20 Popular German Songs for a Funeral or Memorial

Updated

Honoring a loved one when they’re gone can feel like a big task. It’s important to showcase who they were as well as their lasting legacy. In the case of German funerals, playing German songs can help family and guests come to terms with these complex feelings of grief. Whether you’re planning a memorial service or a funeral playlist, there are a lot of popular German songs that set the right tone. 

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Music has the power to transcend generations, overcoming gaps in memories and geography. No matter where you are in the world, these German songs cut deep to create a special memory for all. You don’t even need to understand German to appreciate these songs. In fact,  you might discover you have more in common with these tunes than you think upon first listen. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the most popular German songs for a funeral or memorial. These are ideal for a German funeral or anyone who appreciated the beauty of German music. Though not necessarily thought of as the most beautiful language, there are great depths to be explored in this discography. 

Popular Contemporary German Funeral Songs

First, there’s a stigma that the best funeral songs have to be overly traditional and historical. While there is certainly value in choosing tried and true songs, you can also select something popular and contemporary. These songs below honor the beauty of German music in the modern-day. 

1. “99 Luftballons” by Nena

Known in English as “99 Red Balloons,” this is one of the most popular songs to ever come out of Germany. Made famous in the 1980s, this hip and upbeat song is about letting go of dreams and watching them float into the sky. 

2. “Alles aus Liebe” by Die Toten Hosen

A classic German love song, this hit hints at the tragedy sometimes present in the greatest loves. About a couple in love, the man struggles to express his feelings fully before it’s too late. 

3. “Vienna Calling” by Falco

Sometimes the best place is home. Though the world is full of exotic destinations, “Vienna Calling” explores the pleasures of home. Home is where you’re known best. 

4. “Vincent” by Sarah Connor

Written about the changes children go through during puberty, “Vincent” is a popular song about coming to terms with who you are. Often sung through the perspective of a son talking to a mom, it’s okay to be vulnerable with your feelings and truth. 

5. “Au Revoir” by Mark Forster

Saying goodbye isn’t always easy. “Au Revoir” by Mark Forster is about leaving it all behind and saying it’s over. Though “it will never be as it was before,” that doesn’t mean you have to cry about it. Change is a part of life. 

Popular Traditional German Funeral Songs

Some of the most popular traditional German funeral songs are also the most meaningful. Perfect for a funeral slideshow or playlist, these songs remind Germans of their rich cultural roots. 

6. “Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind” by Marlene Dietrich

Sung by a famous German actress of the 1930s, this song was also recorded in English under the name “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Known as one of the most influential political songs of all time, this emotional song is about lamenting the end of an era. 

7. “Der Weg” by Herbert Grönemeyer 

This is a song that makes you want to smile, even if you don’t understand the German words. The lyrics are just as beautiful as you might expect, remarking about feelings of loss after the death of the artist’s wife. 

8. “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” by Gustav Mahler

Eerily beautiful, this classic German song is about feeling lost in the big, wide world. Luckily, it’s through those we know that we can truly live forever. Finding your own rest has never been more important. 

9. “Der gute Kamerad” by Friedrich Silcher

This traditional funeral song was written to honor soldiers lost in battle. Still used today, this tune plays an important role in the German armed forces. Also known as “The Good Comrade,” this is a song about honoring a fallen soldier. 

10 “Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen” by Robert Schumann

Finally, Robert Shumann is one of Germany’s greatest composers of classical music. This classical piece is about the memory of hearing a song once sung by a lover and feeling the revival of grief. 

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Popular German Songs for a Parent or Grandparent’s Funeral

Honoring a parent or grandparent with a special funeral song is an act of remembrance. You want to choose music that speaks to who they are and their legacy, like these German favorites below. 

11. “Das Leben” by Sarah Connor

Known as one of the most popular German artists of the 20th century, Sarah Connor is beloved by all generations. “Das Leben” tells the story of a narrator beyond the grave. She knows that this is the end, but she also wants her loved ones to celebrate her memory. 

12. “Amoi seg ma uns wieder” by Andreas Gabalier

Translated as “One Day We’ll Meet Again,” this is a song about loss. We all have to face that our time is limited, but we’ll always meet again in whatever comes next. When you recognize that death isn’t the end, you find your own peace. 

13. “Ich bin zu müde, um schlafen zu geh’n” by Hildegard Knef

A popular song from the 1960s, this hit was all about being playful and lighthearted. Sung in a smoky, raspy voice, it hints that sometimes we’re too tired to go to sleep. Instead, we must enjoy the moments we’re given. 

14. “Ich bin zu müde, um schlafen zu geh’n” by Robert Schumann

This famous opera from the 1800s tells the most fantastic story. It follows a knight who sits in sorrow all day long until a fairy bride visits him at night. In the hours spent dancing with her until morning, he feels the most alive. 

15. “Wir Sind Wir” by Paul Van Dyk and Peter Heppner

Germans often feel deeply impacted by the events in their country. This political song is about reflecting on the insecurity and changes we all experience throughout our lives. 

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Popular German Songs for a Child or Adult Child’s Funeral

Finally, these popular German songs capture the joy and beauty of youth and wonder. Though some lives are cut short, they all carry meaning. Remember the child or adult child in your life with these German funeral songs. 

16. “Major Tom” by Peter Schilling

Another one of the most recognizable German songs of the past few decades, “Major Tom” is a follow up to David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity.” This song recounts the journey of “Major Tom” as he decides to cut ties with those on earth to explore the depths of space. 

17. “Lili Marlene” by Marlene Dietrich

This love song is written as a poem, and it has colorful lyrics about honoring someone you love. Sometimes the best way to say goodbye is through a simple love song. 

18. “2 Fragen” by Klee

For a calming pop song that recognizes everything good in life must end, this song is for you. The title, “2 Questions” asks the listener to draw his or her conclusions about what comes next. 

19. “I’ll Find You In My Heart” by Sarah Connor

Written for the movie P.S. I Love You, this song was written by German artist Sarah Connor and is sung in English. It’s about finding your loved ones in your heart even when they’re no longer with you. 

20. “Vielleicht ist keine Antwort” by Yvonne Catterfeld

Last but not least, this song is a classic ode to love. Though the journey “ends here now,” you’ll still continue to stand by each other come what may. The relationships we value don’t end at the grave. 

German Funeral Playlist Ideas

Ultimately, there are so many beautiful German songs to choose from for a funeral. Whether you’re honoring a German person or a lover of German music, these tunes cover a wide range of human experiences. Music has a way to connect us all, regardless of the language. These songs bridge gaps in geography and experience, bringing everyone together.

Honoring a loved one comes in all shapes and sizes. Many use music as a way to create an emotional connection with other funeral guests, though you might also use music in different ways. Have you considered what songs you might want to play at your funeral? Create your free end-of-life plan today.

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