165 Best Funeral and Memorial Songs to Celebrate Life

If you’re trying to find the perfect memorial songs to play at a funeral, this list of 165 songs is the best place to get started.

Music is a powerful tool. It can evoke a wide range of emotions, and help people process and understand their emotions too.

When it comes to memorial services, the right songs can create a sense of comfort, peace, and even joy as we remember the life of a loved one.

This compilation list offers a variety of genres and tempos to create the perfect setting for a memorial service.

Whether you're looking for traditional hymns, uplifting songs, or reflective pieces, this list has something for everyone and for every kind of setting. We hope it helps you put together the perfect playlist for your memorial service.

Traditional funeral songs

The opening moments, especially as guests arrive and gather, can be filled with a mix of emotions. Here, we've curated a selection of traditional funeral songs that you can use to create a sense of reverence and peace during this time.

These songs are ideal for background music as people enter the venue and settle in. Some of the hymns on this list are also perfect for communal singing during the service:

  1. "Amazing Grace" - Traditional
  2. "Abide With Me" - Traditional
  3. "Going Home" - Mark Knopfler
  4. "How Great Thou Art" - Traditional
  5. "Pie Jesu" - Andrew Lloyd Webber
  6. "Nearer My God to Thee" - Traditional
  7. "Danny Boy" - Traditional Irish
  8. "My Old Kentucky Home" - Stephen Foster
  9. "We Shall Overcome" - Various Artists
  10. "Ave Maria" - Franz Schubert
  11. "The Rose" - Bette Midler
  12. "My Heart Will Go On" - Céline Dion
  13. "What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong
  14. "You Raise Me Up" - Josh Groban
  15. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel
  16. "Let It Be" - The Beatles

Uplifting memorial songs

Uplifting memorial songs can celebrate a life well-lived, inspire feelings of hope and comfort, and even encourage a sense of joy in remembering cherished memories.

Here's a selection of songs that can be used during eulogies, tributes, or video montages:

  1. "Sail Away" - Enya
  2. "I See the Light (from Tangled)" - Mandy Moore
  3. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version
  4. "You'll Never Walk Alone" - Gerry and the Pacemakers
  5. "Lean on Me" - Bill Withers
  6. "Sky Full of Stars" - Coldplay
  7. "How Can I Keep From Singing?" - Pete Seeger
  8. "I'll Stand By You" - The Pretenders
  9. "Tightrope" - Michelle Williams
  10. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" - John Lennon
  11. "Rise Up" - Andra Day

Celebration of life songs

Here are some fitting celebration of life songs that can be used during slideshows, during a shared meal, or in the background while an activity goes on.

These songs can help create a warm and joyful atmosphere as you honor the life that was lived:

  1. "What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong
  2. "I Can See Clearly Now" - Johnny Nash
  3. "Beyond the Sea" - Bobby Darin
  4. "Thank You for Being a Friend" - Andrew Gold
  5. "My Way" - Frank Sinatra
  6. "Forever Young" - Rod Stewart
  7. "Here Comes the Sun" - The Beatles
  8. "You've Got a Friend in Me" - Randy Newman
  9. "This Ain't Goodbye" - Train
  10. "Count on Me" - Bruno Mars
  11. "Drops of Jupiter" - Train
  12. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" - Bob Dylan
  13. "Free Bird" - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  14. "See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
  15. "Always on My Mind" - Elvis Presley
  16. "Calling All Angels" - Train
  17. "Up Where We Belong" - Joe Cocker, Jennifer Warnes
  18. "Home" - Daughtry
  19. "I'll Remember You" - Elvis Presley

Memorial songs for Dad

Losing a father can leave a deep void. He's often the one who teaches us strength, independence, and a sense of humor.

These memorial songs for Dad can help you process those emotions and celebrate the unique bond you shared.

Whether it's a song about a father's unwavering support, a tribute to his life and spirit, or a reflection on the lessons learned — this selection can be a powerful tool to remember the special qualities that made your father who he was.

