Frank Sinatra hit My Way tops the funeral charts as hymns miss out

They were previously a given of any funeral: a religious musical farewell to mark the end of a peron’s life on earth.

Frank Sinatra. Picture: Rex/Shutterstock.

Now traditional hymns are being ditched at funerals in favour of pop hits by artists such as Westlife and Ed Sheeran, according to a report into the most popular tunes played to mark a peron’s passing.

The Frank Sinatra classic My Way is the most popular song played at a funeral last year, the report from Co-op Funeral Services has revealed, followed by Time To Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

For the first time, however, the funeral provider said, no traditional hymns have made the cut. The Lord is my Shepherd – the 23d Psalm – and Abide with me, previously strong contenders in the funeral chart, have been pushed out as Westlife’s You Raise Me Up and Ed Sheeran’s Supermarket Flowers make their debuts in the top ten.

David Collingwood, director of funerals at the Co-op, 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.

“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.”

New requests identified by funeral directors surveyed include George Ezra, Wiz Khalifa, Freya Ridings and Stormzy – perhaps tracks to look out for in future funeral charts.

Other popular tunes which made the top ten were Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable, which rose three places from the previous year. Meanwhile, Robb ie Williams’ Angels saw a return to the chart.

The research revealed a trend in more people keeping music in the family, as a third of people say they would consider asking a relative to do the honour of performing.

Meanwhile, it also revealed a rise in the number of people who made requests for music at their funeral while they were still alive. A quarter of UK adults told researchers that they have already told loved ones which songs they want playing at their funeral, compared to just a fifth in 2016.

Meanwhile, when it comes to music genres, pop proves to be the most popular with a quarter of people revealing they would want such music at their funeral. A further fifth would opt for rock, whilst a fifth would choose classical for their final farewell.

The research also reveals how music affects the mood at a funeral. Over half of those surveyed say music at funerals makes people feel nostalgic. A third said it makes mourners feel sad and a further third argued that it makes people happy. Just a seventh said music makes people laugh. Yet, when considering how UK adults want the music at their own funerals to make people feel, over a quarter agreed they would want the music to make guests laugh, highlighting a trend of funerals becoming more of a joyful celebration in the future, rather than a sad occasion.

Singer Sinitta said: “Music at funerals is such a personal choice and it’s interesting to see that whilst some classics such as ‘My Way’ are here to stay, there’s also a good mix of new music making its way into the chart.”