The musicto curator community turns its mind to the end
When my dad died he had a folder in his office called “The Death File” – seriously – it was brilliant. He had all his passwords, life related documents, accesses required – the works. It made the management of his death as easy as it could be. He also had a funeral document – in which he’d written down the music that he wanted played at his ceremony:
- Entrance Music: Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, Ludwig Van Beethoven
- Reflection Music: Queen of the Night Aria, The Magic Flute, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Closing Music: What A Wonderful World, Sung by Louis Armstrong
Dr. Chris McCluskey was a dude!
We threw this idea at the community and here’s the result, we hope you find some inspiration to maybe plan for when it’s your turn to go – trust me – your family will thank you!
Eighteen tracks to be remembered by
Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac
Here’s the thing with choosing a song to go out to – it’s going to be the last thing people really remember of your departure. There’s usually temptation to choose something emotional and melancholic, like the end of Titanic (which I’m obsessed with atm btw – the wreck, not the film)
I think I’d prefer for people to remember me on a brighter note. I like the sentiment of ‘I want to be with you everywhere’, that reassures the mourning masses that I’ve not really gone, I’m still with them – everywhere
…not in like a haunting capacity (that’d be exhausting for me, and I can’t imagine how my perfectionist tendencies would translate into being a high-performing ghost). Just in like, a friendly memory capacity. Don’t think of the sad stuff, think of the happy stuff!
You still better cry though, you’re not made of stone
CRZY – Kehlani
Picking a song that goes out with a bang and feels more of a fun celebration, plus I gotta pick one of my fav female bad bitch songs to honor my addiction to strong female role models (my love of rihanna is probs what i’m known for, but felt like this Kehlani song fit nicer)
Johnny Bristol – I Wouldn’t Change A Thing
Every decision and experience in life, both positive and negative, contribute to personal growth and development. Mistakes teach valuable lessons, and challenges build resilience. When reflecting on your life and past choices, even the regrettable ones, they have led to where you are today. The acknowledgment that without those experiences, you may not have become the person you are, with the wisdom and strength you now possess.
The concept of “if you had to live your life all over” assumes that an alternative reality is possible. However, in the absence of time travel or parallel universes, it’s impossible to truly know what an alternate path might have entailed.
Understanding that your choices were made within a specific context, with the information and circumstances available to you at the time. Hindsight may provide clarity, but it doesn’t negate the authenticity of those past decisions.
You should cherish the relationships, experiences, and opportunities that have enriched your life, even if some of them were fleeting or came with pain. This attitude of gratitude can lead to a more positive outlook on life and greater emotional well-being.
Moreover, the acceptance of one’s past without regrets can foster inner peace. Constantly dwelling on what could have been or wishing for a different past can be emotionally exhausting. By embracing life as it is, you free yourself from the burden of regret and can focus on making the most of the present and future.
Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
I know this is absolute nonsense but – I sometimes think you get given a finite amount of time / energy before you come down and it’s up to you to optimally manage it – ideally you’re able to spread it out and you live until a ripe old age. I’ve always had a high metabolism and have never been able to sit still – whether it’s my body or my mind – something is always working overtime and I kinda suspect that I’m burning up my allocated time and energy a little too quickly. And this would suck because it’s only now in this second half of my life where everything’s coming together and the decades of pursuing a singular vision are becoming manifest. But – should my suspicions turn out to be true – I’d want people to remember just how much I loved being alive and how much I loved being with other people. So yeah – omnipotent being – if you’re reading this – please, don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time!!
In My Life – The Beatles
Hi so after a long time thinking, I would like this played at the end of my funeral.
Since May I have been thinking more about mortality and things as such. I was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on the head of my pancreas, and one in my duodenum, so the thoughts have been there more than I’d like to admit. So I have loved the Beatles forever. This just really fits me and my personality. I couldn’t think of a happier song, but I would want people to be thinking about their favorite memory and smile about the all good times we had together.
Who Says – John Mayer
This song always reminds me of how much life has to offer – travel, love, experiences, and everything beyond that. When I die, I want the ones at my funeral to be reminded of the limitless possibilities ahead of them. I want them to leave with the “I’ll probably do something for myself today” kind of feeling.
Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
This is possibly one of my all time favorite tracks…
Funny enough I’ve never added to a list – maybe I’m subconsciously fearful about overplaying it.
Free Bird opens with a definite farewell vibe – and almost proceeds into a eulogy phase of the track. It takes me back to many farewells of young lives fast lived – and creates a mental montage of those I’ve loved and lost.
I just can’t help shedding a tear when Free Bird catches me by surprise.
WAY BACK HOME – Prince
Lay Me Low – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
When I learned about the theme for this month’s playlist, I knew which absurdly appropriate song to contribute before I even finished reading the guidelines. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Lay Me Low”, by far my favourite track from their 1994 album Let Love In, has been my go-to “exit song” since I first heard it as a 17-year-old. I’ve read somewhere that Cave himself isn’t too fond of this track, but I find the ludicrous pomposity and grandiose proclamations about the aftermath of one’s own death…
They’ll bang a big old gong
The motorcade will be ten miles long
The world will join together for a farewell song
When they put me down below
They’ll sound a flugelhorn
And the sea will rage, and the sky will storm
All man and beast will mourn
When I go
…hilarious — and what better way to approach the inevitability of death than through a little dark humour?
