Worst funeral songs #1 – My Way

Charles Cowling

There was a little light larking at the Dead Interesting blog last week as we debated best funeral songs for atheists. Off the tops of our heads we came up with You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – Bob Dylan, No God – Darkest Hour, Heaven is a Place on Earth – Belinda Carlisle, and, from Rupert, a variation on the famous Bob Marley song: No Jesus, No Cry. Perhaps you can think of others?

Then I found this string over at Fluther in response to: What would be an inappropriate song to play at a funeral? Most of them are a little weak, but I have to declare a weakness for We’ve Only Just Begun – Carpenters, Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees, and Who Wants To Live Forever? – Queen. Bitches Ain’t Shit by Dr Dre sounds a contemporaneously anarchic note much favoured at Brit funerals. But for me the clear winner is: Anything by ABBA. I don’t know that it’s possible to get inappropriater than that. Made me chuckle for the rest of the day. Oh, except that, now I think of it, Take A Chance On Me has got to be a pretty good way to go for an agnostic:

If you need me, let me know, gonna be around

If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down

If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown

Honey I’m still free

But. Seriously. Worst funeral song. It’s got to be My Way, surely? It’s clear in its renunciation of any divinity (otherwise you’d have done it God’s Way). Nothing wrong with that: it’s a defensible existential stance. But what about the message to spouse/partner, family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours – indeed, every else in the entire world? It’s perfectly clear. I didn’t need you. You meant nothing to me. I did it without you. Yes, and in case you were wondering, I was self-created, too.

For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught

Could there be a more self-regarding, more narcissistic funeral song than this?

I hate it. Got anything worse?

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