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Are you planning a send-off for a rock fan? Here’s our pick of the best rock songs for funerals.

The list is split into genres to help you find the right song for the person who has died. Read on to see suggestions for everything from punk rock to heavy metal.

70s rock funeral songs

The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

This song starts with a slow, mournful choir section and then just builds and builds. With its uplifting gospel sound, it would be a good choice if you want to change the mood at the end of the funeral.

Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper

‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ has to be one of the best classic rock funeral songs. It pairs chiming guitars with lyrics about facing up to death with courage.

Jethro Tull – Life Is a Long Song

Here’s a lesser-known track with a poignant message. ‘Life’s a long song’, sings Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, ‘but the tune ends too soon for us all’.


80s rock funeral songs

U2 – With or Without You

The band says they wrote this song about a failing relationship, but it perfectly captures the pain we feel after losing someone. In a 2006 poll, ‘With or Without You’ was named the UK’s 7th most popular funeral song (The Mirror).


Queen – Who Wants to Live Forever?

‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ is a heartfelt rock ballad about love and loss. When Freddie Mercury’s operatic chorus kicks in, it’s sure to have a strong emotional impact.


Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere

Funeral rock music doesn’t have to be sad. ‘Everywhere’ is a great example of a joyful rock song that’s suitable for a funeral or memorial service. The lyrics are about loving someone very much but finding it hard to put your feelings into words.

Alternative rock funeral songs

Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day

‘Shadow of the Day’ would be a good rock funeral song for a person who died after a long illness. It looks at the complex emotions we feel when we know we have to say goodbye to someone.

Jimmy Eat World – Hear You Me (May Angels Lead You In)

Jimmy Eat World wrote this song as a tribute to 2 fans who died in an accident. ‘If you were with me tonight I’d sing to you just one more time’, they sing, backed by sparkling acoustic guitars.

Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark

This stark and beautiful track is about how love can survive anything – even death.

Heavy metal and hard rock funeral songs

Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan

There aren’t many heavy metal funeral songs, but this Black Sabbath tune fits the bill. It swaps the band’s trademark distorted guitars for a gentle, spacey sound, while frontman Ozzy Osbourne sings about going on a mysterious journey.

Aerosmith – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

A popular funeral rock song, ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ reached number 4 on the UK singles chart. It’s a classic power ballad, with soaring strings and a passionate vocal performance.

Thin Lizzy – Running Back

This uptempo tune sounds happy at first, but when you listen to the words you’ll realise it’s actually quite sad. With its message of lost love, it might make a good tribute to a partner or spouse.

Soft rock funeral songs

Linda Ronstadt – Goodbye My Friend

‘Goodbye My Friend’ is a soft piano ballad with a bittersweet message. While the narrator has had to say goodbye to someone she cares about, she says she’ll take comfort in the love they shared.

Warren Zevon – Keep Me in Your Heart

Warren Zevon wrote and recorded ‘Keep Me in Your Heart’ while dying of a terminal illness. As the last song on his final album, it served as his final farewell to the world.

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

If you’re choosing classic rock funeral songs for dad, ‘Brothers in Arms’ is well worth a listen. It talks about how brotherly bonds can survive almost anything – even the horrors of war.

Punk rock funeral songs

Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Don’t be fooled by the title. ‘Good Riddance’ is a thoughtful and compassionate song about parting ways and moving on. The music is led by acoustic guitars and strings but is delivered with plenty of punk rock energy.

Frank Turner – Long Live the Queen

In ‘Long Live the Queen’, Frank Turner uses gentle humour to celebrate the memory of a friend who died in hospital. It’s the kind of song that could raise a smile, as well as make you cry.

The Jam – English Rose

The Jam is best known for its spiky, fast-paced punk songs. But ‘English Rose’ strips away all the aggression, leaving a poignant ballad about yearning for home and for someone you love.


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Photo by Jeremy Allouche on Unsplash