18 Best Non-Religious Funeral Songs

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Funerals can be tough. The loss of a loved one always hits hard, and you might not be in a situation where you’re capable of expressing how you really feel. It’s in these situations that music comes through. 

The decision to choose non-religious funeral songs for a playlist could be for a number of reasons. Maybe your loved one was someone who wasn’t religious, or they had some songs that they wanted to be played at their funeral. Maybe there are certain songs that are special to you and your loved one. 

While religious songs and hymns are always a popular choice for funerals and memorial services, they might not be what your loved one wanted. With the passage of time, the customs and beliefs held by people have started to shift towards a more modern mindset. Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see someone choose songs that are personal to them, rather than just doing things traditionally.

When creating a funeral playlist for your loved one, it’s important to keep in mind that the song selections should be in accordance with your loved one’s tastes, rather than just playing the popular ones. If there were any songs that were precious to them or describe them, be sure to include them in your playlist.

But with the vast variety of songs that exist, coming up with a mere 10 or 20 songs can seem like a daunting task. Which songs to include? Which ones would be apt? Well luckily for you, we’ve made a list of the 18 Best Non-Religious Funeral Songs.

1) Smile (Nat King Cole)

Your parents play a major role in shaping who you are as a person. Cole sings about how this influence is carried through by singing about the advice that would be given to your younger selves.

2) Lay Me Down (Sam Smith)

Like most of his other songs, this Sam Smith ballad mourns the death of a loved one, wishing that he too could be laid down with his beloved.

3) In My Life (The Beatles)

A song about introspection, In My Life talks of how everyone leads different lives that ultimately has some meaning. But in the end, it’s the people in our lives who make life truly special.

4) Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole)

There’s a certain magical charm to this song that brings a smile to anyone’s face when they hear it. Perhaps it’s Israel’s singing, perhaps it’s the simple ukelele, or maybe it’s the beautiful lyrics. But what’s certain is that this song will remind you that it’s not all doom and gloom. It never is.

5) Imagine (John Lennon)

A song about an ideal world that knows only love, Imagine is an iconic song that motivates us to be just a little bit kinder every day.

6) Smile (Nat King Cole)

Your parents play a major role in shaping who you are as a person. Cole sings about how this influence is carried through by singing about the advice that would be given to your younger selves.

7) Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Guns N Roses)

Originally written by Bob Dylan, it’s this version with Axl Rose’s ripping voice and Slash’s slick solos that make the list about pondering over the lives we live.

8) Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)

One of the most popular songs of all time, Stairway To Heaven starts off slow and keeps the pace until the guitar solo. From there on, it’s classic rock and roll. Due to its mystical lyrics and shifting tones, it has become a popular choice for upbeat funeral songs.

9) Live Forever (Oasis)

This is a song that reminds us that our loved ones never truly leave us, for they live on through our memories of them.

10) My Way (Frank Sinatra)

Being your own man is the central theme of the song, and that could exactly be the send-off that your dad wanted and deserves.

11) Holes in the Floor of Heaven (Steve Wariner)

Sometimes, the ones who guided us through life might eventually leave us behind. Holes In The Floor Of Heaven is a sort of reassurance that even though they might’ve passed on, your loved ones are watching over you from the beyond.

12) What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

Another classic and uplifting song,  What A Wonderful World never fails to give you the hope that you would require following the death of a loved one. For all its flaws, humanity still has a way of redeeming itself. And that is the wonderful world that Armstrong is singing about. 

13) Yesterday (The Beatles)

One of their most-covered songs, Yesterday is a song about how we’re always longing for times when things were simpler, a time when our loved ones where still in our lives.

14) Remember Me (Miguel)

An upbeat, yet tearful song that is about remembering your loved ones no matter how far away they are. Because despite the distance, they will always be by your side.

15) Candle in the Wind (Elton John)

Perhaps the most well-known funeral song given its context, Candle In the Wind was written in memory of Marilyn Monroe, who had died 11 years prior. It was re-written and released 25 years later following the tragic death of Princess Diana.

16) I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)

A timeless classic, I Will Always Love You is a beautiful song about the eternal nature of love, and how love transcends everything, even death.

17) See You Again (Charlie Puth)

Released as a tribute to the late Paul Walker, See You Again is a song about hope. The hope of seeing each other again despite parting ways right now.

18) Jealous (Josh Daniel)

A perfect example of how a song can be interpreted in a number of ways, this version of Labrinth’s song serves as a tribute to a loving friend.

Funerals can be somber affairs, and it should be noted that creating a playlist and playing it is done in accordance with the deceased’s wishes from when they were alive. For a more comprehensive guide on creating a general playlist, check out the Top 30 Funeral Songs of All Time.