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Dead can dance: Pop hits oust classical tunes from funerals

Published time: October 15, 2012 14:45
Edited time: October 15, 2012 18:45
Reuters / Paul McErlane

Reuters / Paul McErlane

Nobody wants to get bored at funerals; a recent survey has shown that more and more people in the UK prefer to choose pop ballads to accompany them in their last journeys. Mozart’s Requiem is not “what the doctor ordered” any more.

­A survey commissioned by Co-operative Funeralcare found that pop music was the number one request at more than 30,000 British funerals over the past 12 months, with only 4% of mourners opting for classical music, the Guardian reported.

My Way by Frank Sinatra remained the favorite for a record seventh year, requested at 15% of funerals. It was wrestled only once, ten years ago, by Bette Midler's heartbreaker ‘Wind beneath my wings’.

Grammy award winner Adele is also featured in “funeral music charts”. Her Someone Like You ballad, inspired by a broken relationship with her boyfriend, is at number 22.

In 2005 hymns accounted for 41% of funeral music requests, but in the past 12 months the figure has fallen to 30%, the Guardian reports.

The Co-op has surveyed 250 of its 900 funeral homes across Britain, which together carried out some 30,000 funerals over the last year. While the most popular hymn was Abide with Me, and the top classical piece was Elgar's Nimrod, a number of funerals reflected a more humorous, if not sarcastic, approach. Eric Idle's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, for instance, is the 13th most popular music choice.

A quarter of funeral homes reportedly refused to play a piece of music on the grounds of taste, usually because clergy felt the choice was inappropriate. These included John Lennon's Imagine, with the line‚ "Imagine there's no heaven …"