Best Songs for Friends Funeral

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

Losing a friend is always difficult and emotional. Trying to plan their funeral or memorial service only adds to this trying time. When selecting the right music to express these feelings of loss, you might be overwhelmed with the number of song choices available to you. A few select songs seem almost tailored specifically for such an occasion. Below you will find information and a portion of the lyrics about these songs. These songs should be considered if you are looking for one that expresses how you feel about the person who has died.

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 Friend’s Funeral

Click Play to listen | Click View to open

*************************

Angel’s Son

“Angel’s Son” was written by the lead singer of Sevendust, who recorded the song. It is about a member of another band, James Lynn Strait, who had died in a car wreck. The song does contain some generic references to addiction but does not mention drugs. The music is rock and very heavy on guitar, but not too fast.

Significant Verse:

You were fighting everyday
So hard to hide the pain
I know you never said goodbye
I had so much left to say

*************************

Can’t Cry Hard Enough

This song is sung by the Williams Brothers. It has an almost haunting melody that perches between being a hymn and slow rock song. The lyrics, while meaningful, seem slightly bitter and not as poignant as other songs listed here. Still, with lines like “gonna look back in vain and see you standing there / when all that remains is just an empty chair” it’s a hard one to pass up.

Chorus:

And now that you’re gone
I can’t cry hard enough
I can’t cry hard enough
For you to hear me now

*************************

Dear John

Styx guitarist and vocalist Tommy Shaw wrote this in memory of John Panozzo, Styx drummer who died in 1996 from cirrhosis of the liver. In tribute, the song has no drums. Both the lyrics and music are touching and the song would be fitting at almost any funeral. One note, the song does have one part that mentions God and heaven.

Significant Verse:

I swear I saw you
On a crowded street today
I almost called your name
Thinking of all those yesterdays
Heaven help me
How I miss my friend

*************************

Even Now

This song is performed by Linda Eder, whose voice often graces Broadway performances in-between albums. It is very moving song that talks about how two people who love each other are never really apart. The best line of the entire song has to be “Through my tears I still hear your laughter even now.”

Significant Verse:

Stars still shine when they’re gone
Hearts that break will still beat on
Letting go’s the hardest thing to do
‘Cause all those feelings start
And time can’t change my heart
It all leads back to you

 *************************

Fields of Gold

While Sting released a more popular version of this song, Eva Cassidy’s version should not be overlooked. About a dozen other versions of it by other artists also exist, but those are probably the best ones. All versions tend to be slow and sweet. Because the lyrics reference an unnamed woman in its lyrics, it is more appropriate for a woman’s funeral than a man’s funeral, especially when it says “So she took her love for to gaze awhile / Among the fields of barley / In his arms she fell as her hair came down / Among the fields of gold.”

Significant Verse:

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Among the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold

*************************

Friends

“Friends” is probably the sweetest, most meaningful song that could possibly be performed at a funeral. Although there are quite a few songs that have the same title, the version I am referring to is sung by Michael W. Smith, who also helped write the song. Like all of Smith’s songs, it has a strong religious feel to it and includes several references to God.

Chorus:

And friends are friends forever
If the lord’s the lord of them
And a friend will not say never
Cause the welcome will not end
Though its hard to let you go
In the father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

*************************

Goodbye for Now

Performed by Kathy Troccoli, this song is very melodic and slow. The lyrics are very sweet and poignant, but generic enough to be appropriate at almost any funeral. The song talks about how difficult it will be to let the person go and refers to the time when they will be together again. One of the best lines in the song is “How can it be that the world would go on / When something has died within me” or “I can’t imagine my life without you / You held a place all your own”

Chorus:

But there will be a time
When I’ll see your face
And I’ll hear your voice
And there we will laugh again
And there will come a day
When I’ll hold you close
No More tears to cry
‘Cause we’ll have forever
But I’ll say Goodbye for now

 *************************

Goodbye My Friend

Although there are other songs by the same name, the one referenced here is sung by both Linda Rondstat and Karla Bonoff (who also wrote the song). The two versions sound remarkably similar. The lyrics of this song are meaningful while generic enough to fit almost anyone, especially when it says, “Life’s so fragile and love’s so pure / We can’t hold on but we try / We watch how quickly it disappears / And we never know why.”

