Please help me choose songs for a funeral
June 5, 2016 5:06 AM   Subscribe

I need 3 songs for a funeral. Specifications within

*Not too sappy/sacharine or melodramatic/morbid but still funeral appropriate
*Probably nice guitar and vocal indiepopfolk stuff maybe? But very open to other genres
*Death was a suicide by fiream so careful with lyrics
*Not a well known song, but still something that's available on iTunes
*She was early 50s, loved life on the farm, animals,
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like the best ideas will be ones that speak to the current situation, or were known to be particular favourites of the deceased...and I don't think I have enough to go on to make those suggestions.

The one that sprang to mind is Crowded House's "She Goes On", which I hear as being about coming to terms with a death and thinking of good memories. I suspect there may be several ways it fails your criteria, and it implies the idea of heaven which may not be your cup of tea, but it might be worth a listen.
posted by Cheese Monster at 5:49 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Patty Griffin's Goodbye is heartbreakingly beautiful, and hopefully not too pointed?
posted by peagood at 6:31 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Presbyterian Guitar by John Hartford is a lovely instrumental.
"Blue" by Lucinda Williams
"The Dolphins" by Linda Ronstadt

(Whatever you choose, do not use Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." It's about death by overdose.)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:48 AM on June 5, 2016

Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven, about the death of his son.

John Lennon's Imagine could also work.

I am sorry for your loss.
posted by FencingGal at 7:14 AM on June 5, 2016

Also Beatles In My Life.
posted by FencingGal at 7:17 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Since she was in fifties
Morning has broken by Cat Stevens
Sad, hopeful, familiar
My condolences to all
posted by SyraCarol at 7:17 AM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Beyond the Grey Sky might be too heavy-handed for the funeral, but it might be helpful for you or any other survivors. My condolences.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:27 AM on June 5, 2016

Pilgrim, by Steve Earle.

Let The Mystery Be, by Iris De Ment
posted by essexjan at 7:31 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

For a Dancer, by Jackson Browne (Linda/Emmylou's version is very nice)

Goodbye My Friend by Karla Bonoff; again I prefer Linda's version).
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:34 AM on June 5, 2016

I'm so sorry for your loss. More info would be helpful, but I'm in your friend's demographic and these are the songs I've requested my kids play at my funeral:

Over the Rainbow, Iz Kamakawiwo╩╗ole
Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
Don't Dream it's Over, Crowded House
Ordinary World, Duran Duran
Given to Fly, Pearl Jam
Someone to Watch Over Me, Ella Fitzgerald
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 8:23 AM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Never Alone by Jim Brickman (with Lady Antebellum) is a positive upbeat one. I believe the lyrics are based on an Irish blessing (or something similar).

May the angels protect you
Trouble neglect you
And heaven accept you when its time to go home
May you always have plenty
The glass never empty
Know in your belly
You're never alone

Also...give a listen to "Good Gifts" by Melanie Doane. I don't know if it would be appropriate for your friend but I listen to it when I think of my grandfather.

Good gifts of love
Good gifts you hand me down
From your first touch
To my wedding gown
Do you even know
What you've given me
Do you even see
That you are wisdom
You are wisdom to me
My song, my soul
You gave so easily
I'll not forget
These gifts to me

I'm sorry for your loss.
posted by MultiFaceted at 8:35 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Who will Sing Me Lullabies? Kate Rusby

Lay me down gently, lay me down low,
I fear I am broken and won't mend, I know.
One thing I ask when the stars light the skies,
Who now will sing me lullabies,
Oh who now will sing me lullabies.

In this big world I'm lonely, for I am but small,
Oh angels in heaven, don't you care for me at all?
You heard my heart breaking for it rang through the skies,
So why don't you sing me lullabies,
Oh why don't you sing me lullabies.

