Monday, October 15, 2012

Please would you all join together as we sing...

Planning one's own funeral may sound like the height of morbidity, but it does ensure that, above all else, you go out according to your own playlist.

Peter Sellers famously hated Glenn Miller's In The Mood so, as his final act, he included it in his will to be played as a joke at his funeral. For the rest of us, sadly, unless we've had a moment of creativity in preparing for our own finale, it will be determined by a well-meaning loved one.

Co-Op Funerals: role of hot air
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According to the Co-Op, who used to own supermarkets and run milk floats when I were a lad, but evidently also do burials, pop music has replaced hymns and classical pieces at two-thirds of British funerals.

Which means a lot of people going out to Sinatra's My Way, Dolly Parton/Willie Nelson/Whitney Houston warbling I Will Always Love You, and even - and wholly inappropriately - You Raise Me Up by Westlife.

Irony hasn't lost it's place, as some funerals resonate to somewhat awkward giggling as Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life is played, or another of Eric Idle's chucklesome numbers, the theme song from One Foot In The Grave.

Others, strangely, choose The Ying Tong Song by The Goons and featuring Sellers along with Spike Milligan, whose delightfully funereal sense of humour extended to having "I told you I was ill" requested to be inscribed on his own gravestone.

Reflecting Britain's increasing secular nature, the Co-Op's Top 20 of ultimate music playlists features My Way at number one, for the seventh year running, apparently. So, the full list of 20 is as follows:
  1. Frank Sinatra – My Way
  2. Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli – Time To Say Goodbye
  3. Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings
  4. Eva Cassidy – Over the Rainbow
  5. Robbie Williams – Angels
  6. Westlife – You Raise Me Up
  7. Gerry & The Pacemakers – You’ll Never Walk Alone
  8. Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again
  9. Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
  10. Nat King Cole – Unforgettable
  11. Tina Turner – Simply The Best
  12. Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton – I Will Always Love You
  13. Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side of Life
  14. Luther Vandross – Dance With My Father
  15. Louis Armstrong – Wonderful World
  16. Daniel O'Donnell – Danny Boy
  17. Eva Cassidy – Fields of Gold
  18. Righteous Brothers (and others) – Unchained Melody
  19. Westlife – Flying Without Wings
  20. Eva Cassidy – Songbird
Adele, whose tear-jerking warbles about losing boyfriends, blast out of every shop and restaurant these days, is surprisingly not as popular for funerals as you'd think, falling just aside this Top 20. Equally, Queen's upper lip-stiffening The Show Must Go On doesn't feature at all, while it is noted that John Lennon's Imagine has a habit of being rejected by vicars and 'funeralists', as I believe the profession if known, on account of the Beatle's line "Imagine there's no heaven...".

Given this last point, it seems only appropriate that What Would David Bowie Do? compiles its own Top 10 of totally inappropriate songs to be played at a funeral:
  1. David Bowie (obviously) - Ashes To Ashes
  2. The Doors - The End
  3. Meatloaf - Bat Out Of Hell
  4. The Jam - Going Underground
  5. Elton John - Funeral For A Friend
  6. The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
  7. Deacon BlueReal Gone Kid
  8. Status Quo - Down, Down
  9. The Rolling Stones - The Last Time
  10. Black Lace - Agadoo*
*Should not be played publicly anywhere under any circumstances

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