Expressing the loss of a loved one is never easy and can be overwhelming. The rock music genre has a collection of songs befitting grief and funeral somberness, and countless rock bands have composed pieces inspired by grief and loss.
If you are looking for rock songs to grieve, console each other, or give your loved one a meaningful farewell, we’ve listed the 41 best rock funeral songs. We hope they give you comfort during these challenging moments and provide relief that resonates with your grieving soul.
1. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor
A power ballad rock version that became a big hit in the 90s, Sinéad O’Connor pours her heart into this song, gazing into the camera with deep emotions. The song was a Billboard topper for weeks.
2. I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
It was initially composed for the soundtrack of Armageddon. The lyrics are spectacular, rocking the message of never wanting to miss precious moments with loved ones. The song was a massive hit on the Billboard charts and is a good choice for grieving moments.
3. My Immortal – Evanescence
A hard rock ballad, “My Immortal” is the third single from Evanescence’s Fallen album. Although fictional, the ballad offers an emotional and ethereal quality, and the soaring vocals of Amy Lee and the piano orchestra complete the piece into a soothing tune.
4. Watch Over You – Alter Bridge
“Watch Over You” will have you hanging on to the lyrics in comfort. The track is a single from the 2008 Blackbird album. Although it is subdued and slower than the flow of the band’s other songs, it features impressive vocals by Myles Kennedy lulled by an acoustic guitar. The singer questions and worries about the agony that will cloud his loved ones the day he passes on.
5. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
A 1993 single from the album Automatic For The People, the song was written for teenagers. A hard rock single whose lyrics are therapeutic and a reminder that we all feel pain at some point in our lives. It emphasizes the importance of life because we never know when our time is up.
6. Keep Me In Your Heart – Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon penned his heart in this rock tune after learning he had cancer. Devastating as it was, the song was the last track of The Wind album. The album went on to win a Grammy for Best Folk Album. The heart-wrenching album debuted two weeks after his demise.
7. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
The original version was composed by Leonard Cohen, however, Jeff Buckley catapulted this rock song into a huge success and turned it into a commercial hit. It’s hard rock that has a soulful and spiritual tint. The piece generated a lot of fanbase with the new generation courtesy of the Shrek film by Pixar.
8. Katy Song – Red House Painters
Mark Kozelek composed “Katy Song” as a rock ballad. The writer expressed his sentiments in several interviews about how he gets affected every time he listens to the album and the song because the lyrics depicted what he went through and how most people suffer in the wake of loss. He penned a beautiful expression of loss into this ballad.
9. Everything I Own – Bread
One of the good ol’ hard rock ballads, composed in 1973, this song hits hard when you are grieving. It has mistakenly been interpreted to be about unrequited love. The writer and singer explained it was a tribute to his departed father, who passed ten years before he wrote it. He lulls his sentiments with the thought of missing him, singing how he would give everything to see him again.
10. The Funeral – Band of Horses
“The Funeral” was the lead single from the band’s debut album and one of their most recognized songs. The rock tune depicts a man who drinks to dull his pain because he lost his dog. Quite a tear-jerker it is. It’s the kind of music that makes you reel with emotions if you ever lost someone you adored.
11. Calling All Angels – Train
A melancholy hard rock tune invokes and calls upon the angels because the world is falling apart. This was a Grammy nominee, and the song has been featured in several television shows, including CSI: NY, One Tree Hill, and Smallville.
12. Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits
Dire Straits composed this rock tune relating to the Falklands War in 1985. The song is about a soldier who gives up his life on the battlefield. Mark Knopfler bears his soul out as he sings of a soldier dying, surrounded by comrades, somberly watching him take his last breath. It’s a hard rock and roll that identifies with our departed soldiers.
13. The Flame – Cheap Trick
A powerful hard rock ballad by Nick Graham and is part of Cheap Trick’s Luxury album, “The Flame” is suitable for funeral sessions, as it reminisces about being always there for loved ones even after they are gone. It symbolizes that passion never dies, even after death hits. This song became a Billboard topper.
