25 Elton John Songs for a Funeral or Memorial

Updated

When it comes to choosing the best funeral songs, you have a lot of options. One of the most popular choices for funeral or memorial playlists is the British singer, composer, and pianist Elton John. By blending many of the popular music genres of the 20th century, Elton John creates truly meaningful and memorable music. 

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With a record career that resulted in hundreds of millions of records sold, it’s no wonder so many people choose Elton John to say goodbye to the ones they love. Planning a memorial service is no small feat. Music is a great way to convey emotions that are hard to put into words. Along with his songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s music continues to touch the lives of millions across the globe. 

Are you considering choosing an Elton John song for a funeral or memorial service? We have you covered with these song picks for the perfect sendoff. 

Elton John Funeral Songs for Mom or Grandma

Saying goodbye to a mother is never easy. While Elton John had a complicated relationship with his own mother, many of his songs comment on these relationships that define us. 

1. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

One of Elton John’s most beautiful and memorable songs, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is about the longing to go back to the simpler times. The “yellow brick road” might be glitzy and glamorous, but it’s shallow. 

2. “Bennie and the Jets” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

This song shares the wacky sci-fi narrative of a futuristic rock band fronted by a beautiful musician. It’s an exciting ode to the people who feel larger-than-life. 

3. “Crocodile Rock” from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player

One of the biggest hits in the early ‘70s, “Crocodile Rock” is about having fun while you’re young. This song captures the magic of that early innocence, and sometimes “your feet just can’t keep still.” 

4. “Candle in the Wind” from Diamonds

Written as a late memorial for Marilyn Monroe (and later for Diana, Princess of Wales), “Candle in the Wind” is a true hit. This tells the story of a young starlet’s untimely passing, saying how her legacy lives on after her death. 

5. “Sacrifice” from Sleeping with the Past

Last but not least, this song is a far cry from “Your Song.” In “Sacrifice,” the narrator takes a more mature approach to adult love, recognizing that it’s about sacrifice. 

Elton John Funeral Songs for Dad or Grandpa

Elton John’s relationship with his father was equally strained, but he and his partner have two children of their own. Through his own role as a parent, Elton John’s music often touches on what it means to be a good dad. 

6. “Rocket Man” from Honky Chateau

Inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Rocket Man,” this song tells the tale of a lonely astronaut who misses his family while away on a mission from home. He grapples with not feeling like the same man he is at home. 

7. “Levon” from Madman Across the Water

This Elton John single might not be the most well-known, but it still packs quite the punch. This magical song tells the story of a man named Levon and his son. 

8. “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” from Breaking Hearts

Is there a beauty to sad songs? According to Elton John, there certainly is. In “Sad Songs,” the lyrics share how it’s often soothing to listen to old radio blues tunes. 

9. “Circle of Life” from The Lion King

Written for Disney’s The Lion King, “The Circle of Life” is relevant to humanity just as much as animal-kind. There truly is a circle of life, and we’re all bound together through this endless cycle of death and rebirth. 

10. “Song for Guy” from A Single Man

“Song for Guy” is a mournful yet somehow uplifting instrumental. Written and recorded during a period when Elton John imagined his own death, this is a song that’s as beautiful as it is simple. 

Elton John Funeral Songs for a Sibling

Many of Elton John’s songs are fitting for saying goodbye to a sibling. These funeral songs for a brother or sister remind you of what’s most important, as they are lifelong friends. 

11. “I’m Still Standing” from Too Low for Zero

Even though the world tries to knock us down, we can still stand strong. “I’m Still Standing” was a song to prove Elton John’s resilience even after the trying 1970s. The perfect ode to strength and togetherness, this is a great funeral song. 

12. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player

In “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” Elton John speaks of the pain of rejection from someone he once cared for. This powerful ballad packs a big punch. 

13. “Daniel” from Elton John

Written about a man who returned home to Texas after fighting in the Vietnam War, this is a song about homecoming. Rich with emotion, there is no better song to capture the connection between siblings. 

14. “The Bridge” from The Captain & the Kid

Written later in Elton John’s career, this is a song about asking life’s biggest questions. Sometimes we all have to cross the bridge, even when it seems scary. 

15. “Looking Up” from Wonderful Crazy Night

It’s easy to spend your life looking down, but it’s much better when you look up and ahead. The past is in the past, and you can only move forward. 

Elton John Funeral Songs for a Spouse or Partner

It’s undeniable that Elton John had a way with words, especially when singing odes to lovers. These funeral songs are a powerful way to honor a spouse or partner from beyond the grave. 

16. “Tiny Dancer” from Madman Across the Water

Saying goodbye to a partner is never easy. “Tiny Dancer” captures the spirit of a woman the songwriter met while visiting America in the 1970s. Her wild spirit and joy shine through the lyrics. 

17. “Your Song” from Elton John

Potentially one of the most cherished love songs of all time, this single topped the charts across the world. As the song says, “My gift is my song, this one’s for you.”

18. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” from Don't Go Breaking My Heart

This ear-worm love song is one of Elton John’s most famous duets. Though simple, this is a song about staying together with your love forever.

19. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from The Lion King

This The Lion King classic won an Academy Award and with good reason. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is a melodic, slow tribute to the palatable feeling of true love. 

20. “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” from Too Low for Zero

Lastly, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” is a mournful song written as a tribute to Bernie Taupin’s second wife. This hit is about two lovers ripped apart by distance and war, though they still think of each other. 

Elton John Funeral Songs for a Friend

Last but not least, say goodbye to a friend with these rock funeral songs. Perfect for someone who wasn’t afraid to live life to the fullest, these songs are sure to put a smile on your face. 

21. “Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting)” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

It’s impossible to listen to this rock song without wanting to get up to dance. Written about an exciting night out, this is an ode to anyone who was the life of the party. 

22. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

This is a song about Elton John and his songwriter partner’s early days while aspiring for greatness in London. The song is about contemplating the real you and feeling like there’s nothing left. Luckily, a friend steps in and “saves your life” with “sweet freedom in your ear.” 

23. “Funeral for a Friend” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

“Funeral for a Friend” is an instrumental song that was written when Elton John tried to imagine the type of song he’d like to hear at his funeral. Though designed for funerals, this song is anything but sad. 

24. “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” from Jump Up!

“Empty Garden” is a hat tip to one of the greatest musicians of all time and Elton John’s friend, John Lennon. The song makes a lot of references to the mountain of flowers left at Lennon’s grave after his death. 

25. “Take Me to the Pilot” from Elton John

Though the words of “Take Me to the Pilot” don’t carry much weight on their own, there’s no denying this song makes you want to get up and dance. For a foot-tapping favorite, “Take Me to the Pilot” is about being in charge of your own life. 

An Ode to the Best Days: Elton John’s Music

Ultimately, Elton John has been at the top of the pop charts since the 1970s. From his earliest hits to his latest releases, he continues to use music to connect with people across the globe. When it comes to planning a memorial playlist, many of Elton John’s hits are the perfect sendoff. 

Music fills in the gaps when words fail. Sometimes it’s not easy to capture your real feelings in words alone. Elton John’s lyrical stylings dig deeper, proving that sometimes you just have to let yourself go to the music. 

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