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8 Songs That Must Be on Your Personal Memorial Playlist

Author: Julian Parsons/Tuesday, April 16, 2024/Categories: Feature Writer Julian Parsons

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Close-up of a music sheet with notes and cherry blossom petals, symbolizing songs for a personal memorial playlist.
8 Songs That Must Be on Your Personal Memorial Playlist

In life's grand finale, the soundtrack matters. As we consider the legacy we leave behind, music plays a pivotal role in how we are remembered and celebrated. An end-of-life professional notes, "Music weaves through the tapestry of our lives, and in our final moments, it serves not just as a reflection of our journey, but as a beacon of hope, memory, and legacy for those we leave behind."

Surveys suggest that over 30% of people have thought about the music they would like played at their memorial, indicating a deep connection between our life's experiences and our musical choices.

Here are eight songs that should find a place in your memorial soundtrack, each offering a unique tone and message.

1. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" – Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" captures a sense of hopeful transcendence. Its gentle ukulele chords and soothing vocals provide a comforting embrace to those mourning.

This song's universal appeal lies in its message of peace and the hopeful journey to a place free of trouble, resonating with anyone who dreams of a serene afterlife. It's a reminder of the beauty that exists beyond life's challenges, making it a perfect opening to any memorial playlist.

2. "Hallelujah" – Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah" is a complex tapestry of despair, beauty, love, and loss. Its solemn tone and spiritual underpinnings make it a powerful tribute to the human experience.

While the song has been covered by many, Cohen's original version has a raw, unfiltered quality that speaks to the soul’s journey through hardship and towards redemption. Including this song in your playlist can serve as a profound commentary on the complexity of life and the peace that comes with its conclusion.

3. "Beautiful Day" – U2

"Beautiful Day" is not just a song about enjoying a good day; it's a powerful anthem about overcoming obstacles and appreciating every moment of life. Its uplifting melody and inspiring lyrics make it a perfect song to reflect a spirit of hope and renewal.

Including this song in a memorial playlist can inspire attendees to reflect on the positive impacts of the departed, celebrating their ability to turn challenges into opportunities for growth and happiness. It serves as a reminder that every day is a gift and encourages us to live fully and with gratitude.

4. "Tears in Heaven" – Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton’s touching ballad, written about the loss of his son, speaks to the heart-wrenching pain of saying goodbye to loved ones. Its gentle melody and tender lyrics provide solace to those left behind.

This song is particularly suited for a memorial playlist as it expresses the universal hope of reuniting with loved ones in the afterlife, providing comfort during moments of profound grief.

5. "See You Again" – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

Originally penned for the soundtrack of "Furious 7" as a tribute to the late Paul Walker, "See You Again" has become a modern anthem for farewell. Its themes of friendship and the promise of reunion make it a poignant addition to any memorial playlist.

Its contemporary sound blended with touching lyrics helps bridge generations, making it an ideal choice for a memorial that aims to resonate with both younger and older attendees.

6. "Supermarket Flowers" – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran's "Supermarket Flowers" is a raw and honest ode to his late grandmother. It captures the mundane yet deeply emotional tasks of dealing with a loved one’s passing, such as clearing out their room.

The song's intimate perspective on loss and remembrance offers a comforting message to those grieving, making it a fitting choice for personal reflection during a memorial service.

7. "In My Life" – The Beatles

The Beatles' "In My Life" is a reflective, melancholy ballad that celebrates cherished memories and the people who have come and gone. Its lyrical appreciation for life's fleeting moments makes it a timeless choice for any memorial playlist.

The song provides a moment of collective reminiscence for all in attendance, celebrating the shared experiences that define a life.

8. "Angel" – Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" is a soothing piece that offers a sense of calm and reassurance. Often associated with farewells, its ethereal sound and heartfelt lyrics provide a sense of release and the hope of finding peace.

This song's comforting melody and compassionate lyrics make it a gentle concluding piece to a memorial playlist, leaving attendees with a sense of peace and closure.

Final Thoughts

Crafting your memorial playlist is a deeply personal endeavour, one that allows you to express your life story through music. Each song chosen becomes a chapter in your biography, telling your story, your struggles, your victories, and your journey. 

These eight songs, with their rich emotional landscapes and profound messages, can help encapsulate the essence of a life well-lived, ensuring your memory is celebrated in the way you wish.

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