My Funeral Music Mix

August 2, 2010 — 33 Comments

I’m not dying so don’t worry.

I apologize for the morbid post but I love music and I always find it fascinating to think through life’s ending in its dramatic way.

A great friend and mentor, Terri Adams, reminded me that these blogs will be read by my little girls one day and they can perhaps learn a thing or two about me.  No pressure, huh?

I started to think about my favorite music and the type that inspires me more than anything.  When Brooke and I got married, we put together a music mix that we gave out to those attending the wedding.  It was so much fun compiling the music that most inspired us as a newly married couple.

Why not a funeral music mix?

Sorry but The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” didn’t make the list but have fun with me.

I Will Not Take These Things For Granted-Toad the Wet Sprocket. My sister Sarah introduced me to them when she went off to college in 1992.  This song provides such a beautiful way to live life with no regrets and to embrace every experience and relationship.  Thank you Sarah!

The Bud Light Commercials, especially “Mr. Giant Taco Salad Inventor.”  I’m from St.Louis so the tie in works. How can you not bust out laughing?  You need a laugh after a funeral.

Heartland by U2. There is something about this song that says “home” to me.  Beautiful and underrated song from U2 during the Rattle & Hum age.

Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House: The title says it all.  Plus, I just love this band as they continue to evolve from the 1980s.

Remember the Mountain Bed by Wilco.  This song, written originally by Woody Guthrie and made popular by Wilco in their Mermaid Avenue albums.  It reminds me of falling in love with my wife up on the mountain in Sewanee, Tennessee.

A Sort of Homecoming by U2. This makes me think of a place in my heart coming home whether it be a physical place like Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, or Scotland where I have lived.  But, it’s also a powerful song about the struggle to move forward in Ireland despite its violent past 100 years.

Into The Mystic by Van Morrison.  Yes, both U2 and Van Morrison get multiple songs here.  This song is played on repeat during long driving trips. Listen to it and you’ll understand.

The Trapeze Swinger by Iron and Wine. When I first heard this, I felt it was much too long but looking through the lyrics it is quite authentic and just a beautiful piece to inspire by Sam Beam.  The lyrics are questionable in meaning to me but his voice and tempo of the song makes me smile, always.

In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty.  I remember hearing this first at church and one of our Young Life kids played violin to it.  I was in tears then and everytime it hits Brooke and I hear it we look at each other and the tears come back.  The lyrics best capture my faith.  Read the story of the song here.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm…

Jungle Love by Steve Miller Band.  Yes, why this song?  Oh…it was just the hippie theme song at Castaway, the Young Life camp I attended in 1994 when I became a Christian.  How could I forget this song?  It makes me want to dance everytime.

God of Wonders (Caedmon’s Call version).  This song always gets me pumped up for church or the start of a week and reminded me of the endless possibilities God provides.  Never doubt him, dream with him.

Count Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Sufjan Stevens version).  I used to hate this song in church.  When I heard Sufjan Stevens’ version, it came alive to me and the lyrics blew me away.  It reminds me of how much God blesses me in life by friends, family, shelter, and each moment in-between.

Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell.  I didn’t discover this song until I heard it at the Opening Ceremony at the 2010 Winter Olympics.  How great is that?  The song is almost 40 years old now and people still discover it.  What a lovely song to help reflect on an honest life of hope while acknowleding some regrets.  By the way, I can only think of one regret, quitting Boy Scouts.  Funny, huh?  But, in the end I know that it all was for a purpose.

Take It Back by Pink Floyd.  This song just makes me want to fly.

Wild Mountain Thyme by The Silencers. I fell in love with this song when I lived in Scotland.  It reminds me again that I need to bring my wife back to Scotland.  Oh, my second home.

And we’ll all go together
To pick wild mountain thyme
All around the purple heather
Will you go?
Will you go?
Lassie will you go?

These Are The Days by Van Morrison. I love Van Morrison, I mean there are not many white people who understand how to incorporate “soul” into their music.  The Irish get it.  Van “the man” Morrison does that and this song in particular. Most don’t know much about his faith but you get the feel from these lyrics. They will carry me home one day.

These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one great magician
Turned water into wine

These are the days now that we must savour
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
and you’ve got to hold them, in your heart

Dance on and live well everyone.

I’m pretty sure this mix will evolve throughout life as new music moves me but it was challenging to put  this together and I hope you enjoyed.

For my daughters, I hope you learned more about me in the process and make your own mix tape of life.

What do you see as your top song you’d like played at your funeral?


Is there a story behind that song to you?

—— additional song added September 18th, 2012 ——

Learn Me Right by Mumford and Sons with Birdy. Such a beautiful song featured in the movie Brave (2012). It makes me want to fly back and run through the hills and mountains of Scotland. It shouts out freedom and dreams. Mumford and Sons also recorded a wonderful sister song version on their 2012 album, Babel.

33 responses to My Funeral Music Mix


    I’m not saying it’s a bad list … but aren’t you missing something from Grease 2 (which was totally on tv this weekend!)? 🙂

    I never thought about how kids will some day read what their parents wrote in a blog. Way to make your kids proud! 🙂


    Great idea! I’ve always wanted to have a funeral mix, actually. Only one song has always stuck out to me up to this point, but I may have to put some more thought into it now.

    Ever since I heard Michael English’s version of “Go rest high on that mountain”, I said I want that played at my funeral. It was on a “tape” (LOL!) he did back in the day called “Gospel”. It was a great “album”. Wow! The old days, huh!?! Yes, I think I still have that tape somewhere. And I think I still have a tape player somewhere, too.


