11 Modern Funeral Songs That Celebrate Life

funeral songs

Funerals are getting more and more personalized these days… families are swapping out light funeral refreshments for full-on food and beverage stations, and even planning weekend-long memorial celebrations instead of a traditional funeral service! (Don’t believe us? Just check out these out-of-the-box funeral personalization ideas.)

But planning a personalized funeral service doesn’t have to be a grand-scale, over-the-top ordeal… even something as simple as playing your loved one’s favorite song or a playlist of modern, celebratory music during their visitation can be enough to add some personality and celebration back into funerals. (Not that anything is wrong with a good ol’ classic rendition of Amazing Grace… it’s just that it’s been done over and over again. And what’s unique about that?)

Today, we have gathered some of our favorite modern funeral songs that help to celebrate life and honor the unique qualities that reflect the loved one’s in our life. Enjoy!

1. SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW (WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD) by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star / Wake up where the clouds are far behind me / Where trouble melts like lemon drops / High above the chimney top / That’s where you’ll find me”

You can best describe this modern take on The Wizard of Oz classic is one word — beautiful. It’s simple, happy, stunning, uplifting and meaningful… all without trying too hard. Do you know someone whose life fits all of these descriptors? This may be the perfect classically modern song to lift up their funeral service.

2. SEE YOU AGAIN by Wiz Khalifa (feat. Charlie Puth)

“So let the light guide your way / Hold every memory as you go / And every road you take, will always lead you home / It’s been a long day without you, my friend / And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again”

This Top 40 tune is not your typical funeral song — it’s a modern blend of a beautiful ballad by Charlie Puth and powerful hip-hop verses by Wiz Khalifa. And it’s this unexpected combination that has helped ‘See You Again’ become one of the most popular memorial songs of the last year. In fact, the track was originally created as a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker… and it became an instant hit that resonated with people young and old who’ve experienced the loss of someone close to them.

3. DANCING IN THE SKY by Dani and Lizzie

“Tell me, what does it look like in heaven? / Is it peaceful? Is it free like they say? / Does the sun shine bright forever? / Have your fears and your pain gone away?”

This beautiful ballad is one of my all-time favorite funeral selections. It has some serious emotion going on in both the melody and the lyrics (seriously, it will stir up feelings in even the most steadfast non-cryers) but the message of the song is uplifting and celebratory. It’s the perfect combination for any funeral.

4. ANGELS by Robbie Williams

“And through it all she offers me protection / A lot of love and affection / Whether I’m right or wrong / And down the waterfall / Wherever it may take me / I know that life won’t break me / When I come to call, she won’t forsake me / I’m loving angels instead”

Sometimes grief can be a dark hole to navigate and it can often feel like you are walking the road alone, but this soft rock ballad is the perfect reminder that you will always have company throughout your journey. It’s the perfect funeral service addition for the rocker in your life, or even as a song that you play for yourself in the days, weeks or months following the service… whenever you need a soft-rock reminder that you’re not alone.

5. TO WHERE YOU ARE by Josh Groban

“As my heart holds you / Just one beat away / I cherish all you gave me everyday / ‘Cause you are my / Forever love / Watching me from up above”

This song is already a modern funeral classic, thanks to the beautiful lyrics and the power and passion of Josh Groban’s voice. This is the perfect song to play during a moment of silence during a funeral service, or even as family and friends are exiting the funeral home after the services have ended.

6. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE by MercyMe

“I can only imagine when that day comes / When I find myself standing in the son / I can only imagine when all I would do is forever / Forever worship you / I can only imagine”

‘I Can Only Imagine’ is one of the most popular modern religious funeral songs out there… and for good reason. The lyrics will hit you right in the gut with emotion and love, but the song itself also has a melody that will make you want to get up and raise your hands to the sky. This song is the perfect modern twist to add to a traditional religious funeral.

7. YOU’LL BE IN MY HEART by Phil Collins

“When destiny calls you / You must be strong / I may not be with you / But you’ve got to hold on / They’ll see in time / I know / We’ll show them together / ‘Cause you’ll be in my heart”

This Disney hit is so much more than a kids song from the movie Tarzan. It is a seriously powerful, beautiful expression for anyone who may be experiencing the loss of a loved one who has gone far too soon. Whether you’ve experienced child loss, pregnancy loss, or any other type of loss that has come unexpectedly early, this song is a powerful memorial to hold on to.

