Category Archives: funeral music

funeral music

Planning your funeral  in advance

Planning your funeral.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Planning a funeral can be hard when a loved one has died. Often you have nothing to show what they would have liked, just the conflicting views of family and friends. At a highly emotional time, that can be a recipe for disaster in even the happiest of families.

It has to be better to plan your own funeral.   Prepaying is a big part of that, but setting out more detailed wishes can pour oil on troubled waters. At the very least, it makes it easier for those arranging the funeral – if anyone disagrees, they have the perfect answer – you made it clear that was what you wanted.   End of argument!

Some of the decisions in planning your own funeral.

  • Which funeral plan?  

Many plans have hidden charges if you make changes, or there may be problems if the undertaker is taken over or goes out of business. Many firms make a substantial charge if you decide to move out of the immediate area of the original undertaker, perhaps to be near your children, or to find a decent care home.

  •  Burial or cremation?

Burial plots are rapidly running out in many areas, and often only reused ones are available.   It may not be possible to buy a burial plot where you wish to be at all. If it is possible, you will probably need to book and pay for it now, with just the other costs surrounding the actual burial process to be paid at the time.

In some areas, Natural Burial Grounds are becoming more widely available, and that is another alternative, as is burying your ashes rather than all of you.

Most people these days are cremated and have service at the crematorium rather than in a church or whatever your religious preference is. As long as your feelings are clear, of course. Some people want a memorial service in the church, before going on to the crematorium. This costs more as two undertakers or more will be working for longer, and the hearse will cover more miles too.

  • Coffins.

WIll you have a basic standard coffin or more expensive eco-friendly or wooden? Take a look at some of the more unusual ones.  Is it for burial or cremation?

  • Memorial

Is there to be a headstone or some other semi-permanent memorial? These are not included in normal funeral plans.

  • Music.

Do you want to leave the choice of music to others, or to arrange for your favourite pieces of music or hymns to be played as part of your Funeral Plan?  Which music means a lot to you?

  •  Newspaper notices.

Notices in local or sometimes national or trade newspaper are an important way to let people know about the funeral arrangements. Again, these are not including in standard funeral plans.

  • Transport.

Do you may want to decide, for example on:

– An alternative form of transport such as a horse drawn hearse or motorcycle hearse.

– Limousines for the funeral (most can carry six people). None? One, two or even more?

– Where the funeral procession will leave from and whether it will take a special route. That takes us back to where the service will be help.   Some people want to be taken past their favourite spots one last time.

  • Flowers

are not generally included in funeral plans, but you can include your choice of flowers, and just include an allowance for the cost. Some people don’t want flowers but:

  • Donations:

you can request that donations are made to a charity or other organisation.

  • Funeral Stationery,

You may want to choose a design, reading or wording for an order of service booklet for your funeral.

  • The Wake:

there is no reason why you can’t include an amount to cover the cost of the catering, venue and (if so inclined) drinks.

  • Summary

Planning your own funeral is a really thoughtful thing to do for those left behind,

Bright Side of Life

The Final Countdown: Funerals march to a different tune as Brits “look on the bright side of life”

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quote

Funerals are marching to a different tune as Brits “look on the bright side of life” and pick music from personal playlists when the curtain closes and it’s time to say goodbye, new research from The Co-operative Funeralcare reveals.

For the first time, Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life tops the chart while the most popular group is Queen with nine tracks requested including Who Wants to Live Forever and Don’t Stop Me Now. Elvis Presley is the most requested solo singer.

The research, carried out by the UK’s largest funeral director, is based on over 30,000 funerals and charts the tunes of choice being played at services to celebrate and remember the lives of loved ones.

Data shows how humour, anthems from the football terraces, film and TV scores and, poignant pop songs are evoking emotions and providing the soundtrack to people’s lives, making up 60% of the ten most popular choices and ahead of many traditional hymns and classical compositions.

For the first time in over a decade, Frank Sinatra’s My Way has been toppled from the top of popular choices by Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from The Meaning of Life by Monty Python – a comedy troupe that said farewell themselves this year after a series of reunion concerts. Only Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings has achieved this feat before in 2002.

