Some of the most popular songs for funerals include Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.” The range of emotions in these songs, from sad and sentimental to humorous and uplifting, has made them enduring funeral choices.
“My Way” was an iconic staple for Frank Sinatra during the later portion of his career, and the song remains one of the most-played songs at funerals. Told from the perspective of an old man looking back on his life, “My Way” reflects on the narrator’s accomplishments and looks forward to what the end of life brings.
Originally performed during a crucifixion scene at the end of Monty Python’s film “Life of Brian,” “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” has become one of the most-played funeral songs, eclipsing Sinatra’s “My Way” in popularity, according to a 2014 survey of funeral directors. The song’s humorous lyrics make for a wry yet uplifting funeral anthem.
Rooted in tragedy, Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” exists on the darker end of the musical spectrum. Written for his departed son, who fell from a New York City high-rise in 1991, Clapton’s sensitive ballad muses upon meeting his child in heaven. “Tears in Heaven” is a somber song that is a popular choice for more serious funeral services.
Other popular pop songs for funerals with similar messages include "Time to Say Goodbye" by Sarah Brightman and "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler.