Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Funeral Blues

I’ve gotten to that part in High Fidelity where the guys at Championship Vinyl try to decide what songs they want sung/played at their respective funerals. Got me thinking. My tentative top five, in no particular order, and not counting the Mourner’s Kaddish, which is spoken, not sung, at all Jewish funerals:
  1. The Water Is Wide. A traditional piece, I’d most prefer John Gorka’s version. Darcie and I actually sung this together in an empty Bard College chapel, early in our blossoming courtship. We used to sing it to Willow in utero.

  2. That hymn that goes the lord bless thee and keep thee… that turned out to be based on the Jewish welcoming prayer for a new child. We sung this at Willow’s naming ceremony, I think. A startlingly haunting, simple song that a bunch of amateurs can only make more beautiful.

  3. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s posthumously released acoustic moment Life By The Drop. Or his soaring version of Little Wing from the same album. Anyway, something jazzslow by Stevie Ray Vaughn.

  4. I Will, but not the Beatles version. No, the light and warm and female-voiced version, if there is such a thing. Maybe Alison Krauss. But slower.

  5. Deceased Hawaiian guitarist Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, the one with a little bit of What A Wonderful World in it that they played on ER when Mark Greene died.

It’s funny. So many of the people I love will pass on, or have passed on already, without sharing their own funerial playlists. Even though knowing what they’d want (or would have wanted) would be a good way to know them better now, and love them better always, it’s not something that’s likely to come up, and that’s a shame.

Of course, many people might not want music at their funeral, or at least no more than a couple of hymns. But my family is music, my life is music; my love is music, and my death will be music, too. Not maudlin or morbid. Not in a million years.

What songs would you want played at your funeral? If they’re any good, maybe we can do a funeral-themed slow-dance Monday Mosh some week.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:51 PM |

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