The 23 Best Rock Songs For Funerals

Losing someone is never easy, and it’s practically impossible to express your grief. Putting your feelings of loss into words can be even harder. So if you’re looking for the best Rock songs for funerals to help you express your emotions and give your loved ones a meaningful final farewell, we’ve put together a list of songs that could help you through this difficult time.

The Rock music genre features a vast collection of songs fitting for funerals, expressing sadness, grief, and appreciation for the memories you have of that special person you’ve lost. Countless Rock bands have been inspired by their own tragic experiences that may resonate with you.

You may also want to say a few words at the funeral, and the moving lyrics of these songs may help inspire you to say something deep and meaningful. So, we’ve put together a list including some of the most iconic rock songs that are appropriate for funerals:

1. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Album: Wish You Were Here

Year Released: 1975

While it’s not a song about death, “Wish You Were Here” is about the heartbreaking fall from the grace of former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett, who left the band in 1968 due to addiction and mental health struggles. It does, however, tell a story of tragedy and loss that could resonate with you. Even though it is considered a direct tribute to Barrett, Roger Waters, who wrote the song, has left it open to interpretation. Both Waters and David Gilmour singled it out as one of the band’s finest songs.

2. Queen – The Show Must Go On

Album: Innuendo

Year Released: 1990

One of Queen’s most iconic songs was performed by vocalist Freddie Mercury in the final stages of his life. At the time of recording, although Mercury’s HIV/AIDS status had not yet been made public, he had physically deteriorated to the point where guitarist Brian May wasn’t sure if he’d be able to hit the vocal ranges required. And Mercury nailed it.

The song is a chronicle of Mercury’s efforts to continue to perform right up until the end of his life and his battle against terminal illness, which would be fitting for many funerals.

3. Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day

Album: Minutes To Midnight

Year Released: 2007

This is a song about Linkin Park’s late lead singer, Chester Bennington’s failed suicide attempt. Bennington would later admit that it was difficult to perform the song live without breaking into tears. The metaphor about a setting sun and the darkness to come is a fitting one for any funeral as is the second verse of the song, describing how his friends were all looking out for him. Especially if you’re celebrating the memory of someone who cut their own life short, “Shadow of the Day” is a beautiful song that captures the uncertainty, lack of closure, and fear over death.

4. Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over

Album: Crowded House

Year Released: 1986

Initially a love song, Crowded House’s 1986 hit is about not giving up when times are tough and negative forces surround you. It’s also about being graceful in adversity on a spiritual level. And it’s about helping loved ones when they’re in need. All of these themes are suitable for funerals, and “Don’t Dream It’s Over” may put everything you want to say into words.

5. Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven

Album: Unplugged

Year Released: 1992

Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” is a song about grief written for the 1991 film Rush. Clapton wrote the song in the aftermath of his 4-year-old son Conor’s death after he fell from the window of a 53rd-floor apartment, as well as the helicopter accident that killed his friend and fellow musician, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

“Tears in Heaven” is a truly heartbreaking song with tear-jerking lyrics, and the unplugged version of Clapton performing the song allows you to see his human side and how his emotions transcend the music. If ever there was a song that symbolizes grief and would be perfect for a funeral, this is certainly it.

Eric Clapton

6. Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out

Album: Heathen Chemistry

Year Released: 2002

When asked about the meaning behind this song, Oasissinger-songwriter Noel Gallagher described it as a song about the relationship between a parent and a child. The lyrics are about loss and reassurance and love – bonds universal amongst parents and their children. The composition turns this song into a real tear-jerker.

7. Pearl Jam – Last Kiss

Album: No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees (charity album)

Year Released: 1999

Pearl Jam’s cover of Wayne Cochran’s 1961 song is supposedly a rendition of a story about two 16-year-olds, Jeanette Clark and J.L. Hancock. A tractor-trailer killed them while on the road in Barnesville, Georgia. However, Cochran actually recorded the song a year before the incident took place. It is a narration that Cochran admitted was about halfway done but was inspired by the sorrow felt after the accident before Cochran released the final product that has become recognizable to all. It has been covered several times, but the Pearl Jam version is memorable due to its simple grunge/alternative element and lead-singer Eddie Vedder’s powerful, low-pitch vocal style.

