53 Best Funeral Songs Ever


“Smile” by Nat King Cole

Song Year: 1954

Nat King Cole released “Smile” on the 1954 album Ballads Of The Day. The music comes from Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie Modern Times, and John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics in 1954. The instrumentals are gentle with subtle orchestral strings, and the lyrics remind you to remember that there are still beautiful things in life, even during difficult times.

“Jealous of the Angels” by Donna Taggart

Song Year: 2014

“Jealous of the Angels” is a track by Donna Taggart that appears on the 2014 album Celtic Lady Volume II. All death is difficult, but these lyrics express the unique challenge of processing an unexpected death. Taggart’s subtle voice floats on top of a gentle piano accompaniment that produces a meditative mood.

“Meet Me In Heaven” by Johnny Cash

Song Year: 1996

Johnny Cash has a direct tone quality that can seem harsh to some, but there is no doubting the impact and depth of his music. From his 1996 album Unchained, the song “Meet Me In Heaven” has lyrics that center around the death of Cash’s younger brother.

“Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics

Song Year: 1988

Mike Rutherford and B. A. Robertson wrote the song “Living Years,” and it appeared on an album of the same name by Mike and the Mechanics. Musically you can expect the gentle sounds of a rock ballad with electronic sounds typical of music from the 1980s. You will likely recognize the chorus, which has lyrics about appreciating those we love before they pass.

“Why” by Rascal Flatts

Song Year: 2009

Rascal Flatts put out the track “Why” on the 2009 album Unstoppable, and this song takes on the challenging topic of suicide. Co-written by Rob Mathes and Allen Shamblin, the lyrics are deep and reflective, accompanied by gentle piano chords.

“Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross

Song Year: 2003

Luther Vandross’s “Dance with My Father” came out on a 2003 album of the same name. You might recognize this track from its opening piano riff, which introduces lyrics Vandross wrote as a tribute to his father, who passed away when Vandross was a child. The lyrics and singing express the wish for another moment with loved ones who are gone.

“Sissy’s Song” by Alan Jackson

Song Year: 2009

The gentle guitar opening of Alan Jackson’s “Sissy’s Song” sets the stage for an expressive and emotional song about someone’s unexpected death. The track appeared on the 2009 album Good Time, and the lyrics are about the mixed emotions we feel after someone passes away.

“What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts

Song Year: 2006

Originally written by Steve Robson and Jeffrey Steele, this recording of “What Hurts the Most” appeared on the 2006 album Me and My Gang by Rascal Flatts. The background music is more upbeat than you might expect, considering the lyrics are about losing a lover. There are also dialogues between verses that help set the background story of the song.

“The Lord’s My Shepherd” by Stuart Townend

Song Year: 2003

Next is the track “The Lord’s My Shepherd,” another Christian/Gospel tune based on Psalm 23. This recording by Stuart Townend comes from the 2003 album How Deep The Father's Love, and the peaceful lyrics and gentle guitar will help you to process the heavy emotions of grief honestly.

“Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)” by Billy Joel

Song Year: 1993

Chances are you will recognize the piano introduction to Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel),” which appeared on his 1993 album River of Dreams. Joel’s subtle and deep singing fit perfectly with the sparse piano accompaniment, and the lyrics express the painful emotions of saying goodbye to someone after they pass away.

“God’s Will” by Martina McBride

Song Year: 2004

From the 2004 album Martina, the track “God’s Will” by Martina McBride is about accepting tragedy, even when it feels impossible. Barry Dean and Tom Douglas wrote the tune, which has lyrics about a crippled child and how the narrator cannot seem to understand their suffering.

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