A funeral song serves many purposes and the funeral songs we choose say so much about our loved ones. Funeral songs can inspire us and uplift our spirits with the memories of our loved ones.
Below is a list of the best funeral songs for any kind of funeral you could imagine, from the classic to the one-of-a-kind.
Classical Funeral Songs & Hymns
Franz Schubert — Ave Maria — The Ave Maria is the definition of classic. What many people don’t know is that there are several lyrical versions. Schubert originally wrote the piece for an opera, but there’s also a version that uses the Latin Catholic Hail Mary as the lyrics.
Gabriel Fauré — Pie Jesu — Pie Jesu is part of Fauré’s Requiem. The soprano piece is a prayer asking for everlasting rest, making it perfect for a tribute song.
Henry Purcell — Funeral Music for Queen Mary — Purcell wrote the piece for the funeral of Queen Mary back in 1695. It’s a solemn funeral song that incorporates lyrics from the Book of Common Prayer.
Psalm 23 — The Lord is My Shepherd — Adapted from a Bible verse, the song comes in several musical styles. From folk to heartful gospel, you can pick a version that best matches the personality of a loved one.
Amazing Grace — It would be hard to make a list of funeral songs and not mention Amazing Grace. Like The Lord is My Shepherd, Amazing Grace is another funeral song that comes in many different musical styles. We recommend checking out this Native American version of Amazing Grace with the lyrics sung in Cherokee.
Contemporary Funeral Song Classics
Ella Fitzgerald — They Can’t Take That Away From Me — Ella Fitzgerald sings beautifully about something we should all remember, that even though our loved one is gone, we’ll always have the memories.
Nat King Cole — Unforgettable — Nat King Cole’s iconic take on the song makes it a perfect tribute song for honoring a loved one’s memory.
Bette Midler — Wind Beneath My Wings — The lyrics make this a popular tribute song to honor mothers and fathers. While Bette Midler’s might be the most popular version, there are several other different styles of the song worth checking out.
Vera Lynn — We’ll Meet Again — Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again is an uplifting funeral song. It was originally composed for soldiers leaving for battle in WWII, but the optimism can easily relate to the sense of someday meeting our loved ones again.
Warren Zevon — Keep Me in Your Heart — Keep Me in Your Heart is a simple, yet comforting song. It reminds us that even though someone is gone, they can still live on through us and our memories of them.
Alternative Funeral Songs
Below are some nontraditional and alternative funeral songs. They’re perfect songs for capturing that unique spirit of a loved one.
Joey Ramones — Wonderful World
Tom Waits — Ol ’55
Peggy Lee — Is That All There Is?
Hitomi Kuroishi — Continued Story (Piano Cover)