Music is a great way to evoke feelings and memories attached to a particular time, place or person and is often used to personalise funerals, to ensure the service is relevant to the deceased and to represent something of their life. For those who have grown up with it, no genre of music is more evocative of good times than pop music. Here we take a look at nine of the best pieces of pop music for funerals and try to suggest a song for every type of individual or service. Below you’ll find three tearjerkers, three more uplifting pieces, and three alternative, funnier examples of pop music for funerals. Feel free to comment below with any songs that we’ve missed out.
Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
Eva Cassidy’s haunting vocals and beautifully minimal guitar playing make for an extremely emotional experience when it’s played at funerals. This magnificent cover has become an increasingly popular choice of funeral music in recent years and is sure to remain one for the foreseeable future.
Nothing Compares to You – Sinead O’Connor
If you really want to emphasise the unique role the deceased played in the lives of those mourners gathered at the service, there’s no better choice than O’Connor’s classic, Nothing Compares To You.
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
If the deceased’s interest in music veered away from traditional pop tracks towards prog or rock, Wish You Were Here might prove a good option for the funeral. This sad song, backed by wonderful instrumentalists, expresses exactly what many will be thinking and feeling as they gather together to mourn their loss.
Three uplifting tracks
My Way – Frank Sinatra
A fitting tribute to anyone who made the most of the short time we’re allotted on this planet, Sinatra’s My Way is an uplifting track that ensures the focus of the funeral service is on the deceased’s life and not their death.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and the Pacemakers
Though it may be heavily associated with Liverpool FC and its supporters, this song sends out a positive message of companionship, reassurance and unity at a time when these qualities are desperately needed.
See You Again – Wiz Khalifa
This modern entry was written for the Fast and the Furious franchise as a tribute to its protagonist and star, Paul Walker, upon his death in 2015. Unlike a number of other contemporary tracks popular at funerals, it tries hard to ensure its message is an uplifting one.
Three for a laugh
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle
Most people will know this as the song that closes the classic Monty Python film Life of Brian, but it’s also quickly becoming a firm favourite among those hoping to get a few chuckles out of those gathered at a memorial service. It also serves as a brilliant reminder to stay positive at a time when it can be difficult to do so.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – The Platters
If you’ve decided on cremation and want to bring a little humour to what would otherwise be a serious and sombre day, there’s possibly no better choice of music than The Platter’s Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Though some may consider it to be overstepping the mark somewhat, it can also help to raise a smile among those present at the service.
Going Deeper Underground – Jamiroquai
A good choice for those that are going to be buried, Jamiroquai’s funky, disco-infused track will go down a storm among those who enjoy a little black humour.