Funeral Songs

Funeral Songs & Goth Rock

With Halloween just around the corner, Jim and Greg decided to break out the black eyeliner and take a tour of the labyrinthian underground of Goth Rock. Plus, tune in to hear a morbid discussion of the best songs to play at your funeral.

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Music News

This week Jim and Greg get an early jump on their annual Halloween celebration. What better way to start the show than with a completely morbid news story? According to a recent British survey conducted by the Bereavement Register, the number one song requested to be played at funerals is James Blunt's "Goodbye My Lover." We at Sound Opinions had not previously heard this track, but after giving it a listen, we agree that only someone recently departed would enjoy it.

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Funeral Songs

The complete top five funeral songs, according to the Register:

  • James Blunt, "Goodbye My Lover"
  • Robbie Williams, "Angels"
  • Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley, "I've Had the Time of My Life"
  • Bette Midler, "Wind Beneath My Wings"
  • "Pie Jesu"

We asked our Sound Opinions listeners this same, morbid question. Here are some of the“swan songs”you told us about via email or message board:

  • Santo and Johnny, "Sleepwalk"
  • The Buzzcocks, "Everybody's Happy Nowadays"
  • Curtis Mayfield, "Freddie's Dead"
  • Jeff Buckley, "Corpus Christi Texas"
  • R.E.M., "Try Not to Breathe"
  • Jeff Buckley, "Satisfied Mind"
  • Tom Waits, "Come On Up To The House"
  • Peter Gabriel, "I Grieve"
  • Joy Division, "In a Lonely Place"
  • The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"
  • Alice Cooper, "I Love the Dead"
  • Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)"
  • Billy Bragg and Wilco, "Remember the Mountain Bed"

Greg

Jim and Greg were forced to think about their final day as well. Greg goes first (since Jim predicts he actually will). He decides he wants Sound Opinions guest John Cale's cover of "Hallelujah" to be played at his funeral. He calls it the 20th century version of "Amazing Grace". Although Cale's version strays from Leonard Cohen's original, Greg thinks the message remains intact: "I made a lot of mistakes, but it was all worthwhile."

Jim

Jim predicts that even at his funeral he won't be able to resist one last chance to be sarcastic. He chooses an irreverent version of Frank Sinatra's classic "My Way." Jim shares Hoboken roots with“Ol' Blue Eyes,”but he feels he shares a lot more with Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious. So all of you Sound Opinions listeners who plan to come out to mourn on that fateful day will get to enjoy this punk cover.

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Goth Rock for Halloween

Next up Jim and Greg move into the dark,“labyrinthian”underground of Goth Rock. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a Goth soundtrack? Before they discuss the current scene with their special Goth guest, Scary Lady Sarah, Jim and Greg want to highlight songs from a recent Rhino box set celebrating the genre. Included in this montage are:

  • The Cure, "Charlotte Sometimes"
  • Einsturzende Neubauten, "Morning Dew"
  • The Cult, "Rain"
  • Alien Sex Fiend, "Now I'm Feeling Zombified"
  • The Sisters of Mercy, "Temple of Love"
  • Killing Joke, "Tomorrow's World"
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "The Weeping Song"
interview

Scary Lady Sarah

Bauhaus For Jim and Greg, the ultimate Goth progenitors are the band Bauhaus. Named for the German art movement, the group made minimalist, electronic music that focused on dark subjects. Initially, they shied away from the term“Goth,”but with song titles like that of their debut single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," you can understand why it stuck. Greg saw the group at the Coachella Music Festival in 2005, and vocalist Peter Murphy performed the entire song suspended upside down over the stage like a bat. So, it seems they've warmed up to the Goth moniker.

In order to go deeper into the Goth underground, Jim and Greg invite Scary Lady Sarah to join the show. Our guest has been a mainstay on the goth scene for almost 20 years. She is a DJ and promoter based in Chicago and Berlin, and runs American Goth Productions.

Scary Lady Sarah's goth rock picks:

  • Thatch Noir, "Cat in a Box"
  • Miguel and the Living Dead, "Graveyard Love Song"
  • Faith & The Muse, "Sredni Vashtar"
  • Pretentious, Moi?, "The Haunting"

Her other current faves include:

  • Blacklist
  • Diary of Dreams
  • Entertainment
  • Ether Aura
  • Frank the Baptist
  • Mephisto Walz
  • Passion Play
  • Solemn Novena
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Halloween Picks 2006

During the final segment of the show, our Halloween-loving hosts play their picks for scariest rock songs.

Greg

Greg's first choice is "Dead Souls" by Joy Division. This band didn't necessarily look scary, but they definitely have a dark history. Lead singer Ian Curtis suffered from epilepsy and would often have seizures onstage. He committed suicide in 1980, cementing the band's tortured image.

Greg's second song is Johnny Cash's cover of "The Mercy Seat" by Nick Cave. Cave is often associated with the Goth movement, but Cash is not someone you usually think of on a spooky Halloween night. This song fits perfectly into Cash's repertoire. It tells the story of a death row inmate on the last night of his life. Benmont Tensch's backing music in particular lends a haunting feel.

Jim

Jim wanted to illustrate Goth's influence on other genres with his first pick. The group Bloodrock is composed of your average hard-rock“buffoons,”according to Jim, but Jim can't think of anything more gothic than the subject of their song "D.O.A." It tells the tale of a car crash victim on his way to the other side (and it sounds like the bad side).

Jim's final track is by Susan Janet Dallion, otherwise known as Siouxsie Sioux. Siouxsie emerged out of the Bromley punk scene to join the Banshees and form her own distinctive sound. Her look and her sound solidified the singer as female Goth icon. The Beatles' song "Dear Prudence" isn‘t particularly scary, but Siouxie’s menacing vocals give it an ominous tone. In this rendition, Jim imagines that Prudence's fate is not unlike that of most horror film heroines.

Featured Songs

  1. James Blunt,“Goodbye My Lover,”Back to Bedlam, 2005
  2. Bette Midler,“Wind Beneath My Wings,”Wind Beneath My Wings, 1979
  3. Santo and Johnny,“Sleepwalk,”Billboard Top Rock and Roll Hits 1959, 1959
  4. The Buzzcocks,“Everybody's Happy Nowadays”Singles Going Steady, 1979
  5. Curtis Mayfield,“Freddie's Dead”Superfly, 1972
  6. Jeff Buckley,“Satisfied Mind,”Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, 1998
  7. John Cale,“Hallelujah,”Grace, 1998
  8. Sid Vicious,“My Way,”Sid Sings, 1979
  9. Bauhaus,“Bela Lugosi's Dead”Bela Lugosi's Dead, 1979
  10. Thatch Noir, "Cat in a Box"
  11. Miguel and the Living Dead, "Graveyard Love Song"
  12. Faith and the Muse,“Srendi Vashtar,”The Burning Season, 2003
  13. Pretnetious Moi?, "The Haunting"
  14. The Misfits,“Halloween”Legacy of Brutality, 1985
  15. Joy Division,“Dead Souls,”Still, 1981
  16. Bloodrock,“DOA”Bloodrock 2, 1970
  17. Nick Cave,“Mercy Seat,”Tender Prey, 1988

Footnotes

bbc.co.uk Top British funeral songs the-bereavement-register.org UK Bereavement Register amazon.com Rhino's goth box set myspace.com Scary Lady Sarah on MySpace livejournal.com American Gothic Productions Dark Side of the Net > http://www.darklinks.com gothicchicago.com Gothic Chicago

Nemesis To Go > http://www.nemesis.to/go.htm razorwire.com The REAL Gothic FAQ