Funerals don’t have to be somber affairs. They can also be a celebration of life. This holds especially true for funerals for grandmothers, who are quite frequently the ones who have celebrated us throughout our lives.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Best Classic Funeral Songs for Grandma
- Best Upbeat Songs for Grandma's Funeral
- Best Country Songs for Grandma's Funeral
- Best Modern Songs for Grandma's Funeral
- Best Songs to Sing at Grandma’s Funeral
The music you choose will play a big role in the tone of your grandmother’s funeral, memorial service, or live streamed funeral. If she had a song that she loved and strongly identified with, that’s always a great option to include. When mourners hear a song that was personally meaningful for your grandmother, it will touch them too. You can also choose something that reminds you of a special memory you shared with her and use it as a jumping-off point for a eulogy.
Still not sure where to begin? Explore this list of some of the best funeral songs for grandmothers for a little inspiration.
COVID-19 tip: If you're hosting a Zoom funeral using a service like GatheringUs, ask your online guests to request songs them remind you of your grandma and play them during the virtual reception. Make a digital playlist of the requested songs and send the playlist's link out with your funeral thank you cards.
Many people listen to songs from their youth throughout their lives. If your grandmother was the nostalgic type, these classic tunes may be the perfect choice for her service.
Tip: Creating a funeral playlist may be just one of the tasks you're undertaking for the very first time after the loss of a loved one. Our post-loss checklist can help you navigate the intricacies of loss.
1. “I’ll Be Seeing You” from Billie Holiday
This nostalgia-drenched jazz tune talks about all the beautiful places which remind us of those no longer with us.
2. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from Judy Garland
The wistfulness of this ballad (originally written for The Wizard of Oz) makes it ideally suited for a funeral.
3. “Sentimental Journey” from Doris Day
This jazzy tune became something of a standard. Several artists have put their own spin on it over the years.
4. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Gerry & The Pacemakers
Rodgers and Hammerstein penned this tune. Its message is that whenever you’re facing a hard time, hold your head up high. Remember that those we’ve lost are still with us.
5. “My Way” from Frank Sinatra
If your grandmother lived her life unapologetically and by her own rules, this is the perfect song.
6. “We’ll Meet Again” from Vera Lynn
This jazz standard was one of the most well-known of the World War II era.
7. “What a Wonderful World” from Louis Armstrong
Here’s one for those looking for something nostalgic on the uplifting side. Armstrong’s song celebrates all the beauty to be found in the world.
8. “Ain’t No Sunshine” from Bill Withers
This soulful R&B track was intended to be a love song but its melancholy lyrics work well for funerals too.
9. “Cry” from Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads
This song carries an important message for funeral-goers that there is sunshine behind the clouds. It says that it’s okay to cry when times are hard, but to remember that a new day is just around the corner.
10. “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” from The Byrds
The lyrics of this folk song are largely taken from the book of Ecclesiastes in the King James Version of the Bible.
11. “Amazing Grace” from Elvis Presley
Countless singers have recorded their own takes on this Christian hymn from 1779. This version stands out as special. If you're looking for more Elvis, hop on over to our picks for Elvis Presley's best gospel songs for a funeral.
12. “Candle in the Wind” from Elton John
This song is already associated with icons like Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, so it’s fitting to play it for another great woman like grandma.
13. “Let It Be” from The Beatles
There’s something very comforting about this song. It tells the tale of a maternal figure who imparts words of wisdom. She says that we may not have an answer for the hardships in our lives, but if we are patient, one will come.
You can also check out our picks for the best Beatles songs to play a funeral.
14. “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” from Ella Fitzgerald
This bittersweet song reminds us that even when someone is no longer with us, we will always have the memories of the time we shared.
15. “Smile” from Nat King Cole
Even in times of pain, this song urges us to put on a smile and keep going because while things seem bleak now, time will help us heal.
What songs do you want on your funeral playlist?
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As people get older, they often become more at peace with their life coming to an end. As such, they may leave instructions for people to celebrate their lives with joy and not be mired down with grief. Here are some of the best songs about death that are still appropriate for an upbeat funeral or memorial service.
