When you think of funeral music what songs come to mind? Hymns and classical music used to be people’s go to – but all that’s changing.
Gerry and the Pacemaker’s ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ has taken the top spot in Co-op Funeralcare’s annual music chart – and not just for Liverpool football fans.
The emotional melody has actually knocked Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ off number one – playey at an estimated 9,500 funerals over the past year.
The undertakers’ annual music chart was launched in 2002 and is based on data and insights from Co-op Funeralcare’s directors and arrangers, who conduct approximately 100,000 funerals a year.
Ed Sheeran (who regularly tops wedding songs charts, too) is in there, with his song, Supermarket Flowers. And some oldies but goodies still feature in the top 10, including Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on The Bright Side Of Life’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’ by the late Dame Vera Lynn, who dies last summer.
But each year, more pop and contemporary tracks are being played at people’s sendoffs – some with a surprisingly catchy tone.
The Greatest Showman’s big number ‘This Is Me’ entered the chart for the first time this year at number ten. Other songs in the top 10 includes Tina Turner’s anthem ‘Simply the Best’ at number four – which has taken on new meaning for must fans of the TV show Schitt’s Creek – and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ at number seven on the list
“Music plays such a big part in all of our lives, it’s no surprise that our favourite songs play a role in the way we say goodbye too,” said Sam Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare.
“The songs we choose for a funeral all hold unique and personal meaning for ourselves and loved ones but naturally some songs remain more popular than others and we’re delighted to unveil this year’s music chart.
Among the more controversial songs to have been requested at recent funerals include ‘W.A.P’ by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion and ‘Girl on Fire’ by Alicia Keys. ‘F*** Forever’ by Babyshambles and ‘Ha Ha You’re Dead’ by Green Day satisfy the alternative crowd, and we quite want to know the story behind the people choosing ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’ from The Wizard of Oz.
It’s worth noting, however, that offensive songs can be refused to be played by a third party, such as the venue or person ordaining the funeral, says Tyler.
The Top 10 funeral songs for 2021
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and the Pacemakers
My Way – Frank Sinatra
Always Look on The Bright Side Of Life – Eric Idle
Simply The Best – Tina Turner
Supermarket Flowers – Ed Sheeran
Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn
This is Me – The Greatest Showman