Technology is bringing about another significant change with almost one in five funeral homes highlighting the use of original music either penned by or performed by the deceased.

More than 84% of Funeral Directors say that hymns or classics are declining in popularity quicker than any other music or performance type. The most requested hymn is The Lord is My Shepherd, followed by Abide with Me. The most popular classical piece remains Elgar’s Nimrod – Enigma Variations.

David Collingwood, Operations Director, The Co-operative Funeralcare, said:

“We think we may be seeing a generational shift in attitudes towards funerals, and the choice of music being requested. Music plays such an important part in people’s lives that it now acts as the theme tune to their passing.  Modern funerals are very much about personal choice, which can be reflected in the choice of music, dress, coffin, flowers, hearses or memorials.

“We provide families with a wide range of options and choices to help them to plan and create a fitting tribute, and to ensure that final wishes are fulfilled. We will accommodate any individual request – no matter how unusual, providing it is legal and decent. Lyrics provide poignant words as well as a reminder of a hobby, pastime or sense of humour – the variety of songs played at funerals today illustrates how more and more people are choosing to personalise funerals, and celebrate their loved one’s life with a fitting farewell.”

Fewer songs are also being refused on the grounds of taste. In 2012 one in four funeral homes reported a declined music request while the figure has now dropped to 16% nationwide, with Scotland only having one in ten songs refused.

TV talent show winners have fared their best ever with Susan Boyle, One Direction and Sam Bailey all featuring in the lower reaches of the charts. Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, and Lily Allen’s Christmas hit Somewhere Only We Know, both appear for the first time. While ever-presents include, Robbie Williams, Angels (Number 2), Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bochelli, Time to Say Goodbye (Number 3) and Celine Dion, My Heart Will Go On (Number 13).

The football league of mourners playing their club’s music at a funeral is topped by You’ll Never Walk Alone (adopted by fans of Liverpool FC, Celtic FC), followed by Simply The Best (Rangers FC), I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (West Ham United) and, Blue Moon (Manchester City).

While Frank Sinatra still tops the pop, rock and golden oldies genre, notable new entries in this top 20 include Ellie Goulding – with her first appearance since breaking through in 2010 – with How Long Will I Love You (12), and Sarah McLachlan, with Angel (10).

And, Queen (with nine), followed by Elvis Presley (6), Eva Cassidy (4) and Westlife (4) are the artists with the most tracks requested. However, a number of performers have two or more tracks listed with Coldplay (Fix You, Paradise), Adele (Someone Like You, Make You Feel My Love), Pink Floyd (Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Another Brick in the Wall) and Snow Patrol (Run, Chasing Cars) alongside more traditional numbers by Vera Lynn, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole (each with three tracks).

The top TV Soap theme is Coronation Street, while music from Downton Abbey and Strictly Come Dancing appears for the first time.

All the Charts, and Other Key Findings:

  • Songs refused on the grounds of taste or inappropriate lyric include: Imagine, John Lennon; My Way, Frank Sinatra; Bat out of Hell, Meat Loaf; various Black Sabbath tracks; Eminem; Another one bites the dust, Queen; Relax, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols
  • Performances by singers / musicians (other than organist) remain popular: The most common requests are for pipers / bagpipes in Scotland (25%), and male voice choirs in Wales (33%)
  • Around a third of funeral homes have received unusual or quirky requests, including: mourners to wear fancy-dress such as : Abba theme, Beach Boys / surf theme, Elvis Presley theme, Blues Brother theme, Star Wars music and dress: a request for One direction t-shirts to be worn, football strips to be worn, and guitar shaped floral tributes

Overall Chart:

