Funeral songs don’t always need to be centuries-old dirges. Many modern funeral songs come from popular artists of the last few years and decades. After all, when you’re mourning someone, it makes sense to play music from their favorite bands and singers.
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For example, maybe you’re planning the funeral of someone who was a Neil Diamond fan. If so, consider playing one or two Neil Diamond songs during the ceremony.
This list of Neil Diamond funeral songs will help you sort through your options. Whether you’re looking for an uplifting Neil Diamond funeral song, a sorrowful track, or both, there’s a good chance you’ll find the perfect selections here.
COVID-19 tip: If you're hosting a Zoom funeral using a service like GatheringUs, test your audio before the ceremony so you can anticipate any day-of-the-funeral issues.
Upbeat Neil Diamond Songs for a Funeral
Although funerals are naturally sad events, playing uplifting music can help mourners positively work through their emotions. Consider doing so with one of these Neil Diamond funeral songs:
1. “I’m Alive” from Heartlight
This may seem like an ironic and perhaps insensitive choice for a funeral, but if someone has religious or spiritual beliefs, they might take comfort in the notion that a lost loved one is still alive in some way. This track’s lyrics, “I’m alive / And I don’t care much for words of doom” might offer that comfort.
2. “Hello Again” from The Jazz Singer soundtrack
On the surface, “Hello Again” is about calling a distant romantic partner just to hear their comforting voice. However, at a funeral, you could also interpret this song’s lyrics as a metaphorical take on the idea that even when a loved one has died, we can still “hear” them in some way, such as through prayer. Like “I’m Alive,” it’s a song you might choose to play if you know several of the mourners believe in an afterlife.
3. “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” from Tap Root Manuscript
Neil Diamond’s take on this classic ballad is an ideal choice if you’re looking for uplifting funeral songs. The lyrics compare life to a journey, suggesting that the end of the journey brings us to a happier place, and that, in the meantime, we can make the journey easier for one another by sharing love with our friends and family.
That’s definitely the type of message many would like to hear at a funeral. It can help people remember they can help each other simply by being there for one another.
4. “The Story of My Life” from Headed for the Future
“The Story of My Life” is almost sad enough to join the ranks of the sorrowful Neil Diamond funeral songs this blog will cover later. However, because it celebrates the way a loved one’s presence can define our lives, while still acknowledging that death will take our loved ones from us at times, it’s ultimately a very inspirational track. Play it at a loved one’s funeral to express your gratitude for the time you did get to spend together.
5. “Heartlight” from Heartlight
The sci-fi classic E.T. actually served as the inspiration for this song. Still, it’s perfect for a funeral, as it describes a close friend who had to go, but left us with valuable advice: “Turn on your heartlight / Let it shine wherever you go.” Playing it at a funeral, you could remind mourners that the best way to honor someone’s memory is often to simply live a good life and remember the important lessons they taught you while they were here.
6. “Lost Among the Stars” from Heartlight
Many of the best funeral songs offer a sense of comfort and peace by describing a place where we can reunite with our lost loved ones. If you’re trying to find Neil Diamond funeral songs that serve this purpose, consider “Lost Among the Stars.” Its lyrics insist, “There’s a place / That I know of where we can be eternally / Forever one.”
7. “Rainy Day Song” from On the Way to the Sky
Although “Rainy Day Song” is somewhat sad, its overall tone is uplifting, as its lyrics remind us that a rainy day can eventually lead to a rainbow. People may need to hear that when they’re struggling to overcome their grief.
8. “Songs of Life” from The Jazz Singer soundtrack
Many people find that the best way to cope when mourning the loss of a loved one is to focus on life instead of death. If you believe focusing on optimism and hope will help those attending your loved one’s funeral overcome their grief, include Neil Diamond’s “Songs of Life” on the playlist. With such lyrics as “And I’ll sing my songs of life / That I may hold you, inside forever,” this uplifting track could inspire people to take faith in the idea that death is not the end.
Sorrowful Neil Diamond Funeral Songs
Uplifting Neil Diamond funeral songs absolutely serve their purpose, but music can also help you and others recognize the more difficult emotions you may be struggling with when a loved one has died. These are a few songs to keep in mind if those are the types of emotions you want to convey:
9. “I Am... I Said” from Stones
A literal reading of this song’s lyrics, which touch on the feelings of loneliness and homesickness, may not make it seem right for a funeral. That said, let the song play out. It’s a general meditation on the sadness we feel when we’re disconnected from others, allowing you and other mourners to openly admit: “But I never cared / For the sound of being alone.”
10. “Until It’s Time for You to Go” from Touching You, Touching Me
Neil Diamond didn’t write this song. It’s originally a Buffy Sainte-Marie tune. However, his cover earns its spot on this list thanks to the hauntingly sorrowful way in which it evokes the feelings of loss a person has when a romantic partner with whom they spent so many happy years must go away.
11. “Yesterday’s Songs” from On the Way to the Sky
“Yesterday’s Songs” strikes a balance between being uplifting and being sorrowful. It addresses the fact that many life experiences are impermanent, but it also recognizes that love is eternal.
12. “If I Couldn’t See You Again” from Home Before Dark
Sometimes, it’s important to honestly admit just how deeply we feel a loved one’s loss, even though we’ve been told we need to “put on a brave face” and move forward with life. If you struggle to express those emotions directly, this Neil Diamond funeral song, which describes how life can feel devastatingly empty when a loved one is gone, can help you express your emotions through music.
13. “Brooklyn on a Saturday Night” from Primitive
“Brooklyn on a Saturday Night” won’t be the right Neil Diamond song for all funerals. Its lyrics very specifically describe a young man losing his life violently, and therefore don’t apply to all deaths. However, if you’re mourning someone who did lose their life in a moment of senseless violence, this song may deserve a spot on their funeral playlist.
14. “Song Sung Blue” from Moods
“Song Sung Blue” is a classic Neil Diamond funeral song due to the simple manner in which it describes how we all must endure painful experiences in life. That said, it also offers a hopeful message, pointing out that many people have learned how to take the saddest life experiences and turn them into uplifting (or, at least, comforting) art.
15. “Morningside” from Moods
According to Neil Diamond himself, he wrote this song partially as a reaction to his own grandparents’ death. It ruminates on the idea of dying alone, while also celebrating the gifts that parents and grandparents leave behind after they pass on.
Neil Diamond Funeral Songs: Say Goodbye with Music
Whether you’re looking for the right track to play over a funeral montage, or you simply want to play a funeral song that will highlight the deceased’s love of Neil Diamond, these are all options to keep in mind. If your lost loved one was a devoted Neil Diamond fan, they can help you plan a genuinely personal funeral.
If you're looking for more funeral planning resources, read our guides on how to create a memorial video and memorial wall ideas.