Chorus:

So goodbye my friend
I know I’ll never see you again
But the time together through all the years
Will take away these tears
It’s okay now
Goodbye my friend

*************************

I Will Remember

“I Will Remember” is performed by Toto. The song was written by Steve Lukather about the former drummer of Toto. The song speaks about friendship, sadness and things that have changed but how he will always remember the love the two shared. This is a very beautiful song and would be good at almost any funeral.

Chorus:

Even when love has come and gone and our hearts have moved along
I will remember.
There was a time we had the trust
And that always was enough
I will remember. I will remember you.

 *************************

I Will Remember You

Sung by Amy Grant, this song is sweet but not as striking as the song by Sarah McLachlan. The song talks about how the singer will happily remember the person who is gone for the rest of her life. There is a reference to true love in the song, which might not be appropriate for all funerals.

Significant Lyrics:

Look in my eyes while you’re near
Tell me what’s happening here
See that I don’t want to say good-bye
Our love is frozen in time
I’ll be your champion and you’ll be mine
I will remember
I will remember you

*************************

I Will Remember You

Sarah McLachlan is known for singing sad but soulful songs, and “I Will Remember You” is no different. The third verse is the only part of the song that might make it less than appropriate for some funerals. The verse goes, “I’m so afraid to love you, but more afraid to lose/ Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose.” Otherwise, the lyrics talk about how the life of the singer has been changed by the person who has gone and how she will never forget it.

Refrain:

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

*************************

I’ll Be Missing You

“I’ll Be Missing You” was written as a tribute to rapper Notorious B.I.G. It is sung by his friend, Sean Combs (Puff Daddy), and his wife, Faith Evens. R&B group 112 also sings on the track. The chorus samples the song “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. In 2007, Combs performed a revised version as a tribute to Princess Diana. The song contains some specific references to Cobs and Notorious B.I.G.’s relationship such as “seems like yesterday we used to rock the show” and “I saw your son today” as well as some mild swearing. Thus, it may not be appropriate for every funeral. However, the song is moving enough to overcome these minor issues.

Chorus:

Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I’ll be missing you
Thinking of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I’ll be missing you

*************************

I’ll Remember

This Madonna song is slow and melodic. Most of the lyrics talk about how the singer will remember the person who has gone with references to how the person was made stronger through the relationship.

Chorus:

And I’ll remember the strength that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you saved me
I’ll remember

 *************************

Into The West

This song was performed by Annie Lennox over the ending credits on the third part of the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It is partially inspired by the early death of Cameron Duncan, a New Zealand filmmaker, and was first performed at Duncan’s funeral. Two other singers, Hayley Westenra and Yulia Townsend, have also recorded versions of this song. The song is very moving. Some of the best lines include “Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face? Soon you will see. All of your fears will pass away.”

Significant Verse:

Don’t say, we have come now to the end.
White shores are calling.
You and I will meet again.
And you’ll be here in my arms,
Just sleeping.

*************************

It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

This song was so elegantly done by Boyz II Men, that it would take an outstanding singer to do a version that even remotely comes close. The song appeared very briefly in Lethal Weapon III. The song is sung acapella and is very slow and passionate. The lyrics talk about how difficult it will be to let the person go after all they have shared. Appropriate for anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Significant Lyrics:

I don’t know where this road is going to lead
All I know is where we’ve been
And what we’ve been through.

And I’ll take with me the memories

To be my sunshine after the rain

*************************

Keep Me In Your Heart

Keep Me In Your Heart was written and recorded by Warren Zevon shortly before he died of mesothelioma. The song encompasses his feelings about his upcoming death and what will occur afterwards. The song is very reminiscent of a folk tune, and the line “Keep me in your heart for awhile.” However, one of my favorite lines in the song is “Sometimes when you’re doing simple things around the house / Maybe you’ll think of me and smile.”

