So this is a bit morbid, but it’s a subject that is being hotly debated in my small circle of friends and i thought i’d share it here with the no depression community. The subject is this: what 10 songs would you pick to play at your funeral?
Update Nov 1, 2009
It’s the day of the dead so it’s probably appropriate to do an update…
I have a couple of feel-right additions. The first one is Marty Robbins’ classic El Paso (full length version), from Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. I’m going to have to make room for this song and I guess it’s R.E.M. on the slab. I spent a few years immersed in the boys from Athens but it’s been a long time since it was new to me. I put them on the original list to honour that time in my life (just out of high-school and loving the R.E.M. sound), and they made it through several cullings, but i just have to make room for El Paso. Ask me to explain it? I won’t bother. How do you explain musical pheremones? All i know is several years ago i walked into an A&B Sound in Vancouver (they are now out of business) and they were playing El Paso. I can’t remember what it was i was looking for on that day but what i left with was the gunfighter cd. I’ve been playing the hell out of it ever since. I invite everyone at my funeral to sing along with the chorus…wait, it doesn’t have one….
The second addition is James Brown’s Think from Star Time. Love the song and as at the time of this update i want this piece on my list. He may have been the greatest performer of his era and while he wasn’t in play for me back in the day i’m digging it more as i move along….
Problem is what gets moved off in lieux of Mr. Brown? I’m thinking Dylan. He may come back later (maybe even later tonight…) but for right now he’s getting moonwalked on.
Update Sept 25, 09
Listened to Tom Waits a couple of nights ago over dinner (and drinks) and decided to remove Mr. Seigal in favor of another Waits’ tune. It started out with another Heart Attack and Vine piece, On the Nickel. When that song came on i said to Chris, “i think this song is going on the list: it’s sad and maudlin and dripping with sentimentality, plus the ending is devastating – wait for it.” Then the song ended and i realised it wasn’t the tune i was thinking of after all, which really set me off. I began sifting through my Waits’ collection looking for “the piece”, the song i was remembering. I became a bit frantic at some point, and Chris offered to help. I said “there’s something in there about a magpie and the spoke from a wheelchair”. We simultaneously came up with the piece, she by searching for lyrics on the internet, me by brute force. The song is Kentucky Avenue from my favorite (i think) Waits’ album, Blue Valentine. So there you have it, the list has changed again. Not for the last time either…
Update Aug 6, 09
For completeness, I’ve added the artists that made the first list and were subsequently dumped. Mozart and Beethoven made my first list and were ruthlessly dispatched, Mozart by a younger and more agile Tom Waits and Beethoven by a more pious Arvo Part. Part in his turn was singed by Sinatra, flying to the moon. There will be more blood to come i’m sure…
End update Aug 6, 09
UPDATE – Aug 3, 09
One change to report today: I’ve dumped Lyle’s Don’t Cry a Tear for Lyle’s One Eyed Fiona. My reasoning: the former is so special it should be reserved for the truly exceptional – like Lyle himself. The latter popped into my head last night with a sense of urgency: it feels right. It is wry, sly, and damn funny. Gotta have it on the list….
End Aug 3, 09 update
While the origin of this post goes back a year or more to a bourbon-infused after-dinner session, it was crystallized recently when I sent my friends Kate and Dan an email. I was listening to Raising Sand at the time, and was knocked out (again) by the last song, The Long Journey. I followed this recording up with Lyle Lovett’s Don’t Cry a Tear just to get the mood really low and slow, and sent the email indicating these songs as contenders for my list. Kate got down to business following this email and actually completed her list AND burned us a copy. She posted the list on her blog, which i link here for posterity.
Anyway, inspired by Kate and Dan (who’s list can be found as a comment on Kate’s post), i’ve “finished” my own list, which i’ll put down here for your edification and amusement. As i said in an email, nothing on the list is sacred and the songs will ebb and flow like a half-empty bottle of bourbon cast into the tide.
Mr. Siegal – Tom Waits from Heartattack and Vine
Kentucky Avenue – Tom Waits from Blue Valentine
Clarinet Concerto, 1st Movement – Mozart
Don’t Cry a Tear – Lyle Lovett from It’s Not Big It’s Large
One Eyed Fiona – Lyle Lovett from The Road To Ensenada
Watermelon Dream – Guy Clark from Old Friends
Voice of Harold – R.E.M. from Dead Letter Office
Fly Me To the Moon – Frank Sinatra from Live at the Sands
El Paso – Marty Robbins from Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs
Speigel Im Speigel – Arvo Part from Alina
6th Symphony, 2nd Movement – Beethoven
Your Long Journey – Krauss and Plant from Raising Sand
Brandenburg Concerto #6 in B-Flat Major BWV 1051 Allegro (1st movement) – Bach from the Tafelmusik recording
Hey Porter – Johnny Cash from The Complete Original Sun Singles
Rudie Can’t Fail – The Clash from London Calling
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues – Bob Dylan from Highway 61 Revisited
Think – James Brown, from Star Time