how to plan a funeral (2)

Funny funeral songs to play at a ceremony

As it turns out, funny funeral songs are actually a thing on the interwebs. And apparently enough of you search for “inappropriate funeral songs” that it calls for an entire article dedicated to the topic.

So… fine! We’ll give you what you want

In this post, we’ll oblige you with our 15 favorite funny funeral songs, from well-worn classics like Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” to Sarah Silverman’s infamous nursing home gig.

You asked for it.

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15 Most Inappropriate Funeral Songs

Here’s our top picks for hilarious (and highly inappropriate) funeral songs, in alphabetical order:

  1. Another One Bites the Dust by Queen
  2. Always Look On the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle
  3. Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead from The Wizard of Oz
  4. Dumb Ways to Die from Metro Train Melbourne
  5. Goodbye Earl by Dixie Chicks
  6. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Elmo & Patsy
  7. Ha Ha You’re Dead by Green Day
  8. Not Crying by Flight of the Conchords
  9. It’s the Best Day Ever by Spongebob Squarepants
  10. Love Lifted Me by Jack Black
  11. One More Minute by Weird Al Yankovic
  12. Remains of the Day by Danny Elfman
  13. Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die by Willie Nelson
  14. She’s a Zombie Now by The Meteors
  15. You’re Gonna Die Soon by Sarah Silverman

Still need more?

List of Worst Songs to Play at a Funeral

Unless you’re specifically told otherwise in the funeral wishes, you should avoid playing any of these songs below at a funeral. When you learn how to plan a funeral, you recognize the importance of staying respectful and keeping things supportive. These songs generally won’t achieve this goal. Even if the person that passed is someone you didn't particularly like, it is still necessary to respect their passing with appropriate songs.

1. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen

Unless the deceased is a die-hard Queen fan, it’s best to avoid this song. There are many more fitting Queen songs to choose from than one about dying.

2. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC

Though we can all appreciate this rock classic, most people like to think the best of their loved ones after they die. For those who are religious, nothing could be worse than taking a highway to hell.

3. "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang

This song might be a favorite for family celebrations, but it doesn’t have any place at a funeral. It sounds a bit like you’re celebrating the death of your loved one, not their life.

4. "Stayin’ Alive" by The Bee Gees

As mentioned earlier, the lyrics here are a bit too ironic to play at a funeral since the deceased is no longer “stayin’ alive.”

5. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams

Though this song has an undeniable fun beat, this could come across as offensive since it applies you’re “happy” at the death of your loved one.

6. "Problem" by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande might be one of today’s biggest stars, but her song “Problem” shouldn’t be heard at a funeral. A song all about having one less problem without you sends the wrong message.

7. "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” by Glinda and the Munchkins

Unless the deceased was a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz, avoid this song about celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the West.

8. "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor

While this song would be a great fit for anyone who’s recovered from any of life’s challenges, it’s not appropriate for a funeral.

9. "Hells Bells" by AC/DC

Similar to “Highway to Hell,” this song just has too many negative connotations for most funerals. It’s likely a good idea to steer clear of AC/DC altogether.

10. "Don’t Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin

This reggae classic is sure to put a smile on your face—but it’s probably not a good song to play at a funeral. Again, it’s implying that it’s good to be happy about the death of your loved one.

11. "Come As You Are" by Nirvana

While the repeated references to having a gun in this song are actually implying that people don’t always have the best intentions, this feels like dark foreshadowing for Kurt Cobain’s death.

12. "(Don’t Fear) the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult

When in doubt, avoid using any song that hints at the devil, the grim reaper, or other dark symbols of death.

13. "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke

This song was controversial upon its release due to its questionable lyrics, so it absolutely has no place within a funeral.

14. "Thriller” by Michael Jackson

“Thriller” might be a classic, but that doesn’t mean you should play a song about dead people rising from the grave during a memorial service.

15. "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors

This folk-pop hit recently gained a lot of popularity for its positive message. Yet, it’s not a good idea to play this at a loved one’s funeral, which is most definitely not the best day of your life.

16. "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi

There are a lot of great Bon Jovi songs to choose for a funeral other than this one. With lyrics like “shot through the heart and you’re to blame,” it’s a little too dark for a memorial service.

17. "Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO

This song might make you want to jump up and dance, but it’s extremely disrespectful to play it at a funeral.

18. "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj

“Anaconda” is one of the top club dance songs of the generation, and it’s also in very poor taste to play this song at a funeral.

19. "The Stroke" by Billy Squier

Though the song title implies this song is about a cardiovascular event, it’s actually much more… intimate. Regardless of your interpretation, leave this song on your private playlist.

