British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran hit more milestones before the age of 30 than most musicians achieve during their whole lives. He’s one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with more than 150 million records sold around the world.
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The key to Sheeran’s success may include his willingness to write about deeply personal experiences. Fans can instantly connect to the raw emotions he often expresses in his lyrics and relate them to their own lives.
Sheeran's often sentimental subject makes many of his songs well-suited for significant events. Let's explore several Ed Sheeran funeral songs you might want to use for your own or a loved one's funeral program.
Happy Ed Sheeran Funeral Songs
When you’re organizing a funeral, you may not automatically consider including happy songs as part of the program. However, they offer a fitting choice for nontraditional ceremonies like a celebration of life service. These uplifting songs also form the perfect backdrop for a funeral slideshow.
1. “Castle on the Hill” from Divide
Sheeran was only in his 20s when he wrote this nostalgic song. Listeners of every age can relate to the feelings he creates as he recounts disjointed fragments of memories throughout his life, from breaking a leg at the age of six or watching a sunset with a loved one. Each of us may have different memories but we can certainly relate to his experiences.
2. “Thinking Out Loud” from Multiply
Sheeran wrote this song with longtime collaborator Amy Wadge and it has become one of his best-known hits. In it, a lovestruck Sheeran dreams of a future where he and his girlfriend get to grow old together. Its wistful sentimentality could also fit in well at a more uplifting end-of-life service.
3. “Perfect” from Divide
Like “Thinking Out Loud”, “Perfect” was a love song cowritten with Amy Wadge. This time, the song was inspired by Sheeran’s relationship with his girlfriend (and childhood crush), Cherry Seaborn.
“Perfect” gets played a lot at weddings. Specifically, it’s about the wedding he hoped to have one day with Seaborn. His wish came true when they tied the knot in 2019. You may not gravitate toward this song for a funeral, but you could consider it a sweet tribute for someone who valued love above all else.
4. “LEGO House” from Plus
Sheeran sings about love in this single in his debut album. Sheeran, a lifelong LEGO fan, uses a house made of LEGOs as a metaphor for a new relationship. He talks about the ways they can build this house together and says that if things go wrong, they can tear it down and start over. The mid-tempo pace and hopeful lyrics create a feeling of bittersweet optimism.
5. “Everything Has Changed” from Taylor Swift’s Red Album
Ed Sheeran’s star was already on the rise when his songs caught the attention of mega-artist Taylor Swift. The two became fast friends and cowrote this song for Swift’s fourth studio album. This song about the excitement and anticipation that comes with a new relationship offers a perfect option for a gathering in memory of a close friend.
6. “Happier” from Divide
Sheeran sings about watching a former love move on even though he himself isn’t quite ready to let go in this song. When a loved one dies after a long illness, you might feel relieved because your loved one feels no more pain. This song could certainly serve as a metaphor for that experience.
Sad Ed Sheeran Funeral Songs
Ed Sheeran, a pop musician with hip-hop influences, has accomplished a lot in the folk-pop genre, where his songs sound introspective and even melancholy in nature. These sad and often vulnerable tracks make some of the best funeral songs you’ll ever hear.
7. “Photograph” from Multiply
This was actually written about a complex long-distance relationship, but it has gained popularity as a funeral song. It actually works quite well, thematically speaking. When a loved one dies, we keenly feel the distance. Take a look at this verse:
Oh, you can fit me
Inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen
Next to your heartbeat where I should be
Keep it deep within your soul
Though Sheeran sings about his lover keeping his picture in a locket, you can interpret the lyrics as a reference to memorial jewelry.
8. “Afterglow” from Afterglow Single
Sheeran released this single in late 2020 after an 18-month hiatus from releasing music. The single offers a preview of Sheeran’s more mature writing style following his marriage and the subsequent birth of his first child.
The overall lyrical content of this song doesn't sound sad. In fact, quiet contentment resonates throughout. But its mellow vibe, paired with its sense of looking back at a bucolic time in life, makes it appropriately reflective for a traditional funeral.
9. “The A Team” from Plus
Sheeran’s debut single has a jangly, jaunty quality that may seem upbeat at first listen. But a closer listen to the lyrics tells a sobering tale of a young woman whose life gets derailed by addiction. The heartbreaking message could serve as an appropriate funeral song for someone who battled demons and lost.
10. “Give Me Love” from Plus
Listeners could deem this final single from Sheeran’s first album as another melodramatic love song. But lyrics like these could easily represent the final words of a dying man:
Of all the comrades that ever I had
They are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that ever I had
They would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
Good night and joy be with you all
Sheeran’s original version contains a sense of loneliness and pain that may border on too raw for a funeral. Gifted songstress Demi Lovato’s gentler cover may offer a better alternative.
11. “The Parting Glass” from Give Me Love Single (B-Side)
The aforementioned “Give Me Love” gives us Sheeran’s less traditionally structured pop hits. The latter verses (including the excerpt above) might remind you of a traditional folk song. He included a cover of “The Parting Glass” as a B-side to the “Give Me Love” single.
“The Parting Glass” is a traditional song that is often sung when a group of friends parts ways after a gathering. It’s also not uncommon for people to sing it at funerals. Sheeran provides a somber, haunting dirge-like cover.
12. “Supermarket Flowers” from Divide
It’s not surprising that "Supermarket Flowers" headlines as one of the most popular modern funeral songs in the U.K. Sheeran turned the subject matter unusually personal, even by his own standards. Sheeran's grandmother passed away while Sheeran was recording his third album, which came out in 2017.
Sheeran wrote the song as a tribute to her while he tried to process his emotions. His father urged him to perform it at the funeral, and Sheeran’s grandfather insisted it should go on his upcoming album as well.
A group of funeral directors in the United Kingdom releases an annual list of the 10 most-requested funeral songs of the year. “Supermarket Flowers” made its first appearance on the list in 2019.
Emotional Songs Make Funerals Memorable
Even some well-established icons like Sheryl Crow and Bruce Springsteen have never had a single reach No. 1 on the charts. Ed Sheeran has had a dozen and counting. His heartfelt lyrics remind us of nostalgic songs from a more emotionally open era.
Meanwhile, his contemporary arrangements still feel fresh. Ed Sheeran’s music has a universal and cross-generational appeal, making it an obvious choice for momentous occasions, including funerals.
- Smithers, Rebecca. “Hymns Drop Off Top 10 Funeral Music Choices in Favour of Ed Sheeran.” Theguardian.com, The Guardian, 1 May 2019, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/02/hymns-drop-off-top-10-funeral-music-choices-in-favour-of-ed-sheeran.