For all the programmers reading this – and those who have always aspired to the job – this blog post's for you.
Increasingly, people are putting together playlists designed for specific moments, activities, and milestones in their lives. Whether it's working out, just chillin,' or to recognize a birthday or anniversary, there's no better way to say it than with a heartfelt selection of songs, personally selected by you.
As my music tastes matured, it was the audio cassette that became my format of choice. I can't tell you how many “mix tapes” I put together like the ones pictured above – for special occasions, events, and celebrations. In many ways, it's not dissimilar to what PDs do when building clocks or how party DJs map out the ebb and flow of an evening.
Today, with Spotify and other services, building playlists has become a routine activity for millions of people – a means of musical expression that makes a statement about who we are. And even better, we can easily share them with others.
But then there's the serious and solemn issue of your last playlist – the one that will play at your funeral. It's the moment where the story of your life will be told, in front of the people who meant the most to you. This is one playlist that you want to get right.
There may not be an app for that, but there is a credible service that can help you get started. And they know their stuff.
Co-op Funeralcare is the leader in the UK for internment. The co-op represents 3,750 facilities throughout Great Britain. These guys conduct upwards of 100,000 funerals annually so they've heard some great playlists – and some real stiffs. And it turns out, they're been releasing “hot lists” of funeral songs since 2002.
Looking at 12+ funerals – the whole enchilada – here's their Top 10:
For the first time since they've been building these charts, no hymns made the list. Sadly, the music industry has cut back on promotion, leaving hymns like “The Lord is my Shepherd” as a recurrent this year – at best. You can imagine the late, great Casey Kasem talking up the intros of these songs – and always hitting the post.
There's room for new blood on this chart. Note that Westlife (from Ireland) and Ed Sheeran made the cut. But it's still “Old Blues Eyes' at the top of the chart, right in the prime position he was the year before. A surprise (to me) was the absence of Louis Armstrong's “What A Wonderful World” (it came in at #1 on their Jazz list). But WMGK's John DeBella will be pleased to learn his sign-off song – “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python's Eric Idle – is still hanging in there at #10.
Just as in radio, there are format stories where you dig deeper into the data. The Co-Op Funeralcare team says Pop is the leader for most desired genre (25%), followed closely by Classical (20%) and Rock (19%).
Of course, I was especially interested in seeing what made the Rock Top 10 – and not surprisingly, it's almost all Classic Rock:
Note there are four Queen songs on the list of rock's macabre ten, suggesting the need for a little artist separation. “Who Wants To Live Forever” and “The Show Must Go On” are new to this list, perhaps driven by the success of the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Just like on those Memorial Day 500 countdowns, “Stairway To Heaven” is #1 – as it was last year, despite the obvious burn and repetition. “Stairway”‘s probably topped this list most years since Co-Op Funeralcare started posting these charts. I was expecting to see Elton John's “Funeral For A Friend” make the cut (it's long but it would keep mourners in the pews), and perhaps even Eric Clapton's sad, sad “Tears In Heaven.” Or perhaps the most glaring omission – Blue Oyster Cult's classic “(Don't Fear) The Reaper.” Entries with more satanic overtones like “Bat Out Of Hell” and “Highway To Hell” may have prevented these titles from creeping into the top 10.
This is another sign of the power of music. We take it with us everywhere – at home, at work, in the car, and even to the grave.
To see the other lists for genres like Blues, Hymns, Jazz, Country, Sports, etc., click here.
Meantime, what would be your pick-to-click when the Grim Reaper arrives?