PositionTrackArtist/ Composer
1Always Look on the Bright Side of LifeEric Idle – From Monty Python’s 1983 film “Meaning of Life”
2The Lord is My Shepherd(Psalm 23/Crimond) Traditional
3Abide with MeTraditional
4Match of the Day themeTheme Tune
5My WayFrank Sinatra
6 All Things Bright and BeautifulTraditional
7AngelsRobbie Williams
8Enigma VariationsNimrod Elgar
9You’ll Never Walk AloneGerry and the Pacemakers (Adopted by fans of Liverpool FC, and Celtic)
10Cricket Theme / Soul LimboTest Match TV Theme / Booker T. & the MG’s
11 Canon in DPachelbel
12Love Theme from Titanic / My Heart Will Go OnCeline Dion
13=Last of the Summer WineTheme Tune
13=Only Fools and HorsesTheme Tune
14Time to Say GoodbyeSarah Brightman & Andrea Bochelli
15Four SeasonsVivaldi
16 Ave MariaSchubert
17Coronation Street TV ThemeTheme Tune
18=You Raise Me UpWestlife
18=Over the Rainbow Eva Cassidy
19Rugby Theme / World in UnionDame Kiri Te Kanawa (and other versions)
20=Nessun DormaPuccini


1Enigma VariationsNimrod Elgar
2Canon in DPachelbel
3Time to Say GoodbyeSarah Brightman & Andrea Bochelli / Katherine Jenkins
4Four SeasonsVivaldi
5Ave MariaSchubert
6=Nessun DormaPuccini
7Pie JesuFaure
8Air on a G StringBach
9Clair De LuneClaude De Bussy
10Cavalleria Rusticanna IntermezzoMascagni
  • Nimrod has remained the most popular classical piece over the last decade
  • In Wales, Katherine Jenkins’ Time to Say Goodbye is the most popular classical piece


1The Lord’s My Shepherd (Psalm 23/Crimond)
2Abide with Me
3All Things Bright and Beautiful
4How Great Thou Art
5Amazing Grace
7Old Rugged Cross
8Morning Has Broken
9=The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended
9=I Watch the Sunrise
10Ave Maria
  • The Lord is My Shepherd has regained the top spot from Abide With Me, it has occupied the number one position in all but one listing since 2005

Pop, Rock and Golden Oldies:

1My WayFrank Sinatra
2AngelsRobbie Williams
3Time to Say GoodbyeSarah Brightman & Andrea Bochelli / Katherine Jenkins
4You Raise Me UpWestlife
5Over the RainbowEva Cassidy
6Wind Beneath My WingsBette Midler
7Simply the BestTina Turner
8You’ll Never Walk AloneGerry & The Pacemakers
9I Will Always Love YouWhitney Houston/Dolly Parton
10AngelSarah McLachlan
11UnforgettableNat King Cole
12How long will I love youEllie Goulding
13My Heart Will Go OnCeline Dion
14 Stairway to heavenLed Zeppelin
15We’ll Meet AgainVera Lynn
16Flying Without WingsWestlife
17Dancing QueenAbba
18Fields of GoldEva Cassidy
19Who wants to live foreverQueen
20Smile NatKing Cole
  • Artists with the most tracks listed are: Queen (9); Elvis Presley (6); Eva Cassidy (4): Westlife (4); Frank Sinatra (3); Susan Boyle (3); Elton John (3); Vera Lynn (3)
  • This is Ellie Goulding’s first appearance since her breakthrough in 2010.


PositionPieceArtist / Composer/Sport or Team
1Match of the Day themeTheme Tune
2You’ll Never Walk AloneGerry and the Pacemakers (Adopted by supporters of Liverpool FC, and Celtic FC)
3Cricket Theme / Soul LimboBooker T. & the MG’s (Test Match TV Theme)
4Rugby Theme / World in UnionDame Kiri Te Kanawa (and other versions)
5Nessun DormaLuciano Pavarotti / Puccini (BBC Coverage of 1990 FIFA World Cup)
6The ChainFleetwood Mac (Synomous with Motor Racing)
7Simply The BestTina Turner (Adopted by supporters of Glasgow Rangers FC)
8I’m Forever Blowing BubblesWest Ham Utd
9Blue MoonManchester City FC
10Grandstand(TV Theme) Theme Tune
  • Other football club’s outside the top 10 include: Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City, Cardiff City, Kilmarnock, Bristol Rovers and Everton’s “Z Cars” Theme.


