People are increasingly choosing to include elements in the funeral service that reflect the life of the person who has died, and it is now quite common to incorporate favourite musical compositions, both classical and contemporary, as part of the funeral.

Things to consider

Almost any music can be played at the funeral as long as copyright restrictions do not apply. Commonly, people choose hymns or play a CD of a favourite song or piece of music. There may sometimes be live music. We recommend you discuss the choice of music with whoever is leading the ceremony as their views may have to be taken into account.

We can help you to source music but if you prefer to have an organist you should ensure that they are able to play any particular hymns or songs that you have chosen. You may also want a choir at the service, just let us know and we can arrange this with the church.

Suggested music

We have put together a few suggestions for funeral music that you may find helpful.

The Beatles

The Beatles

Let It Be

Paul McCartney’s favourite Beatles song was inspired by a dream he had about his mother who had died when he was 14. 1969 was a turbulent year for The Beatles and McCartney was much troubled. His mother appeared to him in the dream helping to calm his fears and telling him to Let It Be. An evocative and strangely haunting classic, many people still find peace in this song more than 40 years after its release.

Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

Time To Say Goodbye

A soaring and sweet duet between the world-famous tenor and soprano. The popularisation of opera has seen this musical piece become a regular choice at funerals for those that have lost a romantic partner.

Deacon Blue

Deacon Blue

Dignity

Dignity was the first single from Deacon Blue and comes from the band’s debut CD, Raintown, a concept album about life in Glasgow. The song’s lyrics express a yearning for ‘a better life’ and a plea to humanity to consider others as you would yourself. This makes the song a suitable choice to remember those who dedicated their lives to helping others.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

Tears in Heaven

Often referred to as the world’s greatest living guitarist, Eric Clapton wrote this touching song following the tragic death of his son, Conor. While the lyrics concentrate on the trauma of losing your child, the sensitivity of the music makes it a suitable choice for the funeral of a person of any age.

Elton John

Elton John

Candle in the Wind

This is the song that was famously performed by Elton John at the funeral of Princess Diana. Originally written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, Elton re-wrote the lyrics upon the death of his friend at the request of her family. Released as a charity record it became the biggest selling single of all time. A profound expression of love and healing the song was described as “proof that music can unite the world in the celebration of life and in an emotional grieving for a loss”.

Bette Midler

Bette Midler

Wind Beneath My Wings

Wind Beneath My Wings was performed by Bette Midler for the soundtrack of the film Beaches, and was named Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 1990. It has become one of the most popular choices of music to remember a loved one in recent years.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Can’t Help Falling In Love

The most popular musical artist of his generation left a musical legacy that few singers could hope to match. The emotive Can’t Help Falling in Love would be a beautiful tribute to a lost husband or wife and competes with Are You Lonesome Tonight? and Love Me Tender as his greatest romantic ballad.

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

My Way

Frank Sinatra is a show business legend and considered by many to be the greatest vocalist of the 20th century. His groundbreaking phrasing vocal technique helped the listener to understand and empathise with this song. My Way would be an obvious musical choice to remember those that in life were charismatic and individual.

Tina Turner

Tina Turner

Simply The Best

The song that marked Tina Turner’s comeback to the music scene has become a popular choice at funeral services in recent years. Equally adept at gospel, R&B and soul, Tina Turner’s iconic voice and emotional delivery makes this a good choice to remember someone who was special to you.

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams

Angels

Angels is the song that made Robbie a household name and has become a popular choice for funeral services in recent years. Its emotive music and reflective lyrics strike a chord with many listeners.

Sheet music