21 Best Bruce Springsteen Songs for a Funeral Service


Music has the power to bring people together across global and generational lines. When it comes to choosing the best funeral songs, it’s a highly personal choice. Some people prefer more traditional or religious songs. Others find that beloved songs from the deceased’s lifetime are more suited to saying goodbye. When it comes to nostalgia, one of the American classics is Bruce Springsteen. 

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With over 20 Grammy wins and 65 million albums sold, Bruce Springsteen created music that rocked the world. His music has been an anthem for generations. Ever since the 1970s, his music has been a popular choice for funerals. 

Whether you’re planning a memorial service focused on music or you want to honor your loved one with a powerful tribute, you can’t go wrong with Bruce Springsteen. His music spans every theme and genre, offering something for every listener. Here are the 21 best Bruce Springsteen songs for funerals.

Uplifting Bruce Springsteen Funeral Songs

Not all funeral songs are sad. In fact, many are uplifting, hopeful, and a sign that brighter days are ahead. As any Bruce Springsteen fan knows, an upbeat tune often denotes the most remarkable stories and messages. These uplifting Bruce Springsteen songs are perfect for any sendoff or funeral slideshow.

1. “Thunder Road” from Born to Run

This hit from one of Springsteen’s biggest albums, Born to Run, is easily recognizable as the anthem of a generation. About a young couple running away and falling in love, this song emphasizes the importance of taking advantage of the time you have. 

2. “Born to Run” from Born to Run

Springsteen’s most well-known song, “Born to Run,” is about escaping the mundane. It was written about the musician’s desire to leave his small hometown. One day, Springsteen claims, “We’re gonna get to that place where we really want to go, and we’ll walk in the sun.” 

3. “Rosalita (Rome Out Tonight)” from The Wild, The Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle

This 7-minute classic shares the story of a sheltered girl falling into a forbidden romance with a wild adolescent. Instead of sneaking away, the narrator of this musical story tells the girl to leave of her own free will and run away with him.

4. “Backstreets” from Born to Run

In “Backstreets,” Springsteen tells the story of two friends just trying to make it through life. Though they won’t be close forever, they can cherish the time they have. 

5. “Blinded by the Night” from Greetings from Ashbury Park, N.J. 

“Blinded by the Light” is a personal story drawn from Springsteen’s own life. In sharing tidbits of his life, he reveals that we truly are the sum of our experiences—the people, places, and things in our life become who we are in the end.

6. “Reason to Believe” from Nebraska

This Nebraska hit covers 4 short stories in a single song. Each story laments the loss of a relationship, but the tone stays hopeful. There’s a theme that relationships never really die. Though you might go through endless hard days, you still “find some reason to believe.” 

7. “Badlands” from Darkness on the Edge of Town

An angsty young man wishes to take control of his life and make real changes. This is a song for anyone ready to rally around authority. In the Badlands, “you gotta live it every day.”

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Sad Bruce Springsteen Funeral Songs

Though he’s known as a rock-n-roll star, Bruce Springsteen isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with his music. Many of his songs are rooted in sadness, and sad melodies can bring solace through grief. 

8. “Jungleland” from Born to Run

“Jungleland” is a 10-minute anthem about the beauty of everyday occurrences. Like many of Springsteen’s songs, this story is about a restless youth searching for something more. 

9. “Racing in the Streets” from The Promise

“Racing in the Streets” is a song about the precious balance between isolation, desperation, and love. Though we make decisions we might regret over time, we can focus on the love that remains through it all. 

10. “I’m On Fire” from Born in the U.S.A.

This exciting song has dark undertones, as it recounts a man’s burning desire for a love he can’t have. Perfect for someone who wasn’t afraid to live a life of passion, this is a powerful ode to life. 

11. “Spirit in the Night” from Greetings from Ashbury Park, N.J. 

Another romantic song with a sorrowful undertone, “Spirit in the Night,” is about a man who discovered life was only worth living when he was with the one he loves. The “Spirit in the Night” is a symbol of living life to the fullest. 

12. “Tougher Than The Rest” from Tunnel of Love 

Though the narrator of this song is broken-hearted yet again, there’s still hope for the best. A heartbreak might just be an opportunity to love again. 

13. “The Ghost of Tom Joad” from The Ghost of Tom Joad

Written with a character from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath in mind, this is a song of hardship and pain. Though society idolizes self-reliance, we all need help sometimes. 

14. “The Promise” from The Promise

Another song about Springsteen’s doubt in the American Dream, this song is the tale of growing up in poverty and not knowing how to move forward. Though Springsteen overcame his past, he will always be shaped by it. 

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Bruce Springsteen Songs for a Parent’s Funeral

Though he didn’t have the best relationship with his parents, they’re at the heart of many of Bruce Springsteen’s songs. Through his work, he reveals the complexities behind parent-child relationships and how these adults transform us into who we are. 

15. “Hungry Heart” from The River

Everyone has ambitions and dreams, what Springsteen calls a “Hungry Heart.” However, real peace is found at home or with the people who make you feel at home. 

16. “Walk Like a Man” from Tunnel of Love

“Walk Like a Man” is one of the best funeral songs for dads. This song was written for his own father, a heartfelt tribute to the person who taught him to “walk like a man.” 

17. “Glory Days”  from Born in the U.S.A. 

There will always be memories and people that connect you to your hometown. In “Glory Days,” Springsteen recounts his own childhood. This fun song about growing up is perfect for any parent’s memorial. 

18. “Independence Day” from The River

Despite the title, this isn’t a song about the Fourth of July. It’s a song expressing the complex feelings Springsteen faced after the death of his father. Though they never got along, his father led him on the path to independence. 

19. “4th of July, Ashbury Park” from The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle

This ballad recounts a night in Ashbury Park on the Fourth of July. The tune is for a woman named Sandy, who he’ll remember forever shining in the “pier lights.” Unfortunately, the carnival can’t last forever. 

20. “Dancing in the Dark” from Born in the U.S.A.

Without inspiration, you can’t achieve greatness. We’ll all age whether we want to or not. It’s up to us to live our lives on our terms. If you don’t take control, “they’ll be carving you up all night.” 

21. “Born in the U.S.A.” from Born in the U.S.A. 

Last but not least, few songs sound as uplifting as “Born in the U.S.A.” This iconic song is about a veteran’s return home, and he finds his homeland has changed over the years. Though he no longer has anywhere to run, he does the best he can. 

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Finding Peace Through Bruce Springsteen

Whether you’re playing an anthem for someone who was “Born to Run” or wasn’t afraid to “Dance in the Dark,” these songs carry meaning for millions. Though Springsteen wrote his own stories into these pieces, there is also space for your own interpretations. 

Bruce Springsteen is known not only as a masterful artist but also as a skilled storyteller. Through his songs, he paints a story of triumph, change, and struggle. He knows that life isn’t easy, and he’s not afraid to dig deeper with his lyrics. This is what makes his songs such a popular choice for funerals. 

  1. “Bruce Springsteen: Biography.” Biography: Musicians. Biography.com

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