Funerals are depressing things. I don’t do well with funerals. I think I may have mentioned that before. The thing is, when I die, I’d like it to not be so depressing. You’ve seen movies like Love Actually where Liam Neeson gives his wife a great send off to Bye Bye Baby. Or any film or TV show where an Irishman dies and they throw a big party at the local pub. Lots of Guinness to go around. Little bit of Danny Boy thrown in for good measure … That’s what I want.
My younger sister and I have discussed this topic at great length over the years. It’s almost like a game. When we go, what should our funeral song be? What would be a great funeral song for the people we know? (although that version of the game can get a little mean – funny as hell, but a little mean).
You can actually go several ways with the funeral song question. I’ve decided to add my go-tos to The Music Challenge list as the following songs always make me think of death and funerals when I hear them. Not that I’ve ever heard a one of them at an actual funeral. In fact, I’m used to hearing rather slow and melancholic hymns, but the bottom line is, when these songs flash across the radio, I have had the thought “THAT would be a GREAT funeral song for…”
Here are my funeral song additions to the list:
16. A horrifically sad sentimental ditty that has your family and peers bawling like babies.
Sarah McLauchlan, I Will Remember (1999)
Don’t be this dead person. It’s bad enough hearing it on every SPCA commercial.
17. Something more subdued yet reflective creating just enough sniffles in the crowd that denotes your life literally brought the audience to tears but not in an Old Yeller way, more like in a Free Willy kind of way.
Billy Joel, The River Of Dreams (1993)
Love this one.
18. A song that sums up your life. Something that really speaks to the time you spent on this Earth.
Tennessee Ernie Ford, Sixteen Tons (1955)
Sums it up for most people …
19. Something celebratory.
Blues Brothers and Ray Charles, Shake a Tail Feather (1980)
Because how awesome would it be to have people grooving at your wake?
20. An inspirational ode to the people of the world.
Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World (1967)
A bit of a tear jerker, but such a great song to go out on.
21. The cruel route (if you hated everyone around you).
Bette Midler, The Wind Beneath My Wings (1988)
Yeah. You really hate people if you play this one.
22. The honest route (if everyone around you hated you).
Meredith Brooks, Bitch (1997)
Not kidding. This one is a frequent flyer on Younger Sister’s and my funeral song list for other people…
23. The cheap laugh.
Monty Python, Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (1979)
Don’t you want your family and friends to smile at least a little bit?
24. My current favorite and possibly the one I will claim as my very own funeral song one day (far far away from today) – a fun one. I know funerals and fun don’t typically mix, but after all of my years, I’ve realized, funerals are for the living. Might as well remind them they are alive. (and that I had pretty damn good taste in music to boot)
James Brown, I Got You (I Feel Good) (1965)
26. And though I absolutely love the man, I already have Clifford’s funeral song picked out.
Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire (1963)
That’s not morbid, right?