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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The most requested funeral song in the United Kingdom

(Credit: Florencia Viadana)

Music

All of us, at one point, have considered the song we’d like to have played at our funeral. Now, thanks to data collated by Co-op Funeralcare, it’s possible to understand the most popular song choice, an effort which was created by a Liverpudlian band…and they are not called The Beatles.

Every year since 2002, the Co-op, the largest funeral provider in the United Kingdom, has been sharing its findings. Since records began, the overarching most-popular track has been Frank Sinatra’s classic, ‘My Way’, which has topped the charts for most of the years.

However, in the latest report by Co-op Funeralcare, ‘My Way’ has been relegated to second place. On the track, Sinatra ponders back upon his life with pride, which makes it easy to understand why the song has become so inextricably linked to funerals and explains its popularity.

David Collingwood, director of funerals at the Co-op, explained the importance of a strong funeral song. In a press statement, he said: “We all live such unique lives, and funerals should completely reflect that. Each element of a funeral is a very personal decision which is why the music choice plays such an important and impactful role.”

Collingwood continued: “We’re always encouraging people to be more open about their funeral wishes, making it clear to their loved ones what they would want for themselves when the time comes. Even knowing what song someone would have wanted can bring such comfort at an incredibly hard time.”

Despite ‘My Way’ being listed as the overwhelming funeral song choice for almost two decades, in 2021, it was displaced by Gerry & The Pacemakers’ ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. The Merseybeat hit is synonymous with football fans thanks to being adopted as an anthem by Liverpool FC and Glasgow Celtic FC, which has helped keep the track alive today. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ celebrates the importance of strength in unity, a poignant reminder during dark times.

Speaking to Liverpool FC in 2013, the late Gerry Marsden from Gerry & The Pacemakers opened up about his feelings about the track’s longevity. Marsden said: “Pride, I think, because when we recorded it we didn’t realise what was going to happen with it and then suddenly the Kop started singing it and continued to sing it, and it went all over the world. So no matter where you go – Australia, Canada, the USA, New Zealand – they all want to hear You’ll Never Walk Alone. It’s all thanks to the Kop, who started singing it, but it’s a song I never thought the Kop would sing.”

He continued: “When we did it, we had our first two records that had gone to No.1 and I remember Brian Epstein and George Martin saying, ‘right, if you could get a third one nobody will ever equal that’. We had just put down ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for our first LP, so I said let’s put that out. Brian wasn’t sure, and George said it’s too slow, but I said let’s put it out because it’s a lovely ballad, and it would be great for me because I like writing ballads.

“They put it out, and within a month, it was number one, and the record of three back-to-back number one’s stood for some time until Holly Johnson, another good Scouser, and his band, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, equalled it. I never thought it would do as well as it did.”

Listen below to Britain’s favourite funeral song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

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