The Brighton Argus covered the story of a local church funeral at which a mobile phone went off…and the ringtone was ‘Staying Alive’, the Bee Gee’s hit.
The most interesting part of this rather amusing story is the comments on the paper’s website. Most contributors thought this was funny and many suggested suitable secular songs which they wanted for their funerals.
Earlier this month, on the west coast of the US rather than the south coast of the UK, a ‘pop culture’ journalist posted a blog on the songs he wanted played at his funeral.
At the time of writing, 105 comments had been posted with the most diverse, quirky, in some case shocking, selections of songs. And these have been ‘liked’ (and occasionally ‘disliked’) often by ten or more people.
And in my email inbox today somebody asked how they could contribute the five songs they wanted to be remembered by. When this selection comes through it will be the 74th contribution.
Google ‘funeral songs’ and you’ll find pages of websites with lists of suggested tracks, though with the same ten or so tracks often appearing.
My Last Song appears on page 2, which we hope to improve on, but you get my drift…this interest in personal choices of music to mark your ending is growing in popularity. I’m frequently interviewed on local radio stations to discuss ‘funeral music’ presumably because the editors and presenters know funeral songs interest their audiences.
What does this prove? I rather agree with Charles Cowling, author of the Good Funeral Guide, who believes that the baby boomer generation are now addressing their mortality and are redefining death culture as they redefined youth culture in the 1960s.
Not for them the dreary, dull and depressing traditional funerals with a couple of Victorian songs expressing religious sentiments when they have few if any religious beliefs.
No, increasingly this group want to be remembered by a positive, celebratory and personal ceremony. All Things Bright and Beautiful is out, What A Wonderful World is in.
So I think the future is looking bright for the increasing number of companies, some of them joined in a loose alliance known as the Farewell Innovators, positioned to give this market what it needs, not what rather traditional and inflexible funeral directors, think is right for it.