Funeral Poems, Readings, Music, Quotations & Thoughts

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot!

It isn’t always easy to find the words at a funeral, but the right words mean a lot to a family. We used these words as a short reading for a man who would never have said he wanted poetry at his funeral, and they spoke of happy memories, times spent with his friends and trips to Twickenham with his sons. And of course it is a beautiful song about [...] Read more

Dido's Lament

The Aria is from Henry Purcell's early English Opera of 1689. Dido Queen of Carthage laments the departure of her Trojan lover Aeneas and resolves to die. She sings When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create No trouble, no trouble in thy breast; Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate. Remember me, but ah! forget my fate. It [...] Read more

Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen

Leonard Cohen's beautiful message to his lifelong love Marianne Ihlen, sent as she was dying last year touched many people. He wrote: Well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think [...] Read more

The Top Twenty Tunes for Funerals

'Here We Go' - Britain's Favourite Farewells the Times had and Baby Boomers Jazz up Their Funerals from the Telegraph. The CoOp's latest survey of music chosen for funerals included the news that Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' has been well and truly toppled from the Number One spot by Eric Idle with 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'. It didn't [...] Read more

Where are We Now?

David Bowie's song full of melancholy and longing, but somehow peaceful too: Where are we now? Where are we now? The moment you know You know, you know As long as there’s sun As long as there’s sun As long as there’s rain As long as there’s rain As long as there’s fire As long as there’s fire As long as there’s me As long as there’s you

The Long and Winding Road

What can you say? It sounds more like a Classic with every year that goes by.

Stop All the Clocks

Everybody knows the beautiful poem 'Funeral Blues' by W H Auden used in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Nobody can read it as well as John Hannah did, but here it is recorded as a song by Nemo Shaw.


Nat King Cole Died in 1965 when he was only 46 years old and his daughter Natalie was 15. In 1991 Natalie Cole recorded a duet with the voice of her long dead father - Unforgettable.

Walk On

This blog missed National Poetry Day, but I think it might have been on that day that something half heard on the radio stuck in my mind. Someone was reading what he described as a popular poem which went like this: When you walk through a storm Hold your head up high And don't be afraid of the dark. At the end of the storm Is a golden sky And the [...] Read more

Comedian Frankie Boyle Chooses a Song for his Funeral

In the Guardian last Saturday What is the closest you've ever come to death? - Middlesbrough. What is the most important lesson life has taught you? - People hate jokes. What song would you like played at your funeral?

Eva Cassidy's 'Over the Rainbow'

Another beautiful version of 'Over the Rainbow' by the late Eva Cassidy. Where troubles melt like lemon drops Away above the chimney tops...

'Iz' sings 'Over the Rainbow'

Israel Kamakawiwo`ole was a Hawaiian musician and a campaigner for native Hawaiian rights and Hawaiian independance. His most famous recording is this beautiful and original rendition of 'Over the Rainbow'. Iz died in 1997 aged 38 and towards the end of this video you can see footage of the scattering of his ashes from a traditional catamaran into [...] Read more