8. GO REST HIGH ON THAT MOUNTAIN by Vince Gill

“Go rest high on that mountain / Son, your work on earth is done / Go to heaven a shoutin’ / Love for the Father and the Son”

If you are celebrating a loved one who has lived a long, full life — the kind that’s filled with ups and downs and meaningful moments — look no further than this meaningful Vince Gill song. It’s a great choice for any country music fan, or for anyone who wants to celebrate the life story of someone who’s been there, done that, and worked hard for every story and memory along the way.

9. WHEN I LOOK TO THE SKY by Train

“And in the midst of sailing ships we sink our lips into the ones we love / That have to say goodbye / And as I float along this ocean / I can feel you like a notion that won’t seem to let me go / ‘Cause when I look to the sky something tells me you’re here with me”

If you are looking for a song that both celebrates the moments that you shared with your loved one and kicks off the promise of remembrance, look no further than this hit by the band Train. It combines everything that a perfect funeral song should include – reflection, sadness, healing, happiness and a pledge to always stay connected in life and in death.

10. WHEN I GET WHERE I’M GOING by Brad Paisley (feat. Dolly Parton)

“When I get where I’m going / There’ll be only happy tears / I will shed the sins and struggles / I have carried all these years / And I’ll leave my heart wide open / I will love and have no fear / Yeah when I get where I’m going / Don’t cry for me down here”

This is another great selection for all of the country music fans out there. But unlike some of the other funeral song selections on this list, ‘When I Get Where I’m Going’ doesn’t focus on loss and the days of grief… instead, it is an uplifting, positive account of the joy and happiness that is ahead for those that have left us. It’s the perfect feel-good song for anyone who needs a reminder that a funeral is a celebration of life and is just the start of another journey.

11. KEG ON MY COFFIN by The Push Stars

“Put the keg on my coffin / And think of me every so often / Have a losers day parade for all my friends / Drink up life like a river / ‘Til the pizza man delivers / And smile and know I loved you ’til the end”

This song is a little offbeat (and definitely not for the super traditional), but one thing is for sure — it’s will put a smile on your face! It’s the perfect way to honor the person in your life who didn’t take anything too seriously, and is probably looking down on you hoping that you will plan a drinking celebration to honor their life instead of a traditional funeral service. (Hey, it’s a possibility.)

Do you want to listen to a collection of all of our favorite modern funeral songs? Simply click the “Play” button below and you can listen in to our Modern Funeral Songs playlist right on your computer!

Did we miss your favorite modern funeral song?! Be sure to let us know which song you think is best to play at a funeral in the comments below!

PS. Are you a funeral director who is looking to add some personalization into your funeral services through music? Our Life Tributes Memorial Software allows you to pair meaningful music like the songs above (or choose from a collection of free-use music that comes included in our program) alongside the photos and videos that make up a person’s life — ultimately creating a beautiful personalized tribute that will blow your families away.

To see for yourself just how powerful Life Tribute videos can be, click here to download your free 30-day trial of our software!

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  1. Katrina

    I have requested “Good Riddance” by Green Day to be played at my viewing.

  2. Amy Cunningham

    Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s “Your Long Journey.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG_rArV84iY

  3. Jeff

    Here are some great songs I’d add to the list:

    Til the Casket Drops – by ZZ Ward

    Clouds – by Zach Sobiech

    If I Die Young – by The Band Perry

    I Will Carry You – by Selah

  4. Maureen Ryan

    The soundtrack of The Great Gatsby has many evocative songs, ranging from cheerful morning music to moody mourning music. Track #9 is the best. (There are two soundtrack albums, so be sure to choose the right one.)

  5. trish

    Only the Good Die Young! by Billy Joel

  6. Steven Ryan

    Jamey Johnson “Lead Me Home”

  7. Rodel N. Casio

    Last Song by Daniel Nahmod https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPJDiBwDvA0

  8. Rilee Chastain

    Rodel, thanks for sharing!!

  9. Gail

    The Dance written by Tony Arata but Garth Brooks sings it perfectly. “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss The Dance..” It moves my heart and my soul.

  10. Linda McCann

    I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlin

    Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

    The Prayer by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dio