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When the family was together trying to plan Dad’s funeral/memorial service/Celebration of Life, one thing we had to figure out was the music we wanted played in the background during visitation and songs for the service itself. It quickly became obvious that I had no idea what music Dad liked. In fact, I had no idea Dad liked to dance until I asked my step-mom how she and Dad met and she talked about how they often went out dancing.

In thinking about Dad and music, I remember he had several Elvis albums, one disk was blue and another gold. (This was vinyl, people, not tapes or CDs or MP3s. As we always used to say to Dad, he was born when the world was black and white.) He also had an album of novelty songs, including “Monster Mash” and “Beep Beep.”   When I was in elementary school, the song I used to associate with Dad was the theme to the Dick Van Dyke Show. There was something about Dick Van Dyke that reminded me of Dad, particularly at that time period.

In any case, I was pretty useless in coming up with songs for Dad’s service and I’m glad everyone else pitched in and figured this out. But, I got to thinking, what if I am hit by a bus tomorrow and people have to choose songs for me and they don’t know what to pick? While they could throw on some Duran Duran and I’d be fine (I certainly wouldn’t have the wherewithal to complain, now, would I?), there are lots and lots of songs I like, many of which have great messages for a funeral.

(There are also lots and lots of songs I like that would leave a terrible impression at a funeral. Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi,” for instance. Or Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” particularly as performed by Richard Cheese. I’ll spare everyone the weird, beyond-the-grave impressions those might leave at my funeral. Egads!)

So then, here goes … my funeral set list. All are songs that are favorites because I like the way they sound. Some are happy. Some are sad. Most have funeral-appropriate lyrics, but a few made the list because, darnit, I like them. (“Bend It Like Bender,” I’m looking at you!)

The three songs to play during the service:

        “Dodo” by Dave Matthews
        “In This Twilight” by Nine Inch Nails
        “Touch the Air Softly” by Peter Mayer

The songs to play during the visitation (So tough to choose! There are lots! Change up the order, please!):

“Hold Back the Rain” – Duran Duran (I love what happens with the music cascading in this. Don’t take it as some kind of weird message not to cry.)
“Tel Aviv” – Duran Duran
“Sound of Thunder” – Duran Duran”

The Flame” – Arcadia (A dramatic song that I have fun dancing to. In my living room, alone, of course! No need to subject anyone to that spectacle.)

“Grey Street” – Dave Matthews Band (The inspiration for my book, “Greenville.”)
“Two Step” – Dave Matthews Band (Another song I like to dance to.)

“Dream About Me” – Moby

“Hymn” – Ultravox
“Lament” – Ultravox

“Beside You in Time” – Nine Inch Nails
“Zero Sum” – Nine Inch Nails
“Right Where It Belongs” – Nine Inch Nails

“Ocean Mary” – Peter Mayer (Love the message of this song … how Ocean Mary lives on in water … and my name is Mary. How convenient!)
“The Birthday Party” – Peter Mayer
“Camping by the Sun” – Peter Mayer

“Original of the Species” – U2
“Elevation” – U2 (A fun, happy song that features a mole – I was called Mole as a kid.)

“Don’t Change” – INXS
“Johnson’s Aeroplane” – INXS

“Bend It Like Bender” – Devin Townsend
“Ih Ah” – Devin Townsend (Hubby introduced me to Devin Townsend, so whenever I listen to Townsend’s music, I think of Hubby.)

“Little Talks” – Of Monsters and Men (This song reminds me of Dad because we would have little talks during lunch.)

“Waiting for the End” – Linkin Park (What is it about bad-ass musicians writing the best ballads? See Queensryche below and Nine Inch Nails above.)

“Silent Lucidity” – Queensryche

“Human” – The Killers
“All These Things That I Have Done” – The Killers

“The Promise” – When in Rome (Hubby and I both love this song. This one’s for you, honey! Love and kisses! xoxoxoxoxoxo)

“Whipped Cream” – Herb Alpert (Another fun, happy song!)

“Soul” – Matchbox 20

“More Than a Feeling” – Boston (This song was featured in one of my favorite movies, “The Men Who Stare at Goats.”)

“Feed the Tree” – Belly (Ideally, my body will feed a tree after I’m gone.)

“More Than This” – Roxy Music

What three songs would you pick for your funeral service? Please share in the comments so the awkward morbidity of this post doesn’t creep me out.

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