Hymns are making a heavenly comeback for the dearly departed as they make it onto the top ten list of most popular funeral songs in the UK, for the first time in over seven years.
Co-op Funeralcare released their funeral music chart for 2023, announcing ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘Abide With Me’ as "historic additions" to the top ten list. The hymns sit at number 8 and 9, on the chart comprised from the data of 93,000 funerals over the past year.
Funeral directors point to the Queen's funeral in September 2022 as a catalyst for the resurgence of hymns in such services, as people return to more traditional music to make final farewells. Over the past year, there has been a notable increase in requests for the hymns ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ and ‘The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended,’ both of which were performed at Her Majesty's funeral.
Dr Noel Tredennick, composer and founder of the All Souls' Orchestra in London tells Premier the service at Westminster Abbey displayed "the dignity and power of the prayerbook language" and the "power of hymnody to express the depth of our hearts".
Tredennick says he's pleased to see a further move towards hymns that speak of God, rather than pop songs that focus on ourselves.
Top of the funeral music chart for 2023 is Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye’, followed by Frank Sinatra’s iconic ‘My Way’.
New song requests for 2023 include ‘Break My Soul’ by Beyonce, ‘Take Me Back to London’ by Ed Sheeran ft. Stormzy and ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ by Shania Twain.
From a pool of over 7,000 Co-op members, the hymns ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Abide With Me’, ‘How Great Though Art’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ all ranked in the top ten list of most wished for songs to be played at your funeral.
Gill Stewart, Managing Director at Co-op Funeralcare said: “Each element of a funeral is a very personal choice and we’re encouraging the nation to be more open about their funeral wishes, making it clear to their loved ones what they would want for themselves when the time comes, and music is a really simple and comforting place to start.”