1Always Look on the Bright Side of LifeEric Idle – From Monty Python’s 1983 film “Meaning of Life”
2Bring me SunshineSynonymous with Morecambe & Wise
3Another one bites the dustQueen
4Ring of fireJohnny Cash
5Don’t worry be happyBobby McFerrin
6Great balls of fireJerry Lee Lewis
7Wish me luck (as you wave me goodbye)Gracie Fields
8Drink up thee ziderThe Wurzles
9Bat out of hellMeat Loaf
10Disco InfernoThe Trammps
  • Countdown and The Great Escape appear in both the humour and TV and Film lists

Film and Television:

PositionTV/FilmArtist / Track
1Monty Python / Meaning of Life Eric Idle / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
2Match of the DayTheme Tune
3TitanicCeline Dion / My Heart Will Go On
4= Last of the Summer WineTheme Tune
4=Only Fools and HorsesTheme Tune
5Coronation StreetTheme Tune
6Morecambe & WiseBring me Sunshine
7The Dam Busters (Film)The Dam Busters March
8EastendersTheme Tune
9EmmerdaleTheme Tune
10The BodyguardWhitney Houston / I will always Love You
  • Coronation Street is the top TV soap theme tune requested
  • Requests for Downton Abbey and Strictly Come Dancing have been recorded for the first time
  • The Archers is the only Radio show to feature, although outside the top 10.

Coop Funeral Planning

Coop: Funeral Planning is on the up

Coop say Funeral Planning is a major growth area for them.  Read what we have to say about Coop Funeral Plans here.   And remember that what follows is Coop Funeral Planning PR!  Recent revelations about their culture rather contradict the PR spin. We have certainly experienced hard sell of their probate services. To have a look at the other funeral plans on the market, some of which may be more suitable for you, visit our list of funeral planning companies.

Coop Funeral Planning.

More and more people are taking steps to ensure they get the send off they want by planning their own ‘bespoke’ funeral.

Overall sales figures issued on 10 October 2011 by one of the UK’s largest providers of funeral plans, The Co-operative, show an overall increase of 10 per cent in the sales of their funeral plans.

The upward trend reflects the value for money that funeral plans represent as funeral costs continue to spiral and the sustained period of low interest rates associated with other types of savings and investments traditionally relied on to cover funeral costs.

The Co-operative has also seen a 22 per cent increase in sales of its personal tailor-made funeral plans in the first half of 2011.

The increase reflects a major shift in people wishing to take more time to plan ahead not only to ensure a much more personalised funeral or celebration of their life but one that is more cost effective as they pay for it at today’s prices no matter when the funeral takes place.

A tailor-made funeral plan gives people complete flexibility – they can choose personal touches like music and dress codes that will make the arrangements really tailored to commemorate their life.

With one in three funerals these days including a pop song or personal theme, such as their football team, and more people preferring a send off that celebrates their life, a tailor-made plan fits what many people today are looking for.

Ian Mackie, managing director of Coop funeral planning  said: “So far in 2011 we have achieved a very successful 10 per cent increase in sales from this time last year. In an increasingly challenging economic climate that’s extremely positive. We are finding that during these tough financial times, people are choosing to invest in more trustworthy brands, such as The Co-operative.

“We are clearly seeing a significant rise in the number of people discussing and formalising their personal wishes not only with their loved ones but by actually buying a tailor-made funeral plan and this makes enormous sense. Funeral plans are a very good method of financial forward planning, as you pay today’s funeral prices for a future service that is fully guaranteed against any price increases.”

Over 100,000 funeral plans were sold across the UK in 2010 showing that more and more people are realising that paying towards and planning their funeral in advance makes financial sense and helps to relieve much of the emotional and costly burden to those left behind.

The Co-operative offers a broad range of  funeral planning options. Of these, the most popular set funeral plans are the Silver plans, representing a third of all sales. These cost around £3,110, (2013 prices) and the benefit of set plans is that they are very simple and straightforward to organise. The Co-operative also provides a number of ways to cover the cost – including 12 months interest free and fixed monthly payments from just £22.26 a month.  (Ed: prices have been reviewed since then)

Additional Information:
The Co-operative movement conducts 1 in 4 funerals in the UK, has over 70 years experience in the funeral market and operates to The Co-operative core values of openness, trust and honesty.

