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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.