Popular funeral song suggestions

When a loved one dies, you may lack the words to describe how much their life and love meant to you. And when words seem insufficient, you can turn to songs to express everything from your deepest sorrow to unconditional love.

There truly are songs to reflect everyone. Choosing what songs to be featured during a funeral will come down to songs the deceased loved - particularly if they left instructions as to what should be played during their funeral, and songs that remind surviving individuals of their loved one.

Popular choices

Popular funeral and memorial songs include:

  1. Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
  2. Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo
  3. Ave Maria - Sarah Brightman
  4. Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Middler
  5. My Way - Frank Sinatra
  6. Angels - Robbie Williams
  7. Unforgettable - Natalie Cole
  8. Danny Boy - Celtic Woman
  9. You Raise Me Up - Westlife
  10. See You Again - Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth

Songs to celebrate life

Songs to celebrate a person’s life could include:

  1. You Can Close Your Eyes - James Taylor
  2. Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton
  3. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
  4. I’ll Be Seeing You - Billie Holiday
  5. Forever Young - Rod Stewart
  6. Bring Me Sunshine - Morecambe and Wise
  7. Heroes - David Bowie
  8. Drops Of Jupiter - Train
  9. I’ve Had The Time Of My Life - Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  10. Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum

Classic rock

Classic rock songs that are appropriate for a funeral include:

  1. Shine - Collective Soul
  2. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
  3. In Loving Memory - Alter Bridge
  4. Patience - Guns N’ Roses
  5. Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin
  6. Changes - Black Sabbath
  7. See You On The Other Side - Ozzy Osbourne
  8. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
  9. Man Who Sold The World - Nirvana
  10. You’re My Best Friend - Queen

A young person’s funeral

When mourning the loss of a person who has passed away at a young age, relevant songs include:

  1. If I Die Young - The Band Perry
  2. Fly - Celine Dion
  3. Circle Of Life - Elton John
  4. Gone Too Soon - Michael Jackson
  5. Reach For The Stars - S Club 7
  6. Forever Young - Alphaville
  7. You’ll Be In My Heart - Phil Collins
  8. Held - Natalie Grant
  9. Streets Of Heaven - Sherrie Austin
  10. Beautiful Boy - John Lennon

A parent’s funeral

If you are organising a parent’s funeral, there are many songs to choose from. Some popular ones include:

  1. Thank You For Being My Dad - Jon Barker
  2. Mama - Ill Divo
  3. In The Living Years - Mike and the Mechanics
  4. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
  5. Days Like This - Van Morrison
  6. This Is Your Song - Ronan Keating
  7. Joanne - Lady Gaga
  8. Who Will Sing Me Lullabies - Kate Rusby
  9. Fathers And Daughters (Never Say Goodbye) - Michael Bolton
  10. Song For Dad - Keith Urban

Religious offerings

If you and/or the person who has passed away are religious, some suggested songs include:

  1. Morning Has Broken - Angelis
  2. Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace - Susan Boyle
  3. Amazing Grace - LeAnn Rimes
  4. The Prayer - Andrea Bocelli
  5. Sing Me To Heaven - Bradley Walker
  6. My Sweet Lord - George Harrison
  7. Fire And Rain - Birdy
  8. Spirit In The Sky - Gareth Gates
  9. The Lord Is My Shepherd - Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  10. In The Garden - Brad Paisley

Sentimental songs

For a more sentimental choice, here are some popular song choices:

  1. So Long Marine - Leonard Cohen
  2. I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlan
  3. Only Time - Enya
  4. Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
  5. Who Knew - P!nk
  6. Thank You - Johnny Reid
  7. Going Home - Mary Fahl
  8. Goodbye My Friend - Linda Ronstadt
  9. Fragile - Sting
  10. Who Wants To Live Forever - Queen

Songs of love

If you wish for your song choice to show your love for someone, here are some suggested options:

  1. Yellow - Coldplay
  2. Don’t Dream It’s Over - Crowded House
  3. Coming Around Again - Carly Simon
  4. You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
  5. It Must Have Been Love - Roxette
  6. I Miss You - Stevie Nicks 
  7. I’ll Remember - Madonna
  8. Every Breath You Take - Police
  9. Together Again - Janet Jackson
  10. Broken Wings - Mr Mister

Alternative selections

For something a little different than the expected, here are some alternative songs to choose from:

  1. Slipped Away - Avril Lavigne
  2. Pictures Of You - The Cure
  3. Beautiful Day - U2
  4. If There’s A Heaven Above - Love and Rockets
  5. Breathe - Moist
  6. Return To Innocence - Enigma
  7. My Immortal - Evanescence
  8. Haunted, When The Minutes Drag - Love and Rockets
  9. Hope There’s Someone - Antony and the Johnsons
  10. Pictured Within - Jon Lord 

Planning a funeral

There are so many decisions to make when planning a funeral, and choosing the music is just one of them. The relationship between funerals and music is quite powerful. Music can express sentiments and emotions in a moment where words are hard to come by.

If you are planning your own funeral, then deciding which songs you would like played can help guide your family during a difficult time for them. In addition, when planning your funeral you should also consider the costs involved when you pass away – and whether this cost may be a burden for your family to manage.

To find out more about how  Seniors Funeral Insurance can help protect your family from the financial costs related to your funeral, call us on 0800 400 240.

Read the New Zealand Seniors Cost of Death report