8. Live – Overcome

Album: V

Year Released: 2001

Released in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Livereleased “Overcome” less than three months later, with lead-singer, Ed Kowalczyk, admitting that it was intended to be released in the band’s album that was released just months earlier, Simple Creed. Kowalczyk had a feeling that it wouldn’t be right to release “Overcome” as a single on the earlier album and the 9/11 attacks that it ended up telling a story about validated that feeling. It is a song about overwhelming tragedy, hopelessness, and loss, making it a heartbreaking, meaningful song that would be suitable for a funeral.

9. The Fray – Vienna

Album: How To Save A Life

Year Released: 2005

Vienna is a song about depression and despair, about loss and saying goodbye to someone you’re losing or the people you’re leaving behind. It’s about unorthodox choices and rebelliousness and the tragedy of life itself. It’s about someone going somewhere that you can’t follow – the themes in this underrated track from The Fray make it suitable for funerals and can help you get some closure from the hard part of saying goodbye.

10. Aerosmith – I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing

Album: Armageddon: The Album

Year Released: 1998

Released as part of the soundtrack for the 1998 natural disaster film, Armageddon, Aerosmiths“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” is a ballad about the deep emotional bond that the singer shares with their loved one; it’s a final farewell from the person who has passed away, expressing their desire to keep the love and happiness going forever. This is a common thread for all of us who’ve lost loved ones, and it embodies all of the emotions we feel when faced with saying goodbye to someone, as we do at funerals, making it a great song to be playing at such an occasion.

11 Queen – I Want To Break Free

Album: The Works

Year Released: 1984

This Queen song, written by John Deacon, is about wanting to leave a bad place, which may be appropriate if the person you’ve lost was battling some kind of illness. It’s about finding happiness beyond the challenges faced; it’s about liberation. We cannot escape death, and the song puts a more positive spin on what comes after we take our last breaths, making it a “happy” funeral song that may lighten the mood and make people feel better about their loss.

12. R.E.M – Everybody Hurts

Album: Wish You Were Here

Year Released: 1975

R.E.M.’s“Everybody Hurts” is also a song more about tough times than death: it’s about the obstacles in life and how it’s okay to be sad or depressed and that you’ll eventually move on from this recent tragedy. Especially if you’ve lost a loved one to suicide or another mental health issue, this would be the perfect song for a funeral to express some of the tough times. It’s about struggling to hold on and how it’s okay if you eventually give in.


13. Johnny Cash – Hurt

Album: American IV: The Man Comes Around

Year Released: 2003

As a drug addict nearing the end of his life, Johnny Cash wrote this song to express his regrets in his life, particularly regarding his family. It is a tremendously sad song but says a lot about life’s deeper insights and the consequences of losing oneself. Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death, this could be a great song for their funeral to give credence to and reconcile the less endearing parts of the legacy someone leaves behind.

14. Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

Album: Various Positions

Year Released: 1984

When Leonard Cohen released “Hallelujah” in 1984, he was at a low point in his career. The powerful words in the song certainly contain a religious theme with several references to God and the bible. His song actually rose to prominence after Rufus Wainright’s rendition was used in the soundtrack for the 2001 film Shrek. Since then, it has been covered by countless artists due to its powerful message about loss and depression. From the euphoric beginnings of love to its bitter end. Countless artists have covered it, and it tells the perfect story that may reflect the relationship you had with the person you lost.

15. Lostprophets – 4 AM Forever

Album: Liberation Transmission

Year Released: 2006

Another depressing song about someone who lost a friend or a lover, Lostprophets’ “4 AM Forever”, tells the story of being in denial about a loss and speaking to the person that’s left you behind. It’s about insomnia, post-traumatic stress. It’s about how it may feel like the world has come to an end when you suffer devastating loss, but you have to face reality and move on, which is appropriate for a funeral.

16. James Blunt – Goodbye My Lover

Album: Back To Bedlam

Year Released: 2005

James Blunt’s “Goodbye My Lover” is a piano-laden song that tells the story of two lovers on their journey through life and the end of their journey. It could also be interpreted as a breakup song. Still, the story about regret, unfiltered love, loss, and happy memories is apt for a funeral, especially if the person you lost was your significant other.

17. Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Album: Nimrod

Year Released: 1997

Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” is a story about moving forward, being faced with tough decisions, and letting go. It’s about the inevitability of time passing you by, uncertainty about what the future holds. It’s about holding onto precious memories and reflecting on whether everything was worth it or if you live with any regrets. It can be interpreted to be about almost any significant, life-changing event. But what’s more life-changing than losing a loved one? Because of the symbolism in the lyrics and your need to find closure and move on, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” is the perfect funeral song, particularly because it doesn’t necessarily have sad or depressing undertones.

18. Guns N’ Roses – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Album: Days of Thunder (Soundtrack)

Year Released: 1990

Guns N’ Roses’ rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is the ultimate send-off for your loved one, particularly if it’s your mother or son. The song is about a man’s reflections on what he’s done in life, the burden he carries, and how he cannot take it anymore and wants to be buried with his guns and his deputy’s badge. He feels unsafe without his gun and badge. He’s worried about how his mother took it away from him. The lyrics and instrumentals create a somber tone that is somehow still positive, with an optimistic view of the afterlife, making it one of the best Rock songs for funerals.

Guns & Roses

19. Badflower – Ghost

Album: ​​OK, I’m Sick

Year Released: 2019

Ghost is a song that Badflower singer/guitarist wrote when going through a state of depression. It’s a song about a lost lover, as well as a coming of age that people go through in their 30s. If the one you’ve lost represents that kind of love and who facilitated any kind of growth in your life, this song is perfect for playing at their funeral.

20. Nothing But Thieves – Lover, Please Stay

Album: Nothing But Thieves

Year Released: 2015

Nothing But Thieveschart-topping self-titled album contains one of the greatest mellow, acoustic songs about losing a lover. The song is a story about the pain that the singer’s significant other is going through and his pleas for that person to stay. It’s about struggling to find closure and truly tugs at the heartstrings when lead singer, Conor Mason, hits falsettos at the song’s crescendo. But be careful; it may lead you to cry uncontrollably. Nonetheless, it is a fitting song for a funeral

21. Jimmy Eat World – Hear You Me

Album: Bleed American/Jimmy Eat World

Year Released: 2001

This Jimmy Eat World song was released in the wake of the 9/11 attacks is also about death and tragedy. It’s about life after death and angels leading souls into heaven. It’s about the strength that the person that the singer lost had given them through the lessons learned from them. It’s clear that the album that the song was released on, Bleed American, had been given an extra element, having been re-released in the wake of the tragedy that hit New York and Washington as a new album, Jimmy Eat World. The song’s themes and sad-but-uplifting tone make. It is a great choice to play at a funeral.

22. Cat Stevens – Father and Son

Album: Tea For The Tillerman

Year Released: 1970

This song features the heartbreaking exchange between a father and a son and the father’s struggles to let his son break away and start a life of his own. The son responds to his father and says it’s time to take his path. Cat Stevens explained in an interview that the story was about how he struggled to understand his father but said the song also could not be understood without expressing the father’s feelings. If you are looking for a Rock song to play at your father’s funeral, this one speaks very closely to anyone that listens to it, regardless of what your relationship with your father may have been.

23. Elton John – Candle In The Wind

Album: Tea For The Tillerman

Year Released: 1970

Elton John wrote this song to commemorate Marilyn Monroe, with lyrics chronicling her short, intense life. The song’s title was also inspired by a phrase used to describe Janis Joplin at her funeral. If you’ve lost a loved one whose time on this earth was cut far too short, “Candle In The Wind” may be able to express the words that are escaping you – put poetically by one of the most inspiring Rock artists of all time.

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