Best Songs for Child or Young Adult Funeral

What are the best songs for a child’s funeral or memorial service?

Planning a funeral or memorial is difficult under the best of circumstances, but planning a funeral for a child or young adult is probably the most difficult. Finding the right music is just one of the many choices that have to be made, but it can be difficult finding the right song. When selecting songs, you will want to choose at least one song that is geared toward children the same age level as the child that has passed, since it is likely that classmates and friends of the child will be attending. For this, you might select your child’s favorite song or a song performed by his or her favorite artist.

The other music you choose will depend upon the type of funeral and your own personal feelings. If you are looking for a special song, you might consider one of the songs listed below. For your convenience, we have compiled the songs in a playlist, making it easy for you to listen to a sample or purchase a song. Additional information about each song, including significant verses and choruses, is provided below the playlist.

Best Songs for a Child’s Funeral

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Angels

This song has a Celtic feel to it and borders on being folksy, but not too bad. I would consider it a good alternative to Danny Boy. It should not be confused with the song Angels that is sung by Robbie Williams or the song Angel sung by Sarah McLachlan. The song is written and performed by Mary McLaughlin, who wrote the song for her brother, Anthony.

Chorus:

For angels must walk before they can fly
And angels must learn to laugh and to cry
The angels are here, they’re among you and I
We’re all learning to be angels

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Circus

This song by Eric Clapton is one of two inspired by the death of his 4-year-old son (the other is “Tears in Heaven”). While it is a very beautiful song, it’s tempo might be a little fast for most people’s tastes. The symbolism behind the song, however, will not be.

Significant Verse:

And it’s sad, so sad,
There ain’t no easy way round.
And it’s sad, so sad,
All you friends gather round
‘Cause the circus left town.

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Even the Darkness is Light to Him

This Christian lullaby is based on Psalm 139:11 and sung by Michael Card. It sounds more like a folk song than a traditional lullaby. The song talks about protection through the night.

Significant Lyrics:

The Father above does not slumber or sleep
He wakefully watches our ways
Then there’s no reason for you to weep
For the Father above neither slumbers nor sleeps

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 Fly

This little known song by Celine Dion is poignant and sweet. Although the lyrics never mention a child, it does refer to the person lost as “little wing” and “precious one.” Otherwise, it sends the message that the person lost is moving on to a better place, free from pain and suffering, and the two will meet again.

Significant Lyrics:

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Crossover to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this memory bittersweet
Until we meet.

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Forever Young

This version of “Forever Young” is sung both by Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan. Dylan’s version is slower than Rod Stewart’s more upbeat, but newer version. There are slight mentions to both “the good Lord” and heaven, so it might not be appropriate for an atheist’s funeral. Otherwise, the song talks about how the singer wishes the person all the best and how “in my heart you’ll always stay / Forever young.”

Significant Lyrics:

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to heaven
With a prince or a vagabond
And may you never love in vain
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young, forever young

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Forever Young

This version of “Forever Young” is sung by Youth Group and by Alphaville. It was most recently featured on the soundtrack for Napoleon Dynamite, but the song dates back to the 80s. It is not a traditional funeral song, but it could work for the right person. The lyrics talk about all the person wants to do and why they never want to die. The chorus simply repeats the lines, “Forever young, I want to be forever young / Do you really want to live forever? Forever and ever.”

Significant Lyrics:

It’s so hard to get old without a cause
I don’t want to perish like a fleeing horse
Youth’s like diamonds in the sun
and diamonds are forever.

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Gone Too Soon

“Gone Too Soon” was made popular by Michael Jackson in the 1990s and is frequently associated with Ryan White (who contracted and died from AIDS as a child). However, it has also been done by Babyface and Leticia Walker. The song is very generic and uses a number of metaphors to illustrate what the person’s passing is like.

Significant Lyrics:

Like a comet blazing ‘cross the evening sky
Gone too soon

Like a rainbow fading in the twinkling of an eye
Gone too soon.

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Heaven (Waiting There for Me)

Hayley Westenra is a teenage singer from New Zealand. She is definitely a soprano and her talents will amaze you. She is the perfect singer for this song, which is about someone who has died too soon. The song makes some brief references to heaven, but no overt religious references. The best line in the song: “And oh, I know just by knowing you I was blessed / Yes, I was truly blessed.”

Significant Verse:

So why, tell me why the good die young my old friend
I pray that heaven waits for everyone in the end
And love, love is how we cross that bridge to the light
A star that is what you are in my darkest night
Be always by my side

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Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)

Billy Joel wrote this song as a lullaby for his daughter, Alexa. The song is his answer to her question about where people go when they die as well as helping her understand his divorce from Christie Brinkley, Alexa’s mother. The song talks about how close they will always be no matter what might separate them.

Significant Verse:

I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

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He’s My Son

This song is written as if the singer was a father praying to God, although there is only one actual mention of him. The man tries to bargain with God to save his son, asking God to “Let him grow old / Live life without this fear. What would I be / Living without him here?” Mark Schultz sings the traditional version, although a female version is available from Mel Kennedy with M-N-M Music.

Chorus:

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he’s not just anyone, he’s my son.

