This Day in Music, August 8: When I'm Dead And Gone

By , Contributor

On this day in 2002, the UK's biggest undertakers, Co-Op Funeral Services, reported that bereaved families preferred pop songs to hymns at funerals. Top of the list was “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler. Other songs included “Angels” by Robbie Williams and “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. They also reported some unusual choices, including “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

In the age of the Interweb, Facetwit, and Googletube, "your death song" has become a talking point amongst all age groups (but more so with younger people). What song would you have played at your funeral? Just as the casket disappears and takes you to the great gig in the sky, what would you like to torment your family and friends with? A tune your other half despised? A song with a hidden meaning? Or just something which is plain daft and would hopefully lighten up what will inevitably be a long, sad, and depressing day (for others).

I haven’t quite decided on mine yet. Maybe a Beatles tune. Maybe the Beach Boys or Led Zeppelin, or maybe Lou Reed's “Perfect Day”. I love that song... no, how about Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”? Would you want the congregation to join in on the chorus?

So always look on the bright side of death [whistle]
Just before you draw your terminal breath [whistle]
Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it...

I think so.

Some songs are begging to be played at a funeral service:

Traveling Wilburys - "End Of The Line"
Led Zeppelin - "Stairway To Heaven"
Bob Dylan - "Knocking on Heaven's Door"
The Jam - "Going Underground"
The Doors - "Break on Through"
Bee Gees - "Staying Alive"
Norman Greenbaum - "Spirit In The Sky"
R.E.M. - "Try Not To Breathe"
AC/DC - "Highway to Hell"
Prodigy - "Firestarter" (now this is getting silly)

Anyway, it’s a bit of a new phenomenon all this planning your own death song but whatever floats your coffin...

The recently departed and already missed Amy Winehouse had two songs by one of her favorite artists played at her recent funeral: Carole King's “So Far Away” (apparently her favorite song) and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”

Over to you. What song would you have?


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A former musician, Neil was in the 80's group The Cheaters who were once signed to EMI's Parlophone label, and released three albums. He was also a radio presenter and is still a regular music pundit on various BBC stations. Neil is the founder of the award winning web site This Day in Music which is…

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