20. "The Final Countdown" by Europe

Again, it’s best to steer clear of songs about “final” and “ending” since the deceased person already reached the end of their “countdown.”

21. "Ha Ha You’re Dead!" by Green Day

If the song title wasn’t convincing enough, this song is literally about cheering after someone dies.

22. "Dominion / Mother Russia" by The Sisters of Mercy

This song references the Chernobyl nuclear accident and hints at anti-American sentiments. Including a song about a nuclear disaster during a funeral isn’t a good way to show support.

23. "Burn" by Three Days Grace

While this is meant to be a motivational song about proving others wrong, the lyrics are simply too harsh for a funeral. With sentiments like “So on the way down, I’ll watch you burn,” this is a poor choice for a funeral.

24. "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson

Known as one of the best breakup pop songs, Kelly Clarkson’s hit doesn’t fit in the context of a funeral.

25. "The Best Day Ever" by Spongebob SquarePants

It’s true that Spongebob warms the hearts of many, but this still isn’t a good choice for a funeral song. All about celebrating and having a good time, save this cartoonish song for another day.

26. "A Little Piece of Heaven" by Avenged Sevenfold

Though the name might be misleading, this song is actually about an ex-lover burning in hell while everyone else lives in heaven.

27. "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift might be a pop icon, but this song about letting things go shouldn’t be at a funeral.

28. "Dead" by Korn

This short song is eerie and memorable, but not in the way you want for a funeral. With the ending line being nothing but “Every time I get ahead I feel more dead,” skip this one.

29. "Loyal" by Chris Brown

Regardless of your deceased loved one’s love life, it’s best to avoid songs about their fidelity during their funeral.

30. "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" by Silento

The Whip and Nae Nae might have been the latest dance fad years ago, but it’s undoubtedly not a respectful song to play in honor of someone’s life.

31. "Bye Bye Bye" by NSync

There are much better songs about saying goodbye than NSync’s classic “Bye Bye Bye.”

32. "We Can’t Stop" by Miley Cyrus

The ultimate party anthem, this song about drinking, smoking, and dancing could be offensive at a funeral.

33. "Let It Go" by Idina Menzel

Even the biggest Frozen fan sees why this is a bad choice for a funeral. A song all about moving on and letting go doesn’t fit with the mourning crowd of a funeral.

34. "Don’t Bring Me Down" by Electric Light Orchestra

Since the process of burying a loved one literally involves “bringing them down” into the earth, it’s best to skip this song.

35. "Everything Is Awesome!!!" by Tegan and Sara

This song from The Lego Movie is great for remembering the best things in life. However, at a funeral, everything is not awesome.

36. "Bodies" by Drowning Pool

With a chorus including the chanting of “let the bodies hit the floor,” this is self-explanatory.

37. "Friday" by Rebecca Black

Even if the deceased passed away on a Friday, this is a song you should avoid at all costs. You don't "gotta get down" on this particular Friday.

38. "Forget You" by Cee Lo Green

With the original version of this song having a less PG title, this is a disrespectful song to play when someone recently died.

39. "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N’ Roses

This song about the darker sides of Los Angeles, and it’s very much an ode to sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.

40. "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles

While there are many Beatles songs that would be perfect for a funeral, this one is not. Based on the story of an heir dying in a van, there are numerous mentions of an untimely demise.

funeral 13

I have heard that it is becoming popular in Japan to have themed funerals. You can have music, live performers, paid mourners weeping like no person actually weeps, and even a laser show and fireworks. What a grand finale for the karaoke nut in all of us... but what about in the US where funerals are often somber occasions devoid of such razzle dazzle? Well, funerals don't have to be completely dull... some of us might like having the last laugh, making sure our loved ones play the most inappropriate music ever as people file in to pay their respects. So what songs are deemed woefully inappropriate? Here's a starter list!

Only the Good Die Young

Only the good die young is a nice motto and all but what if you died when you were old? Would this imply you weren't good? And besides isn't a song about a repressed Catholic schoolgirl a bit cliché? I mean unless you were a repressed Catholic school girl who wants to let her final message to the world be, "It wasn't worth it! Sin while you're still alive!" Then by all means we will take your blasphemy to heart. Of course this would be doubly hilarious if your name just happens to be Virginia.

Live and Let Die

We know you've been a HUGE Wings fan since... well since you realized Paul McCartney was in it. We also know you just about died going to that first concert you were just sooo happy to be there. It was amazing, we get it, but don't try to take that memory with you. Live and Let Die is an awkward note to leave off on. I mean what are you trying to say here? That we should all be happy you finally died...? It's a muddled message at best.

