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Funeral music… Top ten and my picks


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 13 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 13 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 13 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

The release of a top-ten chart of funeral music requests got me thinking morbid thoughts a few weeks ago. The top ten, for those who missed it, were:

1. Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt
2. Angels – Robbie Williams
3. I’ve Had the Time of My Life – Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley
4. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
5. Pie Jesu – Requiem
6. Candle in the Wind – Elton John
7. With or Without You – U2
8. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
9. Every Breath You Take – The Police
10. Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers

There’s not a one on that list that I’d want at my funeral. And it seems I’m not the only one. The blogging world has been abuzz with suggestions, from Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien and Always Look On The Bright Side of Life to Where Eagles Have Been and See You in the Next One.

But what would I want? Well, I’ve come up with a list of three. I know that’s pushing it a bit, but hey, it’s my funeral… It’s not as if I’m going to be too bothered if it drags on…

Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah:
It’s the defining death scene song of a generation – anybody who’s anybody in anything dies to this song, to the point where it’s almost a meaningless cliché. But it’s a nice song, and kinda sets the mood for a funeral, I think.

My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade:
Pushing the boundaries of acceptable funeral music… It’s a new release, so a new one to add onto the list (bumping Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars off, I think). It says everything I’d want to say I my own funeral – remember me for who I was and what I did in life, not for how I died – however that might be! And ‘carry on’ without me.

Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now:
It seems so appropriate… I think I’ve wanted this ever since Jonny Kennedy had it at his funeral, so I guess it’s a tribute to him in a way. It would serve as a reflection on a happy life I’d enjoyed living. And it’s kinda upbeat, which would be nice for the end of a funeral, I think. Leave people celebrating life, not dreading death.

So there you go. That’s a cheery thought and a half. Hopefully, I’ll have an awful lot of time to be rethinking and rejigging this list in the future…!

Oh, and I’ve probably broken a gazillion copyright laws in this post, so if any record company wants anything removed, feel free to get in touch. And then I’ll write to the Daily Mail and tell them that the big bad corporation wouldn’t even let me tell people what music I wanted at my funeral. Or maybe not.

This 984th post was filed under: Headliner.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Pigrim

by Pigrim

Comment posted at 13:20 on 20th October 2006.

I’m a traditionalist. How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace.

Comment from karl

by karl

Comment posted at 00:49 on 23rd October 2006.

Man, like you wouldn’t want Tears In Heaven played at your funeral. Clapton is God after all 😛
I think today I’m gonna go through and make a big list of songs that I want, I need something better to do with my time >_

Comment from BentonQuest

by BentonQuest

Comment posted at 01:16 on 10th November 2006.

Fun list! And thanks for the shout out.

Comment from Anna

by Anna

Comment posted at 21:49 on 19th November 2006.

The Godfather theme- It’s haunting, it’s beautiful, and I think, the perfect way to leave your mark.

Other songs I’d like played at my funeral are…

Ain’t No Sunshine- Al Green
I’ll Cover You (reprise)- Rent
Angel- Sarah McLachlan
Pass Me Over- Anthony Hamilton
People Ain’t No Good- Nick Cave
Under the Bridge- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Dust in the Wind- Kansas
You Are So Beautiful- Ray Charles
I’ll Be Missing You- Puff Daddy and Faith Hill
Can You Feel the Love Tonight- Elton John
Fall At Your Feet- James Blunt
Don’t Dream It’s Over (Live Acoustic)- Crowded House
Fast Car- Tracy Chapman
Remember Me- James Horton performed by Josh Groban
Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Take Me Home Country Road- Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 22:41 on 19th November 2006.

Anna – that’s going to be one long funeral 😉

Comment from Rev Andrew

by Rev Andrew

Comment posted at 08:34 on 7th December 2006.

Pity the poor ministers who have to play some of this stuff whilst keeping a straight face!

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 09:11 on 7th December 2006.

Who said anything about a minister being there:?:

Comment from Anonymous

by Anonymous

Comment posted at 03:28 on 15th February 2007.

how about I’m Not Dead by Pink?!

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 08:08 on 15th February 2007.

Very good!

Comment from pogostik

by pogostik

Comment posted at 21:34 on 4th March 2007.

Only one for my funeral its written in my will – Bob Dylon singing Sands of Time.. Wow what a way to go –

Trackback from elsewhere on the site

Trackback received at 10:36 on 28th March 2007.

This post has been referenced by another on this site:
sjhoward.co.uk » Doctors get (even more) vocal about MMC

Comment from 32wig

by 32wig

Comment posted at 12:30 on 30th April 2007.

I recently saw this on the road: http://www.motorcyclefunerals.com/ which prompted me to think about my swan song: Definitely gotta be “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf with this kind of send off! No – i’m not a motorcycle enthusiast – I just have a good sense of occasion.

Comment from Natterz

by Natterz

Comment posted at 12:11 on 3rd May 2007.

k i kno this might sound weird especially since im 15, but i was talkin about it with my sisters and parents the other day and, my five songs that i would like to be played are,

Queen – Don’t stop me now
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
U2 – Stuck in a moment
Metallica – Nothing else Matters
Guns and Roses – Sweet child of mine,

What you think?


