Traditional popular music songs for funerals

One of the biggest decisions families have to make when arranging the content of the funeral service is music choice. When we are asked "what music can you have"? the answer is simple, pretty much anything you like.

While funeral hymns and classical music remain hugely popular choices, popular music has risen to the forefront of funeral choices for families. Music sets the tone for the service and can lift you up or evoke a memory. We could do a list of the most popular choices here but there are distinct categories for popular music and we have tried to split into the following categories:

  • Traditional popular music

  • Modern popular music

  • Patriotic popular music

  • Humorous popular music

On this blog you will find traditional popular music choices and artists that have been loved for many years. Many people will know the artists their loved one enjoyed but not necessarily the songs that would suit the service.


Glenn Miller


American big band musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. Always popular for someone with a love of dance halls back in the late 1930's and early 1940's


Moonlight Serenade

A String of Pearls

Little Brown Jug

In The Mood



Over the Rainbow


Over the Rainbow" is a ballad composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg. It was written for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and was sung by actress Judy Garland in her starring role as Dorothy Gale. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became Garland's signature song.


One of the most beautiful songs but it is equally popular with a number of artists so make sure you know the version you prefer. These are the most common versions played released by:


Judy Garland

Eva Cassidy

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole


We'll Meet Again - Vera Lynn


This iconic song is suitable for anyone who lived through the war years. The grit and belief in this song gives it true meaning at a funeral service.



Frank Sinatra


Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer, actor and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide.


So many of his songs are played at funerals as a memorial piece where the song meant so much to someone but the king of them all is the exit piece


My Way


Other popular Sinatra songs include:

The Way You Look Tonight

Strangers In The Night

As Time Goes By

Ave Maria (Schubert)

Close To You





Nat King Cole - Unforgettable


A beautiful song celebrating the uniqueness of someone you love. Could there be a more perfect sentiment?


Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World


What a Wonderful World was written in 1968 during the time of the Vietnam War. Performed in the genre of jazz, it was written and composed to try and bring hope to the millions of victims


Time To Say Goodbye - Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman


A powerful operatic song that captured people’s hearts in 1996 when it was released. This version of Bocelli’s original 1995 hit has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling records of all time – as well as a popular choice for funerals.


It does cause a few arguments though


Time To Say Goodbye (The English Version) - Bocelli and Brightman does not exist.


In the lyrics of Time To Say Goodbye there are only three lines sung in English. For a few events there have been artists who have sung a live version with English lyrics but these were never formally recorded or released therefore they were unavailable to play at a funeral. In 2017 Celtic Woman finally released an English version on their Voices of Angels album. Although not a direct translation of the original italian words it therefore ended the age old argument of there is not an English version of Time To Say Goodbye


The original Bocelli & Brightman lyrics:


Quando sono solo sogno all'orizzonte e mancan le parole Sì lo so che non c'è luce in una stanza quando manca il sole Se non ci sei tu con me, con me


Su le finestre Mostra a tutti il mio cuore che hai acceso Chiudi dentro me la luce che Hai incontrato per strada


Time to say goodbye Paesi che non ho mai Veduto e vissuto con te Adesso sì, li vivrò, con te partirò Su navi per mari che, io lo so No, no, non esistono più It's time to say goodbye


Quando sono solo sogno all'orizzonte e mancan le parole E io sì, lo so che sei con me, con me Tu mia luna, tu sei qui con me Mio sole, tu sei qui con me, con me, con me, con me


Time to say goodbye Paesi che non ho mai Veduto e vissuto con te Adesso sì li vivrò, con te partirò Su navi per mari che io lo so No, no, non esistono più Con te io li rivivrò


Con te partirò Su navi per mari Che, io lo so No, no, non esistono più Con te io li rivivrò, con te partirò Io con te

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