The Co-operative movement owns and operates a total of 1,100 funeral homes across the UK with coverage of 93 per cent of postcode districts. And for set funeral plan holders, no matter where they move to in the UK, their funeral plan can be used at any of its funeral homes without any further costs.

The Co-operative is a member of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). Ian Mackie, managing director of The Co-operative Life Planning, is one of the directors of the FPA.

Coop Funeral planning.

Princess Diana Funeral

Princes Diana Funeral Changed Funerals Forever.

Elton John singing “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Dianas’ funeral broke the nations heart, but in a very positive way it celebrated the life of Diana, and moved funeral music forward into a new era.

Funerals have become much more personalised, and preplanning of funerals has become far more widespread.   The choice of music has become much broader than in earlier times and very much more tailored to the life of the deceased than to the old fashioned funeral dirge.

And it isn’t just the music which has changed: people are being sent off in coloured coffins, coffins painted by the family or by artists or in special shrouds.  They are being buried in forests instead of traditional graveyards.  Some are being transported in tanks, in motorcycle sidecars, rubbish carts (!!) as well as the old standby of a coach and horses.

Still more have decided they want to spend money on becoming memorial diamonds, going up in a firework display or even embarking on their first space trip.  It truly does take all sorts to plan a real personalised funeral in the 21st century!

A good funeral takes a lot of planning, and if you have to go, you might as well do it in a style which will help those left behind.   Taking away at the very least the financial burden of the funeral is a great start, and here are a few more ideas which could help.  They will all need reviewing from time to time, but making a start is always thoughtful.

  • Who should be in charge?                                                                                                                                            A crucial decision if arguments are to be avoided, and one which needs though.
  • Which Music?
  • Who should be invited, and who should be invited but told they are really not expected to travel long distances.                                                                                                                                                       What are their contact details? Make and keep up to date a list of names, addresses, phone numbers and emails.  Funerals are always organised in a hurry, but folk left out can be hurt for the rest of their lives.
  • Who will pay?                                                                                                                  If you have a prepaid funeral plan, make sure people know about it (we provide laminated certificates for people who buy through us).  Have you provided for the inevitable extras which will creep in?  Entertaining is often a substantial expense, and most funeral plans don’t cover the full cost of everything.  If you have an Over 50’s type insurance plan, it will typically have lost most of its’ buying power through inflation, so the shortfall may be a couple of thousand pounds not a few hundred.
  • Where will your funeral be?                                                                                   This can be another source of argument, so make it easy and tell them what you want – and keep it up to date!
  • Who will speak?                                                                                                          Two aspects here, the person who will officiate at the ceremony – may be a clergyman, maybe one of the new breed of lay officiants.   Someone who actually knew you can avoid cringeworthy incidents, otherwise you may want to leave a few notes on the key moments of your life.  Don’t forget to mention your marriage and the births of your children!!!
  • More suggestions?  Please let us know, we want to make this site as helpful as we possibly can.

UK Funeral Customs

Report into UK funeral customs  (Coop PR)

A major cultural shift in the UK’s approach to one of the most fundamental social rites, is highlighted in a new, wide-ranging report, which highlights that over half of today’s funerals are now a celebration of life.

The Ways We Say Goodbye is the first study of its kind to draw information from the arrangements being made at funeral homes across the UK as well as from the public. The Co-operative Funeralcare, the UK’s largest funeral provider responsible for 100,000 funerals each year, conducted the research* across its network of over 850 funeral homes.

Its findings have been backed by the country’s leading funeral historian, Dr Julian Litten, who says, “Funeral traditions are fundamentally changing, and I would expect contemporary funerals to overtake the more traditional sombre events within the next ten years.
“The splendour and ceremony once favoured by the Victorians is returning, but with a modern twist. High profile funerals, such as that of Princess Diana and, more recently, of Jade Goody, have encouraged people to adopt a fresh approach.”

