“Goodbye My Lover,” the hit single by best-selling British act James Blunt (Atlantic Records), is the song that knocks them dead at most U.K. funerals in 2006, according to a recently published survey.
The track is the song most played at funerals, an accolade that broadens Blunt’s reputation as a songwriter of emotive songs following the huge success of his upbeat “You’re Beautiful” hit single in 2004.
The four-year-old annual Top 20 ranking is based on questionnaires sent to 5,000 consumers and compiled in July by U.K.-based The REaD Group; it operates The Bereavement Register (TBR), which removes contact details and addresses of the dead from companies’ mailing lists.
The second most popular hit single that the grief-stricken love to mourn to is “Angels” (Chrysalis), the 1997 hit by fellow Brit star Robbie Williams, which topped the survey last year.
At No. 3 is “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (RCA) as performed by Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley. Interest in the song is said to have been reignited by the current stage version of “Dirty Dancing”, the 1987 movie that made Patrick Swayze famous, at the Aldwych Theatre, London.
Other titles ranked in the Top 20 include Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” (Epic) at No. 4; Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” (A&M) at No. 6, which was originally a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and was later rewritten to commemorate the 1997 death of Diana, England’s Princess of Wales; U2’s “With Or Without You” (Island Records) at No. 7; Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” (Reprise) at No. 8, which Clapton co-wrote and performed after his son died in 1991; and The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” (A&M) at No. 9.
Some traditional ditties such as the Irish folk song “Danny Boy,” as performed by Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell, came in at No. 11, and the Roman Catholic Church’s requiem “Pie Jesu” also entered the ranking at No. 5.
But, they are the exceptions, said a spokesperson for The REaD Group, who noted that the vast majority of the Top 20 ranking were current popular hit recordings.
“The Top 20 really shows how far we have come in terms of saying goodbye,” said Mark Roy, founder of The Bereavement Register. “Gone are the dirges of yore, instead we are seeing contemporary music that is easier to relate to.”