Rock around the coffin!

Dr Brian Edwards

I was intrigued by a recent story in the Sunday Star Times, headed ‘Musical send-offs rock funerals’.

It seems that ‘mourners’ are increasingly moving away from sombre music to see off their friends and rellies and opting instead for pop and rock music. They’re also choosing their own favourites rather than the deceased’s.

I think this is a healthy development.

Uncle Fred may well have loved Barry Manilow singing I don’t want to walk without you, but he (Uncle Fred not Barry Manilow) is dead now and unlikely to be upset by the living rejecting his appalling taste in music in favour of something less offensive to their ears.

ABOVE: A New Orleans send off.

And even if Uncle Fred’s favourite song was Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, hearing it played at his funeral might  raise  questions among those familiar with the lyrics about what precisely was going through the 82-year-old’s mind in his later years:

Ain’t no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed

Not to mention the effect on his widow, Auntie Nora of:

I’m praying for the end of time
It’s all that I can do
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!        

Safer then by far for friends and rellies to regard the music as their going-away present to the deceased. And that, according to the SST story, is precisely what they’re doing. 

However, not all their top choices, listed in the SST’s story, strike me as inspired. Time to Say Goodbye is too obvious; Always look on the Bright Side too ironic; I Want to Break Free too late; My Way (a top favourite) merely points to the futility of human striving; Wind Beneath My Wings is presumptuous; Ring of Fire on the other hand seems to suggest eternal damnation; and Pretty Woman (apparently a favourite in Otago) will offend feminist mourners.

No, I’m in a favour of the one song that both sounds great and conveys the true meaning of the occasion – Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust. I’ll have that at my funeral please with Bette Midler’s Mr Wonderful as a second choice.

[JC:  How about something more modern, Brian? Kelly Clarkson’s Mr Know It All perhaps?]

Anyway, what piece of music would you like played at your own (or someone else’s) funeral? Let us  know.

Media trainer and commentator Dr Brian Edwards blogs at Brian Edwards Media

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9 Comments & Questions

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I've always said that when I am cremated I would like them to play that great Meatloaf song, "Bat Out Of Hell". Firstly because it an all time favourite of mine and secondly because I've been called an old bat (and worse) many a time when I was a Bar Manager!!


The Goons' version of "Goodbyee, goodbyee, I've really got to say goodbyee"! or "You Gotta Go Oww"
or Pete and Dud's "Goodbyee" - see


“Going Underground’ -The Jam


Will Ferrell rendition of Dust in the Wind,


The Traevlling Wilbury's - "Going to the end of the line"


Spitit in the Sky- Norman Greenbaum


Widely accepted, that this is the most heart-rending funeral dirge in the history of mankind.


The fashion of funerals seems to be going full circle and is as much driven by those sombre marketing wizz brains aka funeral directors. At my age I am attending far too many and frankly the style now being adopted is US TV blub fests. Walk in and we are met with a powerpoint collection of the dear departed on holiday everywhere, fishing or walking the HImalayas, but a word to the media manager, not such a good look for a Windoze screen saver showing psychadelic blobs during the interminable eulogies. Worse was when we all sat fascinated for near an hour witnessing a river of tears working out all the desktop icons folders and shortcuts that had appeared up on the tv screen early in the proceedings. In the old days a vicar, priest or soothsayer was paid to crack on, but now its expected that those most distraught have to get up and have a very public emotional breakdown while trying to get a few words out or in most cases an attempt on the guinness world record for the longest obituary. And back to the music, hopefully it will return to a good gathering, food, drink and a bit of a party on top of the box just like the romans did, then the Irish...I think it was called a wake...much more fun.


Goodness gracious, look at all the dislikes on the suggestions. What a boring humourless lot you all are.


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