      Yes, I intentionally put the “tape” picture there. That is how we grew up!

      Keep being inspired but love Michael English too!!! Can’t wait to listen to more of the moving song.
      I’d love to hear you full mix!


    This is a great idea. One song, and one song only at my funeral. “When All is Said and Done” by Geoff Moore. It’s my life song.

    When the music fades into the past,
    When the days of life are through,
    What will be remembered of where I’ve come?
    When all is said and done?

    Will they say I loved my family?
    That I was a faithful friend?
    That I lived to tell of God’s own son?
    When all is said and done.

    Of how I long to see the hour,
    When I would hear that trumpet sound.
    So I could rise and see my Savior’s face,
    And see him smile,
    And say ‘Well done.’

    You can forget my name
    And the songs I’ve sung,
    Every rhyme and every tune.
    But remember the truth of Jesus’ love,
    When all is said and done

    When all is said and done.


    Just reading this has brought back SO MANY memories for me, what a crack-up. Funny visual – I picture you in that rocking chair in your living room, smiling at the memories. Now, my favorite is jungle love, reminds me of the album my Dad would listen to and even dance with us growing up. Once again, reminds me why you and Aaron get along so well… I have to get him to compile His list, then I’ll just borrow his like I do for races. Have a great day!


      Ha ha Heather, yes it will be fun to compare notes once he posts his Funeral Mix. People have to have a little fun in an event like that. Music brings us together in so many ways. It moves us. Glad you liked Steve Miller Band. It always brings me back to that place when I accepted Christ, in such an amusing way. Glad you enjoyed. I need to learn what your mix is!


    Oh man, I’m famous…I made the blog!


    GREAT post my friend. As you know, last week I went home to Michigan to say goodbye to my brother-in-law who died of cancer. At his request, the crowd of about 200 mourners stood up and sang “What A Wonderful World” Louis Armstrong. Not many dry eyes in the place.

    PS: would it kill you to have a little Huey Lewis on there?


      yes Curt, I am eager to hear how things went there. What a Wonderful World is one of my favorite songs. After seeing it in Good Morning Vietnam used so beautifully, it brings me to tears everytime as well.

      How is Polly doing with this? I cannot imagine losing my sister.

      Huey…hmm. The Heart of Rock n’ Roll is a beat-en.


    I thought I was the only one who thought about things like this! I actually have a “Todd’s Funeral Songs” playlist on my iPod!

    Still compiling (and I told my kids to make sure they play them LOUD!), but so far I’ve got: Are you Ready by Creed (Are you ready for what’s to come? seems like a good funeral message), Further On (Up The Road), The Last Carnival and Terry’s Song by Bruce Springsteen, and Life is Beautiful by Sixx:A.M. (“No one will cry, at my funeral…”). Where the Streets have No Name by U2.

    Still filling out more…gotta listen to some of the songs mentioned here.

    Great post!


      Todd, I really dig your style and definitely need to give a few of these a listen. Love the Boss and U2 of course so can’t complain. I love that you mention there won’t be tears…just a great time celebrating where you are going. I think those at our funerals will want to grieve in their own ways but this can also be a way to tell “the story God gave you” to those who love you. How great could that be?

      I think you should end it with The Bulls entrance music from the 1990s.


    Tod Shuttleworth January 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Nice list. Mine is simple..I want a gospel singer belting out Amazing Grace with power. That’s it.


    A few weeks ago when we saw Willie Nelson at Gruene Hall in the TX hill country, he played the gospel favorite, “I’ll Fly Away” and I told Max, definitely–this song if you end up burying me.
    It’s such a lovely song.
    I’d most prefer to have the Ralph Stanley version:

    Alison Krauss version would be my second choice:

    But, mostly, leaving the church, I want a second line which traditionally begins slow and sad and then turns upbeat, inevitably ending with “When the Saints Go Marching In”
    View here:


    All I can manage to get done now is listen to all known versions of I’ll Fly Away. The internets has lots, as you might imagine. I’ve listened to everyone from Johnny Cash to random folks at family reunions and county fairs.

    Charley Pride does this song proud:


    I love this. I officially talked to my friend Joey Richey (@prblmchldofrnb) about a year ago, requesting that he & a gospel choir to sing Kenny Loggins’ “Celebrate Me Home”. It freaked him out a little, but he was gracious. 🙂


    I know this is an old post but i just had to comment. I don;t really care what happens to my body when I die – I quite fancied being buried at sea but I guessed that that was going to be a major hassle so i was left with being buried or cremated and either was good by me! That is until I read this blog and realised that if I got buried I could have a Jam classic at my funeral… altogether now “Going underground, going underground…”


      Love this. We all need a good jam on our way out. Music brings about the best emotion. It’s preferable to make sure we give them our best on the way out, agree? But, should we ban Stairway to Heaven?


        I totally agree – it will be the last time we can send out a great message to a dying world!! Stairway should definitely be banned as well as a few others I can think of… Yazz, The only way is up; Frank Sinatra, I did it My Way, Elvis Presley, Return to Sender to name but a few!!!


        Return to Sender would be classic. Love it!


    On my list is The Valley Song from Jars of Clay


    How about a spotify playlist?


    *There will be a day – Jeremy Camp:

    *(For those left behind) Hurt and the Healer – Mercy Me:

    *Finally Home by Mercy Me:

    *MercyMe – Homesick:

    *Amazing Grace (of course)

    * How Great Thou Art – Carrie Underwood

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head at the moment. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s