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A Guide to Creating Your Funeral Playlist

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Music plays two important roles in any funeral. Firstly, memorial songs offer a way to celebrate the life of your loved one, expressing feelings that are hard to put into words.

Secondly, your funeral music breaks up the spoken tributes in your service, giving everyone a moment to pause and think about all the special memories that have been shared.

A lot of the families we work with tell us that choosing their funeral playlist was one of the more enjoyable parts of planning their service; it’s a task that often takes you back to happier times. But, with so many options, it can be difficult to narrow it down to just a few songs.

This guide should help get you inspired. Along with a list of popular song suggestions for your funeral, we’ve included a few simple ways that music can honour your loved one and bring to mind your most treasured memories.

Choose songs that hold a special meaning for your family

Make a list of your family’s most significant memories and occasions – you’re sure to find that many have particular songs attached to them. This is often the best source of funeral music, because it gives the service a really personal touch.

Perhaps your loved one and their partner shared a special song – eg. a love song from when they were first dating or the music they danced to at their wedding? You could also choose a lullaby they sang to their children when they were little or the theme song from their favourite movie.

Sharing these musical memories with close family and friends is often one of the most moving parts of any funeral service.

Ask your funeral director for song suggestions

If you are struggling to get started choosing your funeral songs, don’t worry – our experienced funeral directors can point you in the right direction.

This list includes some of the more popular funeral songs, covering many different eras, tastes and styles:

All I Have to Do is Dream – The Everly Brothers

Angel – Sarah McLachlan

Angels – Robbie Williams

Ave Maria – Sarah Brightman

Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion

Bye Bye Blackbird – Gene Austin

Circle of Life – Elton John

Forever Young – Alphaville

Gloomy Sunday – Billie Holliday

Goodbye My lover – James Blunt

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel) – Billy Joel

Memories – Barbra Streisand

My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

My Way – Frank Sinatra

Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland

Paper Doll – Mills Brothers

Pennies from Heaven – Bing Crosby

Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Stay with Me – Sam Smith

Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

The Prayer – Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion

The Way We Were – Barbra Streisand

Time to say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

Unforgettable – Nat “King” Cole

We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

When You’re Smiling – Louis Armstrong

You’ll be in My Heart – Phil Collins

You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban

Step back in time

What time of life was most significant to your loved one? Using this idea as a guide, you can easily look up what music defined that era, or was most popular at the time. Were they teenagers during 60s Beatlemania or did they love to belt out an 80s power ballad? Including something from the past can be a powerful way for family and friends to remember the happy times they shared with the departed.

This timeline of music might remind you of songs (and memories) you had long forgotten.

Try something traditional

If faith is an important part of your family or community culture, including some traditional hymns, prayers or poems amongst your funeral songs can help mourners find comfort during a difficult time. Singing or speaking familiar words together can often be a very healing experience.

Create a funeral playlist on Spotify

Music streaming services, such as Spotify, offer a handy way to listen to a lot of potential funeral music options, then save them to a playlist as you go. If you don’t already have an account, you can make use of the free or paid subscriptions and download the app to your smartphone or tablet. Your funeral playlist can then be easily played through your mobile device.

NB: It is important to talk with your funeral director or venue staff about your funeral music plans – you’ll need to know ahead of time what format (ie. USB stick, Spotify playlist, CD, etc.) is best for the systems available at the funeral venue. If possible, it is also a good idea to test your funeral music selection ahead of time. This makes sure everything runs as smoothly as possible on the day.

For expert advice and guidance on choosing memorial songs, or any other aspect of planning your service, call Logan Funerals – we’re available any time of the day (or night) on ph: (07) 3341 4111.