Significant Verse:

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

*************************

Life Without You

“Life Without You” was a song Stevie Ray Vaughn wrote after the untimely death of his great friend and mentor Charley Wirz. The song is designed to show his love for his friend and how much he misses him. While the lyrics of the song are very beautiful, the music leans towards a blues or jazz feeling and may not be to everyone’s liking.

Significant Verse:

Oh oh now baby, tell me how have you been
We all have missed you, and the way you grin
The day is necessary, every now and then
For souls to move on, givin’ life back again, and again
Fly on fly on, fly on my friend
Go on, live again love again

*************************

My Immortal

Although a couple other singers have attempted this song, the version sung by Amy Lee of Evanescence is the best. The combination of her voice and the melody of this song are enough to give you goose bumps the first time you hear it. The lyrics might not be the most appropriate for some funerals, as the singer is expressing some frustration at being unable to escape the memories of the person who has gone. One such section is when it says “and if you have to leave / I wish that you would just leave.” If you feel the lyrics won’t work for the situation, there are several instrumental versions of this song available. This is one of two Evanescence songs that could work for a funeral. The other one is “My Last Breath” and can be found here.

Chorus:

When you cried I’d wipe away all of your tears
When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears
I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

*************************

 

My One True Friend

Sung by Bette Midler, this song was featured on the soundtrack for One True Thing. Given the subject matter of that movie (mother-daughter relationship while mother is dying of cancer), this seems like a song for a parent. However, the lyrics are generic enough to fit almost any friendship as they talk about how knowing the person has made life better for the singer. One part that might not work is the line that says “I have walked and I have I prayed. / I could forgive and we could start again.”

Significant Lyrics:

Though love may break, it never dies.
It changes shape, through changing eyes.
What I denied, I now can see.
You always were the light inside of me.

I know, I know, I know, I know it was you.
I have walked and I have I prayed.
I could forgive and we could start again.
In the end, you are my one true friend.

*************************

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

 *************************

One Moment More

The title track of Mindy Smith’s debut album, “One Moment More” caught my attention when it was played during an episode of Smallville (the only episode of the show that I’ve ever seen). The title track is a heart-wrenching plea for just one more embrace from a loved one whose presence was a lifeline. Most likely, the song was written about Smith’s adoptive mother, who died of cancer when Smith was 19. The song is beautiful and generic enough to be suitable for almost any funeral. The best line in the song has to be “It’s just enough to see a shooting star / To know you’re never really far.”

Significant Verse:

Oh, please don’t go
Let me have you just one moment more
Oh, all I need
All I want is just one moment more
You’ve got to hold me and keep me

 *************************

Remember Me This Way

“Remember Me This Way” was featured as part of the soundtrack for the motion picture Casper. Even if you didn’t like the movie, this song is very beautiful with a gentle melody and meaningful lyrics. It is appropriate for any funeral. The lyrics talk about how close the singer has been to the people and how hard it will be to leave them, although they will never really be gone. It is sung by Jordan Hill.

Chorus:

I’ll make a wish for you
And hope it will come true
That life would just be kind
To such a gentle mind
If you lose your way
Think back on yesterday
Remember me this way

*************************

When Will I See You Again?

Sung by The Three Degrees, this 70s song might be a little too upbeat for some people’s tastes. Most of the lyrics express the singer’s dismay over her loss and she wonders when they will be reunited. Except for one line that says, “Are we in love or just friends?” the lyrics should be appropriate for most funerals.

Significant Lyrics:

And I bless the day I met you
And I thank God that He let you
Lay beside me for a moment that lives on
And the good news is I’m better
For the time we spent together
And the bad news is you’re gone
The bad news is you’re gone

*************************

Wind Beneath My Wings

Anyone who has ever seen the movie Beaches can understand why this is a favorite song for funerals. The song encompasses the theme of the movie–enduring friendship, love and support. It is the most commonly played song at funerals. Midler also sang this song on Johnny Carson’s last show. While Bette Midler’s version is the most popular, a number of other artists have recorded their own versions of it.

Significant Lyrics:

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
for you are the wind beneath my wings.

*************************


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>