More controversial choices include ‘F*** Forever’ by Babyshambles

WHAT song do you want played at your funeral? Gerry and the Pacemaker’s emotional melody You’ll Never Walk Alone has hit the top spot in Co-op Funeralcare’s annual music chart of most popular farewell songs – knocking perennial favourite, Frank Sinatra’s My Way from the number one position.

My father loved the song 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' because, just like him, it was full of hope

Among the more controversial requests received by Co-op Funeralcare colleagues are W.A.P by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion, Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys, Fuck Forever by Babyshambles, Ha Ha You’re Dead by Green Day, and Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead from The Wizard of Oz. Potentially offensive songs are often refused by a third-party, such as the chosen venue or person ordaining the funeral.

Gerry And The Pacemakers Group Photo 1964 Gerry Marsden Youll Never Walk Alone
The hit song by Gerry and the Pacemakers originally came from the musical 'Carousel'

Co-op Funeralcare’s data reveals that the hit song by Gerry & the Pacemakers has been played at an estimated 9,500 funerals over the past year. 

Gerry Marsden's biggest hit was in fact a cover version. In various interviews, he explained that in the early 1960s he’d gone to watch a Laurel & Hardy film at the cinema and because it was raining, decided to stay for the second part of a double feature. The film was Carousel and he was so moved by the lyrics of You’ll Never Walk Alone that he was determined the band should include it in their set. 

The anthem, which spent four weeks at number one in 1963, captured the nation’s Covid-stricken heart last April when it was covered by Michael Ball, Sir Captain Tom Moore and the NHS Voices of Care Choir last April to raise money for charity.

The Greatest Showman This Is Me Funeral Charts
'This Is Me' from The Greatest Showman enters the funeral charts

In another shift, the top ten features a number of surprisingly upbeat new entries including Tina Turner’s feelgood hit Simply the Best at number four and Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain – whose electric riffs are used in Grand Prix television packages – at number seven. 

Meanwhile, The Greatest Showman’s rousing theatrical showstopper This Is Me enters the chart for the first time at number ten, proving that for many, sad downbeat and melancholic songs could be falling out of favour.

The historical music chart, which is now celebrating its 20th year having first launched in 2002, is based on data and insights from Co-op Funeralcare’s own funeral directors and arrangers, who conduct approximately 100,000 funerals a year.

In the top ten contemporary pop songs, hits by Snow Patrol, Freya Ridings, Amy Winehouse and Christina Perri all enter the chart for the first time, whilst film classics such as Titanic’s My Heart Will Go On, Dirty Dancing’s (I’ve had) The Time of My Life and Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You from The Bodyguard all enter the top ten film and television chart.

Captain Tom Moore Hannah Youll Never Walk Alone
Captain Sir Tom Moore with his daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore © Capture The Light Photography

Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of Captain Sir Tom Moore and co-founder of The Captain Tom Foundation, said, “My father loved the song You’ll Never Walk Alone because, just like him, it was full of hope. 

"Right up until his passing, his priority was always to make sure that no-one should feel alone or helpless no matter their age or life circumstance, and that’s one of the reasons he started to walk his laps of our garden last year.

“Whether to me and my family, a stranger in the street, or someone reading about his fundraising on the other side of the world, my father had the unique ability to inspire hope where it was needed most and give a sense of companionship to many. 

"That’s what a powerful song can do as well, which is why I’m comforted to know that my father’s collaboration with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir is continuing his legacy of hope at funerals across the UK when families and loved ones face loss and grief, a feeling that my family knows only too well over the past year.”

For the full 2021 funeral music chart, visit Co-op Funeralcare.

Read next: ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ - unseen footage features in new documentary

Read again: Gerry Marsden - of Merseybeat band ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ - has died

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