March 29, 2023

Top 10 Most Popular Funeral Songs

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It’s rare to attend a funeral and not have music played or performed at different times throughout. Music is an integral part of nearly every funeral you attend because it prompts moments of reflection and can honour the dearly departed while comforting the loved ones left behind.

If you want to get a little cheeky with your funeral song choice/s check out our blog –

10 Fun & Appropriately Inappropriate Funeral Songs – Rose Training Australia 

Today though, let’s talk about 10 of the most popular songs that you’ll hear at funerals. Are they the “Top 10”? Maybe. But let’s be real, music is subjective as is all art and popularity is tough to measure well enough to definitively declare a true Top 10 but these songs do find their way into many funerals around the world and do so for good reason. What do you think?

“Amazing Grace”

Written by John Newton

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This tried and tested classic was written by former slave trader turned abolitionist in the 1772, John Newton. There are plenty of great versions to choose from including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Elvis and more. This hymn is often played at funerals because of its message of hope and redemption. It has a soul soothing melody which is also familiar and comforting to many.

“Tears in Heaven”

by Eric Clapton

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When Eric Clapton lost his young son to a tragic accident in the 1990s, this was the song that he wrote to help him deal with the pain. It is a beautifully poignant tribute to a loved one who has passed away.

“Wind Beneath My Wings” 

Best known version – Bette Midler

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This uplifting song was a massive hit for Bette Midler in the late 80s, and her version is inarguably the most well-known but prior to her singing it for the movie “Beaches” a number of other artists including Kamahl, Gladys Knight and Roger Whittaker recorded their own versions. It is a song that expresses gratitude and appreciation for someone who has been a source of strength and inspiration, making it a fitting tribute to a loved one who has passed away.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

by Simon & Garfunkel

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With its message of support and comfort, “I will comfort you – I’ll take your part

– Oh when darkness comes – And pain is all around…”, it’s soulful instrumentation, gentle melody, and soothing vocals, this classic song and one of the last hits for the duo, can provide solace to mourners during a difficult time.

“Time to Say Goodbye”

by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

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Sung in both Italian and English, this gorgeous, operatic duet expresses the bittersweet emotions of saying goodbye to someone you love.


by Sarah McLachlan

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This moving ballad lyrically reflects on the troubled soul who struggled with life. If that is the type of person being remembered and celebrated at the funeral then there are few songs more perfect than this simple (only 3 instruments are used) soaring song.  

“Danny Boy”

Written by Frederic Weatherly

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This timeless Irish ballad, often played on bagpipes, has become a popular choice for funerals because of its melancholic beauty and poignant lyrics.

Written by Weatherly back in 1910 you have a wealth of great covers to choose from including Harry Belafonte, Jackie wilson, Charlotte Church, Hayley Westenra, Johnny Cash and more. Eric Clapton even recorded an instrumental if that’s what you’re after.

“You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban – This uplifting song, with its message of hope and resilience, can offer comfort and inspiration to mourners during a difficult time.


by Leonard Cohen

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This hauntingly beautiful song by one of the greatest lyricists of all time, with its themes of loss and redemption, has become a popular choice for funerals and memorial services. Its message of hope and faith can provide comfort to those who are grieving. A popular choice of covers include versions by Jeff Buckley, John Cale and Rufus Wainwright (look for his “choir Choir Choir” version where he is backed by 1,500 singers!)

“My Way”

Popularised by Frank Sinatra

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Frank speaks to the idea of living life on one’s own terms and leaving a legacy behind. It’s an ideal song for that “larger than life” character who left behind a deep impression. Its lyrics can provide a sense of closure and peace for those mourning the loss of someone who lived life to the fullest. If you want a more irreverent, “so bad it’s enticing” punk version try Sid Vicious’ take.

“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

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For the funeral that truly wants to be considered as a celebration of life rather than a dwelling on death, you can’t go past this 1968 classic. There are a few versions out there, including the mash-up with “Over the Rainbow” by Bruddah Iz (a song also worthy of being on the list which is why we’ve sneaked it in here) celebrates the beauty and joy of life, offering a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is still much to be grateful for.

Of course with millions of songs out there in the ether you’re sure to find the perfect song for your funeral needs if you search long and hard enough. If you’re struggling to find something, pulling from this list will get you started. These songs are popular for a reason. They simply work.

This article was brought to you by Rose Training Australia

Would you like to become a funeral celebrant? It’s a role that is becoming increasingly sought after. Check out the course details here – Funeral Celebrancy Training – Rose Training Australia

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