You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson
P.S. Just as the funeral was wrapping up, all of the attendees’ phones suddenly went off at the exact same moment. People began checking their devices, confused about the simultaneous notifications.
They discovered they had each received a voice message from an unknown number. Some chose to ignore it, but others were too curious not to listen. When they played the message, a familiar voice spoke:
“Hey everyone, it’s your old pal sending one last message. I know you all must be missing the good times we shared together. But don’t shed a tear, because I’ll always be with you even if you can’t see me. Just close your eyes and listen with your heart – you’ll hear me whispering “I am here with you, though we’re far apart, you’re always in my heart.” I’ll be singing that song to you all forever. I may be gone but I’m never leaving your hearts. Thanks for the memories friends and family, I love you all so much. Now go live life to the fullest, raise a glass in my memory now and then, and know that I’ll be with you in memory with a big smile.”
At that moment, “You’re Not Alone” started playing over the speakers. It soon became clear – the voice on the recording was his. Even after passing, he found a way to deliver a final goodbye to all who had come to honor him.
A few attendees started crying upon hearing his words one last time. Others smiled fondly, recalling happier memories. But for all present, it was a poignant conclusion to the service, reminding them that though he was gone, his memory would live on through them.
Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
My Song would definitely be „Welcome to the Black Parade“. I don’t want my Friends and Family to be sad after I’ve passed and I think only hearing the iconic G note in the beginning will put a smile on most of their faces. And for those who don’t get it, the song holds a message I want all of them to remember: that even when I‘m gone, they should carry on with their lives and keep the memories we made close to their hearts!
A Pillow Of Winds – Pink Floyd
The melody transports your mind to a serene state, while the lyrics embark on a journey celebrating the beauty of life’s simple pleasures. When you close your eyes, tranquility envelops you. Embracing the concept of death as a companion, I live each day without regrets, savoring the present moment. Whether my time ends now or later, I’m content and grateful for the incredible life I’ve experienced. The journey persists, regardless.
Die with a Smile – FKJ
This might sound crazy but I already have a playlist of songs that I would want for them to be played at my funeral -for the exit music it could have been either Catch the Rainbow by Rainbow or The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd, both have beautiful vocal rock singers that give an ethereal and raw feel to the songs and that would be a great tone to set at a funeral – but – for this list I’m going with Die with a Smile by FKJ – it gives an assurance that I wouldn’t have died with regrets, followed by lively sounds of the saxophone and the base guitar which also assure that I was groovy person.
Keep Me In Your Heart – Jorge Calderon
“Sometimes when you’re doing simple things around the house, maybe you’ll think of me and smile”
Like most of us, I don’t expect to be immortalised by my talent and good looks after I’m gone, nor do I believe in spending too much precious time looking backwards, but I hope I’ll be remembered fondly and occasionally by the people I leave behind. This song sums up that sentiment for me exquisitely.
Taken from the Warren Zevon tribute album Enjoy Every Sandwich, ‘Keep Me in Your Heart’ was co-written by Calderon with the man himself for Zevon’s poignant final album, The Wind, written and recorded when Zevon was dying from lung cancer. There are some other great tracks – and some big stars – on the tribute album, including a version of another exit song, ‘My Ride’s Here’, from Zevon’s previous album, performed by Bruce Springsteen.
Us And Them – Pink Floyd
Actually, there were times in my life when I had to say farewell to my close ones and this song was always echoing in my ears. I can totally imagine Us and Them to be a hymn of reunion at my funeral: anyone who might have been in opposition can in the end reunite because of me. Besides the more literal meaning, I love to think that “Us” refers to us mortals and “Them” represents who already passed: in the end we always think about them and feel them present, so much that in solemn moments like a funeral we don’t know “which is which and who is who” and “in the end it’s only round ‘n round”
Some Day I Will Lead The Parade – Patty Loveless
Someday I Will Lead the Parade” – I like the fact that it allows me to get the last word in and send a few messages to certain individuals, if they’re listening. It also encompasses melancholy, reconciliation, truth, hope and a touch of bittersweet optimism. Lastly, it conveys to those whom they thought I had forgotten (in a positive light or negative) – I didn’t.
In Paradisum – Peter Sauleda
In Paradisum takes you to another dimension, a nice place for contemplation.
Ave Maria, D. 839 – Franz Schubert
While I’ve pondered many irreverent songs that would match my more humorous side, when it comes down to it, I really think I’d go with Ave Maria playing at the end of my funeral. I’ve been to countless Catholic funerals where this is played after Communion and I have always been drawn to it. It is dramatic, heart wrenching and beautiful all at the same time. I don’t know much Latin besides some prayers that I’ve recited in church, but I do love the language. I’d love for it to be sung by a gorgeous female voice that has an amazing set of lungs, accompanied only by a piano. I know when people hear it they will shed some tears, but I really want them to take in the beauty of the song and know that I loved them and will be watching over them.
Want more musicto community lists? Check out our previous playlisticles: Songs About Hating Your Job, Groove in Green, 16 Top Cover Songs, 10 Songs to Stargaze, 6 Songs for the Future, Sounds like David Bowie, 7 Misheard Songs, Censored, 15 Great Songs for your Vampire Ball, 11 Powerful Songs in Flim, 7 Top Cowbell Songs,