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 23:29 on 4th May 2007.

Hey, not so weird, even if you are 15!

I’ve made a few changes to my list, but I am planning on covering them in an upcoming post… more classical things might be good I think. I’ll make sure I ping this post when I post the update, so you’ll know.

Trackback from elsewhere on the site

Trackback received at 16:29 on 1st June 2007.

This post has been referenced by another on this site:
sjhoward.co.uk » Funeral music revisited

Trackback from elsewhere on the site

Trackback received at 09:02 on 30th July 2007.

This post has been referenced by another on this site:
sjhoward.co.uk » Music for Funerals

Comment from CoRR

by CoRR

Comment posted at 14:44 on 22nd August 2007.

I think alot of Linkin Park’s songs would be good. Such as:
What I’ve Done
My December
In Pieces
Leave Out All The Rest
In The End

Comment from BentonQuest

by BentonQuest

Comment posted at 19:26 on 25th August 2007.

I think it is funny that almost a year later I am still getting almost daily hits from this page!

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 22:05 on 25th August 2007.

It’s still a page which generates a huge amount of traffic, and comments still trickle in about it. I assume it’s because it’s become the top hit on Google for ‘funeral music‘ – which is great!

Comment from Joy

by Joy

Comment posted at 15:30 on 10th September 2007.

My son once suggested ‘Ding Dong,the Witch is Dead”,for my funeral.I’m tempted.
I quite like the idea of having Eric Idle’s ‘The Galaxy Song’ at the end.

Comment from Wendela (Netherlands)

by Wendela (Netherlands)

Comment posted at 13:43 on 27th September 2007.

Songs from my “funeral list”:

Peter Gabriel, ‘Washing of the Water’
Ozark Henry, ‘Weekenders’
Beth Nielsen Chapman, ‘Say Goodnight’
Beth Nielsen Chapman, ‘I Find Your Love’
Coldplay, ’See You Soon’ (acoustic version)
John Mayer, ‘Dreaming With a Broken Heart’
Keane, ‘She Has No Time’
Rajaton, ‘Butterfly’
Rajaton, ‘Dobbin’s Flowery Vale’
Schumann, ‘Träumerei’

What do you think?

Comment from Rob

by Rob

Comment posted at 17:48 on 21st October 2007.

I wouldn’t want anything too cliché. I’m thinking maybe Matthew West – “You Know Where to Find Me”.

Comment from Jasmin

by Jasmin

Comment posted at 12:51 on 26th October 2007.

trespassers william – different stars

Comment from fatstan

by fatstan

Comment posted at 19:28 on 31st December 2007.

were having :-
burning ring of fire – johnny cash
bill withers – lean on me
right said fred – your my mate

rip pete mate! (-:

Comment from Nicole

by Nicole

Comment posted at 14:38 on 14th February 2008.

‘It was a wild ride, Lord Trunkthorpe!’

Pschychedelic Soul from the Ghost in the Shell SAC second soundtrack album. Vocals by Scott Matthew and the ever legendary music of Yoko Kanno.

Comment from jack large

by jack large

Comment posted at 01:43 on 27th May 2008.

How about ‘Going Underground’ by The Jam?

On a more serious note, I intend to have ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’ by Radiohead.

Comment from chrissie

by chrissie

Comment posted at 20:50 on 29th July 2008.

How about “God only knows”:Beach Boys,”Mr. Tambourine Man”,Bob Dylan, “Blue Moon”, the Marcels, “Jerusalem,” Emerson Lake and Palmer, “Ne me quitte pas”, Jacques Brel,”Ti penso”, Massimo Ranieri, or The Easter Hymn ,(from Cavalliera Rusticana) by Cossotto. (On You Tube.) “Supper’s ready,”Genesis, “Wondrous Stories”,by Yes, “I know it’s over”, The Smiths. All these songs have a lot of pathos and will induce tears from most people, before going on to a pub or restaurant , where they can all have a good laugh, (as you ordered, )about the daft things you did or said, or criticise you for being the most two-faced cow they’d ever worked with! Me, I’m going for E.L.P. and Brel.

Comment from Pete

by Pete

Comment posted at 14:04 on 29th August 2008.

If i may suggest: Amazing grace, played by scotty… and then whoos, off goes the torpedo cascet… just a great way to go.
well… at least for a trekki funeral

Comment from Mike

by Mike

Comment posted at 17:14 on 6th February 2009.

The Sex Pistols version of my way.

Poiniont, irreverent, for someone who succeded despite, remembered the good rather than the bad. and still saw the joke in life.

Comment from tina

by tina

Comment posted at 19:52 on 2nd April 2009.

i think you’re forgetting my heart will go on by Celine Dion and i will always love you by Whitney Houston

Comment from ABL

by ABL

Comment posted at 12:16 on 1st October 2009.

My Mother had Gracie Fields singing “Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye” & had everyone laughing! What a great way to go.

Comment from Phil

by Phil

Comment posted at 06:23 on 7th January 2010.

What about ‘another one bites the dust’ by Queen ?

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