Here are the most popular songs played at funerals

By Alma Fabiani

Published Jun 25, 2020 at 04:43 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Death has always been something in the back of my mind. Not as something I should be worrying about—not just yet at least—but more as an unavoidable topic that everyone still tries to shy away from. I’ve previously looked into the rise of death wellness, the emergence of tech startups in the funeral business and wondered what happens to our social media profiles after our death. You could say it’s my thing. That’s why, this time, I asked myself about funeral ceremonies specifically and which songs people usually pick. Do they mostly go for mood boosters or follow the theme and go for sad songs?

To help me answer these questions, I used data collected by Reassured from over 2,000 Spotify playlists in order to find out which songs and artists appeared the most in playlists featuring the terms ‘funeral songs’ ‘funerals’ and ‘grief’. The top tracks were then put together to find the most popular songs to play at a funeral. There even is a playlist (to enjoy responsibly).

When I asked my friends about their own pick, the genres seemed to be quite mixed—from ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman and ‘Hide and Seek’ by Imogen Heap to ‘Lady Science’ by Soul Capsule and The Avengers’ theme song—some people wanted something sad, others wanted nostalgia while a few wanted a funky or even dramatic exit. But what about the majority of people?

The tracks that appeared most often when all funeral playlists were analysed

The track ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa is the number one song people used in funerals playlists with 101 appearances, which probably came from the fact that the song was in the soundtrack of Fast & Furious 7 which was released just after the death of Paul Walker who played the lead role of Brian O’Conner in the movie franchise. Just behind is ‘Tears in Heaven’ by Eric Clapton with 59 uses. In third place is ‘Supermarket Flower’ by Ed Sheeran, which was included in 56 playlists with the term ‘funeral’ in their name.

What about the rest of the top ten?

Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ comes in fourth place, followed by ‘Wish You Were Here’ by Pink Floyd—a track to expect due to its obvious title. Artists such as Coldplay, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac also made it to the top ten.

What makes a top 10 track?

While some of those songs are almost evident choices, others seem to stand out more. So what exactly makes the ‘perfect’ funeral or grieving track? According to Reassured’s survey results, a song needs to be around 278 second long, have a tempo of 103 beats per minute, and it needs to have been released during the 1970s among other things in order to be the first choice for someone’s funeral. But what about the artists that appeared most often when all funeral playlists were analysed?

Most listened to artists in playlists including ‘funeral’ or ‘grief’ in their title

In that following order in the top 4 are Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Wiz Khalifa and The Beatles. In fifth place comes Coldplay, followed by Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Fleetwood Mac, Linkin Park and Whitney Houston.

Most popular genres played at funerals

Funerals are not the best gig to DJ at, that’s for sure. But deciding what kind of music genre to go for in these situations is a tricky task to have. Based on Spotify’s many funeral playlists, pop is the genre most users go for. Just behind comes rock, followed by folk-pop and modern rock. Pop rock is the fifth most popular genre, while rap comes after and neo mellow (whatever that is) in seventh place. Indie pop, pop rap and album rock are the last three genres included in the top 10.

The research includes more details about the specifics of what makes a perfect song to grieve to or the most listened to artists in playlists including the term ‘grief’. Songs like ‘The Funeral’ by Band Of Horses also make regular appearances there. Hopefully, this gave you an insight into what people go for when it comes to funeral songs. Now, when planning your own exit party—there’s no shame in that—make sure you create the perfect playlist for your loved ones to play. My number one track? Definitely ‘Free’ by Ultra Naté, just because I want to go out with a bang(er).

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