14. Stop Crying Your Heart Out – Oasis
Oasis produced this tear-jerker tune about grieving the demise of a loved one. The song is about acceptance of loss and the need to stop over-grieving and embrace hope because life moves on. It symbolizes the strength and will to move on in life despite the loss, believing that we will reunite someday. The song topped the Billboard charts.
15. Shadow of the Day – Linkin Park
“Shadow Of The Day” is from Linkin Park’s Minutes To Midnight album. The lyrics relate to the agony of letting a loved one go and how it weighs heavy on the mind but acknowledges that letting go is embracing acceptance and being well.
16. Nothing Else Matters – Metallica
Metallica released this hard rock song in 1992 as the third single of their self-titled album. The song peaked on the Billboard Rock chart for weeks. It was also featured as a playable track in Guitar Hero: Metallica.
“Nothing Else Matters” is a touchy-feeling ballad that one of the band members, James Hetfield, wrote about missing his girlfriend while on tour. The killer hooks weaved into a beautiful melody accompanied by acoustic guitars and became a hard rock banger.
17. So Far Away – Avenged Sevenfold
The song “So Far Away” by Avenged Sevenfold was the third single from their fifth album, Nightmare. Produced in 2011, it’s a heavy metal rock tribute to the band’s drummer, Jimmy Sullivan, who passed away in 2009.
18. Candle in the Wind – Elton John
This single is from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. “Candle in the Wind” was a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, and the title was inspired by Janis Joplin. The song was also used as a tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, performed by Elton John.
19. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
Bette Midler’s classic rendition, produced in 1988, is one of the most emotional ballads. It’s a suitable piece for grieving moments. The song won a Grammy for the film Beaches. The lyrics express vulnerability and emotions experienced during difficult times and when connecting with loved ones through offering or receiving support.
20. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
“Tears In Heaven” is a sad song composed in 1991 for Eric Clapton’s album, Unplugged. He wrote it in memory of his little son, Conner, who plunged out of a building to death. The lyrics are heartbreaking but so powerful that it won three Grammys and became Clapton’s best-selling single. It was also featured in the Rush film soundtrack.
21. Fields of Gold – Sting
Sting composed this rock piece on his Ten Summoner’s Tales album. The inspiration for the song was the golden fields with plants swaying back and forth as the sun radiated. The lyrics narrate the life of a couple who fall in love, where one spouse passes and the other is left reminiscing and cherishing the changing seasons of life.
22. Mama, I’m Coming Home – Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne is known for composing heavy metal rock music. “Mama, I’m Coming Home” was a solo track that landed on the Billboard Top 40. The lyrics narrate a tumultuous relationship as he battles with his life choices. Eventually, he sings about returning home to reunite with his beloved mama.
23. Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks
Canadian singer Terry Jacks, in his lyrics, narrates about a friend who passes on. He reminisces about their happier days and the seasons of life they shared. The song topped the Billboard and is relatable to anyone grieving a departed friend. Westlife also performed a rendition of the song in 1999.
24. Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
This song is from the 1970 Morrison’s album Moondance. Its lyrics question the mystery of death and what happens to departed souls. The “mystic” part implies Heaven or life after death. The singer inspires hope with this classical piece, endearing to anyone who grieves for loved ones.
25. In My Life – The Beatles
The Beatles composed a nostalgic and evocative tune for their classic Rubber Soul album. Dubbed as one of the best songs of all time, the lyrics are based on a real-life experience written by John Lennon.
The song narrates his deep affection and how he felt so beaten down over roller-coaster versions of people in and out of his life. He questions whether he will ever feel real love. It’s a beautiful tune, as is expected from The Beatles.
26. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) – The Byrds
Pete Seeger composed a hit in 1959 with powerful lyrics centered on the Ecclesiastes Bible verse. The lyrics narrate about torn and grieving families who had lost children, fathers, husbands, and sons in the Vietnam War. The song seeks to inspire hope in families and console them that their loved ones died for a cause and are resting well.
27. Funeral for A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding – Elton John
Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has different songs relatable to farewell. In this song, he performs a rendition of the original and describes his relationship with his friend and the kind of music he would like to play at his sendoff. The lyrics and tone are all synthesized in a religious and solemn blend.
28. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin produced this classic rock tune in 1971 that became a masterpiece. A great song that evokes emotions, it starts at a lower tempo and then builds into a more aggressive tune in the third part.
Considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time, the lyrics narrate a greedy woman who becomes highly obsessed with her unpromising future. The song resonates with younger generations owing to the mystic nature of the lyrics. It’s infused with mystery and magic to create a rock tune.
29. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
The song was composed in 1975, and it’s a classic rock that expresses the feeling of loss and remembering loved ones. Its theme talks about criticism and alienation in the music industry. It’s an ode to Syd Barrett, who got dismissed after his mental health deteriorated.
30. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Guns N’ Roses
Initially composed by Bob Dylan, Guns N’ Roses recorded this for the 1973 Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid film. It topped the Billboard chart for its creative presentation. The lyrics describe a gunslinger who questions how he will continue living a reckless lifestyle. The ballad is presented in a skillful delivery, evoking emotions and eliciting consciousness of the importance of integrity.
31. Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
Written as a single for the 1969 album of the same name, “Spirit In The Sky” sold over two million copies during the first year of release. Norman Greenbaum makes several references to Jesus in his lyrics, adding a gospel touch to his composition. The resulting tune combines classic rock and gospel music, with sounds such as guitar, loud drums, tambourine, and clapping hands.
32. The Show Must Go On – Queen
Freddie Mercury, the band’s lead singer, is the reason behind the song’s message. He contracted HIV but decided to continue working and went on tour promoting the band’s music until his demise. Six weeks after his death, the band released this piece to honor him and grieve their band member. The lyrics are cryptic yet sober and nostalgic—a somber tune to grieve over a member or teammate.
33. Heaven was Needing a Hero – Jo Dee Messina
American country music singer, Jo Dee Messina, produced the song in 2010 for her album Unmistakable Inspiration. It is a classic tune regarded as one of the best rock songs. The lyrics resonate with grieving people who miss their loved ones. The singer seeks to comfort the grieving, come to terms with the loss, and accept their loved ones are resting in Heaven.
34. I’ll See You Again – Westlife
Westlife, a boy band group, composed the song in 2009 in Ireland. It was for their album, Where We Are, which was their fifth one. The song’s lyrics grieve about a loved one, with the band belting out magical words into a beautiful classic ballad that won the hearts of many as a beautiful and soothing song.
35. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) – Green Day
“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” is a single from the album Nimrod. It became a famous rock song and won the award in 1998 for the Best Alternative rock music video from MTV. The lyrics narrate the story of a girl who moved to a different country in search of a new life. The tune describes the possibility of pursuing hope and the best of life while a person can.
36. Say Hello 2 Heaven – Temple of the Dog
Chris Cornell composed the song describing his former roommate and their relationship. He reminisces about the sense of loss when tragedy hits and what it feels like to miss a close friend. “Say Hello 2 Heaven” reached number 5 on the Billboard chart.
37. Hear You Me – Jimmy Eat World
“Hear You Me” was a tribute composed by the band for their two friends who shared a boarding place with them when they arrived in Los Angeles for the first time. The two friends died in a tragic accident en route to a concert. The band fuses their amazing vocals with soft guitar play to make this tune a spectacular piece worth any solemn occasion.
38. Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Hope Sandoval composed the song for the album Tonight That I Might See. The track became a hit and peaked at number 3 on the Billboard charts. The lyrics describe a love felt for a “close” one but was never shared with the person. The song is an emotional ballad that arouses a personal connection to feelings of lost love.
39. No Surprises – Radiohead
“No Surprises” is an alternative all-time rock song that narrates the tale of a young man working at a job he detests. The lyrics offer a consoling balance with a soothing creation of brighter days ahead, sung in a harmonious melody.
40. Haunted When the Minutes Drag – Love and Rockets
The song is a Love And Rocket composition produced in 1985 that talks about the agony of being haunted by the memories of a loved one when they have gone. The singer describes how their scents, clothes, and everything they shared lingers in the memory.
41. Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day
Last but not least we feature Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” When you consider the story behind the song, you’ll certainly understand why this is a perfect rock funeral song for your loved ones.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
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