IF YOU thought only religious and sentimental songs were played at funerals, you’d be wrong.
Unusual tunes, including the theme from BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses, made up to one quarter of requests received by 242 Co-operative funeral homes over 12 months from February 2008.
Research, released by Co-op Funeralcare yesterday, found AC/DC’s heavy metal classic Highway to Hell and jolly Sound of Music song So Long, Farewell among their bizarre choices.
Other oddballs included Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust and themes from ITV’s Emmerdale and BBC motor show Top Gear. Just over one in ten songs were rejected, usually by clergy who felt the choices were inappropriate.
Frank Sinatra’s My Way remained number one alongside Westlife’s You Raise Me Up and X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke’s version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
Clive Pearson, who runs Pearson Funeral Service, Marsden, said Meatloaf’s rock opera hit Bat Out of Hell and Monty Python comedy tune Always Love on the Bright Side of Life – complete with swearing – were among the weirder requests he’d had.
Mr Pearson added hymns were popular contrary to the Co-op study which found religious songs had yet again decreased in popularity – this time by six per cent in four years.
He said: “I don’t think we’ve ever been asked for anything really inappropriate. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is probably the oddest.
“We’ve had Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye by Vera Lynn.”
The study of 30,000 funerals found tastes in hymns and classical music remained the same with The Lord is my Shepherd and Elgar’s Nimrod in the top spots.
Pipers, the research found, remained the most popular live music.
They featured at just under half of all funerals in this category.
Lorinda Sheasby of Co-op Funeralcare said: “Today’s tear-jerking chart topper is extremely unlikely to be tomorrow’s funeral classic
“But it’s quite possible it will figure highly in the months or even years to come.”