Choosing the best funeral songs
Saying farewell to a loved one is an emotional event. Trying to make what can be a difficult day into personal, heartfelt celebration is a big ask, especially when the funeral takes place at an unfamiliar location or is officiated by someone that didn’t know the person very well in their daily life. This is where personalisation can make a huge difference, and what better way to add something meaningful than with the right funeral music.
Selecting the right funeral song can be a tough one however, especially if the person wasn’t an especially big fan of music or didn’t really make it clear what their tastes were. If you’re struggling for inspiration, then check out the following funeral music ideas.
Their favourite songs
An easy way of selecting the best funeral music is to choose their favourite song or songs. Even it isn’t exactly fitting music for a funeral service, the much more important factor is that the song would be appreciated – plus, if others know that the song was their favourite, you can expect a few smiles of acknowledgement.
If you aren’t sure what their favourite song was, try looking through their music collection if they have one. You could end up getting some inspiration from something in their collection, or find that record or CD that looks particularly well-played. You could even try logging on to their Spotify account if they have one and look for the most played songs!
If you still can’t find a fitting favourite song, then start looking a little further into what they enjoyed doing. Maybe their favourite TV theme would be a fitting funeral soundtrack? What about a song from their favourite film? Creating links between what they loved in life and their funeral ceremony is a great way of ensuring everyone at the service can both celebrate and remember.
Popular film and TV songs for funerals:
Only Fools and Horses
If they were a big fan of Rodney, Del Boy, Grandad or even Trigger, then why not include the music from this classic sitcom as part of the ceremony? Instantly recognisable, this one will certainly have guests smiling and remembering happier times.
Match of the Day
If your loved one was a football fanatic, then what better accompaniment than the Match of the Day Theme Tune. If cricket was more their thing, then Soul Limbo by Booker T & the MGs (the theme music to Test Match Special) may be a better choice.
Always look on the bright side of life
Humour is something that can really change the whole feel of a funeral, so adopt some Monty Python silliness with this version from John Cleese, Michael Palin and the rest of the gang. It’s also a great message for others that although the day itself is sad, cherished memories will never be forgotten.
If you’re also organising the eulogy, check out our How to Write a Eulogy guide.
Soothing and peaceful funeral songs
As well as meaning something to both the person and their family and friends, funeral songs can also provide a moment for those who are mourning to reflect. Choosing something inspirational, soothing or even calming may give distressed attendees a moment to gather their thoughts, and perhaps more importantly to spend some time remembering the person who has departed their lives.
Irish singer Enya is famous for soothing, relaxing songs sung in both English and her native Irish (you may remember her music from the Lord of the Rings films). If your family or friend has Celtic roots, then Athair Ar Neamh or May it Be could be good choices for their funeral music.
Classical music for funerals can be a good way of creating a few minutes of time for reflection, plus it’ll help to give larger spaces like churches or religious buildings the grandeur they deserve. The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams is the ideal accompaniment to a more traditional funeral ceremony, and the Nimrod (from the Nimrod Variations) by British composer Edward Elgar is a good choice for the end of the ceremony, with a beautiful melody and slow pacing allowing attendees to say their goodbyes.
Hymns for funerals
If you’ve decided on the music you’re going to have at the start and end of the funeral, then it might be a good idea to add some meaningful hymns into the ceremony itself. No matter where the funeral is taking place, a few funeral hymns will allow everyone to join in and sing an uplifting or thought-provoking song together.
All Things Bright and Beautiful is a popular funeral hymn, celebrating the beauty of life and focussing on the positives. Alternatively, I Watch the Sunrise carries a message about the passing of time and may add comfort to those in mourning that others have been in their position, and that they shouldn’t feel alone.
One of the most popular funeral hymns in the UK is Jerusalem. Recognisable and full of moments of inspiration, this hymn carries a positive message that even if all seems lost, life carries on.
If your ceremony is non-religious, then you could always ask for the music to be played without any words. Many hymns have gentle and comforting melodies, so they could be ideal for a moment of remembrance.
Humorous funeral songs
Even though funerals are supposed to be sad, solemn affairs, it certainly doesn’t hurt to include a bit of fun and humour with the help of fitting song. Maybe Another One Bites the Dust by Queen! If you’d rather be a little more subtle, then you could always opt for a funny funeral song that would provide a fitting close to the life of someone with a wicked sense of humour; maybe The End by the Doors, or It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M.
Hopefully you should now have some funeral music ideas to take away and share with others who are involved with organising your friend or loved one’s farewell. If you’re still stuck for inspiration, then you could always opt for the UK’s most popular funeral song, and an all-time classic, My Way by Frank Sinatra! The lyrics speak volumes and the spine-chilling crescendo ending will definitely leave guests with plenty of happy memories.
Arrange an attended funeral for your loved one
Our Attended Funeral costs just £1,895 and allows you to arrange a family-led ceremony in the chapel. For help planning a fitting funeral for your loved one, contact our helpful team today on 0800 484 0260. Don’t forget to check out our Guidance & Advice section for more tips and ideas.
Would you like to let your friends and family know the songs you'd like to play at your own funeral? Request a share your wishes form here.