Monday, August 16, 2010

My Least Favorite Funeral Songs

So first a disclaimer. This is entirely my opinion. It is possible that someone may very well think that my least favorite funeral songs are their favorites. (I would love to hear which ones you like/dislike and why.) We have several times done lists of top movies and music we liked, so I figured I would hit on a list of dislikes.

When I was trying to think of why I liked some songs at funerals and not others, there are a few elements of the songs that seemed to sway me. 1. Do I actually like the song (of course)? 2. What is the intent of the song? 3. What thoughts does this song conjure up when I hear it?

These are songs that I have actually heard at funerals. So, in no particular order:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow-I actually do like this song as far as songs go. I don't think it is too emotionally heavy. My issue with it is that every time I hear it I think of Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. And then the next song that pops into my head is... Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. I've heard it at funerals a couple times and it just doesn't put me in a very funeral mindset.

Memory-I don't particularly like this song, but I dislike it for funerals for a similar reason as the above. Every time I hear it I think of dancing people dressed up as cats. Again, weird mindset for a funeral.

Holes in the Floor of Heaven by Steve Wariner-First I'm not a huge country fan but that is not why I don't care for this one. I put this in a group of songs that I consider to be emotional torture. They are the songs that you just know you will get people crying with. If the purpose of a song is to make people more sad and crying, why would you play it at a funeral where people are already sad and crying. (Again, completely my opinion.) If I'm going to cry at a funeral I think it should be for the person who has died, not for the manipulative song.

But in the end, it doesn't really matter what I or anyone else thinks. Writing this post, I looked through a lot of lists of music that are put out as suggestions for funeral songs. Disturbingly, the song my husband and I danced to at our wedding was on a list (Never Tear Us Apart by INXS). I think this just shows that songs take on different meanings to different people. If it gives you peace to play Another Bites the Dust at a loved ones funeral, then I think you should.

14 Responses to “My Least Favorite Funeral Songs”

Anonymous said...
August 16, 2010 at 8:55 PM

I am immediately adding "Another one bites the dust" to my advanced directive!!! Great suggestion.


Meredith Gould said...
August 16, 2010 at 9:13 PM

Thanks for your post.

Being involved with church music ministry means singing for a LOT of funerals and I gotta say I appreciated singing from a loft so that no one could see the eye rolling. Me? I start gagging when "On Eagle's Wings" is on the list.


Christina Kim said...
August 17, 2010 at 3:38 AM

At my father's funeral a few years ago, we played a video photo montage to the tune of "Turn Turn Turn" by the Byrds. It felt appropriate, and not too cheesy.


Anonymous said...
August 17, 2010 at 7:43 AM

Good ones of the country persuasion: "Who Will Sing for Me?" and "Angel Band," both popularized by Emmylou Harris; "Life is Like a Mountain Railroad;""City of New Orleans" and, of course,"We'll Meet Again."


Anonymous said...
August 17, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Ones I like:
Beatles, In My Life
Kansas, Dust in the Wind
Seals and Crofts, We May Never Pass This Way Again

Think I'll add those to my 5 Wishes.

Thanks for the post.


JerseyRN said...
August 17, 2010 at 12:24 PM

"Wind Beneath My Wings"... feh.
But I do like "On Eagles Wings".


Amber Wollesen, MD said...
August 17, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Thanks for all your comments. I've never been one for gospel music but I love Amazing Grace at a funeral. Another good one is My Way. Wikipedia says it is the song most frequently played at British funeral services. The source of that info wasn't cited so who knows.


Susan W Reynolds said...
August 17, 2010 at 6:53 PM

My husband requested at his funeral, Silent Night. The minister prefaced it by saying ," I bet you wonder why we are singing Silent Night in September in the afternoon." He preceded to say that he understood my husband always got his way and the congregation laughed. We still sang the song as the closing hymn. Sometimes It is not about us!


lynda said...
August 19, 2010 at 7:40 AM

I have thought about this and want some tears but also some fun at my funeral:

No Woman No Cry Xavier Rudd

And when I Die Blood, Swat & Tears

Adagio for Strings Opus 11 Barber

Mary Don't You Weep The Swan Silvertones

This May Be the last Time The Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama

Honey on my Grave Red Mollys

Spirit in the Sky Norman Greenberg

Treme Second Line Kermit Ruffin


Leigh said...
August 21, 2010 at 7:09 PM

I absolutely hate "On Eagles Wings."


Laurie said...
September 21, 2010 at 2:46 AM

Several years ago as a long solemn (natch) funeral procession drove by, someone not associated had his car stereo blaring the Stones' "you gotta tell me you're comin' back to me..."


Leigh said...
March 16, 2011 at 11:54 PM

I absolutely hate "On Eagles Wings."


Susan W Reynolds said...
March 16, 2011 at 11:54 PM

My husband requested at his funeral, Silent Night. The minister prefaced it by saying ," I bet you wonder why we are singing Silent Night in September in the afternoon." He preceded to say that he understood my husband always got his way and the congregation laughed. We still sang the song as the closing hymn. Sometimes It is not about us!


Anonymous said...
March 16, 2011 at 11:54 PM

Ones I like:
Beatles, In My Life
Kansas, Dust in the Wind
Seals and Crofts, We May Never Pass This Way Again

Think I'll add those to my 5 Wishes.

Thanks for the post.