Recently my 78 year old mother organised her funeral with the local undertakers or funeral directors as they are commonly called these days. The only thing she did not determine or specify is her funeral songs / soundtrack.
Mum opted for a natural burial and a secular ( non religious ) service in keeping with her atheist beliefs. Logistics organised ( I know that makes her sound like a pallet of goods!! ), the only gaps in the service appear to be the music, which will be left to my siblings and myself. And because it will be a secular affair, the occasion will afford us the opportunity to intersperse the service with pop music rather than hymns.
Selecting Mum’s favourite songs will be “easy peasy” as her favourite songs from the 1960s & 1970s stand out like beacons on the landscape of my childhood memories. The funeral soundtrack would comprise of Al Martino “Spanish Eyes” ( 1973 ), Charles Aznavour “She” ( 1974 ), “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton ( 1975 ) and “Begin the Beguine” by Julio Iglesias ( 1981 ).
As you may have noted Mum’s favourite songs / 7″ vinyl singles from the 1970s tended to have a ballad bias, when perhaps she was going through a more pensive, philosophical phase in her thirties. Her vinyl record collection from the 1960s reflected the energy and vitality of someone in their twenties, but I think we might get away with one raunchy song within her funeral service. “Delilah” by Tom Jones ( 1968 ) is a possibility although my choice would be Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” ( 1966 ) as the coffin and cortege process down the aisle and out of the church into the graveyard ( That would amuse Mum!! ).
There is one glaring omission from my Mum’s funeral songs / soundtrack and that’s a Shirley Bassey number. Although there was no Shirley Bassey singles in her record collection; there were a number of Shirley Bassey albums. As kids there was many a night that my sister and I drifted off to sleep, with the smell of cigar smoke and the sounds of Dame Shirley wafting up the stairs to our bedroom as Mum and Dad entertained friends downstairs in the lounge.
The designated Shirley Bassey song would be one of three: her cover of the Beatles / George Harrison’s “Something” ( 1970 ), the James Bond theme “Diamonds Are Forever” ( 1972 ) or the tormented “Never Never, Never” ( 1973 ). Now that will be a difficult choice when the time comes.
Of course whilst planning Mum’s funeral songs / soundtrack, inevitably I started musing on the options for my own funeral service soundtrack. It didn’t take me long to collate the list and here they are –
1) Terry Jacks – Seasons In The Sun ( 1974 )
2) Guns ‘N’ Roses – November Rain ( 1992 )
3) Genesis – Snowbound ( 1978 )
4) INXS – Never Tear Us Apart ( 1988 )
5) Pink Floyd – Time ( 1973 )
6) Hubert Parry – Jerusalem ( 1916 )
7) Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond / Great Gig In The Sky ( 1973 )
Which funeral songs would you opt for and why? Let us know in the Reply Box below.
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