Death, despite all the advances of modern witchcraft and wizardry, remains undefeated. It endures as one of the few certainties in life, on par only with taxes and people getting uncomfortable when you talk to them about death. It comes for us all, so we may as well prepare accordingly.
Setting aside the fun stuff, like completing a last will and testament or picking out your pine box, make sure to prioritize the funeral playlist. Your funeral will be the last party you attend and you have full creative control on the soundtrack. Music sets the mood. Music can take an otherwise sad event and temporarily inject joy and lightness into even the heaviest and most somber room.
I've attended (too many) funerals, and without fail the music is a bummer. If you play sad music at a sad party, people are gonna cry. The goal of my festivities will be to keep tears to a minimum, and happy music seems like the best way to ensure success. The other consideration is to pick songs that attendees won't often have to hear; if your happy songs take on an unintended sad-by-association connotation, you want to avoid one that randomly pops up on the radio to ruin someone's day.
With that, the top 5 songs I want played at my funeral:
"When I'm Dead and Gone" by McGuiness Flint
The debut single from English group McGuinness Flint serves as the guiding light for this audio mood board. Mandolin and kazoo, two instruments incapable of sadness, are heavily featured. Vocalist Graham Lyle pleads that when he's dead and gone, nobody mourn beside his grave. We should all be so lucky.
On a day filled with tragedy, avid rock fans learned of other disheartening news that singer/songwriter Tom Petty had suffered from cardiac arrest, with confusing news reports eventually confirming his death.
Petty produced an array of well-known hits throughout his career as both a solo artist and as lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. From "Refugee" to "You Don't Know How it Feels," Petty's craftsmanship as a songwriter proved successful throughout his forty-plus years in the music industry.
With hits like "I Won't Back Down," "Here Comes My Girl," "The Waiting," "Free Fallin," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Don't Come Around Here No More," "Learning to Fly," and "American Girl," there is no lack of favorite songs to choose from when compiling a list of Petty's best. Yet to those fans who stick solely to the hit singles, Petty's discography showcases just as many valid lesser known tracks than those that cracked the Billboard Hot 100.
In honor and remembrance of Petty's legacy in music, here's a list of deep cuts that deserve the attention of your ears:
10. "The Trip to Pirate's Cove" (Mojo, 2010)
Somewhat reminiscent of the songs of old when lyrics were stand-ins for a linear narrative, this track from one of The Heartbreakers' most recent efforts finds Petty on a cross-country journey, finding persons of interest along the highway.
"She was a part of my heart/Now she's just a line in my face," Petty bemoans, regarding a motel maid he decides to take along for the ride. This moody slow burn of a song shows Petty was still in top form well into the twenty-first century.