10 Bittersweet Funeral Songs

Posted by Kate Ottenberg

Choosing what music to play at a funeral is just one of the many difficult decisions during a difficult time. Music has the ability to transport people to a different time and place and allows guests to quietly reflect and remember their loved one.

Many people choose a wedding song or a few tracks from their loved one’s favorite artist. If you are looking for inspiration, here are 10 funeral song ideas that are all meaningful and fit to honor a special person.

 

1. You Can Close Your Eyes – James Taylor

“Well the sun is surely sinking down. But the moon is slowly rising. So this old world must still be spinning ’round. And I still love you.”

James Taylor recently referred to his music as “palliative,” and this song in particular is so soothing, romantic and wistful.

2. That’s Heaven to Me – Sam Cooke

“A little flower that blooms in May. A lovely sunset at the end of a day. Someone helping a stranger along the way. That’s heaven to me.”

This song pointedly highlights the simple beauty in everyday life and everything we have to be thankful for.

3. My Way – Frank Sinatra

“The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!”

This song speaks for itself! A proud anthem for a life well lived.

5.  Unforgettable – Nat King Cole

“Unforgettable in every way. And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay.”

This Nat King Cole song is nostalgic and reflective – a beautiful tribute.

6. We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn

“We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when. But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day. Keep smiling through just like you always do.”

A popular song during WWII, “We’ll Meet Again” is optimistic with melancholy undertones.

7. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

I hear babies cryin’. I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, ‘What a wonderful world.’

This song is frequently played at funerals for a reason. It’s uplifting message reminds us of life’s simple beauties and paving ways for the next generation.

8. Astral Weeks – Van Morrison 

“Lay me down / in silence easy / to be born again / in another world.”

Van Morrison himself described this song as “one of those songs where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

9. The Way We Were – Barbra Streisand 

“So it’s the laughter that we will remember, whenever we remember, the way we were.”

Although this song is a tear-jerker even under the best of circumstances, it has an uncanny ability to trigger wonderful, bittersweet memories.

10. Make Someone Happy – Jimmy Durante

“It’s so important to make someone happy / Make just one someone happy. Make just one heart to heart you, you sing to.”

This is such a happy song, and isn’t it what life is all about?

By Kate Ottenberg

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