25 Great Songs to Sing at a Funeral or Memorial

Updated

From modern and contemporary styles to hip-hop, gospel, and religious songs, you can find a never-ending mix of songs to honor someone’s life.

Music can express the sentiments of those left behind or encourage attendees. You can also use songs to reflect on the life of the deceased or pay them tribute. Music can offer something for everyone. One of these songs may serve as a fitting tribute to your loved one.

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Gospel Songs to Sing at a Funeral

Gospel songs, traditionally sung at funerals and memorial services, can offer a great option for your family when planning a memorial service. Consider including one of these heartfelt, emotional songs.

1. “The Sweet Bye and Bye” by Loretta Lynn

This thoughtful, melodious song provides encouragement to friends and family who have been left on Earth by a loved one. The lyrics focus on the hope of meeting one another someday in Heaven.

2. “I’m Free” by Rev. Milton Brunson 

This uplifting, energetic song could serve as an anthem for believers in Heaven. The lyrics focus on the joy of reaching Heaven with words like, “No longer bound, no chains holding me. My soul is resting, it’s just a blessing.”

3. “Do Not Pass Me By” by The Sensational Nightingales

Many people struggle with death. This song provides encouragement in the face of a loved one’s death with a prayer asking God to “heal my wounded, broken spirit.”

4. “When We All Get to Heaven” by Bill and Gloria Gaither

Like many gospel songs, this song focuses on the hope of Heaven and being free from pain and suffering. It can provide a sense of hope and optimism at funerals.

5. “I’ll Fly Away” by Alison Krauss

The lyrics for this song describe what believers in Heaven look forward to: “Some bright morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away.” The song speaks about Heaven, freedom from the pain and struggles of life, and living forever in a place where you only find joy.

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Religious Songs to Sing at a Funeral

Religious songs provide a staple at many funerals. The songs listed here offer some common options great for a funeral.

6. “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe

The lyrics in this song talk about imagining what it will be like when a person goes to Heaven and stands before God. The inspirational song encourages listeners to imagine how they will experience God’s presence in Heaven.

7. “Amazing Grace” by Alan Jackson

"Amazing Grace" is a classic song that’s been sung at everything from weddings to funerals. The song has become something of an anthem for those who believe in the comfort of a relationship with God, salvation, and their final destination in Heaven.

8. “Sing Me to Heaven” by Bradley Walker

The lyrics of this song offer encouragement, hopefulness, and instruction. Sung from the perspective of a dying person, the singer instructs friends to “sing me to Heaven when it’s my time to go.” It also encourages friends and family not to mourn too much.

9. “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” by Mississippi Children’s Choir

This song explains the encouragement and comfort of having a relationship with God. The singer sings, “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free. For his eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

10. “Nearer My God to Thee” by Sounds Like Reign

This song describes the difficult journey of life, fraught with trial and pain, and the ultimate joy in going home to Heaven at the end of it. The singer finds joy in being near to God.

Songs to Sing at a Parent or Grandparent’s Funeral

You may want to have these songs sung at a parent’s funeral or whenever you’re honoring a grandparent. Read through the descriptions, listen to them, and choose the best one that makes you think of your loved one.

11. “To Where You Are” by Josh Groban

This hauntingly beautiful song asks the questions we all have about those we love who passed away. Lyrics such as “Are you watching over me from up above?” and “I cherish all you gave me every day” speak to the lasting memories and legacy of a parent’s love.

12. “You Raise Me Up” by Westlife

Though not written specifically about parents, anyone can sing this song and dedicate it to a parent or grandparent who provided support, strength, and encouragement. 

13. “The Prayer” by Celine Dion

You can sing this song as a prayer or as a tribute to a parent. Either way, this song requests wisdom, guidance, and direction through the storms and shadows of life.

14. “Song for Dad” by Keith Urban

If you want a song to sing in tribute to a dedicated and loving father, this song offers, by far, one of the best funeral songs for dad. It talks about a dad that “in everything he ever did, he always did with love.”

15. “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley

This classic by Brad Paisley offers a perfect song to sing for a father or a grandfather. The song describes what the singer will do once he gets to Heaven with lyrics such as, “I’m gonna walk with my granddaddy, and he’ll match me step for step. And I’ll tell him how much I’ve missed him, every minute since he left.”

Songs to Sing at a Child’s Funeral

Whether you’re choosing songs to sing or putting together a funeral slideshow, these songs fit when played in the background or sung during the presentation.

16. “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins

This heartwarming song reflects on the timeless bond between parents and their children. Even when a child dies, the song affirms that “the bond between us can’t be broken.”

17. “One More Day” by Diamond Rio

This country song will resonate with everyone who understands what it feels like to lose someone close. We’d give anything to have one more day with our loved ones but even then, as the singer says, “It’d leave me wishin’ still, for one more day with you.”

18. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

Even though death may separate us from the ones we love the most, we can still feel their presence. When we see them in our dreams, we can take comfort. As long as we keep our loved ones in our hearts, then our hearts can go on.

19. “Who You’d Be Today” by Kenney Chesney

Any child who passed away left this Earth too soon, and this song expresses that sentiment eloquently with lyrics like, “It ain’t fair: you died too young. Like the story that had just begun.” We all wonder where children would be if they’d had a chance to grow up, and this song explores that question.

20. “Lullaby” by Billy Joel

This song explores the love between a parent and a child. Billy Joel’s lyrics can bring comfort to grieving parents, affirming that not even death can separate parents from their love for a child. 

Contemporary Songs to Sing at a Funeral

Contemporary funeral songs evoke emotion, paint thought-provoking pictures of life and death, and inspire everyone to see life as precious. Some of the songs on this list consistently rank as the best funeral songs of all time.

21. “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan

This lyrically rich song speaks of loving someone yet being afraid to lose them. The emotional singer tells the listener, “Don’t let life pass you by…weep not for the memories.” 

22. “Hero” by Mariah Carey

This song by Mariah Carey talks about the heartbreaking journey of walking through life alone after the death of a loved one. It ends on a hopeful note, “With the strength to carry on, you cast your fears aside, you know you can survive.”

23. “When You’re Gone” by Avril Lavigne

Consider this excellent song to sing at the funeral of a spouse or significant other. The lyrics talk about what it feels like to live without the person they’ve loved. Anyone who has lost a loved one will resonate with lyrics such as, “The days feel like years when I’m alone,” and “Everything that I do reminds me of you.”

24. “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John

Originally written for Marilyn Monroe and rewritten again for Princess Diana, this song talks about a beautiful life cut short. This classic conveys what it’s like when a person’s “candle burned out long before [their] legend ever did.” Life can seem short, but a person’s impact can continue for generations.

25. “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly

This touching song is a favorite of many and known the world around. Part anthem, part tribute, this song could be perfect for a funeral for someone who believed they could accomplish great things.

Hope and Expression Through Song

Music gives us the ability to express complex feelings about loss, love, and hope. The songs above can also help us feel like we’re not alone in our experiences and know that when we grieve, we grieve together.

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