Funerals are an opportunity for us to gather and share memories about a loved one who has passed away. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to sum up how we feel about a person in words. This is where a song can be helpful.
We can explain why a song meant so much to the deceased. Or why the song was significant to our relationship with them. If you’re planning a memorial service for your dad, here are some examples of funeral songs that might resonate with you.
Best Funeral Songs from a Son to Dad
Dads and sons have a special bond. If you’re picking out funeral songs for dad, have a look at a few examples.
1. “Dance with My Father” from Luther Vandross
Luther Vandross passed away two years after recording this deeply personal track about his late father, lending it extra poignancy.
2. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day
Green Day burst onto the scene with brash and bratty pop-punk anthems. This ballad about the loss of frontman Billie Armstrong’s father is painful and poignant.
3. “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith
Will Smith made a name for himself with brash and humorous rap tracks. This sensitive single showed that the Fresh Prince had matured into a true king.
4. “He Didn’t Have To Be” by Brad Paisley
Stepdads often come into a young person’s life and become father figures. This song pays tribute to those men.
5. “You Will Always Be My Son” by Anthem Lights
The candid lyrics, simple acoustics, and gorgeous harmonies lend this Christian pop song a bittersweet resonance.
6. “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens
This melancholy folk tune about how hard it can be to break away on your own has been covered over a dozen times thanks to its universal message.
7. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Gerald Levert and Eddie Levert
Most people are familiar with Bette Midler’s version of this song. This R&B version by the father-son soul duo centers on their relationship.
8. “A Song for Dad” from Keith Urban
The country singer celebrates how much his father did for his family and expresses his hope to emulate him.
9. “Forever Young” from Bob Dylan
The folk singer broke form with this clear and simple tune about his hopes and dreams for his son.
10. “Love Without End, Amen” from George Strait
This classic country song is about the unconditional and never-ending love between father and son.
11. Homesick by Mercy Me (2004)
MercyMe unpacks the trite and almost meaningless phrase that people say about someone you love being “in a better place.” For those who are in Christ, if they have died then they truly are in a better place, and we will be reunited again someday. But until that day comes, we are “homesick.” Homesick for dad, for those who have gone on before us, for heaven, and to be face to face with the Lord.
12. I’m Already There by Lonestar (2001)
I’m Already There tells a tale of a man on the road, away from his family but missing them dearly as he says how much he loves them. It’s a poignant song that has been used in many settings of absence and tragedy, often associated with the 9/11 attacks, soldiers on deployment, and, increasingly, at funerals.
13. Long As I Can See the Light by Credence Clearwater Revival (1970)
A great 70s song to raise a candle to your dad’s memory and commemorate his journey homeward.
14. Thank You For Being My Dad by Jon Barker (2010)
Jon Barker’s underrated and relatively unknown gem of a song puts words to the things that are rarely said by sons to their fathers. It’s a simple “thank you for being my dad,” but the simple things are sometimes the most powerful. If you choose this as your father’s funeral song, there won’t be a dry eye in the place.
15. Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole
“Unforgettable” is a popular song written by Irving Gordon. The song’s original working title was “Uncomparable”; however, the music publishing company asked Gordon to change it to “Unforgettable”. The song was published in 1951.
Best Funeral Songs For Dad from a Daughter
A daughter who has a strong relationship with her father is more likely to grow up strong and confident. These songs honor that special relationship.
16. “Unforgettable” from Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole
Forty years after the crooner recorded this track, his daughter used technology to perform this duet. The rendition shows that love lingers even after death.
17. “Winter” by Tori Amos
This hauntingly beautiful piano ballad depicts a father-daughter relationship throughout the years. It captures the messages of childhood.
18. “My Girl” by The Temptations
While this soul hit is technically a love song, it’s become a treasured tune for fathers and daughters over the last 55 years.
19. “Your Joy” from Chrisette Michele
This artist’s aching voice is so well-served by the outstanding production, it takes the lilting melody and makes it soar.
