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Music Heals: 20 Songs to Play at the Service

June 15th, 2023

Since music has the power to evoke a variety of emotions, the songs you choose play an instrumental role in setting the tone for every stage of a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life. Think about the music you want to play as friends and family enter a chapel, what songs best accompany a montage of happy photos and even a musical interlude for mourners as they depart for the gravesite.

Here are 25 songs, by genre, to consider when planning a service to honor a departed loved one:

Timeless Classics

Go back in time and reminisce about the good times. Everyone will be filled with memories and nostalgia when they hear the songs they’ve always loved.

  1. We’ll Meet Again (Vera Lynn)
  2. Always (Ella Fitzgerald)
  3. Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)
  4. Candle In the Wind (Elton John)
  5. Unforgettable (Nat King Cole)


The loss of a loved one is painful, but it can also be a time of celebration in remembrance of a life well lived. These songs will remind friends and family to rejoice since their loved one is happily at home in their final resting place.

  1. (I’ve Had) the Time of My Life (Jennifer Warnes, Bill Medly)
  2. What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
  3. You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder)
  4. Don’t Worry Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin
  5. Stand by Me (Ben E. King)


Sometimes the best way to process your emotions are to feel them fully. These songs may evoke emotions that can help those left behind truly mourn their departed loved one.

  1. Hero (Mariah Carey)
  2. My Heart Will Go One (Celine Dion)
  3. You Raise Me Up (Selah)
  4. Angel (Sarah McLachlan)
  5. I Hope You Dance (Lee Ann Womack)


Contemporary songs can resonate with a wide variety of people and generations. Choose a song that reflects your departed loved one’s musical taste and style, and let their memory fill the room.

  1. See You Again (Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth)
  2. If I Die Young (The Band Perry)
  3. Halo (Beyonce)
  4. Time to Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli)
  5. I’ll Be Missing You (Puff Daddy, Faith Evans)


For people of faith, a religious service is paramount. Here are a few suggestions for songs that pay tribute to a belief in a higher power.

  1. Amazing Grace (performed by numerous artists)
  2. I Can Only Imagine (MercyMe)
  3. I Will Rise (Chris Tomlin)
  4. Messiah/You’re Beautiful (Phil Wickham)
  5. Three Wooden Crosses (Randy Travis)

As the saying goes, music soothes the soul. Let the power of song heal, inspire and even entertain in the midst of grief. Your loved one will smile down and maybe, just maybe, even dance along wherever they may be.