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2021's most popular funeral songs revealed

4th April 2022

2 min read

'Abide With Me' is the song most likely to be played at a funeral, according to SunLife's Cost of Dying report, but the song most chosen by survey respondents for their own funeral was Eric Idle's 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'.

Top 10 songs played at funerals in 2021

  1. Abide With Me – Various
  2. My Way – Frank Sinatra
  3. Time to Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
  4. Amazing Grace – Various
  5. All Things Bright and Beautiful – Various
  6. You'll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & the Pacemakers
  7. Jerusalem – Various
  8. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle
  9. The Lord is my Shepherd – Eva Cassidy
  10. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler

Top 10 songs we want for our own funeral

  1. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle
  2. You'll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & the Pacemakers
  3. Abide With Me – Various
  4. Amazing Grace – Various
  5. Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
  6. The Lark Ascending – Vaughan Williams
  7. Angels – Robbie Williams
  8. Wonderwall – Oasis
  9. Time to Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
  10. Don't Look Back in Anger – Oasis

The report found that only a quarter of people knew their loved one's preference for music and readings. This could be one of the reasons for the difference between the songs played and the songs we want.

Personal tastes continue to change too, with fewer people wanting a 'traditional' or religious funeral, and more people opting for a service that reflects the personality of the deceased.

With COVID-19 restrictions changing the way funerals were held in 2021, 47% of funerals had no singing.

Mark Screeton, CEO at SunLife said: “Our report shows that most people don't make their funeral music choices known. But, when we asked people directly, the majority did have a preference on what their choice would be – and overwhelmingly that preference is songs over hymns.

“In order to guarantee the song choice you want, it's best to communicate with loved ones how you would best like to be sent off – whether that's something more traditional, upbeat, or unexpected.”

Find the perfect song for your send-off – and tell someone!

To help people find their perfect send-off song, SunLife has created the Funeral Song Generator. It asks questions about preferred music, colours, flowers, and how they'd like to be remembered – working out the perfect 'song to go out to'.

Mark concludes: “We created the Funeral Song Generator to encourage people to have the conversation and find their perfect send-off music, and hopefully remove some of the awkwardness around talking about funerals. Once the generator has found your perfect song, you can then share the results on social media, which will hopefully encourage friends and family to find their perfect send-off song too.”

For further funeral song inspiration, take a look at our guide to the best funeral songs to go out to.

To read the full SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2022, visit

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