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My Little Girl

Beautifully sung by Tim McGraw, “My Little Girl” was part of the Flicka soundtrack. Most of the song would be appropriate to play at a funeral except for the third verse which talks about how “Someday, some boy will come and ask me for your hand” which may not be appropriate for all funerals. So, that verse may have to be cut out.

Significant Verse:

Your beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road that’ll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you’ll always be, my little girl

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New Star in the Sky

“New Star in the Sky” is performed by Air. The song is quite long (5:40) with very little actual lyrics. The style of music leans towards New Age, so it might not be to everyone’s tastes for a funeral. Although I have not heard the entire song, I was informed that the song includes the sound of children’s voices, which makes it comforting. The lines included are the only ones in the song, although they are repeated a couple of times.

Significant Lyrics:

My baby blue is a new star in the sky
My baby blue is a new star in the sky

The world, the world, the world, the world
Just for you, for nobody else

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No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)

This song is the only new song recorded by Queen after lead singer Freddie Mercury died and is basically a eulogy to him and other people who have died too young.

Chorus:

One by one
Only the Good die young
They’re only flying too close to the sun
And life goes on — Without you

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Oh Very Young

This song has several versions available by artists such as Cat Stevens and Susan Egan. The lyrics are very meaningful, but it is paired with a more upbeat almost folk melody that makes it less than ideal as a traditional funeral song. The lyrics of the song wonder what will be left behind once the young people have gone.

Significant Lyrics:

Oh very young
What will you leave us this time
There’ll never be a better chance to change your mind
And if you want this world to see a better day
Will you carry the words of love with you
Will you ride the great white bird into heaven
And though you want to last forever
You know you never will
You know you never will
And the goodbye makes the journey harder still

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One More Day

This song is performed by Diamond Rio. The lyrics talk about what everyone would like after a loved one has gone — one more day — and what he would do with that added time. Diamond Rio is a country group and this song has a slight country feel.

Chorus:

One more day, one more time
One more sunset, maybe I’d be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you

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 Since I Lost You

Phil Collins wrote this song after the death of his friend’s, Eric Clapton, son. The death also inspired two songs by Clapton “Circus” (also on this page) and “Tears in Heaven”. It was recorded as part of the last album Collins did with the band Genesis. Anyone who has heard Collins sing “One More Night” or “Against All Odds” will not be disappointed by this song.

Significant Verse:

It seems in a moment, your whole world can shatter
Like morning dreams they just disappear
Like dust in your hand falling to the floor
How can life ever be the same

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Who You’d Be Today

“Who You’d Be Today” by Kenny Chesney is one of the most touching songs and seems almost written specifically for a child’s funeral. It is a country song, but not heavily so in my opinion. It is worth listening to since it has moving lyrics such as “I feel you everywhere I go / I see your smile, I see your face, / I hear you laughin’ in the rain / I still can’t believe you’re gone” and “The only thing that gives me hope, / Is I know I’ll see you again some day.” But the meaningful lines come with the chorus.

Chorus:

It ain’t fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I’ve been through,
Just knowing no one could take your place.
And sometimes I wonder,
Who you’d be today?

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A few other songs you might consider:

“Angels in Waiting” performed by Tammy Cochran

They were angels in waiting
Waiting for wings to fly from this world,
Away from their pain
Treasuring time, til time came to leave,
Leaving behind sweet memories
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“Baby Mine” performed by Bette Midler, Alison Krause, or Jim Brickman

Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine
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“Blessed” performed by Elton John

Hey you, you’re a child in my head
You haven’t walked yet
Your first words have yet to be said
But I swear you’ll be blessed
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“Glory Baby” performed by Watermark

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you
Until we’re home with you
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“I Will” performed by the Beatles

Love you forever, and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart
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“Jesus Loves Me” performed by Various Artists

Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
they are weak but He is strong.
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“Jesus Loves the Little Children” performed by Various Artists

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They’re all precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world
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“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” performed by Judy Garland and many others

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
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“Precious Child” performed by Emily Richards

In my heart, you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho’ it may be true that we’re apart
You will live forever … in my heart
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“To Where You Are” performed by Josh Groban, Chloe Agnew, Lorraine Shannon, or Kristy Starling

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are
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“With Hope” performed by Steven Curtis Chapman

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you’ve gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you
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“Visitor From Heaven” performed by Twila Paris

With aching hearts and empty arms
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we’re so glad you came
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“You’ll Be in My Heart” performed by Phil Collins

For one so small,
you seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can’t be broken
I will be here
Don’t you cry
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“You’re Gone” performed by Diamond Rio

Now I know God has His reasons

But sometimes it’s hard to see them

When I awake and find that you’re not there
You found hope in hopeless
Your made crazy sane
You became the missing link
That helped me break my chains
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“Your Heart Will Lead You Home” performed by Kenny Loggins

There’ll come a day when you’re losing your way
and you won’t know where you belong
They say that home is where your heart is
So follow your heart know that you can’t go wrong
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One Response to “Best Songs for Child or Young Adult Funeral”

  1. Ann Wilde says:

    This band have released a beautiful song in memory of Freddie Hussey, Who died aged 3yrs. The song is available on I – tunes and all proceeds go to the Wallace and Gromit appeal.
    Freddie’s Song by Levi Valentino

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