Creating a slideshow video for a loved one who's passed away is a wonderful way to honor their legacy and share their beautiful memories with attendees. In fact, showing a photo slideshow at a funeral, wake, memorial and celebration of life has become quite popular over the past few decades. That’s because photographs capture stories and nostalgia almost as perfectly as the memories we keep in our minds and hearts. Each photo is like its own little time machine. However, there is another artistic medium that also captures emotions very well: music.
Think of all the songs that become the soundtrack to our lives. For instance, you and your spouse’s “song”, or the tracks you and your friends sang along to during a memorable summer road trip. Simply hearing a song can trigger a flood of flashbacks and the nostalgic emotions they carry.
That’s why if you’re going to create a slideshow video for your loved one, you should include their favorite tunes. Perhaps it’s the song they danced to on their wedding day. Maybe it’s a song that she loved to sing at karaoke nights.
However, if you don’t know what their favorite songs were, no worries! We’re here to help you choose the 15 best songs for a funeral slideshow. They are appropriate for such a sacred event and they convey deep messages of love that your loved one would surely appreciate.
1. One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
This song broke numerous records on the Billboard charts, which tells you that it touched the hearts of many people. It’s no surprise though, since experiencing the loss of a loved one is a universal experience. This song accurately captures the pain and longing we feel when a loved one dies. However, the lyrics are hopeful that we’ll see our departed family and friends again “one sweet day.”
2. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day
Despite the title, this song is actually very tender and loving. In fact, it’s probably one of the most used songs for memorial videos and funeral slideshow videos. It’s a great acoustic track by the legendary rock band that will surely be played as a tribute for loved ones even in the distant future.
3. Candle in the Wind - Elton John
There are two versions of this song. The most well-known today is probably the version in which Sir Elton John changed the original lyrics to “Goodbye, England’s rose” as a moving tribute to the late Princess Diana. Say goodbye to your own princess or prince by using this beautiful song in your slideshow.
4. You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
This track is almost like a modern spiritual. The ultra-talented Josh Groban sings perfectly to convey a positive and radiant message of love. This is a fitting track for a parent’s funeral because it articulates the love they have given us throughout our life. Let their spirit know that you are forever grateful for their sacrifices, tenderness and wisdom.
5. Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
This classic by Bette Midler is one of the most popular songs for funeral slideshows. Not only is it melodic with its beautiful production, but the lyrics convey how much we appreciate a loved one. This is a great song if you’re creating a funeral slideshow for a parent or other elderly family member. Let your departed hero know that they allowed you to soar like an eagle.
6. I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan’s hauntingly beautiful vocals and lyrics articulate how we will never forget our loved ones even after they move on to the next life. This classic song seems tailor-made for a funeral slideshow video.
7. Time to Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
This is quite possibly one of the most famous opera songs due to its modern take. Even those who don’t regularly listen to opera will probably know this song. The iconic Andrea Bocelli teams up with the brilliant Sarah Brightman to deliver one of the most beautiful songs ever produced. The title hints at why it would make a lovely soundtrack for your funeral slideshow, but what’s great about this song is that although it’s a farewell, it radiates triumphantly. It feels more like a send-off for your loved one as they voyage into the Great Unknown.
8. Amazing Grace - Judy Collins
This iconic song is sung throughout the world for various special occasions, especially in America. However, the rendition by Judy Collins is arguably the greatest version ever recorded. This is a triumphant and moving song for a loved one’s funeral slideshow video. It is also appropriate for houses of worship if that’s where the funeral service will take place.
9. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Speaking of spiritual songs, this timeless recording of the famous Hallelujah by the late Jeff Buckley is perfect for funerals. Even if your loved one didn’t follow a Judeo-Christian faith, or was non-religious, this song is universal. There are debates about which rendition of “Hallelujah” was the best: Leonard Cohen's or Jeff Buckley’s? The answer: they’re both amazing.
10. I Will Follow You into the Dark - Death Cab For Cutie
This is a beautiful song by the brilliant band Death Cab For Cutie. While the song was already a hit upon release among those who followed the genre, it gained wider popularity after it was featured in a famous episode the the TV show Scrubs. This song almost speaks to your loved one, telling them to not be afraid of the darkness, that you will always be by their side, even if their physical presence is no more.
11. Angel - Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan makes a second appearance on this list, because she’s such a brilliant songwriter who knows how to convey deep complex emotions. Dedicate this song to your new angel.
12. I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
This is a positive song for a funeral slideshow. Think of it as a last dance with your dearly departed before they move on to the next life.
13. Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
This famous medley has over one billion views on YouTube. That is a testament to the beauty and power of this song by legendary Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. In fact, the music video shows Israel’s own life and times, finally ending with the scattering of his ashes into the ocean by his loving community. It offers a final farewell to your loved one, but on a happy and positive note. In fact, check out the music video below and see the smiles of those who gave “IZ” his amazing send-off.
14. Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
Although the story behind this song is painfully tragic — the death of Clapton’s young son — it has become a source of strength for him and his wife, and for millions of people around the world since its recording. This gorgeous and gentle tune is a fitting soundtrack for your loved one’s funeral slideshow.
15. Wherever You Will Go - The Calling
This was a massive hit during the 2000s and was featured in numerous TV shows, movies and commercials. Its popularity is not only due to its catchiness and simplistically brilliant lyrics, but also because it conveys a universal sentiment.