  1. "Take Me Home, Country Roads" - John Denver
  2. "If I Die Young" - The Band Perry
  3. "Daddy's Hands" - Holly Dunn
  4. "You Can Let Go Now Daddy" - Patricia Maguire
  5. "Tajabone" - Ismaël Lô
  6. "Amandrai" - Ali Farka Touré & Ry Cooder
  7. "Hero" - Mariah Carey
  8. "Father and Daughter" - Paul Simon
  9. "Dance With My Father" - Luther Vandross
  10. "My Father's Eyes" - Eric Clapton
  11. "Thank You for Being My Dad" - Jon Barker
  12. "You Raise Me Up" - Josh Groban
  13. "Song for Dad" - Keith Urban
  14. "Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler
  15. "The Living Years" - Mike + The Mechanics
  16. "Father" - Demi Lovato
  17. "Have You Ever" - Brandy
  18. "How Do I Live" - LeAnn Rimes
  19. "For the Love of a Daughter" - Demi Lovato
  20. "Hurt" - Christina Aguilera
  21. "Before You Go" - Lewis Capaldi
  22. "Someone You Loved" - Lewis Capaldi
  23. "Daughters" - John Mayer
  24. "Father of Mine" - Everclear
  25. "Start Me Up" - The Rolling Stones
  26. "Song for My Father" - Sarah McLachlan

Memorial songs for Mom

Moms are the anchors in our lives, offering endless love, compassion, and guidance. They're our biggest cheerleaders and a constant source of comfort. This list of memorial songs for Mom can be a source of solace during this difficult time.

No matter the specific song, this selection can be a beautiful way to remember the unique qualities that made your mom who she was and the special bond you shared.

  1. "Dancing in the Sky" - Dani and Lizzy
  2. "Jealous of the Angels" - Donna Taggart
  3. "Mom" - Donna Taggart
  4. "Heaven Was Needing a Hero" - Jo Dee Messina
  5. "I'll See You Again" - Westlife
  6. "Save a Place for Me" - Matthew West
  7. "You Should Be Here" - Cole Swindell
  8. "This I Promise You" - Donna Taggart
  9. "Candle in the Wind" - Elton John
  10. "The Scientist" - Coldplay
  11. "The Perfect Fan" - Backstreet Boys
  12. "Mama's Song" - Carrie Underwood
  13. "I'm Already There" - Lonestar
  14. "In the Garden" - Alan Jackson
  15. "Precious Memories" - Alan Jackson
  16. "Because You Loved Me" - Céline Dion
  17. "Sanctuary" - Nashville Cast, Charles Esten
  18. "You'll Never Walk Alone" - Gerry & The Pacemakers
  19. "How Do I Live" - LeAnn Rimes
  20. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Bonnie Tyler
  21. "I'll Be Missing You" - Diddy, Faith Evans, 112
  22. "In My Veins" - Andrew Belle
  23. "River of Tears" - Alessia Cara
  24. "Only You" - Selena Gomez
  25. "Too Hard to Say Goodbye" - Westlife
  26. "I Will Reach You" - Westlife
  27. "Not a Day Goes By" - Lonestar
  28. "The Dead Don't Die" - Sturgill Simpson
  29. "Dance with My Mother" - J-Sol, Hussain Manawer
  30. "High" - Lighthouse Family
  31. "Absent Friends" - Mike Denver
  32. "Supermarket Flowers" - Ed Sheeran
  33. "Visiting Hours" - Ed Sheeran

Songs for reflection and mourning

Songs for reflection and mourning offer a quiet space to acknowledge the pain and loss of a loved one. These songs can be a soundtrack to the complex emotions that arise during this time.

This list provides a range of emotional textures to create a space for quiet reflection and remembrance:

  1. "Time to Say Goodbye" - Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
  2. "Carry You Home" - James Blunt
  3. "Tears in Heaven" - Eric Clapton
  4. "Wild Horses (Acoustic)" - The Rolling Stones
  5. "Don't Wish Me Well" - Solange
  6. "Hallelujah" - Leonard Cohen
  7. "Tell Him" - Ms. Lauryn Hill
  8. "To Zion" - Ms. Lauryn Hill, Carlos Santana
  9. "Last Goodbye" - Jeff Buckley
  10. "A Thousand Years" - The Piano Guys
  11. "Possibility" - Lykke Li
  12. "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" - Oasis
  13. "Dancing in the Sky" - Dani and Lizzy
  14. "Jealous of the Angels" - Donna Taggart
  15. "Heaven Was Needing a Hero" - Jo Dee Messina
  16. "I'll See You Again" - Westlife
  17. "Save a Place for Me" - Matthew West
  18. "You Should Be Here" - Cole Swindell
  19. "The Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler

Light-hearted songs to play at a funeral

Funeral services traditionally hold a somber tone, but that doesn't mean there's no room for celebrating a life well-lived.

Here’s a selection of light-hearted songs that can be played at a funeral. This selection allows for a more nuanced remembrance, acknowledging both the loss and the love that endures.

Remember, the key is to choose songs that reflect the personality of the deceased and the overall tone you wish to create for the service.

  1. "Send Me on My Way" - Rusted Root
  2. "After the Storm" - Mumford & Sons
  3. "The Parting Glass" - The Dubliners
  4. "No Regrets" - Ronnie Drew
  5. "Sea of Love" - Cat Power
  6. "The Last Rose of Summer" - Nina Simone
  7. "Blackout" - Freya Ridings
  8. "The Other Side" - David Gray
  9. "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" - Édith Piaf
  10. "The Cello Song" - The Piano Guys
  11. "Grief Came Riding" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  12. "Don't Look Back in Anger" - Oasis
  13. "Who Wants to Live Forever" - Queen
  14. "Shine - Edit" - David Gray
  15. "Watching You Without Me" - Kate Bush
  16. "Variations on a Theme by Erik Satie" - Blood, Sweat & Tears

Instrumental and classical memorial music options

While vocals can add a powerful layer of emotion, instrumental and classical pieces offer a timeless beauty for memorial services. These selections can be particularly fitting for processional music, as people enter the venue, or as background music to create a certain ambiance.

  1. "Barber: Adagio for Strings" - Samuel Barber, Sir Simon Rattle
  2. "Symphony No. 5: IV. Adagietto" - Gustav Mahler, Berliner Philharmoniker
  3. "Nimrod" - Edward Elgar, The Coldstream Guards Band
  4. "Irish Tune from County Derry" - Percy Grainger, Dallas Wind Symphony
  5. "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten" - Arvo Pärt, Staatsorchester Stuttgart
  6. "The Lark Ascending" - Ralph Vaughan Williams, London Philharmonic Orchestra
  7. "Pachelbel Canon in D" - Pachelbel String Quartet
  8. "Air on a G String" - Johann Sebastian Bach
  9. "Adagio in G Minor" - Tomaso Albinoni, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
  10. "Ave Maria, D. 839" - Franz Schubert, Renée Fleming

Modern tributes for a celebration of life 

As memorial services evolve, so too does the music selection. Modern tributes for a celebration of life can be a great way to honor a loved one in a way that feels fresh and personal. These contemporary songs often speak to themes of hope, resilience, and the enduring power of love.

  1. "Heaven" - Avicii
  2. "Bloom (Online Bonus Track)" - The Paper Kites
  3. "Carry Me (Like a Fire in Your Heart)" - Chris de Burgh
  4. "Take Me Home" - Us The Duo
  5. "Higher Love" - James Vincent McMorrow
  6. "Follow the Sun" - Xavier Rudd
  7. "Sanctuary" - Nashville Cast, Charles Esten
  8. "You'll Never Walk Alone" - Gerry & The Pacemakers
  9. "How Do I Live" - LeAnn Rimes
  10. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Bonnie Tyler
  11. "I'll Be Missing You" - Diddy, Faith Evans, 112
  12. "In My Veins" - Andrew Belle
  13. "River of Tears" - Alessia Cara
  14. "Only You" - Selena Gomez
  15. "Ghost of You" - Selena Gomez

Choosing memorial service music can be a very personal and emotional process. We hope this compilation list provides a starting point for finding the perfect songs to honor your loved one's memory.

Remember, music is just one element in creating a meaningful memorial service. It's also a time to share memories, offer condolences, and celebrate the life that was lived.

Take your time in planning the service, and don't hesitate to ask family and friends for input on the music selection or other aspects of the day.

Next steps

You can help set the mood for your service by picking the right memorial service songs that complement the life and legacy of your loved one.

We hope this list helps you make the perfect playlist for your occasion. Next comes the work of planning and organizing it.

If you’re still planning out your memorial event in the Los Angeles area, consider using Meadow.

At Meadow, we understand the weight of this moment. We offer a more compassionate and meaningful way to celebrate a life well-lived with customized memorial planning services.

Our team of caring memorial planners will partner with you during this tender time to create an occasion as remarkable as the life it honors.

With our licensed team, you can expect:

Explore our Personalized Memorial Services.