Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Requiem for Dirge as Mourners Pick Pop

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Requiem for Dirge as Mourners Pick Pop

Article excerpt

Byline: By Julia Kennard

Forget hymns like The Lord Is My Shepherd, people are increasingly wanting their loved ones to know they did things their way during their final farewell.

The Frank Sinatra classic My Way has come out on top of a list of pop songs chosen for funerals.

A survey has revealed that people are increasingly picking disco favourites and rock tunes to be played instead of traditional religious songs.

A review of funeral ceremonies by Co-operative Funeralcare, which conducts more than 80,000 services annually, shows that traditional hymns are giving way to life-affirming pop ballads and even light-hearted comedy songs.

The research shows that My Way or Robbie Williams's Angels are almost as likely to see people over to the other side as Abide With Me.

Funeral directors say the music being chosen for funerals shows that pop music is playing an increasingly important role in modern life.

Co-operative Funeralcare's sector manager Kevin McAlister said: "Funeral music provides us with an invaluable insight into the influences at work in UK society. Tradition is still very much evident in favourite hymns, while we have a growing number of people who feel that modern themes are entirely appropriate.

"Many now mix the two in funeral ceremonies and it's clear that they are being influenced by the television programmes or films they watch." The survey lists unlikely songs, such as Simply the Best by Tina Turner and My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, in the top 10 of modern songs chosen at funerals.

Contemporary tunes account for more than 40% of music played at funerals, though traditional hymns and pieces of classical music are also popular.

Some of the more unusual requests to undertakers in the past year include the themes to TV soaps Coronation Street and EastEnders, The Birdy Song, The Laughing Policeman and even the sound of trains shunting in sidings.

Top 10 popular songs played at funerals:

1. My Way by Frank Sinatra

2. Wind Beneath My Wings Bette Midler

3. Angels by Robbie Williams

4. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

5. Simply the Best by Tina Turner

6. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

7. You'll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers

8. Over the Rainbow by Eva Cassidy

9. Time to Say Goodbye by Sarah Brightman

10. We'll Meet Again by Dame Vera Lynn

Top 10 hymns:

1. The Lord is My Shepherd

2. Abide With Me

3. All Things Bright and Beautiful

4. Old Rugged Cross

5. Amazing Grace

6. The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended

7. How Great Thou Art

8. Jerusalem

9. Morning Has Broken.

10. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Top 10 Classical:

1.Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Elgar

2.Ave Maria by Schubert

3. …

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