27 Non-Religious Funeral Songs

“I Will Always Love You” By Whitney Houston

Song Year: 1992

Though Dolly Parton wrote and first performed the song, the soul version by Houston is probably the more famous of the two.

Either could work well for a funeral ballad, but Whitney’s soulful arrangement brings more visceral emotion to the performance that is sure to stir you and anyone memorializing a loved one.

This song deals with loving someone even though you know you have to part and how that love never leaves but lingers on in the heart forever.

“In My Life” By The Beatles

Song Year: 1965

Of all their myriad hits, The Beatles have a handful of songs that work well at funerals or memorials.

This melancholic classic talks about looking back at one’s life and taking stock of the ever-changing people, places, and things that populate it. It is a thoughtful tune.

It also talks about loving someone more than anything you can find in those bygone memories and how that love can make things new in life, pushing back the old and ushering in a new era.

That same love can help us persevere in times of trouble and grief, those memories of life and love never to be forgotten.

“Forever Young” By Bob Dylan

“Forever Young” By Bob Dylan

Song Year: 1974

Folk legend Bob Dylan wrote this folk song back in the 70s. It almost sounds like a prayer, though it is a secular piece and only mentions God in passing.

It expresses the desire to see a loved one flourish in life. For them to live happily and experience what life has to offer. To keep the joy and glow of youth even in old age, to live on forever in memory.

This song is another one that feels like a wish from our loved ones as they pass on, hoping for the best for the people they leave behind.

“Angel” By Sarah McLachlan

Song Year:1997

This tear-jerker can be emotionally charged for many people.

It is a poignant, touching song that can be cathartic to listen to when you have lost someone dear. It does mention angels, but otherwise, there is not much religious material in the song.

Mclachlan urges listeners to find some comfort from the troubles of the world that can seem overwhelming. Finding any comfort you can is important when grieving for someone close to your heart.

“Fields of Gold” By Sting

Song Year: 1993

Sting’s classic song about joy and the inevitability of loss is a touching tribute to those who have passed on before us.

It tells the tale of someone who has committed mistakes in the past but who looks to the future bright and hopeful for change and happiness.

No matter what happiness is found, there is always the looming specter of loss. But Sting sings of remembering someone when the west wind blows and bringing those golden memories to the forefront of our minds.

“Goodbye My Friend” By Linda Ronstadt

Song Year: 1989

Losing a friend can be devastating.

Often, you have fewer physical reminders of them, and sometimes you don’t have many people around you to share in your grief as you do with relatives.

This song by Linda Ronstadt perfectly encapsulates what it's like to lose a dear friend and have to say goodbye even though you miss them dearly.

At the end of the song, Ronstadt gives herself permission to leave and move on after reminiscing and celebrating the life of a friend who is gone forever.

“I Will Remember You” By Amy Grant

Song Year: 1991

In this thoughtful ballad, Grant sings about which locations can bring back memories of a beloved person and how she will never forget them, even after they have parted ways.

It talks about how love never dies but is frozen in a moment forever despite whatever circumstances have forced people apart, even death.

“I’ll Be Seeing You” By Billie Holiday

Song Year: 1944

There’s something about Holiday’s voice in this song that is both soul-shatteringly sad and ethereally beautiful.

It perfectly captures what it's like to look around the world and be reminded of a person you loved dearly.

It serves as a lovely reminder that even though they might not be here physically, we will still have a part of them with us in all the familiar places we shared memories and love.

“Life Is Eternal” By Carly Simon

Song Year: 1990

As one of the quintessential American singer-songwriters, Carly Simon seems to have a song for every occasion, even grieving.

This uplifting song deals with mortality and growing older. It begs the listener to think about life as an eternal cycle, of death as merely a horizon.

Simon sings about how death is not the end, only the end of what we can see and perceive.

“If I Could Be Where You Are” By Enya

Song Year: 2005

The new-age singer Enya is no stranger to writing heartfelt, emotional tunes. This one works well for the funeral or memorial of a loved one.

It puts into words the longing to be reunited with someone, even when you know it's impossible.

Enya sings about how we all want so deeply to call our loved ones back from death, to be beside them just one last time because we are not ready for them to be gone.

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