Funeral Directors at The Co-operative Funeralcare report a significant shift-change in funeral preferences in the last five years; requests have included pink Cadillacs, a milk-float cortege, woodland burials and live jazz at the graveside. Mourners are watching firework displays, wearing bright colours, blowing bubbles and releasing balloons during funeral events.

These findings are backed by a new independent ICM survey, commissioned by The Co-operative Funeralcare, of 2,000 British adults**. It revealed that more than half of the population (54%) would prefer their send-off to be a celebration of life than a simple church service with hymns, and almost half of the population (48%) are keen for their funeral to reflect their favourite, hobby, colour, football team or music.

However, while funerals are becoming more contemporary, the subject remains taboo, as 55 per cent of people admit to never having discussed their wishes for their own funeral with friends and family.

The Co-operative Funeralcare’s study of funeral customs in the UK revealed:

  • Half of today’s funerals (49%) are a celebration of life and one in ten includes no religion at all.
  • One in three funerals now includes a favourite pop song, football theme or hobby.
  • In 60% of funerals the deceased is dressed in clothes that reflect their life, job or hobby. More unusual outfit requests have included a clown costume, cyclists’ lycra, fishermen’s waders and divers’ wet suits***. Common requests include wedding dresses, football strips, military uniforms, kilts and bikers leathers.
  • Personalised floral tributes, such as to ‘Mum’ or Dad,’ are seen at around 35% per cent of funerals. More unusual floral arrangements have included a pint of Guinness, a cricket bat and a pigeon.
  • One in 20 coffins is bespoke; requests have included a Lancaster bomber, a tardis and a yacht. The choice of materials now includes wood, cardboard, wicker and even British wool.
  • Religious music is declining with contemporary music, from love songs to favourite TV programme themes increasing in popularity. The most popular songs are My Way (Frank Sinatra or Shirley Bassey), Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler or Celine Dion) and Time To Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli)****.
  • Requests for funeral ceremonies to be broadcasted live over the internet to allow friends and family to view at home or abroad are increasing.

Commenting on the research findings, David Collingwood, UK Operations Manager, The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “Our research, the largest study of funeral customs ever carried out, reveals a significant shift in attitude across the UK. Funeral directors are going to great lengths to accommodate a wide range of special requests, as funerals become more a celebration of life.

“Along with the rise in contemporary funerals there is more interest in woodland burials and coffins made of cardboard or wicker.”

‘The Ways We Say Goodbye booklet has been produced by The Co-operative Funeralcare and will be available from its 850 funeral homes across the UK. A copy of the booklet can also be downloaded from The Co-operative Funeralcare website:

Additional information
*The research into customs and practices was conducted among Funeral Directors from 559 of The Co-operative Funeralcare’s funeral homes. Its key findings were:

  • 49% of funerals where tone is of celebration rather than mourning
  • 67% traditional funerals, 21% contemporary, 12% humanist
  • 31% of funerals involve personal input from mourners
  • 35% involve flowers personalised to deceased
  • 6% of coffins personalised
  • 59% of deceased dressed in their own clothes
  • 36% of funerals have purely religious music, 64% contemporary, classical or mixture of music

**2,000 British adults were polled by ICM Omnibus. Thinking about your funeral would you prefer it to be?

  • a celebration which is more personal to you 54%
  • traditional (such as a church service) 27%
  • Have you ever discussed with family and friends what you would like for your own funeral?   yes 41%  no 55%

Would you like your funeral to be personalised to reflect any of the following?

  • music by favourite artist 40%
  • favourite hobby 12%
  • favourite colour 13% of female respondents
  • favourite football team 10% of male respondents
  • net: music, hobby, colour, football team 48%

***Although these requests have been made, they cannot all be accommodated due to cremation regulations in some areas.

****Top ten funeral songs in 2009:

  • My Way – Frank Sinatra/Shirley Bassey
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler/Celine Dion
  • Time To Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli
  • Angels – Robbie Williams
  • Over The Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
  • You Raise Me Up – Westlife/Boyzone/Josh Grobin
  • My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
  • I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
  • You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and the Pacemakers
  • Unforgettable – Nat King Cole


Funeral Customs in the UK