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Looking for a funeral song from the 60s that’ll have a lasting impact? We’ve put together a list of songs from the 60s that range from touching folk tales to the soulful and uplifting. Hopefully, you find a song that reflects your loved one’s personality or reminds you of a special time you had together.

1960s funeral songs

Stand By Me – Ben E. King 


A song can quickly change the mood of a room. So if you’re looking for an uplifting funeral song from the 60s this soul classic might be just the thing. With its instantly recognisable bass pattern and catchy melody, Stand By Me is an excellent song choice when you want to bring a sense of hope to the funeral service you’re planning. 

“When the night has come  And the land is dark  And the moon is the only light we'll see  No, I won't be afraid   No, I won't be afraid  Just as long as you stand  Stand by me.”

Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds 


Did you know that the majority of the lyrics from this song are taken from the Bible? They’re taken from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Even though they’ve been re-arranged slightly they still reflect on the fact that there’s a time and place for all opposites – life and death, joy and sadness. So when you’re sad that a loved one has passed away but happy that they’re now at peace, this song by The Byrds might have a place at their funeral service.  =

“A time to be born, a time to die  A time to plant, a time to reap  A time to kill, a time to heal  A time to laugh, a time to weep.” 

Yesterday – The Beatles 


Even though this song is about lost love, it also talks about yearning for the past, and how things can change so quickly. It’s a retreat into the comfort of “yesterday” and perhaps, as such a well-loved song, a comfort to those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. 

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away  Now it looks as though they're here to stay  Oh, I believe in yesterday  Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be  There's a shadow hanging over me  Oh, yesterday came suddenly.” 

Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell 


When Mitchell first released this song in the late 60s, it didn’t even chart. But the orchestral version she recorded later in life revived it and it has since become one of her most recognisable songs. It can be interpreted in several ways, but it talks about seeing things from another perspective. And with that new perspective you get to see the good and bad in life. It’s an excellent funeral song choice for a Joni Mitchell fan or for someone who loved the folk music of the 60s.  

“I’ve looked at life from both sides now  From win and lose and still somehow  It’s life’s illusions I recall  I really don’t know life at all.” 

Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum 


This is one of the most popular funeral songs from the 60s and is often played as an exit song. It’s a joyful rock track that will remind you that your loved one is now at peace. And it’s the perfect opportunity to change the mood of the service and help family and friends leave the funeral with fond memories of the person who’s passed away. 

“When I die and they lay me to rest  Gonna go to the place that's the best  When I lay me down to die  Goin' up to the spirit in the sky.” 

Who Knows Where The Time Goes – Sandy Denny 


Denny’s folk song is an excellent way of remembering a loved one who enjoyed this genre. It’s a contemplation on life and the passing of time. The narrator questions, how do the birds know it’s time to go? But it’s hopeful too. The narrator knows that she won’t be alone and, in the end, has no fear of time.  

“Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving  But how can they know it's time for them to go?  Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming  I have no thought of time  For who knows where the time goes?  Who knows where the time goes?” 

Other songs to play at a funeral 

Still not found the right funeral song for a loved one? You can find more helpful resources in our collection of funeral poems, readings and music.

Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash.