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Modern popular music and songs for funerals

One of the biggest decisions families have to make when arranging the content of the funeral service is music choice. When we are asked "what music can you have"? the answer is simple, pretty much anything you like.

While funeral hymns and classical music remain hugely popular choices, popular music has risen to the forefront of funeral choices for families. Music sets the tone for the service and can lift you up or evoke a memory. We could do a list of the most popular choices here but there are distinct categories for popular music and we have tried to split into the following categories:

On this blog we have tried to cover some of the more recent tracks and songs that people are choosing. We have also tried to put the less well known and emotive songs. The list is endless but we have tried to give you an idea below.

Disturbed - Sound of Silence

I do not think I am the only funeral director that has been left standing at the back of the chapel, with my chin on the floor, covered in goose bumps and cursing the minister who put this song into the service without warning me to listen to it first!

Disturbed's version of Sound of Silence was released as track 11 on their Immortalized Album in 2015. It was April 2016 when David Draiman sang the cover of the Simon and Garfunkel hit on the American TV Program Conan. At that point it was recognised, even by Paul Simon himself, as one of the greatest covers of all time.

I won't try and give a meaning to this song all I would say is if you never have, listen to it.

Westlife - The Rose

First recorded by Bette Midler for the film The Rose in 1979 this song is a powerful pop song with so much meaning. It speaks of being brave and taking a chance. Westlife and Bette Midler's versions are both equally beautiful.

Elton John - The Measure of a Man

By Elton John and written as the final credits song for the Rocky 5 film, The Measure of a Man speaks of someone losing everything but he still has a good heart and that is what matters. A beautiful song with a beautiful meaning that it does not matter what you own it is who you are that counts.

Ed Sheeran - Supermarket Flowers

A beautiful song written from someone who has cared for their mother. It is a real tear jerker for everyone so we would always recommend this song as a reflection piece played in the middle of the service.

Whiz Khalifa - See You Again

This was a massive song when it was released. It was made even more poignant due to its association with the movie franchise Fast and Furious and was used to immortalise the death of actor Paul Walker. It is now almost played as an anthem from friends in mourning.

Enigma - Return to Innocence

This haunting song was released in the 1990's it has power in it's lyrics. It speaks to people who are struggling with loss and says it is ok to smile again.

Love Devotion Feeling Emotion

Don't be afraid to be weak Don't be too proud to be strong Just look into your heart my friend That will be the return to yourself The return to innocence

The return to innocence

And if you want, then start to laugh If you must, then start to cry Be yourself don't hide Just believe in destiny

Don't care what people say Just follow your own way Don't give up and use the chance To return to innocence

That's not the beginning of the end That's the return to yourself The return to innocence

That's return to innocence

Hans Zimmer - Gladiator Soundtrack

An extraordinary piece of music that is so moving to anyone who hears it. From Honor Him to Elysium to Now We Are Free the whole soundtrack is powerful.

Linkin Park - Shadow of the Day

Chester Bennington was the lead singer of Linkin Park, he sadly passed away at a young age. Linkin Park are known for their beautiful lyrics and Shadow of The Day is one I had to put in here. From a group who wrote:

"When my time comes

Forget all the wrong that I've done

Help me leave behind some

Reasons to be missed

And don't resent me

And when you're feeling empty

Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest"

One More Light is another Linkin Park song that was played many times as a tribute to Chester.

Queen - Who Wants to Live forever

An iconic song that is about love and acceptance. Needs very little introductions.

Bette Midler - Wind Beneath My Wings

Written for the film Beaches, Wind Beneath My Wings has been one of the most popular songs played at a funeral ever since.

Luther Vandross - Dance With my Father

This song is as hard to listen to as Supermarket Flowers. It is incredibly emotional and beautiful from a son to his father.

Evanescence - My Immortal

First released on Origin, My Immortal is an Evanescence rock ballad describing the loss of a close relative or a significant other. The song is named My Immortal because it is about memories that seem not to be able to fade.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Freebird

An American rock power ballad from the band who also wrote Sweet Home Alabama. Freebird is iconic in it's own right but it is a very long track at just over 9 minutes long so it is good for an entry piece of music.

Alphaville - Forever Young

Forever Young is a song from German synthpop recording act Alphaville's 1984 debut album of the same name.


Above is a list of the slightly more unusual songs played these days and as you can see the list is pretty much endless. See below for more examples of popular funeral songs in the UK.

You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers

Soul Limbo / Cricket Theme – Booker T. & the MG’s

Even Though You’re Gone – Angelis

Memories – Barbra Streisand

Wonderwall – Oasis

My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

Angels – Robbie Williams

My Sweet Lord – George Harrison

Coronation Street – Theme Tune

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace – Susan Boyle

You Raise Me Up – Westlife

Slipped Away – Avril Lavigne

Pictures of You – The Cure

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Beautiful Day – U2

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

You’re My Best Friend – Queen

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – Neil Diamond

Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke

Nothing Compares To You – Sinead O’Connor

Let It Be – The Beatles

May It Be – Enya

Who Knew – Pink

Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

Only Fools and Horses – Theme Tune

You Raise Me Up – Westlife

Show Me Heaven – Maria Mckee

Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan

Satisfied Mind – Jeff Buckley

Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice

Even My Dad Does Sometimes – Ed Sheeran

Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton

Asleep – The Smiths

Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash

Come Away With Me – Norah Jones

Hold Back The River – James Bay

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M

Clocks – Coldplay

Somewhere Only We Know – Keane

Tears Dry On Their Own – Amy Winehouse

How To Save A Life – The Fray

Don’t Speak – No Doubt

Someone Like You – Adele

Teardrop – Massive Attack

I Miss You – Stevie Nicks

Dreams – Fleetwood Mac

Make Me Smile – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

Stay With Me – Sam Smith

Bring Me Sunshine – Morecambe & Wise

Broken – Lifehouse

There You’ll Be – Faith Hill

Flying Without Wings – Westlife

Simply The Best – Tina Turner

Bring Me Sunshine – Morecambe and Wise

Eastenders – Theme Tune

Emmerdale – Theme Tune

Angel – Sarah McLachlan

Unforgettable – Nat King Cole

We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn

Dancing Queen – Abba

In My Life – The Beatles

Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis

Man In The Mirror – Michael Jackson

Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

If Tomorrow Never Comes – Ronan Keating

Imagine – John Lennon

Sailing – Rod Stewart

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

Heaven – Talking Heads

Every Breath You Take – The Police

The Scientist – Coldplay

Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt

Please Don’t Stop The Rain – James Morrison

Photograph – Ed Sheeran

Heaven – Bryan Adams

Against All Odds – Phil Collins

I’ll Be There For You – Friends Theme Tune

Your Song – Elton John

You’re Still The One – Shania Twain

Out of Reach – Gabrielle

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