Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has taken his place among Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra to become one of the most popular artists requested by Nottinghamshire families planning their goodbyes to their loved ones.
A survey by county funeral firm Gillotts Funeral Directors has shown that last year the Lego House hitmaker moved into the Top Ten of artists whose songs feature most frequently at services held across the county.
According to the company’s records, Ed Sheeran has become the seventh-most popular artist overall, while his song Supermarket Flowers – a tribute to his grandmother written from the viewpoint of his mother - was the fifth-most requested modern song.
Gillotts runs four branches in Nottinghamshire, in Eastwood, Stapleford, Kimberley and Selston, as well as another in Heanor, Derbyshire, and says that the most popular song overall, for the second year running, was Time To Say Goodbye, performed by a number of different artists, including opera star Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.
It was followed by Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which has also been performed by various artists, most notably Eva Cassidy, whose 1992 version is the most requested of them all.
Last year also saw Eva Cassidy become the most popular funeral artist, according to Gillotts’ figures, with her other hits, Songbird and Fields Of Gold, helping her to take the top spot from Elvis Presley, who ruled the roost in 2017.
Although none of his individual hits make the Top Ten, Elvis is now the sixth-most requested artist, behind Frank Sinatra, Jim Reeves, Glenn Miller and Nat King Cole.
Other popular songs in the Top Ten include My Way, You Raise Me Up, You’ll Never Walk Alone and Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.
Elsewhere, TV programmes feature prominently in funeral songs – including the theme song to Last Of The Summer Wine and Only Fools And Horses – while loves ones’ interest in sport is also reflected in the Match Of The Day theme and Soul Limbo, which is the BBC’s popular theme for test match cricket.
Other choices reveal how county’s mourners are also able to raise a smile amid the sadness, with Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust, Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence and even the theme from Jaws given an airing during the year.
Joanne Hutsby, a partner in Gillotts, said that although traditional hymns still remain popular for many, changing musical tastes are having a bearing on how people choose to celebrate their friends’ and family members’ lives.
She said: “There is a huge variety of music played these days but overall the choices tend to reflect a gesture of farewell, a tribute or a reflection on the life that they have led.
“Ed Sheeran’s Supermarket Flowers was certainly a new one for 2018 and it’s very apt, because he openly sings about the experience of mourning a mother, which will strike a chord with many families.
“Music has become an extremely important part of funerals and I’ve seen songs reduce the entire congregation to tears or to laughter.
“Some have come and gone in the past few years but the ones that tend to endure are those which are sung by someone’s favourite musician and which put into words feelings which maybe they never got round to saying or hearing when they were alive.”
Top Ten Artists Played at Nottinghamshire Funerals
Nat King Cole
Andrea Bocelli (with and without Sarah Brightman)
Top Ten Songs played at Notts funerals during 2018
Time To Say Goodbye – Various Artists, including Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Various Artists, including Eva Cassidy
My Way – Frank Sinatra
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Supermarket Flowers – Ed Sheeran
You Raise Me Up – various artists, including Westlife.
Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and the Pacemakers
Always Look On The Bright Side of Life – Monty Python.
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