Funeral music

15 May

I’ve spent much of today compiling a playlist for the funeral of a member of my extended family who died suddenly on Sunday night.

I wanted songs like I did it my way by the Sex Pistols.

Give over, they said.

So next I thought of Amazing Grace by the Dropkick Murphys

For god’s sake, they said.

Hey, you get off of my cloud I suggested.

I’m coming up soon, get the party started. Pink’s version? I asked tentatively.

Another one bites the dust. Queen?

We’re sacking you as musical director, they threatened. I never asked to be anyway, I retorted, stung.

So they went with:

You raise me up. Il Divo.

I first and last heard this at very loved one’s wedding. The bride’s mum asked for it. The officiating priest was drunk as. The quartet, dependent on his erratic cues, got themselves right out of sync. The bride docked the priest ten dollars from his fee for every mistake he made, and twenty dollars for asking the groom if he wanted to marry himself.

At the reception the good father spent much of his time on his mobile, betting on the horses. Then he danced with me and said, Jennifer, I’m a better drinker than dancer, and I was forced to agree. There are photos of me holding him up. It was the best wedding any of us have ever attended.

Bridge over troubled waters. Johnny Cash

Come Healing. Leonard Cohen. (If they refused Leonard Cohen I was done with them. Forever.)

Thank you for the music. Abba. A good metaphorical note to go out on, I think.


As for the Sex Pistols, and the Dropkick Murphys – they’re on my funeral playlist.

And this one:


Vaya Con Dios, R.N.





8 Responses to “Funeral music”

  1. Roz Vecsey May 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    In the eighties and nineties I was reluctantly involved in helping arrange funerals for many friends that had died of AIDS.
    As many of them knew they were dying they planned ahead and scheduled songs like Ding Dong the Witch is Dead and Disco Inferno (Burn Bay Burn).
    It certainly challenged the funeral status quo at the time.
    One friend was a huge Abba fan, we were determined to get at least one track in, his mother knocked back our first choice, Dancing Queen so we went with Thank You for the Music, 20+ years on I still can’t listen to it without simultaneously laughing and crying.
    As for me Joan Armatrading’s More than one kind of Love is in, still thinking about The Dead Kennedys and Too Drunk to Fuck.
    One thing I have demanded though is a blue coffin, as the curtains close at the crem the Tardis sound effect will boom through the PA!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson May 15, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      Ha! I love that last paragraph!
      I want to be as transgressive and subversive in my death as I’ve tried to be in my life.


      • hudsongodfrey May 15, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

        Did they every play Tomorrow Wendy by Concrete Blonde. Seems appropriate, also desperately sad, but if you’re not going to be sad at a funeral?

        Liked by 1 person

        • hudsongodfrey May 15, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

          Sorry that was for Roz


  2. doug quixote May 16, 2015 at 12:22 am #

    I want the music for the funeral of Queen Mary:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. doug quixote May 16, 2015 at 12:44 am #

    Or perhaps Mozart’s Requiem:

    I manage to ignore the religious content. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hudsongodfrey May 16, 2015 at 1:32 am #

    Everyone plays Always Look on the Bright Side of Life these days don’t they?
    To me Python and funerals brings to mind Cleese’s brilliant eulogy for Graham Chapman during which he claimed the right to be “the first person ever at a British memorial service to say Fuck.”

    I Love Cash’s version of Bridge over troubled water.

    I’m told some people play Ding-dong the Witch is Dead from the Wizard of Oz. If I was planning my own send off then maybe I’d be up for that or Roz’s suggestion Too Drunk to Fuck by the Dead Kennedys, just because I’d be tempted to make people uncomfortable one last time after I was gone.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with including something the deceased loved during their life. In my case I’d hope for something by Bob Dylan, maybe Don’t think twice, and the Velvets’ Sweet Jane.

    But send me off with the extended instrumental version of Little Wing. If I need to explain why then you need an excuse to listen to it, and that’s probably where we differ.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. helvityni May 18, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    For my funeral, it has to be Leonard Cohen, and him only, it was love at the first hearing… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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