for more tracks to play alongside Queen at a funeral you want to be uplifting, then many people find that Meatloaf funeral songs are a good choice.

Frank Sinatra funeral songs

1. “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra

This timeless love song makes a stirring tribute to a lost loved one. Its gentle melody, romantic lyrics, and recognisable nature brings attendees together in a moving moment of remembrance, and thanks for a life well lived.

Another strong male vocal performer to consider: Tom Parker funeral songs are common across the UK, especially as the Bolton-born singer tragically died of a brain tumour in 2022. Or for those who need more nostalgic American options, Perry Como songs for a funeral are well worth considering.

2. “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra

An upbeat romantic song that many in the UK choose to bring a touch of joy and optimism to a funeral or memorial service. Its playful lyrics and light-hearted melody help lift the mood and celebrate the good things about a loved one’s life.

Born to Italian immigrants in New Jersey, Sinatra remains a firm favourite for those looking to choose Italian funeral songs, or songs that connect with Italian heritage, and is even common with those looking for Jewish funeral songs.

3. “It Had to Be You” by Frank Sinatra

Another classic love song, and one which many people think offers comfort to those who are grieving. The song reminds us that love and happiness was brought into our lives by our loved one, evoking fond memories of time well spent.

If you’re searching for a more contemporary singer with powerful vocals, you might find our list of Alfie Boe funeral songs handy. Or for an English option, UB40 funeral songs are also common.

Shirley Bassey funeral songs 

1. “As Long As He Needs Me” by Shirley Bassey

This memorable ballad from the musical “Oliver!” asks attendees at a funeral to reflect on the enduring love and devotion of a woman for the man she loves. With emotional lyrics and powerful vocals, it’s a common choice that reminds us how love endures even after death.

If you’re looking to pair Basset with some more classical styles, then Il Divo funeral songs could be a good option – the UK-based vocal quartet have numerous suitable tracks; or for an English-singer, Michael Ball songs for a funeral are much admired.   

2. “Kiss Me Honey Honey, Kiss Me” by Shirley Bassey

This playful song is chosen by many in the UK to bring some joy and light-heartedness to a funeral service for a loved one. With a cheerful melody and gentle lyrics, it can help lift the mood and create a celebratory atmosphere.

(We know that not all funerals are for partners, which is why we’ve also created lists like this one, for baby funeral songs.) 

3. “This is My Life” by Shirley Bassey

An empowering choice that can be played at funerals for people who went through life with strength and conviction, providing both comfort and inspiration to those who are grieving. Its lyrics emphasise the strength and resilience of your loved one.

For those looking to create a moving service, Michael Bublé funeral songs are also common – the four-time Grammy Award winner has a deeply affecting voice.

Ella Fitzgerald funeral songs

1. “Misty” by Ella Fitzgerald

Many people in the UK choose this classic ballad, as it reflects on the fleeting nature of love and life. With a haunting melody and emotional lyrics, it’s well suited to funerals at which mourners will be given time and space to share their grief for the person they all cared for.

If you’re looking for other female singers with a powerful voice and timeless tracks, Dusty Springfield funeral songs are also very common, as are Dolly Parton funeral songs. 

2. “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” by Ella Fitzgerald

A more upbeat choice, this often cheerful song offers support and even inspiration to the family and friends of a loved one. With messages about finding strength, perseverance, and togetherness, it’s a song that can brighten the mood and even raise a smile during a difficult time.

You might consider adding a Katherine Jenkins funeral song to your list – the Welsh singer’s operatic voice is a stirring choice for many occasions. 

3. “The Nearness of You” by Ella Fitzgerald

With its deep reflection on the enduring power of love, this romantic ballad has a heartfelt melody that will appeal to funeral goers young and old. (There’s also a version by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra from 1940).

Another popular choice if you’re considering female singers: Tina Turner funeral songs are picked for funerals all over the UK. Or, for a more contemporary mood, Pink funeral songs could be an option for your loved one’s service.

Johnny Cash funeral songs   

1. “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash

This powerful song reflects on life, death, and the judgement that awaits us all. Its stirring lyrics and strong melody tell the story of how we all share the same ultimate destination – which might create a feeling of solidarity and connection between attendees.

Many people who are looking for funeral songs for a brother opt for this song. If you’d prefer an English option, then Dire Straits funeral songs from the rock legends are worth considering.

2. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

This cover of a Nine Inch Nails song, released by Cash in 2002, speaks of the pain and suffering that life can bring. It’s not an uplifting track, but Cash’s distinctive weathered voice brings a feeling of determination and resolve, which might be suitable to remember a loved one who made the most of their life despite obstacles.

Another option for those who want to organise a funeral that’s not overly traditional is funeral bagpipe songs – our list might help you out here. Or if you’re looking for a British rather than American singer, then Joe Longthorne funeral songs are a popular choice.  

 3. “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash

This well-known song speaks of devotion, love, and commitment – which funeral goers will be reassured to be reminded of during this challenging time. Its catchy melody and touching lyrics make this a common choice for funerals up and down the country.

Cash is also frequently played alongside other non-traditional tracks, such as Celtic funeral songs. If you’d prefer a British option, then Status Quo funeral songs can create a celebratory mood.

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