Hell

The Squirrel Nut Zipper's Hell saw fifteen minutes of fame and melted the hearts of everyone who thought it's title was In the Afterlife. This is because that's just about the only words anyone bothered to listen to, the first three. If they continued on they'd realize there's an adorable chorus that spells out damnation like a happy cheerleader and some really grotesque threats sung in a cheerful Big Band sort of way. This song sounds adorable if you don't listen to the lyrics. It might even slip by the attention of most of your mourners. Only the deeply sarcastic will realize you're in Hell where all the interesting people are. Of course if your desire is to attract attention to these perverse lyrics just play the music video that goes with it which is drawn as an utterly bizarre 1920s styled dance macabre.

How to Save a Life

I have no idea how this song ended up being the background music for every medical drama on the TV. It's not about some scrappy young surgeon standing over a bleeding eight year old, scalpel in hand. Actually... if you really listen it's about dropping the ball and not realizing your now dead friend was suicidal. Some might consider this an omission of guilt when played at a funeral. Sort of like, "Whoops, I saw your car explode but I figured you'd get out just fine by yourself!"

Dumb Ways to Die

Was your dearly departed a winner of the Darwin Award? Did they cut themselves out of the gene pool via a stupid act? Then this might be the song for them... Just note it it may be considered crass if your loved one actually died from an accident on the Metro as technically this entire song is a commercial for train safety. That's not to say it's not adorable, intensely catchy, and who hasn't used their private parts for piranha bait?

We Will All Go Together When We Go

Who wouldn't love to hear Tom Lehrer just one last time? His scathing sarcasm is just sooo... refreshing. And yet some of his songs might not be the best choice to say goodbye. We Will All Go Together When We Go might be mistranslated as some sort of beyond-the-grave threat to the living and there are a few PC issues as well. For instance "every hottenhot and Eskimo" might be offensive to any of the native peoples of Canada... and you really don't want to piss off a Canadian. Who knows what they'll do. And when they're done ransacking the funeral home the hottenhots will figure out who they are and that they've just been called a likely offensive word too. (Seriously though - what IS a hottenhot?!)

Seasons in the Sun

Seasons in the Sun is one of those creepy songs that follow people around like a severely retarded puppy. It's cute at first but after a while you just want the image of it to unburn itself from your head. It's another one of those cheerfully tuned suicide songs. It's sort of like saying, "Bye people! I love you all so much but I loved the idea of death so much better! Have a nice life suckers!"

I'm Going to Live Forever

Yeah.... you keep saying that dear, as we pop you into the ground. Poor sorry sod.

Another One Bites the Dust

This song is probably too crass for most funerals. We live in a society of fluffy euphemisms, where people don't die, they "pass away." Sometimes euphemisms can be harsher than the actual word they're covering. This might be one of those cases.

Waiting for the Worms

This one has the same problem as the song above it. We don't really want to envision you letting earth worms use your eye sockets as an obstacle course. It's gross and disturbing and that anguished scream at the end is NOT comforting. Why did you even put this one on your list?!

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

Which old witch? The wicked witch! Ding dong the witch is dead!!

If this plays at your funeral expect a really terrible epitaph and few mourners.

Don't Fear the Reaper

Did you know that Houdini told his wife that if he died before her he'd try to contact her from the great beyond? This song might play if he had actually managed such a stunt. It sort of brings to mind a big black cloaked figure striking whole cities with plague and a dead guy in the background moaning, "Don't fear the reaper, he's just doing his job!"

Highway to Hell

This might actually be appropriate for any man who refused to pull over and ask for directions during his life. He'll have no idea he's heading south and not north until everything starts smelling oddly of brimstone. Oops.

Used to Love Her

"I used to love her - but I had to kill her." Obviously someone has taken that "honesty is the best policy" phrase a little too much to heart. This one is perfect for crimes of passion and honor killings.

People Who Died

This song is great for anyone who is so sarcastic that they can't even hold their tongue after death. Besides the wonderful title the lyrics drag you deeper and deeper into depravity describing interesting ways teenagers can die. What else could you possibly ask for?

The Ballad of Alfred Packer

This little known classic is possibly the greatest song ever written about cannibalism. If you'd rather be eaten then buried then this is likely the best song you could ask for. It has some great advice for the living - it just doesn't pay to eat anything but government inspected beef.

Zombie Love Song

I wanted this last song to be something really obscure I found that had references to sucking out people's eyeballs because you love them... but alas, I couldn't find it and had to make do with a random YouTube search for Zombie Love Song. I think it's a good one to go out on....

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