My dear step son is gone but those sweet words do help.
posted by Freedomboy at 8:39 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rise Up, My Love.
posted by BibiRose at 8:49 AM on June 5, 2016

"Blackbird" by the Beatles could fit your needs, as could "Time of Your Life" by Green Day. Depends on whether you're seeking songs to describe your friend or songs to comfort the living.
posted by juniperesque at 9:17 AM on June 5, 2016

The ones I'll be using for mine are

Still, Great Lake Swimmers
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel

Others I've considered:
Float On, Modest Mouse
Send Me On My Way, Rusted Root
Left and Leaving, The Weakerthans

Thanks for asking this, by the way. I was thinking of posting something similar to get additional songs, so I'll be following this closely.
posted by MsMolly at 9:33 AM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Would Tom Waits' Shiver Me Timbers work, perhaps? Lyrics are here.

Sorry for your loss.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on June 5, 2016

I recently discovered this song/video here on MetaFilter. It is called "Moving On" by James. It is incredibly touching; so much so that after having only watched the video once, subsequent listenings to the song render me a crying mess. So be prepared with tissues if you decide to watch.

The song itself is not the least bit saccharine or explicitly maudlin though. The sound/style is sort of uplifting, and some of the lyrics include:

Please don't get me started
Looking backwards to move on.
Strong yet open-hearted,
Accept leaving when leaving's come.

God didn't see it coming,
Never said I love you, hope you knew.
Now my bags are packed and my sails are tacked
And my course is marked by stars,

I'm on my way,
Soon be moving on my way,
Leave a little light on,
Leave a little light on,

Evidently, James wrote the song about his mother's death.

My condolences to you and all of those who loved your friend/family on your loss.
posted by Halo in reverse at 10:47 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am sorry for the need for you to do this. Music helps me find peace and I hope that as you go through all of our songs that you find that peace, too.

Fusco's Song is a secret track at the end of Catie Curtis's album A Crash Course in Roses. It starts about 15-20 seconds after the song "Start Again" ends. The live link that I posted is a good representation of the song, but the recorded version is the one I like. She has a sweet lilt in the live version, and for me I take comfort in hearing the recording, as she is still processing her grief and confusion in the months after Mike's death. Fusco was a friend of mine and this song is dear to me.

The Wood Song is off of the Indigo Girls' Swamp Ophelia album. I've heard it at a handful of funerals over the past twenty years and it's always helped me when trying to journey beyond the grief.

More by Andrew Peterson leans Jesus. It's beautiful and the most obvious about death and how we who are still here cope with it.
posted by ovenmitt at 11:23 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry for your loss.
I heard Harvest Moon by Neil Young at a funeral and it was a lovely fit. Song, Lyrics
It does have some romantic lyrics that may or may not feel right for your situation.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:29 AM on June 5, 2016

I have always thought Drift Away by Dobie Grey is what I want played at my own funeral. Maybe it works for this lady as well?
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:01 PM on June 5, 2016

Beam Me Up - Pink
posted by yawper at 6:44 PM on June 5, 2016

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think the Wailin' Jennys "Away But Never Gone" might work for you. Nice folk sound, mellow, lots of animal mentions, and a closing line that makes it funeral appropriate.

The moon's on its way to its nightly shift, the frogs fill the creek below.
The tall grass waves a farewell to the day, the wind moans sweet and low.
A heron tucks his head in his wing, the fish in the lake float along.
The sun sinks from sight: away, but never gone.

The dawn brings the dew like a thousand jewels, a nest rustles high on a bough.
The blue egg stays warm in the cool of the morn, under a red breast of down.
The clouds turn and stretch, the moon checks its wrist and gathers itself with a yawn,
And winks to the sun: away, but never gone.

*Whistling and humming*

All o'er the world, as it turns and it turns, the stars twinkle off and dawn,
And we come and go: away, but never gone.

posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

No One But You (Only The Good Die Young) by Queen. Kerry Ellis also does a good version.

I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:31 PM on June 5, 2016

Maybe too well known but P!nk - Who Knew has been a huge comfort to me since losing my husband.
James Taylor - You Can Close Your Eyes
posted by buildmyworld at 2:44 PM on June 9, 2016

Thank you everybody... I discovered some beautiful music here! We ended up using Presbyterian Guitar by John Hartford, Sunny Road by Emiliana Torrini and Float by The July.
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 3:48 AM on June 18, 2016

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