Hymns Soar to New Heights, Secure Spot in UK’s Top Ten Funeral Songs Chart

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In a heartening turn of events, hymns have triumphantly returned to the forefront of funeral music in the UK, securing their place on the coveted top ten list after a hiatus of over seven years. 

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Co-op Funeralcare, a leading funeral services provider, recently unveiled their funeral music chart for 2023, revealing the historic inclusion of two cherished hymns, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘Abide With Me,’ at the 8th and 9th positions, respectively. This noteworthy achievement was determined through an analysis of data from 93,000 funerals conducted over the past year.

Funeral directors attribute the resurgence of hymns to a pivotal event in September 2022—the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen. Following this solemn occasion, individuals have gravitated towards more traditional musical choices when bidding farewell to their loved ones. Notably, hymns such as ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ and ‘The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended,’ which were performed during the Queen’s funeral, have experienced a discernible increase in requests throughout the past year. 

In a statement to Premier News, Dr. Noel Tredennick, a composer and founder of the All Souls’ Orchestra in London, lauds the display of “the dignity and power of the prayerbook language” and emphasizes the ability of hymnody to poignantly convey the depths of our hearts. He expresses his satisfaction with the shift towards hymns that extol the glory of God, as opposed to popular songs that often center around the self.

Atop the funeral music chart for 2023 stands the timeless duet by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, ‘Time to Say Goodbye,’ followed closely by Frank Sinatra’s iconic ‘My Way.’ However, the dawn of the new year has brought forth fresh requests for funeral songs, including contemporary tracks like Beyoncé’s ‘Break My Soul,’ Ed Sheeran’s ‘Take Me Back to London’ featuring Stormzy, and Shania Twain’s empowering anthem, ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman.’

Interestingly, when Co-op Funeralcare surveyed over 7,000 of its members, several hymns resonated strongly, earning a place among the most desired songs to be played at their own funerals. The timeless melodies of ‘Jerusalem,’ ‘Abide With Me,’ ‘How Great Thou Art,’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ all secured positions within the top ten list of requested funeral songs.

Gill Stewart, the Managing Director at Fune, encourages individuals to openly discuss their funeral wishes, ensuring that their loved ones are aware of their preferences when the time comes. Stewart emphasizes that music, in particular, offers a simple yet comforting starting point for these discussions, given its personal and evocative nature.

As hymns ascend to the upper echelons of the UK’s funeral songs chart, their resurgence symbolizes a return to cherished traditions and a celebration of the divine during the solemn moments of bidding farewell. Through the power of hymns, mourners find solace and expression for the depths of their grief, invoking a sense of spiritual unity as they honor and remember those who have passed.

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