16. “Spirit in the Sky” from Norman Greenbaum
This gospel-inspired psychedelic rock song has become regularly requested at celebration of life ceremonies thanks to its uptempo rhythm and catchy refrain.
17. “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone (The Cup Song)” from Anna Kendrick
This folk-pop update of a 1930s Carter Family song isn’t about death, but the lyrics and tempo are a perfect fit for an upbeat celebration of life.
18. “I Will Wait” from Mumford & Sons
While this song is technically about missing someone far away, its driving beat and raucous crescendo make it feel like the notes could reach to the heavens and let loved ones on the other side now that you are waiting to see them again.
19. “One Sweet Day” from Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
While this soaring gospel-tinged pop song has been out for over 20 years, it remains as fresh, joyful, and timeless as ever.
20. “Beautiful Day” from U2
According to frontman Bono, this track is all about being able to find something positive and joyful in your life, even when it feels like you’ve lost everything.
Country music as a genre is incredibly expressive and emotional. If your grandmother was a country fan, there are many songs to choose from as you plan her funeral or memorial service.
21. “Grandma’s Song” from Gail Davies
This traditional country tune is a tribute to the Davies’s grandma. It even features her grandmother’s voice on the track.
22. “Holes in the Floor of Heaven” from Steve Wariner
The love between grandmother and grandchild is on full display in this sweetly heartbreaking country song.
23. “My Angel” from Kellie Pickler
The American Idol alum was largely raised by her grandparents. This touching tribute to her late grandmother is incredibly moving.
24. “Love, Me” from Collin Raye
This tearjerker is about a couple who remained devoted to each other throughout the decades. It’s sure to move everyone. Just be sure to play it for your grandfather ahead of time, as it is incredibly emotional.
25. “Grandma’s Feather Bed” from John Denver
Most kids have fond memories of spending the night at grandma’s house with their siblings or cousins. This folksy tune evokes those happy memories.
Not all grandmothers like to dwell on the past. For those grandmas who were all about living in the moment, these tracks by modern and contemporary artists may be just what you’re looking for.
26. “When We Were Young” from Adele
This nostalgia-soaked song is about trying to revisit and recapture youth before it slips away forever. It is stunningly gorgeous and seems especially fitting for a funeral of someone who lived a full and long life.
27. “Supermarket Flowers” from Ed Sheeran
This English singer-songwriter lost his grandmother while he was in the studio working on his third album. He was compelled to write this lovely ballad in her honor.
28. “Nan’s Song” from Robbie Williams
American audiences probably know Robbie Williams as the bad boy of Brit pop. Breaking form, this earnest ballad for his grandmother is straightforward and sweet.
29. “Tell You Something (Nana’s Reprise)” from Alicia Keys
Keys penned this bittersweet track about not waiting until it’s too late to tell people you love them after watching her grandmother pass after a lengthy illness.
30. “Angel” from Sarah McLachlan
This sweet and ethereal ballad was written by McLachlan after the death of a friend. In the twenty years since, it has become a staple at funerals.
If you have musical talent, instead of just picking out a song, you can make the gesture more personal by singing it. These songs are simple enough to be performed with just guitar or piano and vocals, but special enough to make a profound impact on the other mourners.
31. “Grandma’s Hands” from Bill Withers
This soul classic has been covered nearly two dozen times, in large part because the steady rhythm and profound lyrics make it eminently singable.
32. “Wind Beneath My Wings” from Bette Midler
Was your grandma your relentless source of support? Singing this song will show everyone at the service how grateful you are.
33. “Angels” from Robbie Williams
The soaring vocals of this song perfectly complement its uplifting lyrics about a woman who loves and supports you no matter what.
34. “Time After Time” from Cyndi Lauper
This timeless soft rock song has been covered by artists all over the world, including the late jazz great Miles Davis.
35. “I Will Remember You” from Sarah McLachlan
This jazz-flecked pop song is as soothing the lullabies your grandma may have sang to you.
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Picking the Best Songs for Grandma
If you’re having a hard time coping with the death of your grandmother, the act of planning a funeral and choosing music for it can help you process your grief.
Whether you choose a song from this list or pick something with a more concrete personal connection, music will help you and other mourners be able to appreciate and celebrate the life of a very special woman.