20. “Right By You (For Luna)” from John Legend
Legend dedicated this jazzy tune to his daughter. He assures her with the comforting message that he will always be there no matter what.
21. “Daddy Lessons” by Beyonce and The Dixie Chicks
Old-school country and gospel combine in this unexpected collaboration. The result delivers a message that dads help their daughters grow into strong women.
22. “Cecilia and the Satellite” by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
McMahon, a seasoned lyricist, crafted this uplifting, uptempo pop gem for his daughter.
23. “Father and Daughter” from Paul Simon
Sometimes, good things come from strange places. This mellow, mid-tempo tune features harmonies from one of Simon’s children. He wrote it for the soundtrack to “The Wild Thornberrys Movie”.
24. “You Can Let Go Now Daddy” from Crystal Shawanda
This moving ballad concerns when parents and children need to let each other go. In life as well as death.
25. “Hero” from Mariah Carey
This ballad isn’t explicitly about father-daughter relationships. But the soaring vocals and emotional lyrics make it a perfect fit for the occasion.
26. Bye Bye by Mariah Carey (2008)
The opening line to Mariah Carey’s 2008 hit dedicates the song to anyone who has lost someone dear to them. A steady rhythm underscores the gentle, contemplative lyrics that express the pain of losing a loved one and the confidence that they are now at peace.
Best Country Songs for Dad’s Funeral
More so than almost any other genre, country music is all about raw, unvarnished emotion. There is an unparalleled catharsis you can experience listening to country music.
27. “I’m Already There” by Lonestar
This powerful ballad is about a dad telling his kids that even when he’s gone, he’s with them in spirit. It’s even more meaningful in the context of a funeral.
28. “The Dance” from Garth Brooks
This iconic country tune is all about how the joy of loving someone is well-worth the pain of losing them.
29. “Broken Halos” from Chris Stapleton
In this poignant track, the artist celebrates the angels on Earth who help us through difficult times. He reminds us that there’s a bigger plan to which we’re not meant to know the answers.
30. “Live Like You Were Dying” from Tim McGraw
This song urges you to do the things you’ve always wanted to but are held back from doing. Mourners listening may feel implored as a way to honor those who can no longer do the same.
31. “Go Rest High on that Mountain” from Vince Gill
Vince Gill wrote this song about the untimely deaths of his friend and brother. It has since resonated with country fans and become a staple at funerals.
32. What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (1967)
Louis Armstrong’s deep gravel tones crooning about the joys of flowers and blue skies and growing babies make this recording of What a Wonderful World one of the most popular funeral songs of all time.
It’s an ideal memorial song for anyone, but especially dads. This is because fathers are often the ones that inspire their children to appreciate the beauty of the world. And further, if you find your life was better for knowing your dad, you can appreciate that this world truly is a wonderful place for having him in it.
33. You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell (2016)
This song acknowledges that life is still beautiful, life can still be enjoyed, but it’s simply different when your dad is not there. With all your heart you feel like there is something wrong with a world in which those you love can die and leave you behind. You should be here.
Best Rock Songs for Dad’s Funeral
On the surface, rock music as a genre might not seem like the place to find the best songs about death for a funeral. But rock music can be just as expressive and emotional as any other genre.
34. “Tears in Heaven” from Eric Clapton
Clapton composed this soft rock ballad to process the grief of losing his young son. It is mournful and understated.
35. “Wish You Were Here” from Pink Floyd
While this is part of a longer concept album, this spacey experimental rock song stands on its own.
36. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” from Guns N’ Roses
Bob Dylan wrote this song for a film in ’73. This undeniable rock cover is more widely known.
37. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” from Green Day
Despite the title, this punk rock ballad about a bittersweet parting of ways is well-suited for a funeral.
38. “Spirit in the Sky” from Norman Greenbaum
This is a rollicking, joyful tune about a man looking forward to meeting the spirit in the sky when he dies. It’s one of the most requested songs at funeral homes.
39. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (1971)
The classic rock song is also a great funeral song for your dad.