Have you lost a loved one who grew up in the 50s? If you’ve been looking for funeral songs from the 50s, we’ve put together a collection that could be right for you. Hopefully, they’ll give you some inspiration or spark a memory of listening to your loved one’s favourite albums.
1950s funeral songs
Always – Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald’s cover of Always is a gentle but uplifting jazz ballad that’s a fitting tribute to a spouse or partner who’s passed away. It’s an excellent choice of funeral song for someone who has fond memories of growing up, falling in love or starting a family in the 50s.
“I’ll be loving you always
With a love that’s true always
When the things you’ve planned
Need a helping hand
I will understand always
Sleepwalk – Santo and Johnny
Santo and Johnny Farina, two brothers from New York, wrote this instrumental surf-rock track at 2am one morning after getting home from a show. Its steel guitar and gentle bass line might not be the obvious choice for a funeral song from the 50s. But it’s an excellent choice for its sentiment. It’s about the foggy state you’re left in after losing a lover. The duo originally wrote lyrics for the song but decided not to include them. Other artists who have since covered the track have gone on to use the original lyrics which you can read below.
“Instead of dreaming
Cause I lost you
And now what am I to do
What to do.”
Cry – Johnnie Ray & the Four Lads
Although it’s a letter to a lover this track could be a funeral song for a partner, friend or family member with treasured memories from the early 50s. It’s also a reminder for those attending the funeral that it’s okay to cry when you’ve lost a loved one (“It’s no secret you’ll feel better if you cry”).
“If your heartaches seem to hang around too long.
And your blues keep getting bluer with each song.
Well now, remember sunshine can be found behind a cloudy sky.”
(There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me) – Elvis Presley
Originally written by Thomas A. Dorsey, this classic gospel track popularised by Elvis Presley in the late 50s can bring some comfort to people mourning the loss of a loved one. One of many old funeral songs that are a good choice for a religious funeral service, Peace In The Valley will remind mourners that their loved one is at rest now.
“There will be peace in the valley for me, some day
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
Oh my Lord, no trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me, for me.”
All I Have to Do Is Dream – The Everly Brothers
A touching ballad released in 1958, this track may be about unrequited love or being miles apart from a partner, but it’s one of our favourite 1950s funeral songs because it’s such a nostalgic track for many who grew up in the 50s and 60s.
“When I feel blue in the night
And I need you to hold me tight
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Alone and Forsaken – Hank Williams
Perhaps the saddest of our 1950s funeral songs, this country track by Hank Williams wasn’t actually released until after his death. The recording was taken from one of his performances on a radio station in the late 40s and features simple, sparse guitar and vocals about memories of a love that once was but is now gone.
“We met in the springtime when blossoms unfold
The pastures were green and the meadows were gold
Our love was in flower as summer grew on
Her love like the leaves now has withered and gone.”
Still having trouble finding the right songs to play at a funeral? Take a look at the following guides for some more help and inspiration: